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AK Ammo Review #1

This is a guest post by Andrew BettsAK ammo

7.62x39mm Defense AK Ammo Review:
Sellier & Belot 123 gr soft point

If you use an AK type rifle or other carbine chambered in 7.62x39mm for home defense, you will want to choose ammunition that does a good job of converting velocity into tissue destruction. FMJ will certainly ruin a bad guy’s whole day and has a long history of making people less of a problem. It will yaw, travel sideways for a distance, and exit base first. It does create a significant temporary stretch cavity but it also tends to carry significant energy down range that could have been more effectively used damaging tissue. More importantly, FMJ could pose a greater risk to uninvolved third parties.

The traditional way to achieve that rapid energy transfer with a rifle bullet has been a jacketed soft point. The Sellier & Belot 123 gr soft point is in every way traditional. It is not bonded. It has no ballistic tip. It doesn’t even have a shiny box with cool words like “extreme” or “operator” emblazoned on it. What it does have is a sealed and crimped case mouth and sealed and crimped boxer primer, a brass case, copper jacketed 0.311” bullet, and respectable terminal performance.


One really cannot expect any better performance for a defensive round. To be sure, the low weight retention is less than ideal for hunting, but it represents substantial fragmentation, which can substantially increase wounding with a rifle projectile. The penetration shown in this test was ideal. The expansion was excellent. There really is nothing bad that can be said about this load from a defense standpoint and it does all this without any “paradigm shifting” or “game changing” technology. It just uses a time proven design, well applied to produce excellent results.

This load bridges the gap, price-wise, between the cheap Russian steel cased ammunition and the high end American performance ammo. At the time of purchase in late 2014, it cost about $12 for a box of 20 at a local retailer. That works out to $0.60/round, which might be a bit much for blasting dirt clods, but is an excellent price for defense ammo. It is priced low enough that it is reasonable to fill each of your magazines, put some aside for a rainy day, and shoot a few hundred rounds to confirm zero and produce empty brass for range use.

New technology is great and fancy packaging looks sharp but sometimes it means nothing more than higher cost.  It is certainly worth paying more to get better performance when it comes to your family’s safety, but in this case, that extra cost does not necessarily deliver better performance. If anything, this ammunition provides even more than the high end offerings.

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.

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