It's just semantics. I agree that the AK or STG rounds are better, in fact good enough to revolutionize military rifles and military tactical concepts in general. However, considering the time frame (1938) the carbine and its cartridge were a damned fine choice as "intermediate" between rifle and pistol cartridges within their tactical niche. The "intermediate" in the assault rifle concept is intermediate in RANGE. They were not envisioned as a compromise (intermediate) between pistol and rifle, as the M1 Carbine was. The STG44 was 10 pounds in weight, and the AK just shy of 8 pounds (both rifles empty). They are battle rifles of a new generation, not a backup substitute pistol for support troops. Again, maybe that's just semantics, but it's important to remember that carbine was a substitute for a sidearm rather than a substitute front line battle rifle. I've owned and shot tens of thousands of rounds through the AK, AR, SKS, Carbines and Garands (mostly passed down to my son now), so I think I have a pretty good grip on their various abilities. Of all those (and several later designs like the FAL and the M1A) I'd chose the AK last in a zombie apocalypse. That isn't because of the cartridge or theoretical ability, it's because you can't really put all that together standing on your hind legs and engaging a steel plate at 200 yards (or whatever). The trigger is awful, the general ergonomics barely adequate and the sights crude. I'd rather wound a guy at 200 yards with a carbine than miss him with an AK. If I had to choose between all of those WWII and immediate post war rifles, I'd chose the M1A (civilian version of the M14) or the M14 itself I i had the disposable for a class 3 rifle first,or perhaps give it a tie with the FAL - L1A1. I'd stick with semi-auto fire with both weapons unless I was prone. The Garand would come in second or third. the only failing with the Garand is that front sight. It's difficult to get long range hits when your front post is 3 or 4 MOA in width - it was designed blunt for easy access in low light, but that hurts you at long range. The M1A and the L1A1 had a better, slimmer front post. Next I'd choose the AR, but only with a upgraded piston system rather than the direct impingement of the standard milspec AR. All the special forces units use piston ARs to solve the reliability issue, and I upgraded mine to match that. Next I'd chose the carbine, but it's close to the AR because with that piston system (that the standard AR lacks) its far more reliable. Lastly, I'd choose the AK. It's adequate in all areas, but excels at none of them. I'm not sure where I'd put the SKS. I was lucky (or prescient) to get a good early Russian with a milled receiver. It had better sights than the AK, and a much better trigger. It was easy to get hits at ranges out to 300 yards. The only drawback is the slow reload from the top with stripper clips. On mine (now my sons) I installed an after market 30 round box magazine. I (we) kept the original parts so it can be restored to original condition, since those early Russian imports are now in the collectible sphere. With all of those rifles, I'm measuring ability from standing or kneeling position where the trigger. sights, general balance and ergonomics count - combat ability. None of those issues are very apparent when shot from a bench rest. When I moved from Alaska, I gave most of those rifles to my son. I kept the FAL and the AR and some era bolt actions. The only one I truly regret is the Carbine. I suspect I'll get another before long, perhaps one these new manufacture clones so I can shoot the crap out of it without worries about collector value.