It's like the Rocky IV for firearms. The military version of the ArmaLite 15, the iconic M-16 replaced the M-14 in 1969 and through various upgrades has been the service weapon of choice for the United States military branches. It is the Rocky of service weapons. Supposedly undersized and outmatched by other rifles, it somehow finds a way to win and win big. In the other corner, we have the Ak-47, the Avtomat Kalashnikova, designed in 1947, hence AK-47, by Mikhail T. Kalashnikov of the Soviet Union. It is the Ivan Drago of service weapons, tough, imposing and delivering a powerful punch. Who wins in this battle of service weapons?Effective RangeWhen it comes to the effective range we're giving the M-16 the higher marks. The big selling point on all M-16 variants is the range. The heavier 7.62 mm x 39 is not really meant to be shot accurately at distances past 300-400 meters, however, the 5.56mm x 45 is effect at ranges up to 500 meters. If you want to reach out and touch someone, the M-16 takes the cake.DurabilityThe Ak-47 is known for its durability. Countless jokes and anecdotes have been shared across generations about the abuse you can put an AK-47 through and still have it function properly. The opposite has been said about the M-16. The M-16 is "notorious" for not functioning if it gets dirty. That being said, you shouldn't be neglecting your weapon either, as it says in the Rifleman's Creed "... I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…"
AccuracyDue to the internal design and the barrel being precisely lined up with the buttstock of the rifle, the M-16 takes the point in this category. Whether in full auto, burst or semi-automatic fire, the M-16 was engineered to be a surgical instrument of war. Whereas the phrase "spray and pray" is indicative of shooting the AK-47 in full auto.
Ease of UseThe M-16 wins in this last category. The better sights, the ability to control the rifle, the ergonomics and inherent accuracy built into the rifle give the American built service weapon the edge in ease of use. We could teach a monkey to shoot accurately at distance with an M-16. The AK-47, despite its durability and simple design, is not accurate or easy to control. While production numbers for the AK-47 soar, there is a reason. The weapon is cheap. Easy to produce, that's literally the only reason.
At the end of the day, the plucky American weapon has earned its victory. While the AK-47 has certainly earned its spot in history, it was eventually replaced by the AK-74, a much better version of Kalashnikov design, whereas the M-16 has stayed relatively the same throughout its tenure. Boasting ease of use, longer range, and better accuracy, the M-16 knocked out the AK-47 in a no holds barred slugfest.