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The top 10 combat, battle and assault rifles of the world

AK-47-Wikimedia/public domain

Most combat, battle and assault rifles of today have the ability to select between full automatic, semi-automatic or burst fire. It uses an intermediate cartridge and has a detachable magazine.

Combat rifles have been in use since at least WWI. The only difference between combat (battle) rifles in WWI and the following wars is that most WWI rifles were bolt-action. These rifles had to be manually chambered by using the bolt-action.

The combat, battle or assault rifle's power and long-range accuracy are intended to engage targets at long distances. The Mondragón rifle was considered the first battle rifle and was patented in 1887. Researchers concluded that most engagements usually happened at shorter distances therefore it was found that rifles needed to be lighter and more compact.

This need is said to be what caused the development of the world's first true assault rifle, the German StG 44. This list contains combat (battle) and assault rifles. All the rifles on this list have been tried and tested in the heat of various battles around the world.

AK-47 AK-47-Wikimedia/public domain


The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated combat assault rifle developed in the USSR by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It’s also called the Kalashnikov, an "AK," or in Russian slang, Kalash.

Work on its design began in 1945 during the last year of WWII. In 1947, it was officially introduced into active service with the Soviet Army. In 1949, it was also accepted by the Soviet Armed Forces and used by the majority of armies in the Warsaw Pact.

It’s considered to be the first true combat assault rifle after the Sturmgewehr. The AK-47 is still popular six decades after it was first introduced.

Type: Semi or fully automatic assault rifle. Country of origin: Soviet Union; Caliber: 7.62 mm; Muzzle velocity: 2,329 feet per second. Rate of fire: 600 rounds per minute.

M16 M16A1, M16A2, M4, M16A4, from top to bottom-Wikimedia/Offspring 18 87


The M16 rifle was The United States military version of the AR-15. The M16 was adapted for semi-automatic, three round burst and full-automatic fire.

The AR-15 was manufactured by ArmaLite but Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 and then designed the M16. This rifle was deployed for combat operations in the Vietnam War in 1963.

It became the standard issue for our military in 1969. Since the Vietnam War, the M16 rifle family has been the primary service rifle of the U.S. armed forces.

Other countries around the world have adopted the M16 for use in their armies. There have been approximately 8 million manufactured since its inception.

Type: Semi or fully automatic assault rifle. Country of origin: United States; Caliber: 5.56mm; Muzzle velocity: Approximately 3,281 feet per second Rate of Fire: 700-950 rounds per minute.

M1 Garand
M1 Garand M1 Garand rifle, USA. Caliber .30-06. From the collections of Armémuseum (Swedish Army Museum), Stockholm. Wikimedia/public domain

M1 Garand

George S. Patton called the M1 Garand the “greatest battle implement ever devised.”

This was a distinction that's said to be well deserved because it was the first semi-automatic combat rifle issued to our soldiers.

It was used in WWII and gave our troops an advantage in fire power over the bolt-action combat rifles being used by their counterparts.

Because of the M1 Garand, the Axis militaries began to introduce a larger number of semi-automatic combat rifles.

Type: Semiautomatic rifle; Country of Origin: United States; Caliber: 7.62 mm; Muzzle velocity: Approximately 2,838 feet per second. Rate of fire: 30 rounds per minute.

FN FAL Uruguayan marines conduct close-quarters battle training-Wikimedia/Cpl. Dustin Schalue


The Fusil Automatique Léger ("Light Automatic Rifle") or FAL is a self-loading, selective fire combat assault rifle produced by the Belgian armaments manufacturer Fabrique Nationale de Herstal (FN).

It was adopted by many NATO countries during the Cold War. The only country that didn’t adopt it was the U.S.

It is said to be one of the most widely used combat rifles in history, used by over 90 countries. It has earned the nicknamed “The right arm of the Free World.”

Type: Semi or fully automatic rifle; Country of origin: Belgium. Caliber: 7.62 mm; Muzzle velocity: Approximately 2,700 feet per second. Rate of Fire: 650-700 rounds per minute.

HK Gewehr 3
HK Gewehr 3 A Norwegian Army soldier takes cover behind a wall from incoming opposing force insurgent fire in the Joint Multinational Readiness Center training area in Hohenfels, Germany-Wikimedia/Spc. Kalie Frantz.

HK Gewehr 3

The G3 is a 7.62mm combat assault battle rifle developed in the 1950s by a German armament manufacturer.

It was produced by Heckler & Koch GmbH (H&K) in collaboration with the Spanish state-owned design and development agency CETME (Centro de Estudios Técnicos de Materiales Especiales).

It can trace its origins to the final years of WWII. Both the G3 and its variants are still in operation in military and law enforcement units all over the world today.

Type: Semi or full automatic; Country of origin: Germany. Caliber: 7.62 mm (NATO). Muzzle velocity: 2,625ft/second; Rate of fire: 40-120 rounds per minute.

Steyr Aug rifle
Steyr Aug rifle Wikimedia/Steyr Mannlicher

Steyr Aug rifle

The Aug is a combat assault rifle that was designed in the 1970s by Steyr Mannlicher GmbH and Co KG.

It became the official combat rifle of the Austrian Army in 1977. It’s the standard small arm of the Austrian Bundesheer and various national police units.

The Aug and its variants are also the official combat assault rifle for the armed forces of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Bolivia, Ecuador, Ireland, Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Pakistan, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Type: Semi or fully automatic Bull-Pup Assault Rifle, Country of origin: Austria; Caliber: 5.56 mm; Muzzle velocity: Approximately 3,084 feet per second, Rate of fire: 650 rounds per minute.

M1903 Springfield rifle
M1903 Springfield rifle M1903 Springfield rifle, USA. Caliber .30-06. From the collections of Armémuseum (Swedish Army Museum), Stockholm-Wikimedia/public domain

M1903 Springfield rifle

The M1903 Springfield was a United States combat rifle used in WWI. On June 19, 1903, it was adopted by the United States military.

It replaced the M1 Garand in 1937. It remained in service as the standard infantry rife during WWII.

It was issued to soldiers entering into combat during WWII because there weren’t enough M1s to issue them. It was also used as a sniper rifle during WWII, the Korean Conflict and during the early days of the Vietnam War.

Type: Bolt-Action Rifle; Country of origin: United States. Caliber: 7.62 mm; Muzzle velocity: Approximately 2,700 feet per second. Rate of Fire: 10 rounds per minute.

Sturmgewehr (StG 44)
Sturmgewehr (StG 44) MP44 (Sturmgewehr 44), Germany. Caliber 8x33mm Kurz- From the collections of Armémuseum (Swedish Army Museum), Stockholm-Wikipedia/public domain

Sturmgewehr (StG 44)

The StG 44 (Sturmgewehr 44, literally "storm rifle” was a combat assault rifle developed by Nazi Germany during WWII.

The Sturmgewehr was the first of its kind to see deployment during the war. Many historians consider it to be the first modern combat assault rifle ever made.

Type: Semi or Fully Automatic Assault Rifle; Country of Origin: Germany. Caliber: 7.92 x 33 mm; Muzzle Velocity: Approximately 2,133 feet per second. Rate of Fire: 500 rounds per minute.

Mosin-Nagant (M91/30)
Mosin-Nagant (M91/30) War I Russian infantry-Wikimedia/George H. Mewes/public domain

Mosin-Nagant (M91/30)

The Mosin–Nagant is a bolt-action, internal magazine-fed, military rifle, developed by the Imperial Russian Army in 1882-1891.

It was the standard combat rifle used by the armed forces of the Russian Empire. The Mosin-Nagant was a leap forward in weapon design for Russia.

When the Mosin-Nagant was first issued it was a modernization effort by the Imperial Russian military to keep up with the lines of other combat rifles used in other European nations.

The rifle was the result of a Russian and Belgian collaboration. The Russians had been experimenting with magazine-fed combat rifles for at least a decade. The Mosin-Nagant was the result of this experimentation.

Type: Manually operated bolt-action; Caliber: 7.62x54mm; Muzzle velocity: Approximately 2,838 ft/second; Rate of fire: 10-12 rounds a minute. Country of origin: Russia

M14 M14 rifle, USA. Caliber 7.62x51mm NATO. From the collections of Armémuseum (Swedish Army Museum), Stockholm-Wikipedia/public domain


The M14 rifle is an American selective fire automatic rifle that fires 7.62 mm rounds. Issued as the standard combat rifle from 1959 to 1970.

It was used by both the Army and the Marine Corps for basic training and advanced individual training.

It remains in limited use by honor guards, color guards, drill teams and ceremonial guards.

The M14 was designed and created from a long line of experimental weapons based upon the M1 rifle. It was the most advanced infantry rifle in the 1930s.

Type: Semi or Fully Automatic Rifle, Caliber: 7.62 x 51 mm (.30 inch). Muzzle Velocity: Approximately 2,799 feet per second, Rate of Fire: 700-750 rounds per minute. Country of origin: United States.


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