A battle rifle is a firearm that uses full-power rifle ammunition, such as the 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Winchester) round, and is capable of selective fire. They were the connecting link between semi-automatic rifles (SVT-40, Gewehr 43) and assault rifles (M16, AK-47).
Compared to the weapons that they replaced, battle rifles enabled a soldier to put out a higher volume of fire. Their caliber also gave them superior range, penetration, power, and accuracy at extended ranges when compared to submachine guns, which were also capable of full-automatic fire.
Their distinguishing characteristics are:
- Semi- and full-auto firing capability
- The use of full-sized rifle caliber ammunition, typically stored in an easily detachable magazine, and
- A pistol grip (in most cases)
Their drawbacks include high weight, low magazine capacity, low amount of ammunition carried by a single soldier, and being virtually uncontrollable in full auto due to heavy recoil.
Though battle rifles were eventually supplanted in mainstream service by assault weapons, many are still used in specialist roles by many armed forces and police units.
- FN FAL (and its British clone the L1A1)
- CETME + H&K G3
- FN SCAR H
- Howa Type 64
- H&K HK417
- Beretta BM-59