Loose tolerances is a term that gets thrown around quite often when it comes to guns and to me it's become about as annoying as using "clips" and "magazines" interchangeably. For example, the AK's reliability is often attributed to "loose tolerances" but (and I could be mistaken) this isn't really the case. When someone mentions loose tolerances in this context, they usually mean that all of the critical parts are spaced and positioned in such a way as to make it less likely that any sort of fouling would impede function. This is an example of loose clearances, not loose tolerances. To make an analogy, a higher bridge allows taller vehicles through because its clearance is greater, not because its individual components are made to less-exacting specifications than shorter bridges (it could still very well be made to less-exacting specs, but this will have little to do with what can pass underneath). So it is with the AK; for example you can go thousands upon thousands of rounds without cleaning the gas tube not because of the small difference in dimensions from one gas tube to the next, but because the gas tube's design allows for it regardless of such differences. No doubt your typical AK is indeed made to less-exacting specifications than some sort of high-end competition rifle. However, the fact that it doesn't need to be made extremely precisely in order to function as intended only goes back to the loose clearances of design, rather than the tolerances to which it is manufactured. I'm curious, if I'm completely wrong about this or....?