Automatic rifles, also known as self-loading rifles and select-fire rifles, are a type of rifle that will fire continuously as long as the trigger is depressed. They are the logical next step from semi-automatic rifles, and they have a lot in common when it comes to design. Automatic rifles are classified into two sub-classes: "battle rifles" and "assault rifles".
Battle rifles utilize full-power rifle cartridges such as 7.62x51mm NATO and can fire in either semi-automatic or full-automatic (the shooter can decide which firing mode by means of a selector switch). In most cases, semi-automatic should be used due to the fact it uses least ammunition has has less of a recoil. Battle rifles are generally heavier and longer than assault rifles, and have a smaller magazine capacity, carrying about 20 rounds instead of the 30 rounds that the assault rifle carries. It is also much heavier. Despite this, the rifle makes an excellent sniper rifle due to its effectiveness at longer ranges than assault rifles, having more accuracy and power. For these reasons, battle rifles are currently making something of a resurgence as 'designated marksman rifles' in hotspots such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Well-known battle rifle designs include the M14, FN FAL and H&K G3. Semi-automatic sniper rifles are often based on battle rifle designs (The Heckler & Koch PSG-1, for example, was developed from the G3).
Assault Rifles Edit
Similar to battle rifles, assault rifles are chambered in lighter calibers such as 7.62x39mm and 5.56x45mm NATO. The lighter ammunition allows assault rifle users to carry more ammunition, and results in somewhat increased magazine capacity (30 rounds is the norm), reduced recoil, and reduced weight. The downsides are somewhat reduced accuracy, range, and stopping power. Well-known assault rifle designs include the AK-family (the famous AK-47 and its many descendants and knock-offs), the AR-15 family (including the military M16), the FN FNC, the H&K G36 and the Steyr AUG. Due to their combination of decent stopping power, relatively high rate of fire, and good accuracy within the ranges infantry engagements are typically fought at (less than 300 meters), select-fire assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons of armies around the world.
A carbine is essentially a compact equivalent of a rifle (often a variant of an existing rifle design). The smaller size and lighter weight of a carbine makes it easier to carry and manipulate in close quarters than a full-size rifle, although the shorter barrel also limits its accuracy and effective range, while the reduced weight increases the amount of felt recoil. Carbines come in many forms, manually-operated, semi-automatic or select-fire. Some, such as the Hi-Point 995 and the Beretta Cx4 Storm, are designed to fire pistol rounds, while others are simply shortened rifles. Carbines were originally designed for mounted cavalry units, but later adapted for rear-echelon units and special forces units such as paratroopers. Thanks to their versatility in urban combat, they have been seeing more use among front-line troops. Like rifles, carbines are easy to aim, making them good weapons for those unskilled with firearms. In particular, pistol-caliber carbines have low recoil and make less noise than rifle-caliber weapons, and their use of pistol rounds allows for ammo interchangeability with a handgun. Pistol-caliber carbines have a lot in common with sub-machine guns.
- Well known automatic rifles include the M4 carbine, the AK family, and the Browning-Automatic-Rifle (BAR).