Why do militaries around the world issue assault rifles?
Why the switch from .30 caliber-range cartridges to the .22 caliber range? The media, including the pro-gun media, has done a good job brainwashing the average public about “assault weapons” and such garbage.
The concept was developed in WWII by the Germans, who pioneered many new weapon designs to support their “Blitzkreig” offensive tactics. Instead of holing up in some muddy trench, the Germans were mobile, and effectively integrated artillery, armor and infantry.
To make the troops more nimble, the relatively new small arms designs from WWI were made lighter and faster to use. Medium machine guns were used to defend trenches and were water-cooled to fulfill a SF (sustained fire) role. German designers improved on the concept by utilizing a quick change barrel (e.g., MG34 and MG42) to eliminate the overly heavy water jacket and condenser can.
Several designers noted that troops couldn’t make use of full-powered, bolt-action rifles and submachine guns with pistol ammo weren’t effective at long range, so it was decided to mutate a rifle with a subgun. The result was the Sturmgewehr, or “storm gun.” It fired an intermediate cartridge and bridged the gap between true rifles and submachine guns. This was the first assault rifle.
So, why does the military prefer assault rilfes? People make a big deal about “high powered, military designed, killing machines”, but don’t understand what the military needs in small arms.
Infantry engagements are usually in poor visibility with an undefined enemy force. Troops fire in the vicinity of a poorly defined “objective”, located “over there.” For instance, the immediate action drill for a sniper is to drop, yell the rough direction, (“SNIPER, 3 O’CLOCK!”) and either close in or fall back.
An individual trooper probably won’t be able to find a clear target to engage so he engages with “suppressive fire.” That is, shooting about one round every two seconds at the “objective”, which is a target may not be visible. The idea is to (hopefully) pin down the enemy while another element maneuvers. Then the roles are switched and another element shoots. This fire storm is basically a ruse, but it is effective. You might not have a target but you lay down lead and hope your enemy doesn’t realize this!
Also, add in the fact that your typical troop is a lousy shot. Sorry to have to say this, but military trained personnel rarely receive enough quality instruction and training time to match the skill level of competitive shooters. Add this lackluster skill set to the speed, stress, and unstable shooting conditions of combat and dependable hits to individual targets become iffy beyond hand grenade range so we compensate by shooting more.
That is why you read reports such as 20,000 rounds fired per enemy killed. But this “fire storm” works. Military small arms are designed to be bullet hoses even though the equipment is capable of shooting with reasonable precision. That’s why military rifles and carbines are chambered in intermediate cartridges. The trooper can carry more! Basic load for an infantryman is 7 30-round magazines, or 210 rounds and most carry more.
This tactic only works in large groups. Typically, infantry attacks on the company level (over 100 men) and has lots of support. They need it to provide all that ammo they are going to spray!
Assault rifles can shoot fast. But shooting fast isn’t lethal. Hitting fast is lethal.
For the individual, who has to provide his own ammo, the goal is one shot, one hit. With a rifle past 25 yards fast HITS are more dependant on quality of sights, trigger and shooter SKILL.
A skilled rifleman with a lever action .30-30 will beat an unskilled shooter with an “assault rifle” every time. The assault rifle can lay down alot of lead, but you that doesn’t matter if you want fast HITS.
Skill wins. Your rifle will do if you will.