Assault rifles vs. Assault weapons

In United States politics and law, an assault weapon is a variety of semi-automatic firearms that have certain features generally associated with military firearms, including assault rifles. The 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired on September 13, 2004, codified the definition of an assault weapon. It defined the rifle type of assault weapon as a semiautomatic firearm with the ability to accept a detachable magazine and two or more of the following:

The assault weapons ban did not restrict weapons capable of fully automatic fire, such as assault rifles and machine guns, which have been continuously and heavily regulated since the National Firearms Act of 1934 was passed. Subsequent laws such as the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 also affected the importation and civilian ownership of fully automatic firearms, the latter fully prohibiting sales of newly manufactured machine guns to non-law enforcement or SOT (special occupational taxpayer) dealers

An assault rifle is a select-fire (either fully automatic or burst capable) rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. It is not to be confused with assault weapons. Assault rifles are the standard service rifles in most modern armies. Assault rifles are categorized in between light machine guns, which are intended more for sustained automatic fire in a light support role, and submachine guns, which fire a pistol cartridge rather than a rifle cartridge.

Examples of assault rifles include the StG 44, AK-47, M16 rifle, QBZ-95, INSAS, Heckler & Koch G36, and Enfield SA80.

The assault rifle became the standard military rifle in the post-World War II era. The Soviet Union led the way with the AK-47, and other nations followed later. Combat experience during the World Wars had shown that most infantry combat took place at 200–300 meters (218–328 yards) distance and that the winner of any given firefight would most likely be the one with the highest rate of fire. The rifle cartridges of the day were therefore unnecessarily powerful, producing recoil and report in exchange for marginal benefit. The lower power of the intermediate cartridge meant that each soldier could fire more bullets faster and/or with less recoil and its lighter weight allowed more ammunition to be carried.

The term assault rifle is a translation of the German word Sturmgewehr (literally "storm rifle", as in "to storm a position"). The name was coined by Adolf Hitler as a new name for the Maschinenpistole 43, subsequently known as the Sturmgewehr 44, the firearm generally considered the first assault rifle that served to popularise the concept and form the basis for today's modern assault rifles.

The translation assault rifle gradually became the common term for similar firearms sharing the same technical definition as the StG 44. In a strict definition, a firearm must have at least the following characteristics to be considered an assault rifle:

Rifles that meet most of these criteria, but not all, are technically not assault rifles despite frequently being considered as such. For example, semi-automatic-only rifles like the AR-15 (which the M16 rifle is based on) that share designs with assault rifles are not assault rifles, as they are not capable of switching to automatic fire and thus are not selective fire capable. Belt-fed weapons or rifles with fixed magazines are likewise not assault rifles because they do not have detachable box magazines.

The term "assault rifle" is often more loosely used for commercial or political reasons to include other types of arms, particularly arms that fall under a strict definition of the battle rifle, or semi-automatic variant of military rifles such as AR-15s.

The US Army defines assault rifles as "short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachinegun and rifle cartridges.

Assault weapon is a non-technical term referring to any of a broad category of firearms with certain features, including some semiautomatic rifles, some pistols, and some shotguns. There is a variety of statutory definitions of assault weapons in local, state, and federal laws in the United States that define them by a set of characteristics they possess. Using lists of physical features or specific firearms in defining assault weapons in the U.S. was first codified by the language of the now-expired 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban.[1] sometimes described as military-style features useful in combat.[2] A common usage is to interchange the term with assault rifle, but unlike that term, "assault weapon" has no consistent or specific definition and so is subject to varying definitions for varying purposes, including definitions that include common non-military-style firearms.

The term was most notably used in the language of the now-expired Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994, more commonly known as the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004. The federal assault weapons ban specifically prohibited 19 guns considered to be assault weapons. These were all semi-automatic firearms, meaning that they can eject spent shell casings and chamber the next round without additional human action, but (as opposed to automatic firearms) only one round is fired per pull of the trigger.[3] In addition to the 19 weapons specifically prohibited, the federal assault weapons ban also defined as a prohibited assault weapon any semiautomatic rifle with a detachable magazine and at least two of the following five items: a folding or telescopic stock; a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon; a bayonet mount; a flash suppressor or threaded barrel (a barrel that can accommodate a flash suppressor); or a grenade launcher. The act also defined as a prohibited assault weapon semi-automatic pistols that weighed more than 50 ounces when unloaded or included a barrel shroud, and barred the manufacture of magazines capable of carrying more than 10 rounds.[3]

Although the federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004, several states have their own assault weapons bans, which sometimes differ from the former federal law. For example, in California, the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 bars a number of specific firearm models as well as firearms that have one of a number of features.[

Assault weapon (semi-automatic) refers primarily (but not exclusively) to firearms that possess the cosmetic features of an assault rifle (which are fully-automatic). Actually possessing the operational features, such as 'full-auto', is not required for classification as an assault weapon; merely the possession of cosmetic features is enough to warrant such classification as an assault weapon. Semi-automatic firearms, when fired, automatically extract the spent cartridge casing and load the next cartridge into the chamber, ready to fire again; they do not fire automatically like a machine gun; rather, only one round is fired with each trigger pull.

In the former U.S. law, the legal term assault weapon included certain specific semi-automatic firearm models by name (e.g., Colt AR-15, TEC-9, non-select-fire AK-47s produced by three manufacturers, and Uzis) and other semi-automatic firearms because they possess a minimum set of cosmetic features from the following list of features:

         Semi-automatic rifles able to accept detachable magazines and two or more of the following:
Semi-automatic pistols with detachable magazines and two or more of the following:
Semi-automatic shotguns with two or more of the following:
A WASR-10 what has (1) the hand grip, and (2) the automtic with 15+ clip. That’s 2 characteristic of the “assault weapon” definition, but not more than 2 characteristics. So what does this really mean? The assault weapons ban that just expired meant jack shit. You can, and always could run down to your local bullet shop and purchase a WASR-10.
The Century Intl Arms, Inc., GP WASR-10 is a semi-automatic-only rendition of the famous 7.62x39 mm AKM rifle configured with a fixed laminated stock and a laminated fore-end.

Manufactured in Rumania, the 7.62x39 mm GP WASR-10 is imported as a single-stack rifle that accepts single-column 10-round magazines. After arriving in the U.S., the rifles are disassembled, the magazine wells machined out to accept double-stack magazines, and the requisite number of U.S.-made parts are installed for BATFE compliance.

In the case of this particular variant, the U.S.-made parts are as follows: trigger, hammer, disconnector, compensator, gas piston and pistol grip. The trigger, hammer and disconnector are investment cast from 4140 steel for Century by Thompson Investment Castings, while the compensator and stainless steel gas piston are manufactured by a local firm. The synthetic pistol grip is manufactured by Century.

With the sunsetting of the so-called assault-weapons ban in September of 2004, semi-automatic rifles are now allowed to have features such as threaded muzzles, folding/collapsing stocks and bayonet lugs. Consequently, this particular GP WASR-10 features a threaded muzzle (with a removable, slant brake) and a bayonet lug. Currently the rifles are imported without these features, requiring Century to thread the muzzles and weld on and machine new bayonet lugs. The rifle came with a batch of accessories, including a canvas double magazine pouch, two 30-round magazines, a cleaning kit designed to fit in the buttstock storage compartment, and an early-style Model 59 bayonet.