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AK-47 vs. Dragoon ASV: Who Wins?

February 28, 2019

Designed for missions in the nastier parts of the world, a wheeled combat vehicle like the Dragoon ASV must contend with the ultimate modern firearm–the AK-47 and its derivatives. Since entering production during the late 1940s, Kalashnikov rifles have rolled out of factories in the former Soviet Union and China (and other places) in mind-boggling quantities. The M43 7.62x39mm round is one of the most powerful rifle cartridges ever mass-produced and is widely available wherever armed conflict takes place, from Latin America’s teeming cities to the jungles of Southeast Asia and everywhere in between.

The AK-47 has a maximum effective range of 300 meters although its use is usually within less than 50 meters. This makes it a powerful weapon for adversaries who choose to fight in close quarters.

The Dragoon Armored Security Vehicle (ASV) is manufactured by Star Defense Logistics & Engineering (SDLE), an engineering firm based in Spain. The Dragoon ASV is the latest iteration of the Dragoon armored car originally offered by General Dynamics to US allies in Europe and elsewhere. During its heyday, the Dragoon enjoyed exports throughout the Americas and was a favorite of Turkey’s law enforcement agencies.

With its familiar layout and multirole appeal, the Dragoon is considered a peer to NATO armored vehicles such as the belated Saxon, the popular M1117, and the VAB. An open secret of the Dragoon is its compatibility with US-made military trucks and APCs such as the M113. End users who already operate the latter will have no problems maintaining Dragoons. The Dragoon ASV features a monocoque steel hull on a 4×4 chassis and enjoys a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour. It’s also fully amphibious, propelling itself across water using its wheels.


The Dragoon ASV’s manufacturer SDLE offers a variety of armor protection kits for the vehicle. Current armor protection on the Dragoon ASV is strong enough to resist the AK-47’s dreaded steel core M43 ammunition, which is known to defeat personal body armor and various “soft” metals used on vehicles. In fact, the Dragoon ASV’s armor level reaches STANAG III+, which is the NATO ranking for protective materials that are able to withstand direct hits from machine gun rounds. During either an ambush or an intense engagement against prepared opposition, the Dragoon ASV protects its occupants from multiple shots and delivers them to the objective.

Aside from the AK-47 and the AKM, other Kalashnikov-type small arms are ineffective against the Dragoon ASV. The AK-74 and similar rifles that use 5.45x39mm ammunition won’t be able to inflict any damage on the vehicle’s exterior save for nicks on its viewing ports. Neither will the much larger and very prolific PKM machine gun with 7.62x54mm ammunition immobilize a Dragoon ASV. Its superb armor level makes it a formidable contender in theaters where insurgency and terrorism are rife. But more than soaking in punishment, the Dragoon ASV can fight back too.

Given its layout, the driver and co-driver are seated in the cab behind an impenetrable layer of steel–gunfire can’t hurt them. A total of eight passengers fit inside its hull and when they’re buttoned up viewing slits over the folding doors allow them to watch their surroundings. If caught in an ambush, these same passengers may discharge their weapons through six individual gun ports. At least six different turrets can be mounted on the Dragoon ASV’s roof depending on the vehicle’s role.

It’s also possible to arm the Dragoon ASV with a variety of weapons, from a light machine gun to an automatic grenade launcher or–if the job requires it–a long-range 20mm cannon. The largest armament it can support is a 90mm high velocity gun for direct fire or bombardment of fortified positions at close range. Blessed with a track record dating to the Cold War, with a reputation for tough armor and high mobility, the modular Dragoon 4×4 being offered by SDLE is a solid performer in the unforgiving arena of combat proven armored transports.

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