Tuesday, March 18, 2008

AK-47 vs. M16 vs. the 6.5 Grendel®

One of the biggest firearms debates in history is to crown the world's best Assault Rifle. The two main rifles competing are from two former Cold-War enemies. They are the Russian AK-47 and its variants and the US made M16 and its variants.

Although the debate will never end, recent developments in ballistics and firearms design could settle the debate once and for all.

The AK-47/T-56

The Russian AK-47 with bayonet and the Chinese NORINCO Type 56
The AK-47 (Avtomat Kalashnikova-1947) and the Chinese Type 56 are perhaps the most well known assault rifles in the world. Developed during the Second World War to protect Russia, the "AK" is the most affordable and widely available light-weight rifle in the world with a devastating 7.62mm, powerfully recoiling rifle with over 400m kill range.

The gun, sold from $50-300, is a weapon of choice for many state and non-state armies. It requires minimum maintenance and pose a grave threat to those using the M16/AR15 platform of rifles due to the 7.62NATO rounds they use, which are more powerful than the common 5.56MM rounds used by the M16/AR15.

The M16/AR15

The M16 is in use in many NATO armies as the main Tactical Assault Rifle. It is a highly accurate, light-weight rifle capable of firing from 5.56mm rounds to 7.62mm rounds and even 40mm grenades when equipped.

The M16 5.56mm Carbine is a lightweight, gas operated, air cooled, magazine fed, selective rate, shoulder fired weapon with a collapsible stock. The weapon is still affordable and available to terrorist groups at $586 per gun.

The 6.5 Grendel® Tactical Assault Rifle

The 6.5 Grendel® is one of the latest Tactical Assault Rifles introduced to Special Forces in NATO countries. It is giving a comparative edge to elite units over insurgents, guerrillas and terrorists alike using a basic M16/AR-15 chassis. The advantage comes from the 6.5mm round the Grendel® uses instead of the 5.56mm or the 7.62mm. Surprisingly, this new 6.5 Grendel® generates more kinetic energy than the 7.62mm.

The longer warhead and stockier 6.5mm Grendel round in the middle
The firearm, developed by a US company called Alexander Arms, is able to out-shoot the AK-47/T-56 commonly used by state and non-state actors in many of the global wars. The Grendel® shoots at supersonic speed at anything within 1200-1400 yards with half the recoil of the AK-47/T-56.

In the years to come, this weapon will provide a comparative advantage to state forces who can afford it. The Grendel®, combined with the light-weight and highly accurate M16/AR15 chassis, is a rifle here to stay. (6.5 Grendel® Video)


Unknown said...

Good Post Defencewire. The debate over the weapons have been going on for a long time. I guess wikipedia has a bit more information of the history. Intrestingly the AK -47 name of inventor AK and designed in his hosptial bed in 1947. The M-16 is a long line of series with M-1 to the Mark 5 in world war till the M-16. During dessert storm many M-16s chocked with the sand while the Iraqi were able to continue firing with the AK-47s.

AK-47s are extremely cheap and surplus from cambodia to afghanistan makes it a LTTE and many insurgent groups weapon of choice. Furthermore the M16 is produced under jurisdiction from the US. Hence tracability is a problem.

However the semi and auto features of the M-16 make it a good assualt as well as support arm weapon. The 5.56mm comes with tracer rounds.

The illuminating sight however is not very good and if used in the feild gets dirty and not useful at night. Armies have been replacing the M-16 as it has been outdated. The carbine version is also being replaced. I am not sure but from the looks of it, the gas needs to be topped up. The older version does not have the gas and was less accurate.

Guns&Roses said...

then what is the weapon our STF guys use? i though they were M16 s

shay said...


"then what is the weapon our STF guys use? i though they were M16 s"

Yes, the STF use carbine versions of the M16, probably the Colt Commando. Its not the M4 version as far as I can see.

chamal said...


"However the semi and auto features of the M-16 make it a good assualt as well as support arm weapon."

I think the newer versions are coming with only semi and 3 round burst modes?

"The older version does not have the gas and was less accurate."

I don't understand this, can you explain more? It is a gas operated rifle.....so how can there be no gas?

LKDOOD said...

great post DW

LKDOOD said...

NSA didn't say LTTE has base in Tamil Nadu: Indian government


shay said...

"I am not sure but from the looks of it, the gas needs to be topped up. The older version does not have the gas and was less accurate."

What are you on about not having enough gas? Gas operated means that the rifle uses the exhaust gases that are released when a round is fired to eject the spent casing and load a new round into the chamber. The gun doesn't actually have gas.

mikej said...

This PDF lists the various alternatives to the 5.56mm NATO cartridge. Of course, it seems that the Army is going to stick with 5.56mm NATO for the forseeable future.

coyoteatquiznos said...

FYI, that M16 in the picture isn't an actual M16; It's a paintball gun. The compressed CO2 cylinder and the feeder elbow near the ejection port give it away.

Unknown said...

Was that a mistake or do you actually think AK's fire 7.62 NATO? 7.62x51 NATO is the military version of the .308. AK-47's fire a 7.62x39 Russian round that is much closer to a 5x56 in terms of terminal ballistics.

Ammoz Depot said...

10mm Ammo
6.5 Grendel
45 ACP ammo
Small Rifle Primers

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