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An assault gun is a form of self-propelled artillery which uses an infantry support gun mounted on a motorized chassis, normally an armored fighting vehicle. Merriam-Webster's online dictionary changed its definition of "assault rifle" to one that matches what gun control advocates are pushing for. The terms “assault weapon” and “assault rifle” are used a lot, but when it comes to the two separate types of weapons, there is a great deal of difference. Examples include the U.S. Army M-16, the Soviet AK-47, and the German Sturmgewehr. Omissions? The term came shortly after the first assault rifle was developed to meet the needs of the modern soldier. You're on your way to becoming a news reporter. What does assault gun mean? Assault rifles are shoulder-held rifles designed for military use and have been restricted from civilian ownership since 1934. To fire this small-calibre high-velocity round, in 1958 they chose the AR-15 rifle, designed by Eugene M. Stoner for the ArmaLite Division of Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation. By the end of the century, some 100 million AKs had been produced, more than any other firearm in history. After the Korean War (1950–53), U.S. military researchers, dissatisfied with rifle-power ammunition, began to test a .22-inch (5.56-mm) cartridge that propelled a lighter projectile at a much higher muzzle velocity of 3,000 feet (910 metres) per second. In 1947 they adopted a weapon designed by Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov, naming it the Avtomat Kalashnikova (“automatic Kalashnikov”). Stop Saying AR-15s Aren't Assault Rifles 06/16/2016 07:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017 In the wake of the Orlando shootings, the AR-15 and weapons like it are in the spotlight because, once again, a semi-automatic rifle was used in the shooting. Other NATO armies adopted more satisfactory 7.62-mm rifles, although even these were employed as advanced self-loaders rather than automatics. Assault rifles are now the standard service weapon in most militaries around the world. This permitted a much shorter weapon than orthodox designs, in which the magazine and receiver were ahead of the trigger. The receiver of the AKM version, introduced in 1959, was made of lighter sheet metal, reducing the weight to 8.3 pounds (3.8 kg), and the AK-74 version, following later trends in the West, switched to a 5.45-mm cartridge. Rhetoric claiming that an AR-15 is an assault rifle is an ignorant mischaracterization of the weapon. Assault rifle, 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. All Assault Weapons are hitscan weapons, meaning the shots the player takes will instantly connect with targets. According to the Defense Intelligence Agency, “assault rifles” are “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between a submachine gun and rifle cartridges.” All assault rifles are capable of automatic fire. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/technology/assault-rifle. A term for a rifle made up by the media to make rifles sound scary. Try putting the word assault in front of anything that could hurt you when the wrong person uses it. Violence on the battlefield had increased at such an alarming rate that the existing weapons did very little to protect them. Armies around the world developed new assault rifles with compact “bullpup” designs, in which the bolt, receiver, and magazine were behind the handgrip and trigger and much of the shoulder stock was occupied by the operating mechanism. Meaning of assault gun. Delivered to your inbox! It has now been updated to include the full definition. Assault rifles are also characterized by their selective fire capabilities and detachable magazines. Colt's Manufacturing Company has produced various M16 models for the U.S. military since the 1960s. A hint at this new weapon had been given during World War I, when Vladimir Grigorevich Fyodorov, father of Russian automatic weapons, married the 6.5-mm cartridge of the Japanese Arisaka rifle to an automatic rifle. By reducing the number of working parts and chambering the rifle for a smaller cartridge, Stoner had come up with a lightweight weapon that, even on automatic fire, produced a manageable recoil and yet was capable of inflicting fatal wounds at 300 yards (270 metres) and beyond. Typically an … Although words alone are insufficient, they might create an assault when coupled with some action that indicates the ability to carry out the threat. Like the German weapon, the AK-47 (weapons in the AK family were suffixed with the year of their development) was operated by diverting some of the propellant gases into a cylinder above the barrel. The M16 model was originally designed as the civilian semiautomatic AR-15 by ArmaLite, Inc. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). What defines an assault rifle? In the 1990s the U.S. Army began to issue the M4, a lighter and shorter carbine version of the M16 that soon became the army’s standard infantry weapon. Any assault weapon.. As The Federalist notes in a recent column, the current definition of “assault rifle,” updated March 31, 2018, reads, noun: any of various intermediate-range, magazine-fed military rifles (such as the AK-47) that can be set for automatic or semiautomatic fire; also : a rifle that resembles a military assault rifle but is designed to allow only semiautomatic fire By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. An earlier version of this story included only the simple definition of the term “assault rifle” from the cached entry dated June 13, 2016. It was the progenitor for many modern military rifles. In the years after World War II, the assault rifle replaced high-powered bolt-action and semiautomatic rifles to become the standard infantry... Functional components of an automatic rifle, as illustrated by the M16 assault rifle. 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