Similarities Between The Piston Operated AR-15 And The AK47

Comparing the New AR-15 To The AK47

Similarities Between the New, Piston-Driven AR-15 and The AK47

The new AR design is REALLY COOL, but first, it is important to understand where the AR is coming from and why it changed. The traditional AR-15 design operated on a gas-impingement system. A gas-impingement system means the bullet passes through the barrel, pushing some of the gas from the explosion up into a port hole which winds up directed back into a tube, and into the upper receiver. This re-routing of that small bit of gas is enough to push the bolt carrier back and cycle action.1The traditional AK47 is based upon a piston system. The AK47 receiver holds a gas piston and trigger group. The “integrated gas piston” as it is known, is loosely fit into the receiver by design, specifically to reduce the effects of carbon buildup and rush (of which can make a weapon less reliable). When a round is fired, the gas that pours into a chamber files through a port in the top of the barrel and forcing the gas piston back. This subsequently removes the bolt from the chamber and expels the spent cartridge. The next bullet is loaded from the magazine (spring-based).2

How Is The New AR-15 The Same As The AK-47?

The new AR-15 design has taken a card out of the AK47 playbook, being designed on a similar piston system. When a round is fired through a gas-piston AR-15, the rushing gases are contained in a separate cylinder. The separated cylinder holds a piston (just like an AK47), and as the gas pushes the piston, the ejection process is initiated. Piston-style rifles are well-known to be less accurate due to a harsh recoil, most especially for subsequent shots. The actual action of a piston rifle is cool to the touch, even after dozens, or even more than a 100 rounds, are fired (meaning the bolt carrier can be handled immediately without creating any burns). The AR-15 first .223 caliber rounds, which can make hunting larger game difficult (though not impossible). It also means creating less stopping power than the AK47’s 7.62×39 rounds, which are able to take out game as large as ram, bears and elk.3

ak-47 and ar-15 piston similarities

Final Comparison Notes: New AR-15 vs AK47

In the end, both rifles are powerful, mostly reliable, accurate and otherwise completely effective firearms. Although the AK47 has a notorious recoil, which many enthusiasts complain affects accuracy, the new piston-driven AR-15 has received a lot of credit for maintaining excellent accuracy.3The new, piston-derived, AR-15 has been well-received. It has also been receiving a plethora of great reviews and positive user feedback. Though, it is still strikingly similar to its AK47 inspiration!


1Daily Caller. ARs Gas vs Piston: What Difference Does It Make? Retrieved from:

2Popular Mechanics. Anatomy of an AK 47. Retrieved from:

3The Prepper Journal. AK 47 vs AR-15: Which Rifle Is Better? Retrieved from:

About the Author:

Mark Doberman, The Proprietary Gun Smith

The Proprietary Gun Smith is a marksman, expert gun handler, ammunition specialist, survival guru, and lifetime gun enthusiast. He owns (or has owned) nearly every legal firearm and ballistic available, has fired nearly every gun, and regularly consults professionally in the firearm world. He has studied firearms and similar tactical lifestyle for more than 40 years. In addition to writing for, TheProprietaryGunSmith has guest written for more than a dozen other sites and/or magazines in the industry.

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