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Calque of German Sturmgewehr (literally storm rifle). The Maschinenpistole 44 was called the Sturmgewehr by Adolf Hitler, whence it was renamed to represent the separate class of firearm it represented.


assault rifle (plural assault rifles)

  1. A military select-fire rifle or carbine that fires a shortened rifle caliber round or lower-power smaller-calibre round, from a high-capacity magazine.
    • 2014, Jeff Jacobson, Growth, page 23:
      A man dressed as a lab tech, his blue scrubs startlingly pale against the vivid red and black chaos, moved into sight from behind the SUV. He carried an assault rifle.
  2. (colloquial) Any firearm meeting the definition of an assault weapon, and in the form of a rifle.

Usage notesEdit

Especially in the US, some or all types of semi automatic rifles (assault weapons) are sometimes referred to as assault rifles.


See alsoEdit

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