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Automatic firearm

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Title: Automatic firearm  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Burst mode (weapon), M16 rifle, Submachine gun, Machine pistol, 5th Battalion 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment
Collection: Firearm Actions
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Automatic firearm

An M2 Browning machine gun, surrounded by ejected cartridge cases

An automatic firearm continuously fires rounds as long as the trigger is pressed and held and there is ammunition in the magazine/chamber. In contrast, a semi-automatic firearm fires one round with each individual trigger-pull.[1]

Although both "semi automatic" and "fully automatic" firearms are "automatic" in the technical sense that the firearm automatically cycles between rounds with each trigger pull, the terms "automatic weapon" and "automatic firearm" are conventionally reserved by firearm enthusiasts to describe fully automatic firearms. Use of this convention can avoid confusion.[1] Firearms are further defined by the type of firearm action used.


  • Projection 1
  • Types 2
  • Uses 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5


The speed of fully automatic firearms is measured in rounds per minute (RPM) or rounds per second (RPS), in what is called the Rate of fire. The speed of fully automatic firearms is compared to each other this way.


Automatic and semi-automatic firearms can be divided into six main categories:

  • Assault rifle—the standard type of service rifles in most modern armies, capable of both automatic and semi-automatic fire.[2]
    • Battle rifle—a heavier-caliber type of service rifle that some classify as an assault rifle while others see them as a class of their own.[2]
  • Automatic shotgun—a type of combat shotgun that is capable of firing shotgun shells automatically, usually also semi-automatically.[2]
  • Machine gun—a large group of heavier firearms used for automatic fire of rifle ammunition, usually attached to a mount or supported by a bipod. Depending on size and weight, machine guns are divided into heavy, medium or light machine guns. The ammunition is often belt-fed.[2]
  • Submachine gun—an automatic, short rifle (carbine) that uses pistol cartridges. Nowadays seldom used militarily, due to body armour making them ineffective, but they are commonly used by police forces and close protection units in many parts of the world.[2]
  • Personal defense weapon—a new breed of automatic firearms that combine the lightness and size of the submachine gun with the heavier-calibre ammunition of the assault rifle, thus in practice, creating a submachine gun with body armor penetration capability.[2]
  • Machine pistol—a handgun-style firearm, capable of fully automatic or burst fire. They are sometimes equipped with a foldable shoulder stock, to enable better accuracy during automatic fire, which then makes them very similar to submachine guns. Some machine pistols are shaped very similar to semi-automatics (e.g. the Glock 18). As with SMGs, machine pistols generally fire pistol caliber cartridges (such as the 9mm, .40, .45 ACP etc.).[2]


Automatic weapons tend to be restricted to

  1. ^ a b c Carter, Gregg Lee (2012). Guns in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law. ABC-CLIO. p. 53.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Cutshaw, Charles Q. (28 February 2011). Tactical Small Arms of the 21st Century: A Complete Guide to Small Arms From Around the World. Iola, Wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. p. 250.  
  3. ^ "Secure Gun Trust". Retrieved 20 February 2015. 


See also

  • Autocannon, which are 15 mm or greater in bore diameter or larger and thus considered cannons, not small arms.
  • Gatling guns, multiple barrel designs, often used with external power supplies to generate rates of fire higher than automatic firearms.

Other similar weapons not usually called automatic firearms are the following:

[3] to register with the BATFE has become an increasingly popular method of acquisition and ownership of automatic firearms.gun trust, which is the legal document allowing possession of an automatic firearm. The use of a revenue stamp. The tax payment buys a background check (ATF), which requires a federal tax payment of $200 and a thorough criminal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. A prospective user must go through an application process administered by the National Firearms Act, taxes and strict regulations affect the manufacture and sale of fully automatic firearms under the United States In the [1]

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