If you're creating a new page for an assault rifle make sure to add [[Category:Gun]], [[Category:Rifle]] and [[Category:Assault Rifle]] to the page so that it will be listed here.
Despite being a 'politically charged' term abused by the media and gun control proponents, the term Assault Rifle is used to describe a series of weapons which have certain characteristics: it is not a new invention, appearing, for example, in Tactical and Technical Trends No. 57, published in April 1945. Unfortunately this is a very loose term since there are tons of exceptions to any rule that people can think of.
Here is a short primer on the term and how IMFDB uses it:
(a) It fires an intermediate cartridge (5.56x45mm/5.45x39mm/7.62x39mm), meaning a round larger than a handgun round but smaller than a full sized rifle round (eg .30-06, 7.62x51mm, 7.62x54mm R)
- (i) Exception: Some ultra-short assault rifles are referred to as pistols due to fulfilling the American legal definition of a pistol (a weapon only designed to be fired while holding a single grip and with no shoulder support), even though they fire intermediate rounds. They should generally be listed as assault rifles on this site if they are select fire and as semi-automatic compact carbines if they are not, since legal definitions are a deep and confusing hole where a suppressor is a type of firearm.
(b) it has an effective range in the region of 330 yards (300m)
- (i) This is usually added to rule out edge cases such as the select-fire M2 Carbine.
(c) It is select fire
- (i)This means it features semi-automatic and either unrestricted fully automatic or burst-limited fire. At least one version of the rifle must exist which has an auto or burst mode for it to qualify as an assault rifle, simply looking like one does not automatically qualify a weapon for the assault rifle category. For example, AR15-based marksman rifles like the Mk 12 Special Purpose Rifle are semi-auto only, and therefore are not assault rifles.
- (ii)It is true that bolt-actions like the M1903 or the Karabiner 98k don't have this, as well as the semi-auto M1 Garand, but there are always 'neither fish nor fowl' versions like the Type 56 Carbine/SKS which are semi-auto only, however most firearms authors refer to those as either 'carbines' or 'self loading rifles' and not assault rifles. True assault rifles are 'select fire'. Semiautomatic just means one shot per pull of trigger. This difference is often lost on those unfamiliar with firearms.
- (iii) Automatic fire, whether burst or full-auto, legally defines a weapon as a "machine gun," but this is an improper use of terminology. The term machine gun is only properly used to refer to dedicated support weapons designed for sustained automatic fire, not all weapons capable of automatic fire.
(d) It has a detachable magazine
- (i) People don't realize how revolutionary this was when these types of weapons began to see service. Up to that time, only submachine guns and larger machine guns (like the Bren and BAR) used detachable box magazines. Guns like the M1 Carbine were technically support weapons. Everyone else used internal top load magazines for the most part for the main battle rifle. No longer. Now the only difference is the type of detachable magazine, whether a long cylinder with a helical feed system like the Calico series of guns or a top loading box like the FN P90.
- (ii)Belt feed is an identifying feature of a machine gun (barring some oddities of old like chain rifles); a belt-fed weapon is not an assault rifle.
- (iii) The detachable magazine must specifically be used for reloading the weapon: magazines only detachable for cleaning do not count.
(e) It is an individual weapon
- (i) This rules out weapons which resemble assault rifles but are issued as light machine guns, such as the RPK.
The political term "assault weapon" has no real meaning in firearm terminology and is not used on this site, outside of anti-bunker rocket launchers (e.g. the FGM-172 SRAW, the Mk 153 SMAW, etc.) and the CAWS program.
Pages in category "Assault Rifle"
The following 96 pages are in this category, out of 96 total.