Assault rifle

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AK-47 assault rifle with curved magazine and wooden stock facing left
The most used firearm in history, along with its successor, the AKM, is the AK-47. It was first adopted in 1949 by the Soviet Army, and uses the 7.62×39mm M43 round.
M16 assault rifle with metal stock facing right
The M16 was first introduced into service in 1964 with the United States Armed Forces. It uses the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge.

An assault rifle is a rifle that has a removable magazine, automatic-fire and semi-automatic modes, and uses intermediate cartridges. These cartridges do not have as much power as other rifles’, like hunting rifles or battle rifles, but have more power and penetration than pistol cartridges fired by sub-machine guns.

Two rifles made in Italy and Russia before World War I are sometimes called assault rifles. The Germans were the first to use assault rifles in large numbers.

Examples of an 'assault rifle' are the English L85, Russian AK-47, the American M16.

The term “assault rifle” comes from the firearm Sturmgewehr 44 (StG 44), translated to “Assault Rifle 1944”. The armed forces of other sovereign states adopted assault rifles later.

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