An assault rifle is a selective-fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine.
Many assault rifles are seen in the Rambo film series.
Assault rifles were first used during World War II and by the end of the 20th century had become the standard service rifle for most of the world's armies. Examples include the AK-47 and the M16 rifle. The Germans were the first to pioneer the assault rifle concept, during World War II, based upon research that showed that most firefights happen within 400 metres (1,300 ft) and that contemporary rifles were over-powered for most small arms combat. They sought to develop a select-fire intermediate powered rifle combining the firepower of a submachine gun with the accuracy and range of a rifle. This was done by shortening the standard 8×57mm cartridge to 8×33mm and giving it a lighter 125 grain bullet, that limited range but allowed for more controllable automatic fire. A smaller, lighter cartridge also allowed soldiers to carry more ammunition "to support the higher consumption rate of automatic fire." The rifle that the Germans came up with was the Sturmgewehr 44, or StG-44. It was a tremendous success and Hitler himself loved the rifle. Over half a million were made and fielded great combat effectiveness in the field. However, it came too late in the war to have an effect on its outcome. Following the end of World War II, Soviet soldiers noticed the StG-44 rifles and decided to make a similar rifle, which would later become known as the AK-47, the most successful assault rifle ever devised. America soon followed suit, replacing their semi-automatic battle rifle the M1 Garand and the select-fire M14 with a new assault rifle built from fiberglass, alloys and polymers, the M16. It would later go on to become the second most successful assault rifle ever devised.