Talk:Automatic rifle

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Automatic Rifle/Light Machine Gun[edit]

Is the term "automatic rifle" synonymous with the term "light machine gun"? --Philip Laurence 12:03, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

No, an automatic rifle is a lightweight weapon, usually magazine fed, intended to be fired from the shoulder, hip, or occassionally from a bipod. A Light Machine Gun is a heavier weapon, usually belt-fed, intended to be fired from a bipod, tripod, or mounted. The Browning Automatic Rifle, BREN, and FG42 are all considered automatic rifles. In modern terms, the LMG has been replaced largly by the SAW. The Marine Corps of the United States intends to field an automatic rifle/LMG (perhaps the Ultimax 100) as there is still a need for a stopgap weapon between an M16 and an SAW. None of this is written in stone per weight, feed, etc. It's mostly a description of it's intended utilization.--Asams10 13:00, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
Okay thanks. I was confused about the BREN being classified as an automatic rifle but had the LMG designation. --Philip Laurence 23:33, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Actually, the USMC considers the SAW to be an automatic rifle. I carried one for 21 months and my billet in the fire team during that period was "Automatic Rifleman".--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 21:25, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
Automatic rifles and light machine guns are two separate categories - an automatic rifle will not be designed for sustained fully automatic fire (if it is capable of full-auto at all, many are semi-auto or burst only), whereas an LMG is designed as a support weapon. However, there are weapons - particularly designed in the last 50 years or so - that rather blur the two categories, such as the SA80 LSW and RPK. Additionally, militaries have an annoying tendency to call things names that don't actually match convention, as per Mike's point above (the M249 SAW is a light machine gun by any measure of the category, whatever the USMC might call it! Notably, the FN Minimi, essentially the same weapon, is known in British Army service as The LMG.) Jellyfish dave (talk) 22:53, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
Does anyone have published sources to resolve this issue? Felsic2 (talk) 18:48, 20 January 2017 (UTC)


For the history section, I might include that Manuel Mondragόn (Mexican Modragón rifle)designed in 1894 was considered to be the first invented automatic rifle in the world. He turned to Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG), of Neuhausen am Rheinfall, who agreed to manufacture the rifle. Aztrohawk (talk) 19:43, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Why is the SCAR the main photo? Why not BAR?[edit]

I take issue with the SCAR being the primary pic. First off, the SCAR has almost no history, being a new design. Further, even the -L version is closer to the concept of "assault rifle" than "automatic rifle", in terms of being a primary individual weapon and not a support weapon. I argue that the Browning Automatic Rifle would be a much more useful pic to put up. MatthewVanitas (talk) 02:50, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

This article seems to use the term "assault rifle" and "automatic rifle" interchangeably, I'm wondering if there's any actual difference between the two that justifies two separate articles. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:40, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

This is a catch-all category. In the US mostly they distinguish between battle rifle (M14) and assault rifle (M16). According to Chinn's book on machine guns (vol 2., page 30), the British used to have a category designated like this, which also included LMGs. This article should probably focus on the more general concept and categorization instead of dwelling into details that are more suitable for sub-articles, like what's the latest bullpup introduced somewhere. Someone not using his real name (talk) 04:57, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Difference between assault rifle and automatic rifle?[edit]

This article seems to use the term "assault rifle" and "automatic rifle" interchangeably, I'm wondering if there's any actual difference between the two that justifies two separate articles. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:43, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

An "assault rifle" is a sub-category of "automatic rifle". All "assault rifles" are "automatic rifles". However, not all "automatic rifles" are "assault rifles".-- (talk) 21:41, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Clean-up Needed[edit]

This article desperately needs to be cleaned up. It is heavily U.S.-centric, especially in discussing gun laws, it's poorly written and not well sourced. I tried to fix the most serious problems in the introduction, but a lot more work needs to be done. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:46, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

I've added more pictures of non-US guns. The text needs work indeed. Someone not using his real name (talk) 18:55, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Addition of FN P90[edit]

I would like to open a discussion as to whether or not it would be appropriate to add the FN P90 to this article. I believe that the P90 is a continuation of the U.S. M2 Carbine branch of the automatic-rifle family tree. As such, I recommend adding the following paragraph to the end of the article....

Oppose and M1 carbine should not even be mentioned, either as the M1 and P90 do not fire rifle cartridges.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 14:11, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Automatic rifle vs Machine gun[edit]

While I see a few questions and answers on this page, the article itself does not distinguish between several related types of automatic weapons, including machine guns and assault rifles. For that reason, I'm tagging it as "incomplete". Can anyone draft some (sourced) text to cover the difference between these similar weapons? Felsic2 (talk) 01:40, 21 August 2016 (UTC)

Depends on your definition of machine gun. Which do you prefer based on your background of arms dealing, military service, law enforcement work and mechanical engineering?--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 01:43, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
Whatever is going to be clear enough for readers. Felsic2 (talk) 01:46, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
What's your view, though? Do you like the ATF definition or is that too US centric? Do you prefer Jane's definition?--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 01:53, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
Any good reliable sources for a general, as opposed to legal, definition would be helpful. I'm not sure why almost the entire article is made up of examples. Examples are helpful, but the whole article shouldn't just be short descriptions of certain rifles. Especially since several of them, like the M16, are better known under another category, assault rifles, and are already described in detail elsewhere. So are automatic rifles and assault rifles the same thing, or have significant overlap, or what? This article really does nothing to explain. Felsic2 (talk) 21:08, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
It's not that easy. In the strictest sense of the word it refers to a military weapon, but the term is sort of dated. It has been mostly replaced by the term "Squad Automatic Weapon" (SAW) when referring to the firearm itself and used to denote something between a service rifle and a full sized machine gun (in the military sense, not the US legal term). The Browning Automatic Rifle or BAR was the prime example. For its time it was like a portable machine gun that fired a full sized rifle caliber (30-06) but was fed from a box magazine as opposed to a belt. The USMC still uses the title "Automatic Rifleman" when referring to the man who carries the M249 SAW in a fire team, even though the SAW is belt fed and fires an intermediate cartridge. To add to the confusion, Browning makes a line of semiautomatic sporting rifles called BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) but are neither suitable for military use (Big game cartridges and limited capacity) nor capable of full automatic fire. I would remove the following from the article: Sturmgewehr 44 (Assault rifle), AK-47, M14 rifle, FN FAL, H&K G3, M16 rifle, and 5.56mm NATO as they really do not fit the strict definition. Those are either Assault Rifles or in the case of the 3 chambered in 7.62 NATO, battle rifles. and 5.56 would not be the proper caliber.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 22:52, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
[E/C] If we can't figure out how an automatic rifle differs from other kinds of rifles, we can at least clean up this article be deleting everything that isn't about automatic rifles, that is, all material whose references don't talk about automatic rifles. Felsic2 (talk) 22:59, 24 August 2016 (UTC) (Your idea sounds like a decent start, unless those rifles are actually called "automatic rifles" by the sources.) Felsic2 (talk) 22:59, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
(EC)Although the Automatic Rifleman title is still used to describe Marines issued the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, which is basically a modified M16. Like I said, no easy and acceptable answer because you either exclude some things that are technically called that or let every last select fire rifle in under the umbrella and get overwhelmed with non essential information if talking about the original concept. The bulk of this is repeated on the assault rifle page--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 23:03, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

In the context of this article, which is clearly devoted to military automatic rifles:

  • All automatic rifles are a subcategory of machine-guns.
  • All assault rifles are a subcategory of automatic rifles.
  • All battle rifles are also a subcategory of automatic rifles.

Family tree would look something like this...

assault rifle      battle rifle
           \        /
            \      /
        automatic rifle

P.S. I hope makes sense and that it looks right on your screen.--RAF910 (talk) 23:52, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

Nicely explained and diagrammed. Now can we find a source which says this and then add it to the article? Felsic2 (talk) 15:18, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
We still need some sources for this article which call the M16, AK47, etc., "automatic rifles", and/or explain how automatic rifles relate to other types of rifles. Right now, this article is mostly a synthetic compilation of examples. Felsic2 (talk) 20:03, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
A large part of this article was identical to Assault rifle, namely a description of certain weapons. None of those descriptions called the weapons "automatic rifles". So I deleted that material and replaced it with the lead from the "Assault rifle" article. Readers can find the material there if they're interested. Felsic2 (talk) 21:10, 12 October 2016 (UTC)
This article should focus on "automatic rifles". In other words, firearms which are called "automatic rifles". While assault rifles and battle rifles may be subvarieties of automatic rifles, we already have articles on assault rifle and battle rifle. We should eliminate repetitive material already included in those articles and use this space to cover the evolution of weapons which are primarily known as automatic rifles with just a brief discussion of later developments. Felsic2 (talk) 15:33, 19 October 2016 (UTC)


5.56mm NATO

In March 1970, the U.S. recommended that all NATO forces adopt the 5.56×45mm cartridge.[3] This shift represented a change in the philosophy of the military's long-held position about caliber size. By the middle of the 1970s, other armies were looking at assault rifle type weapons. A NATO standardization effort soon started and tests of various rounds were carried out starting in 1977.[3] The U.S. offered the 5.56×45mm M193 round, but there were concerns about its penetration in the face of the wider introduction of body armor.[4] In the end the Belgian 5.56×45mm SS109 round was chosen (STANAG 4172) in October 1980.[3] The SS109 round was based on the U.S. cartridge but included a new stronger, heavier, 62 grain bullet design, with better long range performance and improved penetration (specifically, to consistently penetrate the side of a steel helmet at 600 meters).[4]

During the 1970s, the USSR developed the AK-74 and the 5.45×39mm cartridge, which has similar physical characteristics to the U.S. 5.56×45mm cartridge.[5] Also during the 1970s, Finland, Israel, South Africa and Sweden introduced AK type rifles in 5.56×45mm.[6] During the 1990s, the Russians developed the AK-101 in 5.56×45mm NATO for the world export market.[7][8] In addition, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and former countries of Yugoslavia have also rechambered their locally produced assault rifle variants to 5.56mm NATO.[9][10] The adoption these cartridges cemented the world-wide trend toward small caliber, high velocity cartridges.

What does this section tell readers about automatic rifles? The same text is in three other articles: Assault rifle, M16 rifle, and Comparison of the AK-47 and M16. There's a lot of repetition in firearms articles, especially articles on the AR-15 family. Why do we need to repeat the same text in so many articles? Felsic2 (talk) 15:24, 19 October 2016 (UTC)

Early models & development[edit]

While the article devotes space to later rifles better known as battle rifles or assault rifles, it wold be interesting to see more content on the early models that featured in the development of the type. For example, the Chauchat and Fedorov Avtomat both seem significant. Any objections to adding them? Felsic2 (talk) 18:52, 19 October 2016 (UTC)

No response here, but an editor deleted them anyway.[1] He wrote, "removed weapons that are not automatic rifles, and/or never got past the patent or prototype stage, or simply not notable.)".
Well, which are which? If the weapons aren't notable then let's go and delete their pages. If they're not automatic rifles then let's go remove that claim from their pages. However the fact that some never made it past into large scale production isn't necessarily a reason for deletion. Many important inventions never made it big, but they paved the way later developments.
If there's no further discussion I'll restore these. Felsic2 (talk) 23:03, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
I've added them back since there's been no other input on this issue. Felsic2 (talk) 19:02, 22 November 2016 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Miller, David (2001). The Illustrated Directory of 20th Century Guns. London: Salamander Books Ltd. ISBN 9781840652451. 
  2. ^ a b c Kevin, Dockery (2007). Future Weapons. New York: Berkley Trade. ISBN 9780425217504. 
  3. ^ a b c Per G. Arvidsson Weapons & Sensors. NATO Army Armaments Group
  4. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference ReferenceA was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ Military Small Arms of the 20th Century. 7th Edition. by Ian V. Hogg & John S. Weeks. Krause Publications 2000. page 271
  6. ^ Military Small Arms of the 20th Century. 7th Edition. by Ian V. Hogg & John S. Weeks. Krause Publications 2000. pages 235, 258, 274, 278
  7. ^ LEGION Ltd. – the producer of high-quality firearms with period artistic treatment (threading, engraving, incrustation) and improved finishing.
  8. ^ |The Kalashnikov AK-101 is an export assault rifle in operational service withat least nine nations worldwide
  9. ^ Military Small Arms of the 20th Century. 7th Edition. by Ian V. Hogg & John S. Weeks. Krause Publications 2000. pages 233, 257, 266, 296
  10. ^ | Arsenal AR-M1 5.56mm assault rifle