assault rifle

1. a military rifle capable of both automatic and semiautomatic fire, utilizing an intermediate-power cartridge.
2. a nonmilitary weapon modeled on the military assault rifle, usu. modified to allow only semiautomatic fire.
[1970-75]

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Military firearm that is chambered for ammunition of reduced size or propellant charge and has the capacity to switch between semiautomatic and fully automatic fire.

Light and portable, yet able to deliver a high volume of fire with reasonable accuracy at modern combat ranges of 1,000–1,600 ft (300–500 m), assault rifles have become the standard infantry weapon of modern armies. Their ease of handling makes them ideal for mobile assault troops crowded into personnel carriers or helicopters, as well as for guerrilla fighters engaged in jungle or urban warfare. Widely used assault rifles are the U.S. M16, the Soviet Kalashnikov (the AK-47 and modernized versions), the Belgian FAL and FNC, and the German G3.

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      military firearm that is chambered for ammunition of reduced size or propellant charge and that has the capacity to switch between semiautomatic and fully automatic fire. Because they are light and portable yet still able to deliver a high volume of fire with reasonable accuracy at modern combat ranges of 300–500 m (1,000–1,600 feet), assault rifles have replaced the high-powered bolt-action and semiautomatic rifles of the World War II era as the standard infantry weapon of modern armies. Their ease of handling makes them ideal for mobile assault troops crowded into personnel carriers or helicopters, as well as for guerrilla fighters engaged in jungle or urban warfare. Widely used assault rifles are the United States' M16, the Soviet Kalashnikov (the AK-47 and modernized versions), the Belgian FAL and FNC, and the German G3. (See also AK-47; M16 rifle.)

      Assault rifles operate by using either propellant gases or blowback forces generated by a fired round to force back the bolt, eject the spent cartridge case, and cock the firing mechanism. A spring then pushes the bolt forward as a fresh cartridge is fed into the chamber, and the gun is fired again. Cartridges are fed into the guns from magazines holding as many as 30 rounds. Many assault rifles have attachments for grenade launchers, sniperscopes, and bayonets.

      In those countries where assault rifles can be purchased in the civilian market, their sale is subject to various restrictions, such as the elimination of automatic action and of the capacity to fire high-performance military ammunition.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • assault rifle — assault′ ri fle n. 1) mil a military rifle capable of both automatic and semiautomatic fire, utilizing an intermediate power cartridge 2) mil a nonmilitary weapon modeled on the military assault rifle, usu. modified to allow only semiautomatic… …   From formal English to slang

  • Assault rifle — An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle or carbine (not to be confused with a semi automatic only replica) firing ammunition with muzzle energies intermediate between those typical of pistol and high powered rifle ammunition. Assault rifles… …   Wikipedia

  • assault rifle — noun any of the automatic rifles or semiautomatic rifles with large magazines designed for military use • Syn: ↑assault gun • Topics: ↑military, ↑armed forces, ↑armed services, ↑military machine, ↑war machine …   Useful english dictionary

  • assault rifle — noun a) A military style rifle or carbine that fires a shortened rifle caliber round from a high capacity magazine. b) Any assault weapon …   Wiktionary

  • assault rifle — semi automatic rifle, rifle used by infantry …   English contemporary dictionary

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  • assault rifle — /əˈsɒlt raɪfəl/ (say uh solt ruyfuhl) noun a short rifle able to fire in automatic and semi automatic modes for close combat …   Australian English dictionary

  • assault rifle — noun Date: 1972 any of various automatic or semiautomatic rifles with large capacity magazines designed for military use …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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