Neil Cameron has just published a good comparison on
Back in the 1950s I fired as well as The .303 Lee Enfield Rifle watch the kick - whoops a shoulder blade.
The WW2 Bren light machine gun a delight no kick - could wander sideways as only a bipod But I could get small groups by firing shorts bursts. (the USA had the BAR - Browning Machinegun).
Also the Sten a very low cost sub machine gun - it really drifted to the side - I used it like a hose - spray the bullets around. Wiki has a picture of Churchill firing from the shoulder - Winnie was a soldier but that was probably a propoganda picture - best I found was holding it at the waist tucked well in. So many WW2 movies (I remember Alan Ladd in the Red Berets) showed people holding the magazine at the end with left hand. NO NO! That would cause a jam.
Talking about recoil and how to hold - Ak47 I see being fired from shoulder - held very well and also from the waist. Then watching some films of training the Iraqis in entering eneny buildings, they have the butt up high on the shoulder like USA weapons. I don't think that is sound practice. Ak47 is not that stable.
yes the AK47 is a WMD - I saw designer recently saying he does not worry and still sleeps nights not his fault how wide spread the gun is.
Big thing with M16 they said on Discovery was the way the butt goes straight from the barrel - avoiding the curved stock stops the tendency to jerk the gun when firing. So point and shoot and it goes straight.
However as you say the AK47 is a more robust field weapon
I see a range of weapons in use by US in Iraq - as well as M16. Blokes lugging around M249 Squad Automatic Weapon the fire power must be good.
I wonder if the CQBR - Close Quarters Battle Receiver is working out.