An assault rifle is defined as a selective-fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies. Assault rifles are categorized in between light machine guns, which are intended more for sustained automatic fire in a light support role, and submachine guns, which fire a pistol cartridge rather than a rifle cartridge. Here are the top 10 assault rifles of the 21st century:
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62x39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. The designation AK-47 stands for Kalashnikov Automatic Rifle, 1947 Model.
It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova (or simply ‘AK’). It is also known as a Kalashnikov or Russian jargon Kalash.
2. FN SCAR
The Special Forces Combat Assault Rifle, or SCAR, is a modular rifle made by FN Herstal (FNH) for the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to satisfy the requirements of the SCAR competition.
The M16 (more formally Rifle, Caliber 5.56 mm, M16) is the United States military designation for the AR-15 rifle. Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 from ArmaLite and currently uses that designation only for semi-automatic versions of the rifle.
The M16 rifle fires the 5.56x45mm cartridge and can produce massive wounding and hydrostatic shock effects when the bullet impacts at high velocity and yaws in tissue leading to fragmentation and rapid transfer of energy.
4. Steyr AUG
The AUG is an Austrian bullpup 5.56mm assault rifle, designed in the early 1970s by Steyr Mannlicher GmbH & Co KG (formerly Steyr-Daimler-Puch). The AUG (Armee Universal Gewehr—”universal army rifle”) was adopted by the Austrian Army as the StG 77 (Sturmgewehr 77) in 1977, where it replaced the 7.62mm StG 58 automatic rifle.
It is a gas-operated, air-cooled, magazine-fed, selective fire, shoulder-fired weapon with a telescoping stock. A shortened variant of the M16A2 rifle, the M4 has 14.5 in (368 mm) barrel, allowing the individual soldier to better operate in close quarters.
The M4 has selective fire options including semi-automatic and three-round burst (like the M16A2), while the M4A1 has a “full auto” option instead of three-round burst. The carbine is also capable of mounting an M203 grenade launcher, the M203A1 with a 9-inch barrel as opposed to the standard 12-inch barrel of the M203 used on the M16 series of rifle.
The FAMAS is a bullpup-styled assault rifle designed and manufactured in France by MAS located in Saint-Étienne, which is now a member of the French government-owned Nexter group. It is the service rifle of the French military.
The Heckler & Koch G36 is a 5.56x45mm assault rifle, designed in the early 1990s by Heckler & Koch (H&K) in Germany as a replacement for the 7.62mm G3 battle rifle. It was accepted into service with the Bundeswehr in 1997, replacing the G3.
The G36 is gas-operated and feeds from a 30-round detachable box magazine or 100-round C-Mag drum magazine.
8. TAVOR TAR-21
The TAR-21 (or simply Tavor) is an Israeli bullpup assault rifle chambered for 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition with a selective fire system, selecting between semi-automatic mode, burst mode, and full-automatic fire mode.
The name “TAR-21” stands for “Tavor Assault Rifle – 21st Century”.
The G3 is a 7.62mm battle rifle developed in the 1950s by the German armament manufacturer Heckler & Koch GmbH (H&K) in collaboration with the Spanish state-owned design and development agency CETME (Centro de Estudios Técnicos de Materiales Especiales).
The M14 rifle, formally the United States Rifle, 7.62 mm, M14, is an American selective fire automatic rifle firing 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Winchester) ammunition.
It was the standard-issue U.S. rifle from 1959 to 1970. The M14 was used for U.S. Army and Marine Corps basic and advanced individual training and was the standard-issue infantry rifle in CONUS, Europe, and South Korea until replaced by the M16 rifle in 1970.