The most popular machines in the world
Since the invention of gunpowder and the appearance of the first kulevrin and pishchali, firearms have played an increasingly large role in arming the armies of the world. It has gone a long way of evolution from completely primitive devices, representing a piece of iron or copper pipe bolted to a stick, to the most modern assault rifles equipped with laser, collimator and night sights and capable of hitting the enemy at a distance of hundreds of meters at any time of day.
Firearms gradually replaced cold weapons, and now, despite the presence of artillery, aircraft, and even submarines with nuclear ballistic missiles, a significant proportion of the enemy’s losses falls on small arms, including automatic ones. What kind of assault rifles and assault / automatic rifles have become the most widespread and widespread?
HK G3 (Heckler & Koch automatic rifle)
The rifle was created by German gunsmiths and adopted by the Bundeswehr in 1959.It allowed both single and automatic fire. At the same time, a powerful rifle cartridge made it impossible to shoot accurately at long distances in bursts. The rifle G3, oddly enough, does not have a special media and is widely known here (like, for example, M16) is not known. It is characterized by relative simplicity, reliability, and most importantly, low price. For these reasons, the G3 is widespread in different parts of the world. This rifle consisted or is in service with more than 70 different countries, it was also produced under license outside of Germany.
weight - from 4.4 to 4.7 kg, depending on the model;
caliber - 7.62;
initial speed of a bullet - 850 m / s;
firing rate - 500-600 V / m.
At the moment, in the Bundeswehr, the G3 has been replaced by a new automatic rifle (or rather, a whole rifle complex) G36. Experts call it one of the best in the world.
FN FAL (Belgian rifle corporation FN Corporation)
Initially, the Belgians developed their rifle for an intermediate cartridge, trying to ease the design. However, as a result, FN FAL received the main patron of NATO of that time (7.62 × 51) and was planned as the main infantry weapon of all countries of the North Atlantic bloc.And although the United States abandoned this rifle, for political reasons, preferring the M14 to be inferior to it, the Belgian design began to enter into service with most of the alliance countries and their allies.
The rifle was made not only in Belgium, but also under license - in Austria, Great Britain and Brazil. It spread across the globe and became, along with the Kalashnikov assault rifle, the most popular and numerous small arms. If the AK was in service in the USSR and the countries that chose the communist path of development, then FN FAL most often acted as its opponent and even got the nickname “the right hand of the free world”, participating in most post-war conflicts.
The weapon turned out to be reliable and unpretentious. It made it possible to conduct effective fire by single shots over considerable distances. Shooting the same bursts, like the German G3, was extremely difficult because of too powerful rifle cartridge. Along with the main version of the rifle, there were a number of varieties, some of which are produced up to the present.
weight - from 3.9 to 6 kg, depending on the model;
caliber - 7.62;
the initial speed of the bullet - 825 m / s;
firing rate - 650-700 v / m.
Together with the undeniable merits of FN FAL, she also had shortcomings. First of all, this is a large mass of the system and ammunition, in the second - the redundancy of the rifle cartridge in most fire situations. Both engineers have tried to eliminate the problems in the following sample.
M16 (American Colt assault rifle)
One of the most recognizable samples of modern small arms. Along with AK and FN, FAL is the most widespread and widespread rifle in the world. It is used in all countries of the world and released in various versions by a lot of almost 9 million pieces. The main competitor of the Kalashnikov assault rifle.
After World War II, the Americans switched to the so-called assault rifles later than other states. When in other NATO countries the FN FAL was armed, and the USSR and its allies were using AK with might and main, the United States continued to exploit the M14, a rifle of the previous generation.
At the same time, a later transition to a new automaton allowed us to significantly improve previous samples. After conducting thorough research, the US military came to the conclusion that in current conflicts a large role is played not so much by the accuracy of each shot as by the density of fire.Since the existing samples for rifle cartridge allowed to fire in bursts only limitedly, the engineers developed a 5.56 × 45 cartridge, which after some time became the main NATO. A less powerful cartridge with a light bullet made it possible to increase the initial speed, reduce recoil and reduce the overall weight of both the weapon itself and the portable ammunition.
The rifle was designed by Eugene Stoner and was originally called the AR-15. It was produced in limited quantities by the company "Armalight". Subsequently, the machine very much attracted the military and became mass-produced by the Colt Corporation under the name of M16.
The rifle received the baptism of fire in the difficult conditions of South Asia. Compared to previous models of small arms, the M16 gave the impression of something alien. She was lightweight, very comfortable and ergonomic. Shooting with both single shots and bursts was easy and gave impressive results.
Nevertheless, the alleged triumph of the M16 in Vietnam turned into a complete failure. In order to maximize the ease and balance of weapons widely used aluminum alloys.The details of the rifle were complex, numerous and well-fitted to each other. The slightest hit of dirt caused delays, cleaning was a complicated process requiring sterile conditions. As a result - to many American soldiers, the M16 was worth its life, which is why fighters often preferred trouble-free AKs to their miracle rifle. It was then that the myth that the “black rifle” became a weapon of peacetime began to take root.
Despite the extremely low reliability, the machine continued to improve. The base model M16 was replaced by the M16A1, followed by an improved version of the M16A2.
weight - from 2.4 to 4 kg, depending on the model;
caliber - 5.56;
the initial speed of the bullet - 900-990 m / s;
firing rate - 750-950 in / m.
Currently, the M16A4 version is being released, but the M4 carbine is the most popular. In fact, it is a shortened version of the M16 with a telescopic butt. There are other differences.
Designed for armored vehicles and special forces, the carbine eventually became popular with the infantry. Now, most US Army soldiers are rearming on M4. And many units - on a completely new type of FN SCAR or HK-416.
Although at the moment it is believed that the shortcomings of the M16 / M4 are practically eliminated, nevertheless, the rifle is not yet a model of simplicity and reliability. Despite its many advantages, it did not receive the same popularity as the Kalashnikov assault rifle.
AK (Kalashnikov assault rifle) and its modifications
The Kalashnikov assault rifle has been the most common and numerous small arms in the world for half a century. In order to represent the popularity of this genius automaton, we note that the total number of AK produced by all modifications in the USSR, Russia and under license around the world amounted to about 80 million copies. This is almost 10 times more than in the case of the M16, and more than all the other assault rifles and assault rifles made together!
Many believe that Mikhail Kalashnikov either simply copied the sample of Hugo Schmeisser, or entirely appropriated his machine gun. Nevertheless, those who think so are mistaken. No matter how fantastic it may sound, Mikhail Timofeevich, without special education, was able to create universal weapons, which became the main rifle unit in the Soviet army. The designer himself was a military man and he knew what kind of machine gun a soldier needed.
The basis was really taken StG-44 and the idea of weapons under the intermediate cartridge. As a result, the automatic caliber 7.62 turned out to be quite powerful, but at the same time relatively small, light and, most importantly, simple and cheap. Mass production of weapons began in 1949. Its production could be arranged at almost any factory, and every recruit could learn how to handle AK.
But the best quality of the machine, in many ways, even unexpectedly for its creators, was reliability unmatched for an automatic weapon. If the American M16 rifle in Vietnam stuck to the slightest dust or water, the AK-47 fired in almost any conditions. The Internet is full of commercials, when sand is poured into the receiver of a Kalashnikov machine gun and the weapon continues to fire without delays or misfires.
AKM came to replace AK, an improved model of the machine.
Characteristics of AK-47:
weight - from 3.8 to 4.8 kg, depending on the model;
caliber - 7.62;
initial speed of a bullet - 715 m / s;
firing rate - 600 V / m.
At the same time, it is necessary to recognize that the rifle M16, which appeared 15 years later and used a small-caliber cartridge, surpassed the AK by shooting characteristics.She was more accurate and single, and especially the fire bursts. In 1974, a completely new model of the Kalashnikov assault rifle appeared - chambered for the caliber of 5.45 × 39 (similar to the American 5.56 × 45). The weapon received the designation AK-74. The initial speed of the bullet increased from 715 to 900 m / s, the recoil decreased and, accordingly, the accuracy increased.
At this evolution of the machine is not over. Currently, numerous modifications of AK for various calibers, including NATO 5.56, have been developed. There are shortened options and options with a folding butt. Wooden forend and stock replaced with high-strength plastic.
In the 1980s, a competition was held for a new machine for the Russian army. The main contenders along with the new AK were the Nikonov AN-94 machine gun and the AEK-971 machine gun.
Victory won AN-94, which showed the best accuracy of shooting. At the same time, the reliability of the new weapon was lower than that of the AK, therefore the machine gun entered into service with limited lots for special forces.
The newest Kalashnikov assault rifle, the AK-12, which meets modern requirements, is entering the 21st century.
Various modifications of the Kalashnikov assault rifle took part in all conflicts and are actively used at present.Many experts recognize that the AK - the most successful small arms ever created by man. It is also the most deadly.