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The Rise of The AK Pistol and SBR Alternatives

Since its inception, the rugged AK-47 has become one of the most common rifles for home defense and military application around the world.

With more than 105 nations using the AK-47 in their militaries, and 33 countries manufacturing some sort of variant, it is the stuff of rifle lore.

The AK-47, full name Avtomat Kalashnikova Model 1947 (literally “Kalashnikov Machine”), was developed by a Russian patriot named Mikhail Kalashnikov.

The Russian military adopted this gas piston-driven firearm as its official rifle soon after its creation. The only firearm to rival it has been the US-made M16 and its counterpart, the AR-15 (Armalite Model 15).

In the 1990’s, the U.S. began creating shorter-barreled versions of the M4A1 carbine rifle and classified them as Short Barrel Rifles (SBRs). These became known for their use in US Special Operations.

Fast-forward to the 2000’s when SBRs hit the public market. Everyone wanted one for their compact nature, firepower, and a rifle platform that is able to accurately shoot 300+ yards.

If you want to own an SBR today, you’ll need to get a tax stamp from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (ATF)--which will cost you an extra $200--on top of the price of the firearm itself.

AK Pistol graphic 1

So, to get around the bureaucracy (some believe), the gun gods created the AR-Pistol.

The AR-Pistol is similar to an SBR, but with an arm brace instead of a buttstock. This key technicality in design difference allows every good American to get a shorter-barreled “rifle-like” firearm without jumping through the extra hoops for an SBR.

You won’t have to shell-out extra money for a tax stamp or register your name for ownership since the AR is technically classified as a pistol.

After this development, it wasn’t long until someone in the USA said, “I want an AK-Pistol!”

The U.S. lays claim to creating the very first AK Pistol. This design has all the AK-47 features, but no buttstock, and a 10.5” barrel instead of the 16” rifle-length barrel.

The round that the AK pistol uses is the same as its big brother: 7.62x39mm. It packs a harder punch than the .223 round or 5.56 round from a firearm like the Ruger 556 AR-Pistol. And the 7.62x39 is a round size common around the globe.

So it makes sense to have an AK pistol, right? Maybe! Here are some pros and cons of the AK pistol vs. the AR pistol:

AK Pistol Pros and Cons


AK Pistol graphic 2


  • Slightly Heavier than an AR Pistol
  • Shorter sight ratio than AR Pistol
  • 7.62 x 39 is less accurate than .223 / 5.56
  • AK Pistol parts are NOT interchangeable with full AK 47 platform parts
  • Some come without an arm brace (but can be added aftermarket)

AR Pistol Pros and Cons


AK Pistol graphic 3


  • Gas system issues for cycling rounds if your barrel is to short
  • .223 / 5.56 has less stopping power than the AK Pistol
  • Even though it’s a common round, it's not everywhere like 7.62x39s
  • In 2021, it's hard to find ammo at a fair price (except with us at Ammo Planet)

So is it worth getting an AK pistol? Well, that depends...

If you’re looking for a reliable firearm, you may end up having to fine-tune the AK-version more than you would the AR pistol. But, if you want something that is iconic and fun to shoot, then the AK pistol may be a great option for you!

For those who don’t care about the firearm platform and just want the ability to chamber the 7.62x39, there's also the option to modify an AR pistol for 7.62x39, allowing you to utilize the versatility of the AR system.

Whatever you choose, both are a good time. And if you’re honest with yourself, you probably want both anyway, so go for it!

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