Rock River Arms’ New LAR47 Alternative to the AK47—SHOT Show 2014

rock river03Rock River Arms

There’s been growing interest in shooting the AK 47 due to cheap, plentiful ammunition in 7.62×39 and the availability of millions of cheap mags. The only problem has been that it’s difficult to know what you’re getting with an AK. There are a lot of bad guns out there. If you scour the forums, you’ll learn which are the best, but you’ll still be buying a used gun with questionable accuracy. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a decent gun. If you’re not, you’ll get a headache.

rock river04Rock River Arms has taken two years perfecting its gun built around the AK magazines. You can buy a new, dependable 7.62×39 rifle, built in America on the more accurate AR platform, from a trusted company. The LAR47 weighs 6.4 pounds and has an MSRP of $1,270. It comes with a six-position tactical CAR stock, A2 pistol grip, CAR handguards and 16” chrome lined barrel. Both the lower and upper are forged not stamped like most AKs. There’s even a two-stage trigger. Rock River Arms expects to be shipping the first guns within two weeks, so if you’re interested, get your order in early to reserve your gun.rock river01rock river02

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Martin January 1, 2016, 11:27 pm

    Richard was it doubted the CAR-15 in the Nam? Lots of M16s then M16-A1,true, but the CAR 15 was issued and praised by the units it went to. Geern Berets and other SpecOp SOG teams used them. Many fitted with red dot optics even the heavy Starlight buzz boxes.
    Also don’t forget, Stones first “AR” was indeed a battle rifle. His 7.62/308 had way more potential than it was ever recognized for. The US government weiners had already been sold the, high velocity, small bullet bullshit that they insisted his AR would become. If Eugene Stoner our AR15/M16 series would be true 30 calibre battle rifles.
    A for this article, the various systems each have valid points, but I’ll still stich with Bill Rugers Mini series. Still a staple around the world in the hands of the Police and Armed Forces of allies of freedom. AC-556 select fire.

  • richv January 31, 2014, 9:01 pm

    I’m not understanding a lot about the complainers. My RRA Varmint has been 100% reliable. Something AK lovers overlook or don’t care is that my gas impingement upper is WAY more accurate than any AK or almost any piston gun. That’s what is important to me. I also am “military trained” (24th Infantry Div mechanized 76-79) and have no problem keeping my AR clean enough to be 3/4 MOA accurate and 100% reliable

  • Jon 2 January 28, 2014, 1:19 am

    The SIG 556R has already proven itself as the BEST rifle performance-wise (accuracy,reliability,etc) in the 7.62×39 category. However, for those who want an economically viable weapon to defend their life and property, the AK cannot be beat. They are simple to operate and maintain, and they always go bang. In addition, the .30 cal. round has more energy than the .556. The 7.62×39 will chew through passenger vehicles and similar barricades, while the .556 often fails in this area.The history and purpose behind the AK doesn’t really matter to most shooters, and it should be noted that only a few AK owners will take them into an overseas combat environment. My guess is that RRA just wanted to offer an AR platform which could be fed the cheap 7.62×39 ammo since the stuff is available almost everywhere. It’s still a free country, so each of us should choose and shoot what works well for our own individual situation.

  • Loneagle January 27, 2014, 11:42 pm

    I think it’s great that we have AKs, ARs, Sigs, HKs, etc. and all the many variants and manufacturers, high priced and cheap! There’s something for everyone that way and we all have freedom of choice! — and the freedom to sit here and argue about which is good, bad, unreliable, accurate/inaccurate, too cheap or over-priced. As long as we are still able to squabble about these issues —- we still have our First and Second Amendments and those rights! RRA and all the other manufacturers — keep giving us those choices! While, in my opinion(we all have them) this may not be RRAs best offering, there will be some out there who will like it and even consider it there favorite. I own a RRA AR chambered in .458 SOCOM, like it and find the quality as good or better than other mfgs. (have 4 ARs, 5.56, .308, 6.8mm SPC and the .458 SOCOM, all different mfgs). My collection contains all the above mentioned and more.
    Guys — the point is, we’d all do better to stop arguing with each other, be thankful we have the freedom to do so, and spend our time and energy instead — convincing the anti-gunners that their future freedom from oppression relies on the continuance of the Second Amendment right our Forefathers fought and gave their lives for, and that they need to join us. — We need to use our time, energy and debating skills to contact our government (local,state and federal) officials and open their eyes, if not to join us, then the price they will pay come election time!!

  • james January 27, 2014, 5:41 pm


    I didn’t know they had CAR 15’s in Vietnam! I could of sworn it was the M-16A1 platform but then again what do I know.

  • Matt g January 27, 2014, 5:33 pm


  • Donny January 27, 2014, 3:55 pm

    Ok sounds ok but does it use a .308 or a .311 bore?

  • Dmitry Kaminsky January 27, 2014, 3:25 pm

    You see, there is nothing wrong with Rock River Arms product. Except TWO things. They are inventing a wheel and charging an exuberant price for it. Yes, it is overpriced, besides, there are better products on the market. Quite a few of them. In no particular order.
    1. Vepr. They cost 2/3 of RRA carbine. Very accurate, and, unlike AR15 are 100% reliable with steel cased ammo. Got one.
    2. Vz58. No, they do not use AK mags, but VZ mags are cheap. Also 100% reliable and cost $300 less. (that’s lots of mags and ammo). Got one.
    3. Sig556R. If you want bells and whistles – THIS IS IT. Uses AK mags, the new generation is a superb platform, and also VERY reliable and it is, once again $300 cheaper. My body got one.
    4. Gas piston AR in 7.62×39. Got one. Never a problem. ASC mags work without issues.
    5. Saiga. If you want it cheap – here it is. Converted one will cost HALF of RRA product. Got one.
    6. SKS. Yes, SKS. Reloading with stripper clips is SUPER fast. Very reliable and VERY cheap rifle. You don’t want stripper clips – get TAPCO mags – work great in my Romanian and my Chinese SKS (got both).

    American manufacturers have a HUGE problem. They are stagnant. They put 20 rails on AR15 and claim it is a new rifle. They invent a cartrige with similar ballistics to 7.62×39 and claim it is a “breakthrough”. There is NOTHING new coming out of US manufacturers. The industry got LAZY and STAGNANT. They keep cranking out AR15s and claim that each one is “newest and bestest version”. They have another problem: they are GREEDY.
    Some of AR platforms are overpriced while offering NOTHING except more rails, more handles, and new “most ergonomic” grips. All the same. The “new” AR15s looks like a 55 year old hooker trying to hide it’s age under new make up and new dress. Other rifles (ACR) are very much overpriced, while offering no real advantage over Vepr.
    I am not saying that this rifle is bad. RRA has GREAT reputation for quality. The problem is this rifle is an answer to a question that nobody asked, and it is an OVERPRICED answer at that.

  • Richard January 27, 2014, 2:35 pm

    I guess we now know why everything in there inventory is on such a back order! Keep up the good work, maybe other platforms like the LAR-8 will start moving again.

  • NRAJOE January 27, 2014, 11:48 am

    Still won’t be better than my milled ARSENAL SLR101 AK.


  • Doug January 27, 2014, 11:34 am

    She is Beautiful ! The Rifle is cool too !

    • James January 27, 2014, 2:01 pm

      But did you notice that Nowhere! Do they show the rifle with an ak-47 mag installed? Hmm…?

  • MarkP January 27, 2014, 10:54 am

    I was hoping that RRA would have used their PDS operating system with this new rifle. I own their PDS-pistol and absolutely love it. Their PDS rifle also comes with a folding stock, now THAT would have been an interesting platform for the 7.62 x 39 cartridge! Too bad…

  • ODA754 January 27, 2014, 10:50 am

    The AK Carbine is designed to shoot AK ammo — Period. AK ammo in an AR platform rifle will be a fail. I have 3 AK’s, and they function flawlessly w/the cheapest of east block ammo. I see little to no difference in accuracy with either AK compared to either of my M4 platform rifles at 100-150 yards. RRA’s is not going to improve any M4 styled rifle designed to fire standard 7.62X39 ammo. I will buy 2 more AK’s before purchasing this rifle at this price point. I know that my AK’s will fire, extract, and feed every time with the cheapest of mags or ammo. My lowest end AK (Romanian) runs like a sewing machine. It don’t look pretty,.. but it will make ugly!

  • cal January 27, 2014, 9:50 am

    Well; I’ll reserve judgment until the thing is tested. As for my AKM’s they take a paper plate out till 300 yards; so the accuracy theme is somewhat flawed. But if this becomes a good platform maybe the ammunition companies will start making different 7.62x39mm loads to compete with blackout and whisper. I believe Accubond has put out a 150 grain and Winchester has hollow points. So put down the AR/Ak platform all you want but this could help us out in the long run if the thing works!

  • AR-PRO January 27, 2014, 8:36 am

    PD Charley, easy, its only an article. First of all, it’s not an AK-47, it’s an AR-15 that uses AK magazines and fires 7.62×39 ammo. Second, who would drag their rifle through the mud to see how tough it is? I wouldn’t. I have owned both AK-47s (both full and semi auto) and AR-15s and I can tell you from experience that they are two completely different animals. Your comparing apples and oranges. I don’t know how reliable the RRA rifle is, but I do know that the MGI Hydra AK/AR rifle is extremely reliable and I would put it up against any AK out there for reliability and accuracy. Yeah the piston system seems to take more abuse, but I would prefer a rifle that is significantly more accurate and a lot easier to suppress. Having said that, just get RRA to put a reliable piston system on their guns and you might have a decent rifle. Time will tell.

  • Richard January 27, 2014, 8:24 am

    That is no big deal, SIG arms has had the SIG556R on the market for at least a year in this country. It is a SIG first, modified AR platform (but not an AR) uses a operating rod with operating rod handle, like the AK and M14, it is alps piston, again like the AK and M14 and not a direct gas system lol the POS AR. Last the price tag is just about the same as the RRA and it also uses standard AK mags. That said even though I build all my own ARs I opted for 2 AKs for that same price.

    • david January 27, 2014, 12:46 pm

      Exactly… Ill take the sig over this any day.

  • Deadeye95 January 27, 2014, 7:58 am

    You hit the nail on the head and centered the hit. RRA makes a decent, not totally great, but decent AR. But they are still what they are, NOT an AK. And they are and always will be overpriced. And the “warranty” from RRA is for shit. I have had four different RRA rifles and it took me that long to wake up. When I started buying used, bottom of the line (and they ain’t bad) AK’s and took both the RRA’s and the old AK’s to the range and actually tried different things with both side by side, it woke me up. Not totally bashing RRA, they are not total junk but they are way, way overrated. The only other rifle more overrated than a RRA is ANY Barrett. I’ve had one of those. Two actually because the first one spent so much time going back to the factory that I finally got them to replace it. I kept that one for six months and it was gone after comparing it to a SAKO TRG-42. Both were .338 LM.
    I am just as patriotic as any other vet. I did my time from ’67-’69 and know a little about battle rifles. I love the USA and all it’s products but truth is truth and except for Mr. Browning and Mr. Garand, there is not anyone else who has ever been on planet Earth and knows anything about battle rifles except Mr. Kahlishnikov (or ever how you spell it)

  • Danny January 27, 2014, 7:35 am

    Yea, because those AK’s are so unreliable, and apparently they are all used too. I guess I was lucky, but I better call Arsenal and have a word with them about tricking me into buying a used gun by making that folding stock rifle look so new :-/

    AK mags are plentiful, but I can buy awesome AR mags from PMAG for about $10.00/mag. They can’t substitute as a blunt force weapon like a steel AK mag, but they feed rounds like nobody’s business.

    RRA is hardly the pinnacle of AR makers, but this rifle should be more, should be mind you, accurate than an AK. Also, it would be nice in 5.45×39 since that ammo is so cheap and closer to the 5.56 AR round in performance and recoil.

    I’d like to see someone test this thing for accuracy and reliability before considering an outlay of anywhere near $1200 for a RRA rifle.

    Gunsamerica, email me if you’d like someone that knows about guns to write an unbiased review of this rifle, this one is comically bad.

    By the way, you can buy a SIG rifle made in America or a HK based PTR that takes AK mags. And Knights Armament was the first company that executed this idea of using AK mags on an AR platform at the request of SOCOM I think.

  • PD Curby January 27, 2014, 7:19 am

    I own both Russian and Romanian AK-47s and real Colt AR-15 and in my opinion it’s nothing but a pipe dream for anyone to think they can build a Rifle that equals the Brain Child of Mikhail Kalashnikov’s AK-47. I have tried no less than 5 of the current manufacturers so called AR variants only to find them to be junk that jams and stovepipes. You end up spending most of your range time fixing the gun. Now to make a claim that you could come close to building a Rifle that would equal a real AK-47 leaves me wondering what you bumped your head on. I can take any of my AKs and drag them through the mud and wash them off with a garden hose and they will fire flawlessly the rest of the day. Meanwhile take one of these “AR Variants” out of the box at the range and better bring some tools because you will be working on it more than shooting it. Even my Colt Delta 1992 with the H-Bar Match Barrel drives me crazy some days and it take half the night to clean it properly. I can run the dirtiest corrosive Chinese ammo through any of my AKs and have it clean as new in under 20 minutes and I couldn’t tell you the last time I had one of them jam or stove pipe on me. I think Rock River should try to work the bugs out of their AR Variants before they try to take on building the Best Battle Rifle ever Built. Watch any of the Military Channels Top Rifles of the world and the Kalashnikov AK is always #1 and always will be. Even Stoner himself will admit that. This brings to mind the old adage: Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Wake up Rock River, you have bitten off more than you can chew! Maybe if Rock River tried to build them to the original specifications they might have a chance but as long as they just adapt the 7.62×39 cartridge to the AR platform they are guaranteed to have a DOG that will be short lived! Just sign me UNIMPRESSED!

    • Evan January 27, 2014, 9:19 am

      Technically, an AK isn’t a battle rifle, as it shoots an intermediate cartridge (the 7.62X39) as opposed to a full size rifle cartridge like 7.62X54. The intermediate cartridge makes the AK a carbine. I prefer to use accurate technical terms so as not to sound like fools like CA state senator DeLeon and his ghost gun automatic sniper assault weapons that shoot .30 magazine clip in half a second. That being said, I agree with your main point, that there really is no need for this rifle. If I want to shoot 7.62X39, I’ll use an AK like everyone else, instead of an AR platform that costs more and presumably has a direct impingement gas system, which would make cleaning after shooting a couple hundred rounds of cheap Tula ammo a nightmare and negatively affect reliability.

    • Muhjesbude January 27, 2014, 2:27 pm

      Hey PD Curby,
      Sorry you feel that way about AR platforms and companies trying to improve on existing weapons. You obviously don’t act like you’ve had any real time combat experience, otherwise it wouldn’t take you ‘half the night’ to clean any AR properly, even though it was designed not to need excessive cleaning or lubing. I could literally do a full armory reconditioning, including barrel replacement in ‘half a night’, or less.
      Even AK’s could be cleaned well enough in less than five minutes, if you know what you are doing. So that tells me you probably won’t, along with many others who have anal retentiveness with AK’s lately that rivals the absurdity of the classic 9mm v .45 perpetual debate, which has been always been easily put to rest by knowledgeable and experienced warriors.

      So please excuse my rather obnoxious ‘tone’ of voice here, due mostly to an ‘experience’ fault of not being able to suffer ignoramuses too much and don’t hesitate to merely consider my relatively insignificant opinions here to be nowhere as important as all you armchair ‘experts’ Walmart gems of wisdom.

      Between myself and my assistant in the office right now, we’ve only had about fifty, (thats 50!) years of ” aint about nothin’ “combined actual combat and police experience using at one time or another virtually every individual weapons system known to man, and some other’s even a die hard (but you’ll still die) AK fan would trade almost anything for. So yeah, we don’t know Jack. But we definitely know how to hill him.

      So first off please forgive me for trying to explain a dirty little secret about the AK-47 that all you worshipers might never have considered in your blind love affair with it. But one that might help to put the totally stupid incessant comparison between AK’s and AR’s hopefully to rest forever someday.

      The AK was NEVER designed to be ‘god’s gift to the infantry soldier. And someone below here correctly said it wasn’t even designed to be a battle rifle. It was designed however, for a specific wartime combat tactical advantage purpose of upgrading the smgs substituted at the time for certain types of fighting to have true ‘assault weapons’. It also adapted well to later jungle warfare in Viet Nam and other world wild inhospitable terrains of warfare. After China began mass producing clones so cheaply that almost any two bit military warlord or dictator could afford to ‘militarize’ his killers, the rest became history.

      The AK was originally designed for this reason and this reason ONLY! To produce the most efficient and reliable cost effective Military assault weapon and CQB PDF platform (Krinkov versions) for THE LEAST EXPENSE. Period. This meant that there were many trade offs compared to other weapons during manufacturing which eventually.

      In other words, It’s all about the MONEY, Stupid! The AK-47 is an anachronism that was fortunately good enough to become the ‘default’ weapon of choice for most of the 2nd and 3rd world countries and continues to this day simply because of the tremendous profiteering by surplus arms dealers. Someone just told me that now that the godfather of guns, Kalishnikov himself recently passed, to watch how fast a new line of standard issue individual military firearms comes into play in Russia. Maybe South Korea will give them a good deal on their versions of the AR-15 platform.

      My guess is that RRA wanted to eliminated a couple of the more ‘serious’ deficiencies of the AK platform, namely it’s bad habit of not responding in a user friendly manner to rapid magazine changes during intense combat, and invariably just when you need it the most. Many a dead Foreign Ak-47 carrying fighters would have been able to attest to this. I personally know of a few such incidents including a deceased enemy soldier who jammed his second AK mag in the magwell and lost the quick reload or die contest to my CAR-15’s drop free and instant reload capability on an Agent Orange drenched trail near a bombed out rice paddy in a place my nightmares wont let me forget. I’ll always remember the pissed look on his face when he died.

      That tactical advantage alone, of the AR-15 over the AK, not to mention an accuracy advantage and easier to control full auto concentration fire than the notoriously ammo wasting full auto fire muzzle flip of the AK (which is why they eventually ‘improved it’ to a rate of fire control limiter trigger up grade), not to mention the ability to carry more ammo for the weight of AK rounds, the AR platform’s better performance combined to probably save more lives in combat for AR-15 users than you’d think.

      This rifle might be a decent ‘Pacifier’ for those anally retentive ballistic intransigents who believe that nothing is better than the all mighty 7.62 x 39 round. (They probably carry a .45, as well). Or those who stocked up on a few hundred AK mags when they were dirt cheap.

      But I’ll agree with PD here on one thing, I won’t be that impressed either. When it comes right down to it, There’s not much, if anything, these days that beats a well tricked and tuned AR-15 5.56 platform with all those nice drum mags and 60-100 round Surefires, and virtually unbreakable lightweight mags and mission specific ammo and attachments, especially in price, for the average gun slinger.

      But I’ll give RRA credit for trying.

      In a Free Country of Liberty and Enterprise, we should have the right to do a few things like this…just because we can.

    • Mark Tercsak August 31, 2015, 9:34 am

      The M1 Garand and M14 Actions , Build a rifle based on the best action in the world.

  • Onedee Tentee January 27, 2014, 7:18 am

    Why would you not do a piston driven system?
    It appears most of RRA’s products are non-piston driven. I’m not a fan of cleaning so I’ll stick to a standard AK, thanks.

  • bob January 27, 2014, 6:58 am

    Only problem I see is its got the AR price tag as opposed to the AK. Most of the AK’s I’ve bought in the past have been great shooters, with one or two exceptions, that have been OK shooters. Never bought a bad one yet. Face it when you buy an AK, its not for the accuracy, its a spray and pray gun, not a sniper rifle lol.

    • some 8541 guy January 27, 2014, 11:49 am

      Um bob. all of my ak’s including my underfolder all shoot 8/10 or better onto steel targets at 500yds. don’t blame the gun, or justify a use for shooter deficiency.

  • DrThunder88 January 27, 2014, 5:01 am

    Great! If there’s one rifle system known for its tolerance of steel cased ammo and overall reliable functioning, it’s the AR-15.

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