Communist Bloc Rifles

This is a guest post by Andrew Bettscommunist bloc rifles

There’s been some talk lately about whether rifles in general or Communist Bloc rifles (SKS or AK type rifles) in particular are suitable for lawful self-defense. People use a lot of flawed arguments that rest on incorrect assumptions but most boil down to the thought that the ammunition penetrates too deeply.

This is basically the grownup version of “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” The fact is that any cartridge that is capable of penetrating deeply enough into a bad guy to reach vital organs and reliably incapacitate will also fly right through multiple walls. Conversely, any cartridge that won’t penetrate multiple walls also can’t reliably incapacitate bad guys. Sorry, kids, you can’t beat Newton no matter how hard you close your eyes and just believe. It’s a good thing to be concerned about where that bullet is going, but there is no magic solution. The best way to mitigate risk is to either not shoot in the first place or to use a weapon and ammunition that give you the best chance of getting hits and the best chance of each hit resulting in incapacitation. A long gun gives you a better chance at both than a handgun.

Now, it certainly is true that FMJ from a rifle can pass through an impressive amount of stuff, but you wouldn’t choose to use FMJ in a defensive handgun or a saboted deer slug in a defensive shotgun so why would someone choose FMJ for defensive use in a rifle? If you put as much thought into ammunition selection for a rifle as you would for any other defensive firearm, you’ll have a powerful, effective defense weapon that won’t present any unusual risk to the neighbors.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at these tests and then tell me that 7.62x39mm penetrates too deeply.

Andrew Betts served with the Arizona National Guard for over 12 years, including a tour to Afghanistan.  Visit his YouTube Channel for more great shooting information.Andrew Betts served with the Arizona National Guard for over 12 years, including a tour to Afghanistan.  Visit his YouTube Channel for more great shooting information.


  1. With the sks ammo selection is limited due to floating firing pin. It is unsafe an not recommended to use soft primer ammo in the sks platform

    • Lucas, AKs and ARs also have a floating firing pin. Any ammunition in good condition should be safe, so long as the firearm is also in good condition. The problem with the SKS isn’t that it has a floating firing pin, it’s that many of the surplus SKS rifles had a ton of cosmoline in the firing pin channel, causing the firing pin to stick out, which could ignite a primer before the bolt was fully locked. If you have a surplus rifle (Like a Yugo M59/66), it is very important for you to completely remove all the cosmoline.

      It is considered best practice in some circles to ease the bolt forward when loading a rifle for home defense so that the firing pin doesn’t repeatedly batter the primer. This has a very small possibility of igniting the primer. It also can cause a primer not to function at all if it happens enough.

  2. In a suburban environment { where I live }, I prefer .38 or 9 mm. hand gun w/ hollow points or round nose lead bullets. F.M.J. just go too far for my liking. For the same reason, my home defense shot gun is a 20 ga.w/ 00 buck. Not a recommendation, just what I’m comfortable with.

    • Round nose lead penetrates just as much as FMJ through most objects. JHP handgun ammo penetrates hard obstacles just as much as ball. Anything that can reliably stop a bad guy will go through a lot of walls. A rifle gives you a much higher probability of hitting your target and a much higher probability that each hit will be effective at stopping the threat. That means fewer shots fired and therefore less risk to neighbors.

  3. good article. the only real drawback to using a black rifle, in my opinion…be it AR or AK platform (i prefer the heavier hitter, but modern, quality ARs are a great platform too) is that compared to a handgun or a “standard” looking shotgun, it’s not the ideal weapon to be on display as “people’s exhibit A” in a court proceeding. if i was barricaded in my room against an obvious home invasion i would use to defend, but i wouldn’t take it out to investigate something that went bump in the night. i would hate to get painted as some kind of militia nutjob, if god forbid, i had to use it. and my glock 20 is much more handy in a situation where i have to manipulate doors and whatnot.

    just my opinion on the matter.

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