In the early 2000s, the gun forums were kicking around quite hard, and the typical arguments were raging. Glock vs. 1911, 45 ACP vs. 9mm, and, of course, AR-15 vs. AKM. The two titans of rifle design and the arguments revolving around them were an ample example of fact and fuddlore mixed together. Knight’s Armory decided to hell with that argument. We’ll just make an AR-47, well, it’s actually the SR-47.
To be fair, Knight’s Armament didn’t decide to make it and certainly wasn’t interested in solving internet arguments. The SR-47 came to be at the behest of SOCOM. Production began in 2001, you know, the year the Global War on Terrorism started. It was a wild time in weapon development, and the idea behind the SR-47 was fairly simple. Design an AR-based platform that could use AK magazines and the 7.62x39mm ammunition.
SOCOM was seeing the likelihood of a war with stretched-out supply lines. Special operations forces would alone out in Indian country with whatever they could carry on their backs. The idea behind the SR-47 was simple. Give troops a platform they are familiar with, but allow them to use enemy ammunition and magazines. If we couldn’t supply our forces with bullets and mags, then they could make use of host nation and enemy sources. Thus, they needed an AR platform that could use AK magazines and ammo.
Enter the SR-47
LMT, Robinson, and Knight’s all entered the contest, and the SR-47 seemingly won. At least, it was taken the furthest. As you can likely predict, the project never got too far off the ground. The SR-47 rifle isn’t an AR-15 or an AR-10. It’s something in between. The lower and upper are reportedly proprietary and larger than the standard AR-15 in size. Today, we see something similar with the CMMG MK47 (aka the Mutant.)
It was a challenging process to make the rifle work. The AK 47 magazine wasn’t exactly going to fit into the magazine well of an AR. The curved nature and the rear tab ensured your magwell would be interesting. Clearly, the SR-47 uses a fairly unique magwell, and it shows in the few photos of the SR-47 that exist. Interestingly enough, Knights found a way to use the standard push button magazine release of the M4 with the AK mag. I could be wrong, but that’s the way it looks, according to photos.
The SR-47 used a standard M4 length 14.5-inch barrel, weighed 7.7 pounds, and featured M4-style collapsing stock. The rifle featured a flat top upper, as well as a KAC quad rail. The magazine release and safety appear to be ambidextrous, which is a nice touch. For 2001, this was a high-tech rifle. As we all know, the Eastern Bloc wasn’t big on following specs when it came to AK magazines, so I’d be curious to see how well it fits a variety of AK mags.
The SR-47 In Action
Knight’s delivered six rifles to SOCOM, who then tested them with the SEALs. How the tests were conducted, and if any ever went overseas, is lost to time. We don’t know the results of the test, and I’d imagine the rifles performed without issue. Knight’s makes great stuff, and I’m sure the SR-47 lived up to their reputation.
It seemed like SOCOM wasn’t interested in pursuing the project. I’d assume that the military discovered they wouldn’t have too many issues with stretched-out supply lines. SOCOM-oriented troops weren’t having issues obtaining ammunition for their running gunfights, and the idea of teams working far away and out of range for supply runs didn’t manifest.
Thus, the SR-47 faded away. The six who went to SOCOM seemingly remained with SOCOM, and Knight’s Armament kept one in their famed museum. That was the end of the SR-47, which is sad because it might be a hit today.
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