A pistol is a sidearm. Soldiers can aim and fire it with one hand. Pistols are smaller than other firearms, making them useful in close combat. Modern pistols, such as Beretta M9, are semi-automatic. This means that they do not nedd to be charged between rounds. Officers most often carry handguns. In fact, service pistols have great symbolic meaning. When a unit is defeated, the commanding officer often gives his sidearm to the enemy commander. This shows that the unit surrenders.
The rifle is a common military firearm. Soldiers fire it from the shoulder. It has a built-in sight. The barrel has twisting grooves on the inside. These spin the bullet, improving the weapon’s accuracy and range. In fat, this weapon was named after the technique used to make the barrel — rifling. At one time, rifles could fire only one round at a time. However, modern semi-automatic assault rifles ( also called assault weapons ) like the M16A2 can fire multiple-round bursts with a single pull of the trigger.
Assault Rifles of the US Army
The story of the M16 rifle is one of most turbulent and controversial episodes in the whole history of US small arms. It was hastily adopted as an iterim measure, but eventually soldiered on to see more than 40 years of active service. Its early days were full of controversy and scandals, its present is full of competition, but it appears that this weapon will serve with American armed forces and abroad for at least several years (if not decades) more. Today it can be considered as adequate military rifle with good current service record. Obviously, it is far from being ideal, but no rifle in the world is ideal as well. We only have to see, if the American armed forces will eventually step up and produce a better rifle and / or cartridge in a foreseeable future.
Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO / M855
Action: gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: 1006 mm
Barrel length: 508 mm
Weight, empty: 3.77 kg
Magazine capacity: 20 or 30 rounds standard
Rate of fire, cyclic: 700 — 950 rounds per minute
The M4 carbine is a shorter and lighter variant of the M16A2 assault rifle. The M4 is a 5.56×45mm NATO, air-cooled, direct impingement gas-operated, magazine-fed carbine. It has a 14.5 in (370 mm) barrel and a telescoping stock. The M4 carbine is heavily used by the United States Armed Forces and is replacing the M16 rifle in most United States Army and United States Marine Corps combat units as the primary infantry weapon.
Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: 838 mm (stock extended); 757 mm (stock fully collapsed)
Barrel length: 370 mm
Weight: 2.52 kg without magazine; 3.0 kg with magazine loaded with 30 rounds
Rate of fire: 700 — 950 rounds per minute
Maximum effective range: 360 m
NATO assault rifles
NATO machine guns
M249 light machine gun
The FN Minimi / M249 SAW is an air cooled, gas operated, belt fed, automatic weapon. The Minimi is operated using conventional gas action with the gas piston located below the barrel, and the barrel is locked using the traditional rotary bolt. The barrel is quick-detachable, and has a carrying handle attached to it,to help for quick replacement procedure. The M249 has an alternative feed system, which allows to use disintegrating metallic belts as a primary feed option, or M16-type box magazines as a back-up feed option. The belt is feed using the top feed unit, the magazines are inserted through the magazine port,located at the left side of the receiver and angled down.
Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO
Weight: 7.1 kg
Length: 1040 mm
Barrel length: 465 mm
Feeding: belt or magazines
Rate of fire, cyclic: 750 — 1000 rounds per minute
Effective firing range: 700 m
Heckler-Koch HK 221 machine gun (Germany)
The HK 221 machine gun was developed in around 2007-2008 by famous German arms-making company Heckler und Koch for participation in new general purpose machine gun trials for French and German armed forces. It is based on the famous Belgian FN MAG machine gun, as a variant of the FN MAG, known as L7A2 is manufactured by Heckler-Koch under contract from British Ministry of Defense. Current position of the HK 221 machine gun is somehow uncertain, as French army recently selected original Belgian FN MAG machine guns as their future 7,62mm GPMG, and German armed forces seem to prefer another design by Heckler-Koch, the HK 121 machine gun.
Weight, empty: 11,7 kg
Length: 1185 mm
Barrel length: 547 mm
Rate of fire: 600 – 800 rounds per minute
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