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What is your perception of the term "assault rifle"?
Call this an experiment. Knowing the textbook definition, I'm curious as to what people who don't spend insane amounts of time around assault weapons think they are.
I would define it as any weapon that can automatically fire multiple rounds in a very short period of time. I don't know all the names of the different kinds, but I imagine something like an M-16.
Generally speaking, the assault rifle of WWII could select fire with one to multiple shots fired with one pull of the trigger. It morphed into a lightweight, rugged rifle after the war. The AK was developed by a Soviet general officer who wanted a military firearm. The AR (Armalite Rifle) was developed by an engineer who wanted a lightweight, rugged civilian rifle, and it was later picked by the U.S. military to replace its older rifles. The standard AR-style rifle bought down at Walmart or Gander Mountain are not "automatic" weapons and are therefore not "assault rifles."
I happen to have a full hub about this very subject if anyone is interested.
It is interesting that you initially say "assault rifle" but then later say "assault weapon". Assault weapon as defined by assault weapon bans is an entirely different thing than an assault rifle as typically defined in a military context.
You know this of course, and probably know it so well that you didn't even really think about it as you wrote it. For the average layperson, however, these terms and what they represent are confusing, and unfortunately these terms are often used, by the media, for instance, imprecisely.
Normally I am a bit hard on people for being uninformed, but in this case I think the terms are used sloppily so often that it is a bit much to ask of people to really have a clear understanding of them.
For me personally, I find it more helpful to focus on a weapon's capabilities and performance rather than its appearance or features, since tactical performance is what really matters for the notion of "assault."
Well, I would be one of those people who spend zero time around assault rifle/weapons; however, as my dad was in the Infantry as a sharp-shooter, from what I recall long ago, I believe it is an automatic, rapid-fire and magazine-fed weapon.
I am not good when it comes to guns but using the term "assault" reminds me of violence. The term assault rifle is a non-direct translation of the German word Sturmgewehr (literally "storm rifle", "storm" as in "military attack"). The name was coined by Adolf Hitler as a new name for the Maschinenpistole 43, subsequently known as the Sturmgewehr 44, the firearm generally considered the first assault rifle that served to popularize the concept and form the basis for today's modern assault rifles.
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