One Direction Home


The Saiga/Izmash select-fire AK-74M

Conversations in email have been fun in the past few days. Every weapon has its purists, and people find reasons to tout one weapon over another. Armalite v Kalashnikov strikes me as very similar to Beatles v Rolling Stones, as it boils down to subjective, emotional criteria as much as pragmatic or aesthetic qualities.

It also apparently surprises Americans to learn that Canadians like to shoot, and that Canadians could get hold of guns. It’s true that Canada doesn’t have anything corresponding to the “second amendment,” but Canada is full of weapons anyway. As an aside, if you find a Mormon, you’re almost certainly going to find some guns close by, regardless of the laws.

Weapons are only part of the package, and this leads me to what is the next phase in this series of our ongoing discussion about firearms. I’m going to explain why I bought an AR-15, and try to convince you that my reason was the correct one.

Down below, Daemon writes:

ARs had more reliability issues during their introduction to the Vietnam war, I think partly due to design and coordination issues. I would say things are better now. If you go that route, check out gunblue490’s youtube video on their maintenance.

I’m going that route, because there’s only that route available.

If all things were equal, I’d buy a new AK-74M rifle today, in totally legal semi-auto only. Just a few weeks ago, that is exactly what I assumed I would do. Unfortunately, things are not equal. There is a huge problem precluding the practicality of such a purchase, and it is one that is only going to get worse.

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It makes no sense to buy a weapon if you can’t buy ammunition. 

I bought my original AK-74M used. The original owner gave me the rifle, 14,000 rounds of 7N6 ammunition, and a Makarov 9x18mm pistol, all for 800 dollars (about 650 US). Moving it all into storage was a big job that took me most of the weekend. I thought I had enough ammo to last me a lifetime, but it was all gone in only a couple of years.

Ammo is a big deal for other reasons. I’ll let Che Guevara tell you…

There are fundamental aspects to be studied: the armament, for example, and the manner of using this armament. The value of a tank, of an airplane in a fight of this type must be weighed. The arms of the enemy, his ammunition, his habits must be considered; because the principal source of provision for the guerrilla force is precisely in enemy armaments. If there is a possibility of choice, we should prefer the same type as that used by the enemy, since the greatest problem of the guerrilla band is the lack of ammunition, which the opponent must provide.

(Guerrilla Warfare, Ch. 2)

We are in an ammo shortage now because 200 million people came to the conclusion I reached: that it is going to be necessary to shift for myself in the future. Like Black Pill, I don’t think we are in the collapse yet. America can afford to bail itself out of this one. But when the collapse comes, it will look like what we are seeing right now. Supermarkets full of food and armed cops on call are the hallmarks of yesterday’s society, not tomorrow’s.

If we are to take Che Guevara seriously, we should look for weapons chambered to shoot the typical American calibre service weapons. It seems to me that a man in the United States is limited to:

  1. 9x19mm
  2. 5.56x45mm
  3. 7.62x51mm

These are the rounds that are made in huge quantities by all the big factories. Within the calibres, there are also a wide variety of different weights and types of ammo.

A couple of quick notes before I open this up to discussion.

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Kalashnikov USA makes a 9mm rifle.

9x19mm is commonly called luger and parabellum. There is a 9mm NATO round, which is exactly the same size as a 9x19mm round, but is loaded a bit hotter. Modern firearms have no problem handling this ammo. I have 9mm handguns made by Sig Sauer and Glock, and I fire 9mm NATO and 9×19 interchangeably. There is also a 9mm +P designation for ammo which is hotter still. I don’t regularly use overpowered ammo, but I have shot it through both of my handguns in the past, and aside from being noisier, I haven’t had a problem.

Overpowered “+P” ammo is generally found in expensive self-defense rounds, so shooting this stuff for target practice doesn’t really make sense.

There are a number of different rounds which are generically called “9mm”. The only handgun I owned in Canada was a Makarov, chambered in 9x18mm.


I miss my Makarov

There’s also a 9x17mm, known in the U.S. as .380 ACP.

One can shoot a .380 ACP round out of a Makarov pistol. The Soviets built them specifically to do this, because they saw a World War III scenario in which they overran Austria and Germany, and needed to use western ammo. Since the bullet itself is smaller, you likely lose a lot of accuracy and power, but I shot .380 and 9×18 interchangeably through my pistol, with no problems whatever.

It wouldn’t go the other way. Shooting 9×18 ammo through a .380 pistol would be a disaster. For all the same reasons, one could never shoot a 9x19mm round out of a Makarov. Even if he got it to chamber and fire, the bullet is 1mm too large to fit into the barrel, which means the weapon would be ruined and the shooter would likely hurt himself.

For a table of all the dozens of other variations of 9mm ammunition, you can go here.

I like the 9x19mm calibre, but I can’t imagine having an effective range (even in a rifle) of more than 50 metres.


5.56x45mm is what the AR-15 and its variants typically shoot. It’s a relatively small bullet with high velocity and a flat trajectory. The ballistics of the round are very similar to the 5.45x39mm I shot through my AK-74, which was another reason I felt comfortable opting for this rifle.


5.56×45 (Yellow), 5.45×39 (Blue), 7.62×39 (Red)

There are a great variety of different things to take into account about this calibre. For one thing, the 5.56 round is externally identical to a .223 Remington, but the 5.56 round is loaded a bit hotter, thus it is apparently unsafe to fire 5.56 through a chamber and barrel which is stamped .223.

At least as disastrous is the addition of 300 AAC Blackout, which is a calibre of ammo which was designed to be loaded, chambered, and fired by an AR-15, but which requires a much larger barrel. I don’t want to think about the result of mixing up ammo on range day.

Down below, Honeycomb suggested something called .223 Wylde. This is a standard which can accommodate both loads, and which is supposedly the choice of serious marksmen.

One drawback of this calibre is its legality for hunting. Oregon and California both allow a hunter to take a deer with 5.56, but if you go to Washington or Idaho, this is apparently a serious crime. My assumption is that these laws were made years ago, to prohibit people from wounding large animals with .22 rimfire ammo, but they’re still on the books and depending upon where you live, you may need a larger calibre if you want to feed yourself (within the bounds of the law).

I can’t imagine being able to hit anything with this calibre past 400 metres, even with a scope, but there are plenty of marksman stories.


7.62x51mm ammunition is commonly used for deer hunting. When I would go shooting my AK-74, I commonly took a guy who shot his FN-FAL. His rifle didn’t have cool wood furniture, and it had a retractable carry handle on top of it, but otherwise that’s as I remember it.

I am not familiar with this calibre, other than those distant memories, but the times I shot it, it certainly made an impression. If I ever wanted to kill the hell out of someone, this calibre would be my first choice. All the other weapons I’ve been discussing are mere pea-shooters in comparison.

This calibre has the typical ambiguity of all the others I’ve mentioned, in that it is identical to something called .308 Winchester… but the .308 round is loaded hotter. If your weapon is chambered 7.62×51, you apparently will get into trouble shooting .308 rounds out of it.

Author: Boxer

Sinister All-Male Dancer. Secret King of all Gamma Males. Member of Frankfurt School. Your Fave Contrarian!

12 thoughts on “One Direction Home”

  1. Boxer ..

    You are very astute to, correctly, analysis the AK and the imported Ammo issue. These bans are bad and I don’t see them being lifted. Both parties are guilty. And, we pay the price.

    For those that are new think about this ..

    Rifle selection ..
    A common platform that has a decent 0-300m (4″ or less) battlefield zero that you can carry copious amounts of ammo is a must. This would include a sling, light and an optic. Buy 200 or more magazines asap. Keep 50 loaded (at home) at all times.

    Pistol selection ..
    A simple and yet reliable full size and compact (sharing common magazines) in 9mm (the 9×19) caliber.

    Blade selection ..
    In addition to a EDC blade you should carry a K-Bar style fixed blade knife in your gear bag.

    Gear selection ..
    My recommendation for gear is that it can be worn under your plain street clothes without being to easy to detect. That includes body armor (if you so choose to) as well as you first line gear.

    I recommend what looks like a bike messenger bag that will hold everything else. A backpack can be used but must not look tactical. You should have 10 loaded magazines as a surplus for your rifle and 6 for you pistol.

    IFAK ..
    A good IFAK that you put together for your specific needs. Everyone has a vastly different view on this topic. What is your life worth? Remember this is the IFAK and not a paramedic bag.

    Finally ..
    It would behoove you to carry this gear everywhere you go until further advised. [1]

    [1] This is in addition to your normal EDC and First Line items.

  2. Dear Honeycomb:

    Rifle selection

    You’ve really given me some good advice in the last couple of weeks. I’ve been enjoying learning about the AR-15 I bought.

    One of the pitfalls of entering into this dialectic is a tendency to keep buying multiple firearms. I have known men who owned 20+ different weapons, all in different calibres. In doing so, these same men never mastered any of the weapons, and they weren’t ever able to build a sizable stock of ammo for all of them. They become expensive liabilities.

    Buy 200 or more magazines asap. Keep 50 loaded (at home) at all times.

    Are you shitting me? I don’t know who you are expecting in your neighborhood.

    I bought ten extra magazines from Lancer Systems. I’ll keep a couple of 30 round magazines loaded when I become proficient with the rifle.

    Pistol selection ..

    I have a little Sig Sauer (I carry it) and a Glock 17 (for the apocalypse). Both 9mm. They each have five spare magazines. I’ve trained extensively with both of those.

  3. “Are you shitting me? I don’t know who you are expecting in your neighborhood.”

    In addition to protecting your own, someone also needs to act as armed security for the community farms. Extra ammo makes you more valuable in the community where you reside. If you try to rough it alone, you’ll likely starve. Very few people have what it takes to solo.

  4. (Re: 50 loaded mags)

    You have every right to balk .. but when a block party finds you .. or you and your mates need a fresh (loaded) mag in a fight ..

    Then is not the time to hunt for a mag .. much less have to load it.

    Seconds are forever in a gunfight.

    I onow folks that keep 100 loaded at all times .. and I think that’s over the top (currently) .. so I understand your hesitation.

    One last point .. mags are disposable co-mod-eye-tees .. when I buy .. I buy USGI Aluminum mags with anti-tilt followers .. I buy’em a hundo at a time. I have spares .. 😊

  5. BTW ..

    Lancer Mags are great .. I have a good number of them ..

    But for anyone new to the (AR) platform .. just remember ..

    Your mags are very important for the health of your system.

    Until you have 100 or more USGI (with anti-tilt followers) .. avoid buying more expensive mags.

    And Lancer is a fantastic alternative to a standard Aluminum USGI mag. MagPul is not.

    You can’t keep a MagPul P-Mag loaded for long periods of time due to the fragile plastic feed lips. I gave all of my P-Mags away after that experience. And I’m not the only one with that experience.

    When Lancer Mags are on sale .. I snag 10 or more at a time. I’m very pleased with the Lancer Mag.

  6. Dear Fellas:

    In addition to protecting your own, someone also needs to act as armed security for the community farms.

    My area is 90% white people, with 8% of the rest being the sort of “hispanic” people of the genotype you would find in Spain and France. The farmers are all conservative democrats who tend to be members of the NRA. If shit pops off, I’ll pay them for shooting lessons.

    You have every right to balk .. but when a block party finds you .. or you and your mates need a fresh (loaded) mag in a fight ..

    I’m not scoffing. I just wonder where you live to be so concerned.

    There will be no block parties here. I keep a very low profile. I live in a modest 2 bedroom apartment, and I drive a nice but ordinary car (which is 4 years old). I am not known as a shitlib university professor here (though I do adjunct part time.) My neighbors know me through their kids, and my reputation is as a modest math teacher at the local high school. I don’t make a big issue of bringing flashy, model quality wimminz in skimpy dress around.

    OTOH I haven’t been to regular religious services of any type. I can’t get into protestantism, and the catholics here are far less based than they were down south.

    In short, I have changed my life and lifestyle radically in the past 18 months. Moving cross-continent was only a small part of the transformation. It’s working out well. Safety and security is the most important dividend.

  7. I’m not scoffing. I just wonder where you live to be so concerned.

    I live in a more rural southern Alabama town .. BUT it’s very close to two other states and big town problems.

    I rotate my stock as I do shooting classes or comp’s. So if the boogeyman comes a callin’ .. I’ll be the storm.

  8. You can’t keep a MagPul P-Mag loaded for long periods of time due to the fragile plastic feed lips. I gave all of my P-Mags away after that experience. And I’m not the only one with that experience.

    The rifle I bought came with one P-Mag, and while it seems pretty sturdy, I noticed immediately that it lacked steel parts. I would think that these would wear out quickly, but I’m not an engineer.

    I’m also very partial to 20-round magazines. That was true when I shot the AK-74. It’s difficult to get a good prone position with a long magazine in the way.

  9. Prediction: bullets become currency in society as cigarettes are in jails.

    You’ve really given me some good advice in the last couple of weeks.

    Hc is a national treasure, yet he refuses to pen detailed run-down of platforms, calibers and things-to-know in one place (eg. email, blog post). What a tease!

  10. Fresno is one of the most dangerous cities in California. Most of the crime occurs in “south east Fresno” just off downtown where I live. It also is the 5th largest in the state now. It’s common to hear gunshots where I live. Last week there was an abandoned car in the alley that got torched, several of us in my building (white, black and brown) came out with water and fire extinguishers. Had it put out before the fire deprt arrived. We all got a mild “scolding” to not take “danger” into our own hands…….as if. If that car exploded, my building would have had damage, and getting damage repaired in this Covad situation would have been impossible.

    My building is working poor. Not welfare poor. Working poor. I identify with them, but they I know for a fact do not identify with me. Nor should they. I have always lived in the “downtown core” of a city when I moved to California because its central to mass transit, post office, main services. I also have built rapport and I lived down here for almost a decade before I left for two years.

    I could afford one of the more tonier neighborhoods in Fresno…..but downtown the rent is cheap, the old buildings have an intrinsic beauty to them and it’s just me. Urbane. Mod. Understated.

    My block is considered a “safe” block because most of us here don’t put up the bullshit of “hang out culture” no matter what color the person or people who are doing it. The neighborhood is pred Latino (Mexican) but they are working, and yes….poor….but the families here are tight. I admire that.

  11. The original M16 came with 20 round mags.

    Most of my gear isn’t set-up or built for them .. so .. they stay at home .. along with my 10 rounders for hunting.

    Pro-Tip, I use the mag as a monopod while in the prone position .. as long as it’s not a service rifle national match comp.

  12. lol ..

    It’s true .. I might be a tease .. but .. it’s more likely that my dance card is full.

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