Difference Between Assault Rifle and Carbine???


PDA






Blain
February 19, 2003, 10:05 PM
I have been thinking about this a lot lately since my friend has gotten an AR-15.

Just exactly what are the differences and origins of each the carbine and the assault rifle?

I have heard that the carbine was originally a shorter barreled light rifle that was chambered in either a pistol round or a light rifle round.

Now that brings us to the M16, which is commonly called an "Assault Rifle". The common definition of this is a lighter rifle and caliber than a normal battle rifle which can be select fire (much like the carbine). Sounds almost like a carbine, right? So how come a 20 or 16" M16 is considered a rifle but a 14" one is considered a carbine? A few inches of barrel shouldn't be able to change the classification of a gun.

Conversely, though, if a 14" AR is a carbine than why is a 16 or 20" an assault rifle? Both assault rifles and carbines can be select fire, the same with sub guns.

Guess I am just a little confused at the different classifications and how they seem to blend into each other.

Heck, an MP5 seems an awfully lot like a select fire M1 Carbine to me!

If you enjoyed reading about "Difference Between Assault Rifle and Carbine???" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Art Eatman
February 19, 2003, 10:26 PM
To keep it simple: The first rifles had long barrels; 30" or more. These were awkward for horse soldiers, so barrels of around 20" or so were used on "carbines". Same cartridge as the full-length critter.

So carbine basically only means a short-barrelled rifle, regardless of how it's used, or what cartridge it's chambered for.

An assault rifle is a full-size, selective fire critter, firing a full-power cartridge. Examples are the M-14, G-3, Fn-FAL, etc.

The M16 and the AK-47 are--IMO--sorta betwixt and between, when thinking of the G-3-type rifles. IMO, they're called assault rifles because nobody came up with a better label. :D

The anti-gun and newsmediahcrities call anything with black plastic "assault rifles", but that's just iggerance. :) As usual, they don't know what's the reality of much of anything...

Art

Blain
February 19, 2003, 10:38 PM
M-14, G-3, Fn-FAL are BATTLE rifles!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jim K
February 19, 2003, 10:45 PM
Hi, Art,

The definition of carbine sort of varied, but it was always a short barrel gun for cavalry. In the Civil War, there were many carbines, but only a few (e.g., Sharps, Spencer) had rifles on the same action. The Trapdoor and Krag were as you describe except that special ammunition was issued with the trapdoor carbine to keep shoulder separations to a minimum.

Rifles like the Model 1903, Mauser K.98k, VZ-24, etc., were intended as compromise rifles which could be used by both infantry and cavalry.

The WWII .30 carbine was an exception in that it used a special cartridge, but it was intended as a wartime expedient and not for general issue. (That was the intent; it stuck around for quite a while.) The last .30 carbine was the M3; the current issue short version of the M16A2 is designated the Carbine, M4.

An "assault rifle" generally is a selective fire rifle, with a large magazine and a relatively short barrel. The current Federal Law defines a "semi-automatic assault rifle" as having a detachable magazine and more than one of a pistol grip, a bayonet lug, a folding or collapsing stock, a flash suppressor.

"Assault rifle" was originally an advertising catch phrase used by sellers of semi-auto AK-47's. Like other terms originated by gun people, it was turned and used against us by the anti-gun fanatics.

The origin, as far as I know, was the German "Sturmgewehr", applied to the StG.44 by Adolf himself. The German word means "assault rifle".

Jim

CWL
February 19, 2003, 11:05 PM
The "carbine" sprang into being as a long gun designed specifically for ease of use during mobile warfare (horseback). Size and weight were the design specifications/considerations. Caliber was not an initial consideration.

An "assault rifle" is a long gun designed around the size and performance of the ammunition as it's main specification/consideration.

Art Eatman
February 19, 2003, 11:05 PM
Hokay, I'll buy that. As far as what the troops were equipped with in the WW II/Korean era, though, I think there has been a sort of "definition drift" about "assault". :) Many an attack--or assault--had Mausers and Garands and suchlike involved...

As far as the modern use of "assault", seems to me that the first large-scale issue-critter was the AK-47. It fit in with Russian tactics just fine: First a bunch of artillery, then a bunch of tanks to get the infantry in close, and then the infantry attacked from fairly close range. Long-range, precision capability wasn't needed.

I guess the feds can define things however they want. The dictionary meanings haven't bothered them for quite a few decades, now...

Hard-headed Old Fart that I am, if it has a short barrel, it's a carbine. :D

Art

Redlg155
February 20, 2003, 12:43 AM
Heck, an MP5 seems an awfully lot like a select fire M1 Carbine to me!

Well, now you have one more in the mix. Battle Rifle, Assault Rifle and SMG. :D

Good Shooting
RED

ocabj
February 20, 2003, 12:46 AM
I always thought the term "assault rifle" was a legal term the anti-gun people made up to describe all the "evil" looking weapons.

iamkris
February 20, 2003, 09:22 AM
I was always under the impression that it went like this (supporting some of the definitions above):

Battle rifle = any rifled long gun designed expressly for use in battle using state-of-the-art technology of the time

Carbine = short barreled long gun, firing the same caliber, as a longer barreled cousin

Assault rifle = long gun designed around an intermediate powered cartridge, often designed for portability and large volume of fire (high cap, detachable mag)

Machine gun = select fire weapon, typically of larger caliber, meant primarily to lay down volume of fire from a fixed or semi-portable position

SMG = select fire weapon designed around sub-caliber (releative to rifle power levels) cartridge, often pistol calibers, meant for extreme portability

As you can see though, these are still vague leaving lots of gray area, e.g., an M16 could be both a battle rifle or an assault rifle. Oh well, few things in language are black and white. Sorta like figuring out if a ParaOrdnance is SA, SA/DA or DAO (or LDAO or SAO or...)

DMK
February 20, 2003, 09:35 AM
The current Federal Law defines a "semi-automatic assault rifle" as having a detachable magazine and more than one of a pistol grip, a bayonet lug, a folding or collapsing stock, a flash suppressor.I always thought the term "assault rifle" was a legal term the anti-gun people made up to describe all the "evil" looking weapons. Actually that term is "Assault Weapon" which may also include pistols and shotguns. Few understand the distinctions unfortunately.


So how come a 20 or 16" M16 is considered a rifle but a 14" one is considered a carbine? A few inches of barrel shouldn't be able to change the classification of a gun. It sure does. Over 20" = rifle, 20" or under=carbine. A carbine is a rifle, it's a sub-classification. Short shotguns are not carbines.

A 21" AR or semi-auto AK is a semi-auto rifle

A 16" AR or semi-auto AK is a semi-auto carbine

A 16" select-fire m-16 or AK is an assault rifle(or assault carbine)

A 21" select-fire m-16 or AK is an assault rifle


What I wonder is where is the distinction between Assault Rifle and Submachine gun? I understand that Subguns are pistol caliber typically, but what about those really short Krinkovs and all those little CQB .223 weapons? Those are kinda small to be called assualt rifles no?

Dannyboy
February 20, 2003, 09:43 AM
Machine gun = select fire weapon

Huh? Other than the M2 being able to fire single shot, what other machine guns are select- fire?

Chipperman
February 20, 2003, 11:25 AM
You need to define machine-gun as it applies to your question.

Does that mean any full-auto long arm, including SMG's, and Light Machine guns, or not?

If you include all capable of full-auto, then you have to include MP5, G3, AK, etc. because many can select between single, FA, or even bursts (esp MP5).

iamkris
February 20, 2003, 12:45 PM
Huh? Other than the M2 being able to fire single shot, what other machine guns are select- fire?

Sorry Dannyboy. Just trying to be incluuuuuuusive. I've just been reading about the HK21 can be had with a trigger group that allows single, or 3-shot burst capability. That was sticking in my mind. http://hkpro.com/hk21e.htm

I'm guessing that most machine guns are full auto only with some exceptions. Anyone know?

Also, I read somewhere that it was possible to get single shots off with the M2 because of the relatively slow cyclic rate rather than single shot trigger group. True?

ElToro
February 20, 2003, 01:53 PM
any rifle pointed in my direction is an assault rifle

Handy
February 20, 2003, 02:01 PM
A carbine is best thought of as a shortened rifle. Don't put any extra twists on it, including barrel length. A G3 has an 18" barrel, but is not a carbine. A scout length M1A is a "carbine" version of the full size, but is also a questionable carbine.

Carbine is popularly used as a simple term implying a smaller, lighter rifle, regardless of caliber. A Camp 9 is a carbine, so is a short barrel Mauser, an M4 and an HK94.

Assault Rifle, among us, is properly what it was first coined as, and continues to be: an intermediate round rifle with a big mag. Rifle like power, but with lower recoil and range. AK, STG 44, Aug, M16.

Argueably, the Fals and G3s are effective "assault rifles" despite the extra recoil and range. Those guns were designed for intermediate rounds and scaled up to .308. Note that their sights are really shorter range items, despite the gun's capabilities.

Battle rifle is really just a snob term for those still mad at McNamara. But it does provide a focus for weapons that fire big rounds, but are still useful in modern combat doctrines. The "king" of battle rifles is the M14, the least successful US service rifle ever. But it is set up with long range sights, long barrel and big mag.

Art Eatman
February 20, 2003, 04:34 PM
Times and inventions change the use of "gun-words". When I was a kid, and into the WW II era, a "machine gun" was something like the belt-fed Brownings.

A "sub-machine gun" was something like the Thompson.

And then came the Schmeissers and "Grease Guns" and Uzis and Skorpions and AKs and all that...

Whee!

:), Art

TheFrontRange
February 20, 2003, 05:11 PM
Times and inventions change the use of "gun-words".

"Amen" to that. I remember having a vicious debate with one of my buddies when we were in our teens over whether weapons like MAC-10s and the old MAC-11s in .380 were rightly termed "machine pistols" or "sub-machineguns." I haven't heard anything called a "machine pistol" in a long time now! :)

Destructo6
February 20, 2003, 06:55 PM
"machine-pistol" is the German term for submachinegun. For example, the HK MP5, MP7...; the "MP" is for "machine-pistol."

As manufacturers try to design guns that mix the percieved best of both worlds, the lines blurr somewhat. Semper Gumby and acknowledge the exceptions.

Keith
February 20, 2003, 08:05 PM
The term (and concept) of an "Assault Rifle" comes from the German "Sturmgewehr" which is literally "Storm Gun" - the gun used by Storm Troopers in WWI.
Storm Troopers were the hardened veterans who led assaults into the enemy trenches, and they were issued high capacity rifles for the purpose - those first assault rifles were merely K98's fitted with 20 round detachable mags. I think some of these may have been cut down to carbine length, but I'm not sure about that.

So, the original Assault Rifles were bolt action Mauser K98's!

Today's Assault Rifle is any gun that a liberal wants to ban. The term has no meaning whatsoever. Remember, some of the "assault rifles" that made the list for the ban were shotguns with 5 round tubular mags...

Keith

DMK
February 20, 2003, 08:17 PM
Remember, some of the "assault rifles" that made the list for the ban were shotguns with 5 round tubular mags... Guys, the laws that ban such weapons refer to them as Assault *Weapons* not "Assault Rifles".

Please find the term "Assault Rifle" refering to anything not select fire anywhere in the federal regs regarding the '94 and Import bans.

"It is generally unlawful for a person to manufacture, transfer, or possess semiautomatic assault weapons after September 13, 1994, the effective date of the law. See the exceptions listed in Question O5. [18 U. S. C. 922( v)( 1)] "

http://www.atf.treas.gov/firearms/faq/faq2.htm

Keith
February 21, 2003, 01:54 PM
You are confusing the wording of the law with the language used in anti-gun messages put out by the Brady campaign and their lap-dogs, people like Schumer, Clinton, etc.

They indeed have and do use the term "Assault Rifle" to describe any weapon with a long barrel that they don't like.

There is no such thing as an "Assault Weapon" (or rifle) within the meaning of the term as used today. The term merely describes the cosmetic appearance of weapons. It can even describe the nation of origin of the individual parts of a weapon. Import an L1A1 and you can go to jail because it's an "Assault Rifle" - replace 5 or 6 parts with identical American made parts and it's a legitimate sporting weapon.

Look at the weapons specifically banned by name on the original list in 93 - almost all of them are still being manufactured. The manufacturers were forced to change the name of weapon. How silly is that?

I don't know what happened to the high capacity magazine ban that was part and parcel of this? You can still buy newly manufactured and newly imported high capacity magazines for any number of weapons.

Silly law, silly reasoning, silly people... Yet Charley Schumer stands up at least once a month and tells his idiotic supporters that he banned "assault weapons".

Keith

DMK
February 21, 2003, 07:43 PM
You are confusing the wording of the law with the language used in anti-gun messages put out by the Brady campaign and their lap-dogs, people like Schumer, Clinton, etc.

They indeed have and do use the term "Assault Rifle" to describe any weapon with a long barrel that they don't like. LOL. I'm not confusing the wording. They are! ;)

I see your point. Still, we should not let those who wish to demonize our firearms dictate the terminalogy and muddy the issues. That is exactly why the semantics bother me. *They* want to confuse the issue and blur the lines.

Pistol grips and detachable mags do not an assault rifle make.

It's best to just keep the word "assault" out of our firearms vocabulary completely.

Keith
February 22, 2003, 01:20 PM
>>>>It's best to just keep the word "assault" out of our firearms vocabulary completely.<<<<<

I agree!

Keith

TheLastBoyScout
February 22, 2003, 06:27 PM
According to the DOD, assault rifles are by definition capable of burst and/or full auto (hence the stupidity of the phrase 'semi-automatic assault weapon)
Carbines on the other hand are small, handy shoulder arms. An MP5 fits this definition (although the label 'submachinegun' fits it better), as do M1 carbs, SKSs, AKs, Minis and M4s.
A fullsize AR15 is in sort of a gray area. Some of its detractors call it a carbine because 5.56 is not a full MBR round, but the AR15 has the size and weight of a rifle

telewinz
February 22, 2003, 09:00 PM
I have asked the same thing for years and as time goes by and less and less powerful calibers are designed for our standard issue rifles the case for the M1 Carbine gets stronger. The M2 model just about does it all. Selective fire, large magazine capacity, and light weight. It could(and was and is) available in reduced caliber the 22 spitfire or 5.56 Johnson. The only thing missing was the laminated or plastic stock, thats something I'm willing to foregive. Heck, it even came in a folding stock version. Hitler coined the term so I'll use his definition, a reduced power, high capacity, selective fire short rifle.

Quartus
February 22, 2003, 09:53 PM
I'm guessing that most machine guns are full auto only with some exceptions.


That is correct. They also utilize at least a rifle caliber. Another typical characteristic is that they are (usually) crew served weapons. (gunner, ammo bearer, and just what do we call the guy that gets to carry the tripod?)

Ergo, an MP5, Thompson, M3, etc. are SUB-machine guns, as they are individual weapons and fire a pistol caliber.


As was mentioned, the lines can blur at times.

If you enjoyed reading about "Difference Between Assault Rifle and Carbine???" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!