The purpose of shooting is to hit, the purpose of hitting is to stop the action of another that is detrimental to your wellbeing.
AK’s usually work, depending on the quality of the “Kit” used to rebuild it for import into the USA. The big problem with it is its accuracy potential. Some are really reasonably accurate, if fed good ammo. That would be the problem. If all you plan for is a 25 to 40 meter fight, the AK is fine for your application. But in interpersonal disagreements of the fatal kind, distance is your friend. Skill trumps luck at distance.
There in is the rub. AK’s shooting high quality ammo have the ability to hit at moderate ranges. At 25 yards they will work with any reliable ammo, out past 100 the surplus ammo shoots into minute of APC. A miss does not improve your situation with maximum effectiveness.
Most AR’s are more accurate than the person using them. The standard 5.56×45 ammo for them is usually accurate and clean. It IS the most popular cartridge on the North American continent at this time. And yes, it is effective. But remember, only hits count.
If you are reading this in the United States of America you have the benefit of a shooting culture. I would ask you take advantage of this and go and actually use your weapon of choice, take a shooting class, put 500 rounds of ammo through your rifle without cleaning it. Score every shot as if it was the only shot that mattered to save your life. Oh and carry all your gear to the line, everything you will need for the day. Be honest with yourself and your ability.
And to reply to an earlier post about AR’s jamming, Really? If you have a decent, even mid grade AR with a decent un damaged magazine shooting mil-spec ammunition you will be rewarded with amazing reliability. The biggest downfall of these rifles is the operator. Sometimes your weapon will have to take abuse, but you should give some care to the system that will save your life. And yes, I have carried the AR system in the field, and yes, it does work, even with very little, if any maintenance.
AK’s work fine, but hit potential goes way up with an AR. I do own several examples of both. Just my opinion and experience and its worth what you paid for it.