Ammo Showdown: 5.45x39mm vs. 7.62x39mm – Which is Better for Survival?

Ammo Showdown Which is Better for Survival

In the ongoing debate among survivalists and firearms enthusiasts, the choice between 5.45x39mm and 7.62x39mm ammo is a hot topic. Here’s a detailed look into how these calibers perform based on recent tests and reviews.

Performance in Ballistics Testing

The 7.62x39mm round is known for its stopping power and versatility. In ballistic gel tests, various loads such as the American Eagle 124-grain full metal jacket showed impressive penetration of up to 31.25 inches, indicating a robust ability to hit vital organs from any angle. The Hornady SST and Winchester PDX1 Defender loads demonstrated excellent expansion and penetration, making them suitable for defensive situations.

Conversely, the 5.45x39mm, often compared to the smaller 5.56 NATO round, offers a higher velocity and a flatter trajectory. This makes it more accurate at longer ranges, though it generally lacks the raw stopping power of the 7.62x39mm. The lighter recoil and higher magazine capacity are also advantages for sustained engagements and ease of handling.

Considerations for Survival Situations

For survival scenarios, your choice of ammo might depend on several factors:

– Availability and Cost: The 7.62x39mm is widely available and typically cheaper, making it a more practical option for stockpiling. It’s also the standard caliber for the ubiquitous AK-47, ensuring plentiful supply of both ammo and compatible firearms.
– Versatility: The 7.62x39mm excels in versatility. Its ability to penetrate barriers and perform reliably in adverse conditions makes it ideal for various survival situations. However, the 5.45x39mm’s lighter weight and higher speed may be preferable for those prioritizing accuracy and lower recoil.
– Terminal Ballistics: In close to medium-range engagements, the 7.62x39mm’s superior stopping power can be crucial. The fragmentation and expansion characteristics of modern defensive rounds like the Hornady SST make it highly effective against threats. The 5.45x39mm, while effective, might not deliver the same immediate stopping power but offers advantages in accuracy and follow-up shot speed.


Ultimately, the choice between 5.45x39mm and 7.62x39mm depends on your specific needs and priorities. If you need a reliable, powerful round for a variety of situations, the 7.62x39mm is a solid choice. However, if you value accuracy, lower recoil, and potentially higher magazine capacities, the 5.45x39mm might be more suitable.


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