The phrase “assault rifle” is one that is far too frequently used. It is frequently thrown around and many individuals use it very incorrectly. Today, we will discuss the definition of an assault weapon, the history of the phrase, and the top ten assault guns available worldwide.
The Best Ones Made so Far
|Best M16 Derivative
|Sig Sauer M400 Tread
|Steyr AUG A3 M1
|IWI Tavor X95
|Best Israeli Rifle
|IWI Galil ACE Gen 2
|Best Czech Rifle
|CZ Bren 2 MS Carbine
|Best M4 Variant
|Sig Sauer MCX Spear-LT
What Does the History Say
In order to comprehend assault weapons and the evolution of the phrase, we must first go back to World War I. The conflict exemplified what happens when the previous and current centuries collide and was a meat grinder. Swords were fielded against shotguns, horses charged into machine guns, and we militarized anything that flew or drove.
Men were no longer aligned in lines and exchanging musket shots during battle. Small-unit maneuver warfare started when it turned into trench warfare. Imperial Germany created the Stormtrooper, a specialized soldier, in response. These soldiers would carry MP18 SMGs as the war was coming to a conclusion, but they would also typically be armed with pistols or other fast-firing weapons.
They were led by noncommissioned officers with the ability to act independently, and they attacked or entered trenches. Stormtroopers were assigned to Assault Companies or Detachments. Though for the German empire it was too little, too late, this proved to be moderately successful. Nevertheless, knowledge was gained.
By the start of World War II, infantry units were frequently using SMGs and powerful combat rifles, and small-unit maneuver warfare was prevalent. Though the two were a great match, a concept began to take shape for combining the power of a full-sized rifle with the lightweight, portable design of SMGs.
With the invention of the StG 44, the first assault rifle ever made, the Germans were the first to really put this into practice. Referred to as the StG, short for Sturmgewehr 44, this weapon was not your typical full-sized battle rifle, nor was it a compact SMG. It straddled the line, offering a blend of moderate range and a lighter, more convenient firearm.
What’s an Assualt Rifle?
An assault rifle is a powerful weapon that is designed for select firing and utilizes intermediate caliber ammunition. It is equipped with a box magazine and has an impressive effective range of 300 meters. Rarely weighing more than eight pounds, these guns are lightweight and convenient.
Additionally, because their ammunition is lightweight, warriors may carry more. Assault rifles usually have a light recoil and are manageable.
How to Pick the Best Assualt Rifle?
How can the best assault rifle be determined? That’s a difficult question to respond to, though.
After giving it some thought, we decided that looking through their service records would be the best course of action. A military force’s acquisition of rifles is comparable to a firm purchasing a fleet of cars. Although a Lamborghini is undoubtedly a fantastic vehicle, a Honda is arguably more practical and useful.
Best Assault Rifles
The M16 line of weapons is the unchallenged leader in the assault rifle market. Since the Vietnam War, American service members have been armed with rifles such as the M16 full-sized and the M4 carbine-sized variant. It has not only been an enormously popular rifle in the US, but it is also well-liked across the globe.
Many military units engaged in special operations overseas also favor it. For instance, elite SAS operators prefer the L129A1, which evolved from the M4, to the SA80 series of rifles used by the British military.
To be honest, the modularity of this gun makes up a big portion of its form factor. It is not only ergonomic, accurate, and dependable, but it is also easily adaptable to many roles. The rifle’s derivatives include the long-range capable Mk12 and the CQB-focused Mk18. This versatile platform has been used in combat for more than 60 years.
You’re partially right, there’s a strong argument that the HK416 is primarily just a Stoner design. It does have an M4-like appearance and handling. But what really counts is what’s underneath the engine. HK switched to a short-stroke gas piston design in place of the direct impingement system. With ultra-short barrels, this gas system contributes to increased reliability by keeping the gun cleaner and operating cooler.
The short-stroke gas piston arrangement also improves the enjoyment of operating a suppressor. Many military forces as well as various special operations forces have adopted the HK Series as a very dependable platform.
The HK416 is utilized by SEAL Team Six and Delta Force, and it is fielded by the Marine Corps as the M27. These guns are also spotted being carried by Special Operations in Australia, France, Germany, and other countries. Even while we are unable to provide you with the genuine thing, HK does produce a fun range toy in.22 LR.
3. AK Series
Onе of thе first succеssful assault wеapons was thе Russian AK-47 and AKM sеriеs. It is rеnownеd for its еxtraordinary dеpеndability and was carеfully built to opеratе in harsh conditions. Numеrous variations of this long-strokе gas piston platform arе now availablе. Currеnt 5.45 riflеs, light support armamеnts, and AK-basеd shotguns arе still in usе.
It is a wеapon that can bе rеadily modifiеd to fit various purposеs and calibеrs. Thе platform dеmonstratеs that a wеapon can bе succеssful еvеn if it isn’t as accuratе or as еrgonomic as a prizе racеhorsе.
Using thе AK is еasy. Thе frеquеntly chambеrеd cartridgеs arе simplе to handlе, and it is lightwеight and dеpеndablе. As dеmonstratеd by thе Russian invasion of Ukrainе, thе AK sеriеs is probably hеrе to stay and is among thеir fеw functional piеcеs of еquipmеnt.
4. Steyr AUG
When the AUG was first introduced in the 1970s, it probably looked like something from Star Wars. Although it wasn’t the first bullpup, the Steyr AUG did employ an inbuilt optic and a lot of polymers. The design was innovative for its day.
It’s also arguably the most successful bullpup platform available for assault weapons. This gun uses gas pistons and is modular by design. It only takes a few seconds to remove the barrel and replace it with another. It may be changed from a rifle to a pistol-caliber SMG, a DMR rifle, and a light support weapon.
Following its early success, Ireland, Australia, Austria, and New Zealand adopted the Steyr AUG. Heck, the Steyr AUG is one of the few bullpup rifles in use in the United States because of the Department of Homeland Security’s adoption by the country.
5. IWI Tavor
Fun fact: Before any development had happened, the shape and appearance of the IWI Tavor were determined upon by drawing them on a napkin. The Israeli Army would later be equipped with this Israeli design in the X95 variant.
The Tavor series consists of a carbine, rifle, and even a DMR variant. It also contains an option that can be used with a grenade launcher. In addition to rifle versions, the Tavor 7 in 7.62 NATO and a 9mm variant are also available. The long-stroke gas piston technology in these rifles was designed to function in unclean, dusty, and uncomfortable environments.
In 5.45, it was also embraced by the Ukrainian military as a licensed, home-grown model. There has been some use of this version in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The weapon has been adopted by almost two dozen different military forces in varying quantities, in addition to Israel and Ukraine. Rifles from the Tavor family have shown to be another reliable and well-liked option.
6. IWI Galil
Continuing a bit longer with the Israeli theme, we have the Galil. Although the FN FAL rifle is an excellent weapon, it was large, heavy, and poorly adapted to desert conditions when it was used by the IDF in the 1950s. They admired the AK series and wanted an assault rifle made in the United States, but they also desired the precision of the M16.
This prompted them to develop the IWI Galil, a long-stroke gas piston engine. Although it resembles an AK, the M1 Garand, FN FAL, and M16 served as inspiration. Although the rifle is typically chambered in 5.56, there have been variations made in 7.62x39mm,.308, and even 30 Carbine.
7. Sig SG 550
Ever ponder how the Swiss manage to poke so many holes in their cheese? It’s evidently with the guns in the SG 550 series. Since 1990, the SG 550 series has been the trusted choice for the renownedly impartial Swiss. Actually, SG is an acronym for sturmgewehr.
The 550 was created to withstand the harsh weather found in Sweden, where it is designed to work flawlessly in bitterly cold, snowy circumstances that would make a Florida man like me cry.
It is chambered in 5.56 natively and has a long-stroke gas piston. Variants in.300 Blackout and 7.62×39 were produced. The SG 550’s modular design has produced DMRs, optics-ready carbines, and numerous more variants.
8. Sig MCX
When it was first released in the United States in 2015, Sig’s MCX rifle did not garner much attention. Still, its popularity grew steadily, and finally it was awarded multiple contracts for various versions. This includes the US Army adopting it in the Spear variant (also known as the NGSW or XM5).
In addition, SOCOM designated the MCX as their Low Visibility Assault Weapon (LVAW). More recently, they designated the Rattler version as their next PDW in both 5.56 and.300 Blackout calibers. Many European forces, particularly in their special operations communities, have looked to the MCX in addition to the U.S. Army to serve certain duties.
Surprise! Another short-stroke gas piston rifle that draws heavily on the M4 series is the Sig MCX. The gun’s controls are the same as those of the M16/M4, and Sig MCX uppers are compatible with M4 lower receivers as well. As it sweeps through both foreign and US special operations units, this weapon appears to be the one to watch.
9. CZ Bren Series
The Czechs were never afraid to try new things. They created their own modular platform in order to replace their aged collection of VZ-58 rifles. These are contemporary assault rifles having ambidextrous controls and a short-stroke gas piston system, similar to those of an AR. Because of its modularity, adding accessories and switching out barrels to alter combinations is simple.
Though it served the Czech army effectively, the original 805 Bren was not without its few flaws. The upgraded Bren 2, which CZ introduced, is currently being gradually incorporated into the Czech armed forces.
The Bren series, like many other rifles on this list, is available in the popular chamberings of 5.56,.300 Blackout, and 7.62x39mm. The rifle was also adopted by Egypt, France, and Hungary, among other nations.
10. StG 44
A top ten list would be incomplete without including the StG 44, the original assault rifle. Germany developed the 7.92x33mm Kurz cartridge by heavily trimming the casing of their 8mm Mauser round. The end product was an intermediate cartridge that provided soldiers with useful firepower up to about 300 meters.
The rifle had a closed bolt and a long-stroke gas piston. The rifle had a great combination of handling, power, and range, and reloading was quick thanks to its detachable box magazine.
Admittedly, by today’s standards, it is not a terrific assault rifle, but it was a good beginning point for a new breed of weaponry and it was venturing into uncharted terrain. The STG 44 rifle didn’t have much of a chance to shine and wouldn’t influence the war’s conclusion, but it did introduce a whole new class of weaponry that is now considered standard issue for the military.
These days, all contemporary forces—and some not so modern ones, too—choose assault rifles. Simply put, assault rifles provide the best balance of power, accuracy, range, and ergonomics, making them perfect for use in contemporary combat. Despite having roots in World War II, the idea doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.