Recently, it has become fashionable to make ratings of weapons, it is not clear, however, what is the reason, either a series of programs from the Discovery channel, or something else. In a word, I could not resist fashion and the autumn exacerbation and decided to make my own small rating of machines, I will hope that it will seem more objective to the site visitors than the rating of foreign experts, well, if I forget someone's favorite toy, then I ask you to throw stones those that are easier. We will not make lists of TOP-100 and TOP-1000, we will limit ourselves to 7 prizes. Seven - and the number is beautiful, and not very large, at least by the time you read the last lines of the shooting hit parade, the first ones will not be forgotten, well, if the rating passes the test by the masses, then there will be machine guns, broken for their intended purpose, and not all of them. heap, and pistols, and stuff. Not right away, of course, but they will.
I want to make a correction right away that the rating is called "… among machine guns", but there will be automatic rifles as well, just many people know that the term machine gun can only be attributed to an automatic carbine, and not to an automatic rifle. In turn, a carbine is a shortened version of a rifle, roughly speaking, many suggest measuring the length of the barrel with calibers and, based on the measurement, make a conclusion: the carbine in front of us is an automatic or a rifle, but it seems to me that there is nothing to show your mind where it is not necessary. If our domestic automatic carbines and automatic rifles are historically called submachine guns, then they should be called that, because everyone understands what kind of weapon they are, and besides, only we have submachine guns, let everyone else get jealous with their long names and break their heads over what kind of weapon it is - a submachine gun. But back to the rating, let's start not quite traditionally, from the first place, and it makes sense to start from the end, if for intrigue, then in this rating it cannot be, because there can be only one unconditional leader and it is hardly possible to find a weapon, which could compete with him for the first place.
1. Kalashnikov assault rifles
In order not to single out one of the whole variety of Kalashnikov assault rifles, we will take everything at once. Why exactly this weapon is in the first place to explain, I think, is not necessary, here is the spread throughout the world, and the survivability of the machine, and a whole bunch of other things. These weapons are not relegated to the background and are not the best characteristics in terms of accuracy by modern standards. In the end, the assault rifle was created for mass armament, and for this it suits perfectly well. Simplicity of design, maintenance and operation - all this made this weapon the most common in the world, in addition, do not forget about the price in production, which made it possible to establish the production of Kalashnikov assault rifles in many countries, including in the absence of a license for production and modernization … Since 1949, this weapon has managed to take part in all military conflicts on the globe, and in the near future it is unlikely that anything can replace this weapon, since there are a lot of weapons that are used, and those that are simply mothballed in warehouses. uncountable quantity. Officially, for more than 60 years of the existence of weapons, more than 70 million units of various modifications have been released, and this is only according to official data in the USSR, and then in Russia, how many Kalashnikov assault rifles "walk" around the world, hardly anyone can say, but this figure will clearly exceed the official one many times over. And the official data are also increasing, so recently a contract was signed with Venezuela for the supply of 100 thousand AK103, and in the future it is planned to conclude an agreement for the supply of 920 thousand automatic machines, that is, plus one million to the official statistics.
However, in the opinion of many, the Kalashnikov assault rifle is already at the end of its "life cycle", since its design has been perfected and there will be no major breakthroughs in its improvement. In principle, it is difficult to disagree with this, indeed, the designers did everything to squeeze the maximum out of the design of the weapon, it remains only to carry out improvements sacrificing the reliability of the weapon, which naturally no one wants to do, since in this way the Kalashnikov assault rifle from a legend will turn into a completely ordinary model, not much standing out from hundreds of others. On the other hand, it is difficult to believe that there is nowhere to move on in the development of the AK, especially since at the moment there are already a lot of interesting ideas that are unlikely to affect the survivability and reliability of the weapon, but at the same time will increase its effectiveness. For example, you can take the option with a two-rate mode of fire for different positions of the shooter without cut-off, which was proposed by German Alexandrovich Korobov. The gunsmith suggested using a rate of 500 rounds per minute for shooting from a prone position and a rate of about 2,000 rounds per minute for shooting from awkward positions. In practice, this increased the accuracy of firing by one and a half to two times. Ease of implementation, slightly more difficult to control weapons, but at the same time, a significant increase in the accuracy of fire in short bursts. And if we add to this all a new ammunition with a caliber of 6, 5 or 6, 8 millimeters, then it is quite possible to add another 15-20 years to the service life of the AK. Another thing is that this will require very large investments of which very little can be put into your pocket, therefore foreign weapons or individual parts of non-domestic production will be ordered.
Nevertheless, no one can dispute the fact that at the moment the AK and any of its modifications are the best weapons for mass weapons even now without any design changes and additional priblud that they want to attach to the weapon in the near future. Of course, now there are many foreign models that are not inferior in reliability to the Kalashnikov assault rifle, however, all of them are either too expensive, or complicated, or simply not “promoted” like our domestic AK. In general, the Kalashnikov assault rifle is the number one assault rifle in the world, if not by its characteristics, then by its prevalence and history of use in all military conflicts since the second half of the twentieth century.
2. Automatic rifle M16
I think that no one will argue with the second place in the rating, after all, M16 weapons also have a history, albeit a little shorter than that of Kalashnikov assault rifles, but still quite long. Despite all the complaints about the not very high reliability of the first versions of the "black rifle", this weapon kept afloat and remains the main one for the US Army. In many ways, for this, we must say thanks to the designers who managed to bring to mind not the best scheme for the operation of automation. And although the latest versions of the M16 are still very far from the title of "the most reliable machine gun", and it is unlikely that this title will ever belong to this weapon at all, the rifle in its reliability shows results for a strong four, in fact, it is not surprising, because we are talking about the second largest sample in its class. In total, more than 10 million units of various modifications of the M16 were produced for the entire time, and this is without taking into account various options from other manufacturers, in other words, the M16 is the second most popular rifle after the AK.
By the way, the M16 is just as often copied as the Kalashnikov assault rifle, but only the majority of copies have a slightly different type of automation, which increases the reliability of the weapon, so these samples can only be considered relative of the "black rifle" conditionally. At the moment, the M16 has completely captured two continents - North America and Australia, almost all large countries in South America also use these weapons, but Eurasia and Africa are still holding on, preferring either the domestic cheaper and more reliable AK, or using others not cheap weapon options. However, among these continents, you can find countries in which M16 has taken root well. Moreover, these countries with different levels of development from Zaire to Italy, where this weapon is in service with the special forces. To understand the massive spread of weapons, it is enough to give a list of countries that use them: USA, Australia, Argentina, Afghanistan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bahrain, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Great Britain, East Timor, Vietnam, Haiti, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Grenada, Greece, Georgia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Zaire, Yemen, Israel, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Iraq, Iceland, Italy, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Qatar, Colombia, Costa -Rica, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, Nigeria, Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, UAE, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of Korea, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, Fiji, Philippines, France, Chile, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Japan. Of course, in many of the above countries, the M16 is not the main weapon, in many it is used as a backup in case of war, there are also many modifications and not specifically the M16, but, nevertheless, this impressive list fully justifies the position of the weapon in the rating. Moreover, the M16 is a kind of "enemy" of the AK, and the enemy must be respected and reckoned with, so despite all the disadvantages of weapons, which are becoming less and less every year, the second place in my personal opinion rightfully belongs to the "black rifle", although I'm sure many here will argue with me, but if you find another similar mass model of an assault rifle, then I will completely change my mind and replace the M16 with the weapon you proposed.
3. Automatic rifles FN SCAR
We walked through the old people and centenarians, now you can take on new samples, and there are many of them and they are all interesting. If I shamelessly gave the first two places in the rating to AK and M16 for their history, since these are really the two most common and "long-playing" samples, then I personally found it difficult to choose who and where to distribute, since here they are already entering the arena relatively young models, which are certainly interesting and unique in their own way, but each sample has its own advantages and it is very, very difficult to determine what is more important and what is not. It is difficult, if only because in one specific situation the plus of any weapon does not play a decisive role, and in another it becomes the main advantage of the weapon. So I do not pretend to be particularly objective further, everything is distributed only at my discretion and is purely my preferences in weapons. Well, it so happened that of the new models, SCAR is most attractive to me, and 16 and 17 are the opposite, so we are not talking about one weapon model.
To be honest, when this weapon first appeared, I decided that he was the "killer" of the M16, even though the weapon was created under the order of the US Special Operations Command. The model seemed very promising to me, but provided that the US army was never deprived of funds and such a rather bold assumption was born. Weapons began to enter the troops in 2007, but during this short period of service it managed to establish itself as a reliable and effective means of exterminating enemy personnel in the most unfavorable operating conditions. This type of weapon was based on the principle of operation of automation with the removal of powder gases from the barrel of the weapon with a short piston stroke. The barrel bore is locked when the bolt is turned by seven stops. But more on this weapon some other time. Outwardly, this image is a rather strange apparatus, the folding butt of the weapon, which is adjustable in length, looks especially strange, which is considered by many to be the ugliest of all those proposed during the existence of such a class of weapons as an automatic rifle. However, here you should think about the question of whether beauty is needed in weapons at all. It seems that the most important thing for a weapon is its reliability, accuracy, reliability and so on, but not beauty, especially for a weapon intended for the army. By the way, the SCAR stock, although it looks strange, is quite comfortable, not perfect, but close to it. In particular, it lacks a smooth length adjustment instead of a stepped one. In terms of accuracy, this weapon surpasses the M16, both with single fire and with automatic, but here a comparison can only be made if the barrels of the compared samples are of the same length, and provided that the cartridges are the same.
Identical cartridges are marked with a separate item, since such weapons as SCAR currently have two versions, chambered for the standard NATO cartridge of 5, 56 caliber, as well as chambered for 7, 62x51, as well as the NATO standard. In addition, it is mentioned that the "heavy" version of the automatic rifle can be easily adapted for Soviet-style cartridges 7, 62x39, while the weapon can be powered from the AK, AKM magazines. This was achieved due to the fact that the weapon is fully consistent with the concept of "modular", so in addition to the fact that both the "light" and "heavy" versions of an automatic rifle can have different lengths of barrels (three options for each), the line between MK.16 and Mk.17 is very conditional and only denotes what cartridges the weapon is fed with, even between these samples more than 70% of the details are identical. In general, if you choose the ideal according to such a parameter as "modularity" among automatic rifles / machine guns, then SCARs are out of competition, provided that the characteristics of the weapon are sufficiently high.
4. Automatic rifles NK 416 and NK 417
These German automatic rifles are essentially the product of the fusion of the M16 and G36. Having absorbed all the best from both models of weapons, they are easy to maintain, reliable in the most adverse operating conditions, and also have fairly high performance. In terms of their ergonomics and the arrangement of weapon controls, the NK 416 and NK 417 rifles are completely similar to the M16, which makes them especially convenient for those people who are accustomed to the "black rifle" to use. Just like SCARs, these rifles are made as modular as possible, well, as far as possible, taking into account the design of the weapon, so the repair of the NK 416 and NK 417 usually consists in a simple replacement of a separate module that has failed. The weapon is also equipped with barrels of different lengths, which makes it quite versatile. Four seats in the form of "Picatinny" rails allow you to install a wide variety of additional devices on the rifles, and in the case of the "heavy" version of the rifle chambered for 7, 62x51 cartridges, a bipod is installed on the lower rail. The butt of the weapon is made by analogy with the butt of the M4, it has 5 fixed positions to adapt to the anatomical features of the shooter, although a smooth adjustment would make the weapon more comfortable.
The basis for the NK 416 and Nk417 rifles was an automation system with the removal of powder gases from the bore with a short piston stroke. Despite the apparent external "holes", German rifles are quite resistant to dust and moisture. In other words, it is possible to speak with confidence about this weapon in the context of the well-known German quality, although it may be too early to draw such conclusions, since the weapon has not yet shown itself massively in hostilities. The main difference between the 416 model and the 417 is that the first rifle uses standard 5, 56 NATO cartridges, while the NK 417 is powered by 7, 62x51 cartridges. This makes the more model of the weapon NK 417 more effective, but here several points emerge at once that reduce this effectiveness. First of all, this is the weight of the weapon, secondly, the recoil when firing, well, and the third negative factor is the dimensions of the weapon.
The NK 416 and NK 417 rifles are fed from detachable box magazines with a capacity of 30 rounds for a small model and 10 or 20 rounds for a larger sample. The weapon is compatible with various models of underbarrel grenade launchers, however, in the case of the NK 417 model, you will have to forget about the bipod, and they are quite a necessary thing in this weapon, since the recoil when firing is really high, and in the case of firing in short bursts from a standing position, most shooters will be able to conduct only disturbing fire, although here, of course, a matter of habit, skill and the weight of the shooter.
So far, the NK 416 and NK 417 rifles have not received wide distribution, although they appeared back in 2005, however, this is easily explained not by the fact that the weapon is bad or something else, but simply by the lack of funds for mass deliveries to the army. Also, do not forget that at the moment the question of replacing ammunition 5, 56 with a more powerful cartridge with a large caliber, but not as powerful as 7, 62x51, is quite acute. As I understand it, the manufacturer relied on those ammunition that is already in service, not counting on the rapid spread of new ammunition, but apparently they forgot to take into account that if a new weapon appears, it will only be designed for new cartridges, unless that in exceptional cases the rule will be violated. However, they have recently forgotten about new, more powerful ammunition and are in no hurry with the same zeal as they were shouting about them at every corner a couple of years ago. Apparently, they are saving money for a complete re-equipment, which, in principle, is not required, since at the moment a cartridge has already been developed that is fully compatible with the old weapon chambered for cartridges 5, 56 and requires only replacing the barrel and bolt, which can be done in NK-416, and in NK 417.
5. Automatic rifle Barrett REC7
Despite the fact that many are quite skeptical about this weapon, I think that it deserves to be ranked 4th in the ranking of the best assault rifles. There are ample reasons for this. Firstly, the weapon is made for a new, promising cartridge, which proves itself more effective in comparison with cartridges 5, 56, and secondly, these are products of the Barrett company, which personally causes only positive emotions in me. However, the second point is precisely the reason why many do not take this model of weapon seriously. The fact is that the Barrett company has made a name for itself in the production of sniper rifles, mainly large-caliber, and is, to put it mildly, a beginner in the production of assault rifles. Indeed, this is the first machine gun that the company ventured to produce in large quantities, the reason is that before the Barrett REC7 there were two more options for weapons that did not go into mass production. Thus, in the first version, the company showed “this is what we can do”, in the second it brought the weapon to perfection, well, and the third, already taking into account the wishes of the military after a short “run-in” in the army, has already appeared as a completely finished model. In my opinion, such an approach in the production of weapons is fully justified, and no one can blame the Barrett REC7 for either low reliability or any other sins. If the company immediately gave its weapons to the masses in the first version, then it would be impossible to avoid talking that everyone should do their own thing, and if the company began to produce sniper rifles, then they should be engaged in them. and not to climb into other niches of weapons. And the subsequent versions of automatic rifles from the Barrett company, no matter how beautiful they are, would be perceived as clearly underestimated if the company immediately launched the production of the first version of the weapon, however, this question is too complicated to talk about something with one hundred percent a guarantee.
The basis of the automatic rifle Barrett REC7 was a new cartridge, which was offered by the Remington company, the new ammunition with the metric designation 6, 8x43 proved to be not only much more effective in comparison with 5, 56, but also as close as possible to it in its dimensions, which makes it possible to use it in the weapon, originally designed for cartridges under 5, 56 after replacing the barrel and bolt. However, here the same problem may arise that arose with the appearance of cartridges for the.357SIG pistol, which, it seems, can be used in weapons chambered for.40S & W after replacing the barrel, but this significantly increases the wear of the weapon. In the case of the Barrett automatic rifle, the weapon was originally designed for a new ammunition, but at the same time it can be adapted for a standard NATO cartridge of 5, 56 caliber, that is, there can be no problems when operating weapons with new ammunition, in principle, since it was designed for him. But if you look at all this taking into account the fact that 6, 8x43 have not yet been adopted for service, then we can say that it is unlikely that this weapon will be adopted in the US Army under its "native" cartridge, although, of course, those who if they want this weapon, they will get it, after all, the US army, and not the countries in Central Africa.
The basis for the new automatic rifle Barrett REC7, as it is not difficult to guess, was again the principle of operation of automation with the removal of powder gases from the bore of the weapon and with a short piston stroke. Despite this, many call the Barrett REC7 a further development of the M16 rifle, but this, of course, is a delusion. Simply, the fact is that the weapon is made with the maximum possible compatibility with the M16, apparently in the expectation that it will someday be adopted for service, this makes the two rifles quite similar separate elements to each other, but if you take the picture in In general, these are two different samples, even just when comparing the appearance of the weapon. In general, for the new ammunition, high quality and the correct approach to the production of weapons, the Barrett REC7 automatic rifle deserves to take the honorable fifth place in the ranking.
6. Automatic rifle NK G36
In 1995, the NK G36 automatic rifle begins to enter the German army en masse, a little later it conquers Spain, at the same time it is supplied to a number of other countries, including the United States. To be honest, I even wanted to push the novelties of the arms market and put the NK G36 in third place in the rating, but still I hope that the new weapon is promising, well, probably, it's not just that it is made and produced, apparently, they count on higher characteristics in comparison with previous models, although, of course, new does not always mean better. But, despite the fact that new weapons are being produced, NK G36 does not plan to give up its positions yet.
Although this weapon is not at all old, it has already perfectly proven itself in many military conflicts, although its presence there was not as large-scale as other models. It uses cartridges 5, 56 of the NATO standard, while it has a lot of different configuration options, which allows us to talk about the multitasking of this automatic rifle. In general, we will not pull causal places for the cat, this weapon is worthy of its place in the rating and hardly anyone will argue with this.
7. Automatic rifle Steyr AUG
This weapon takes its place in the rating not because it turned out to be better than some samples or worse, but because, in my opinion, this is one of the most successful variants of automatic rifles in the bullpup layout, and it simply does not allow it to bypass such a weapon. conscience. By the way, if there were 10 positions, then Steyr AUG would have been in last place, as again, there are better options for weapons, but in a classic layout. Of course, one can argue here that the domestic A-91M assault rifle, with the same layout, is devoid of many of the shortcomings that are inherent in weapons with such an arrangement of the main elements. But do not forget about the fairly widespread distribution of this weapon, its various options, even to the point that the Australian "promising" shooting complex was made on the basis of this weapon. In general, the 7th place is behind the Steyr AUG automatic rifle and I think that many will agree that the place occupied by this weapon rightfully belongs to at least the same layout in which it was most widely used.
In conclusion, I would like to say that this rating is purely my personal opinion, it does not claim to be the only correct one. In addition, the randomness in the choice of criteria for assessing weapons also does not allow to fully display the full picture, therefore, if the main parameter is to choose the distribution of weapons throughout the world, then the result will be one, and if we take the effectiveness of weapons as a basis, it will be different, reliability - the third, and so on. But I hope that my rating turned out to be more objective than the rating of the Discovery channel.