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An assault rifle is a selective fire (either fully automatic or burst-capable) rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. It should be distinguished from the US legal term assault weapons.
The term burst-capable is undefined. The Encyclopedia Brittanica definition you refer to seems to imply that both automatic and semiautomatic rifles can be considered assault rifles, and that is consistent with dictionary usage and gun publication usage that I've seen. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jonathan.robie (talk • contribs) 22:23, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Have added text necessary to clear up the confusion among the various technical terms (fully automatic, burst capable, and semi-automatic.) Hope this helps. Miguel Escopeta (talk) 23:12, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
"Burst mode" might be a better description? Anyway, weapons capable of burst mode fire a set number of rounds per trigger pull when set to burst mode (e.g. three for the M16A4) and I think the Encyclopedia Britannica just counts burst mode as another form of automatic fire. Most assault rifles that have burst modes also have fully automatic modes (rounds are fired as long as the trigger is held down). The US changed their M16s from the trigger group safe-semi-auto to safe-semi-burst (M16A2) after experiences in the Vietnam War, the thinking was that surprised or panicked soldiers would hold down the trigger and empty their magazines prematurely, but IIRC the M16A2/M16A4 are still assault rifles as the burst mode enables the rifle of approximately the same rate of fire as a fully rifle you just have to keep pumping the trigger.--Sus scrofa (talk) 00:26, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Assault rifle is an outdated term. The only reason it pops up is because the anti gun crowd believes the term will scare people. The military doesn't call any of their rifles assault rifles. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Numkie (talk • contribs) 03:15, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
This article is a "vital" one? What does that mean? And how do bots determine an article is vital? Lightbreather (talk) 04:04, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Bots don't determine it, but a bot may have tagged the article based on some humans determination. "Vital" just means its a topic which should have a high quality article associated with it (IE, the concept is important). It says nothing about the current state of the article. "Level 4" means the concept is considered one of the top 10,000 topics. "Firearm" itself is vital, with the sub articles of assault rifle, handgun, machinegun, musket, rifle and shotgun being sub articles. All of which are subarticles of Projectile Weapons. There is no purpose to the "vital" designation except to bring extra attention to the article. Gaijin42 (talk) 19:16, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Right. Editors determined that "Assault rifle" is a "level 4 vital article", and the bot tagged it as such here on the talk page. Further reading: