Cool Guns: Assault Rifles
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The M16 assault rifle and its variants
This has been the standard rifle issued to U.S. troops from Vietnam on, and the standard issue rifle of Canadian Forces Army personel under the name C7 (and C8 for M4 derivatives), and Mexico issues it own variant (which is how cartels have so many full auto AR type guns) Originally designed by Eugene Stoner as the Armalite AR-10 (7.62x51mm), and later AR-15 (5.56x45) rifles, the M16 was marketed originally by Colt, with current versions being manufactured by FN-USA. The elevated sight profile provided by the iconic carrying handle made the rifle much easier to control in automatic fire than the M14, and the AR's trademark "direct impingement" gas system eliminated a heavy gas piston from the design, although the ramifications of this are somewhere between disputed and purely academic.
The gun is capable of making groups of less than 1 inch at 100 Yards, also called MOA (Minute of Angle) accuracy. Fires 5.56x45mm rounds in various configurations. M16A1s and A3s had semi and full automatic fire, M16A2s and A4s having semi and three round burst. Often used by the good guys
in action movies. As it has been the basic combat rifle for the US and several other nations for decades, it's fairly ubiquitous in popular culture. Often depicted as horribly unreliable, though this is only actually true of the earliest versions, which were issued without cleaning instructions, cleaning kits, and using a dirtier burning ball powder and lacking chroming of the bore and chamber. This was probably the result of sabotage done by the Army, which did not want to replace the M14. However in the 2004 dust test, the M16 and the M4 did by far the worst out of all weapons tested. The M16 can be reliably in dirty conditions, so long as it is kept very well lubricated and thoroughly cleaned at least once a day, and given immediately attention after firefights; this is a weapon where you must put quite a lot of effort into taking care of. Due to its futuristic appearance and its light weight, it was often joked that the "M" in M16 stood for Mattel, and on that basis, some soldiers refused to use it in Vietnam. These looks, coupled with the fact that our military uses the M4, cause certain "Stop Having Fun" Guys
to try to ban the AR and other guns like it based on certain cosmetic features. The platform, known as the AR15, is the basis of a huge number of variant designs
, including the M4 [see below]. The M16's caliber has since become the standard for all wealthy first world nations, and even versions of the below AK and QBZ-95 have been made to fire that caliber. The gun is very popular in the US civilian firearms market, and dozens of manufacturers of different quality and price produce the AR, as well as its over 9000 different accessories and upper receivers of various lengths and calibers.
The 16 inch barrel AR-15 dominates the world of tactical shooting and 3-gun, in no small part due to its exceptional inherent accuracy, as well and being the gun that millions of shooters, who were formerly in the armed forces, learned to use. It is the favorite gun of Mall Ninjas
and all other sorts of shooters. The AR-15 is a rather expensive gun, with low end variants going for $800, but these are the most prone to being nightmarishly unreliable and the worst made. A quality AR will easily run you $1400 or more. For a better plain english explanation, go here.
The modular nature of the AR-15 platform means that it's also possible to buy all the component parts and build your own, and some shooters prefer to do exactly that.
- Cool Action: The "tap and slap," sometimes seen in military based films where the soldier who is reloading lightly taps the top of the magazine on his helmet before inserting the magazine into the rifle (this is to ensure the rounds are stacked correctly and prevent misfeeds) and hits the bolt release paddle with his palm, though its often shortened to just slapping the bolt release. This is also done with the M4. The tap action might end up being performed with any gun on the simple basis that it looks badass, but is particularly associated with the M16.
- Pretty much any video game in a modern war setting will include a member of the AR15 family.
- Any work set during The Vietnam War will most likely feature the M16, appropriately enough.
- "Say hello to my little friend!" Tony Montana of Scarface (1983) uses this with the underbarrel grenade launcher to mount a final stand against Sosa's assassins.
- Mentioned in passing in one chapter of Racer and the Geek. Aparently, the Afghneighn army used these weapons.
- Among the many, many weapons used by Mack Bolan.
- Shows up in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater as the XM16E1, despite being set before the introduction of the weapon. A Hand Wave explains that the Russians must have stolen one of the experimental versions. This does nothing to explain why they have so many suppressors for the weapons lying around, or the completely incompatible ammunition.
- Duke Togo uses a scoped variant with a custom cheek pad.
- Carried by the guards in Escape from New York and one is also use by the president in his CMOA at the end, notable in that for some bizarre reason, the handguards had been removed from all of them.
- And in the sequel Escape from L.A., the rifle given to Snake before he goes into the city is a cut down M16 with a scope and some kibble added to make it look futuristic.
- The M16A2 plays a big part in Operation Flashpoint, where it's the standard rifle of the U.S. soldiers and is given to the player in 90% of the missions. At one point, one of the other soldiers in the player's unit proclaims his admiration of it, saying: "It's beautiful. How could you not love it?" However, the M16A2 would have been inaccurate for that time period; the M16A1 would have been more correct.
- Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising features the M16A4 in several configurations, as well as the M4A1. The ARMA series also features multiple versions of both the M16 and M4. ARMA III's "Katiba 6.5mm" is modeled after the Iranian KH2002 version, modified with a G36C-style carry handle.
- The Battlefield 2 mod Project Reality features the M16A4 as the primary weapon of the US Marine Corps faction, with an optional M203 launcher, ACOG scope, red dot sight, or a bayonet for when things get up close and personal. The Hamas faction likewise gets several variants of the M16A1, with options of an A2 handguard, M203, or a scope.
- In normal Battlefield 2, the USMC's Assault and Medic classes' primary weapon is an M16A2. The Assault class gets an attached M203.
- Battlefield: Bad Company has the M16A4.
- Battlefield 3 is notable in that it includes both the full-auto M16A3 and the three-round-burst M16A4. Getting enough points in the Co-Op mode also unlocks an Iranian-made bullpup based on the weapon, the KH2002. Battlefield 4 has just the A4 returning.
- Featured in all three Modern Warfare games, though outside of multiplayer it's a rare sight, only easily available to the player in one mission per game.
- The flamethrower in Aliens was made from cut-up M16 receivers and an M203 handguard.
- Used in both Left 4 Dead games.
- Shows up in The Punisher so he can bitch about how it was a useless piece of plastic crap that got GIs killed in Vietnam. As he stated once, "break the stock over someone's head and that's all you've done."
- Sometimes used by The A-Team.
- The M16 with an M203 is an unlockable weapon in Black.
- The rifles used by the zombified soldiers in Doom are modeled on the M16. The Brutal Doom mod replaces the pistol with one of these.
- The "Service Rifle" in Fallout: New Vegas is a full size AR-15 variant with red Bakelite or wood furniture (often associated with Sudanese versions of the AR-10). It also features a charging handle on the side (the AR-18 is the only AR variant that has this) for some reason (possibly to reuse reloading animations from other weapons).
- On Sons Of Guns Vince and Will assemble and test several AR15 variants with a lightweight design (partially through selected parts, partially through the elimination of accessories) called the Katana.
- 7.62 High Calibre features the M16, as well as numerous variants (chief among them the CAR-15, which is available earlier). The 5.56mm round is acceptable for shooting at long range, but the M4 hits the perfect balance between accuracy and compact size to make it useful in a wide variety of situations. The Blue Sun mod adds even more, including semi-auto variants.
- The M16A4 with M203 underneath is Eldritch's preferred weapon in the Whateley Universe. And she has super strength, so she can carry around a lot of ammo. Even on campus.
- The M16A2 is available in the first three Rainbow Six games (as is the CAR-15 in the first game).
The AK-47 family
Otherwise known as the Avtomat Kalashnikova. The original AK-47 fires 7.62x39mm rounds, as does the improved AKM. Notable for its wooden construction, distinctive magazine, and the fact you can stick it in a swamp for a month, clean it a bit and it will fire first time
. The AK's legendary reliability comes from its large clearances (it has similar tolerances to the M16, but the spaces between the parts are greater) the taper of its cartridges (this makes extraction easier, as any movement rearwards will completely disengage the cartridge from the chamber walls), and the fact that the gas system is way overpowered for the weapon (meaning, if the first round fires, the bolt will
move all the way to the rear, making chambering of the next round very easy). It's very difficult to make anything go wrong with it that can't be cured by a boot and a sufficient application of force. It has been the basis for numerous Russian weapons throughout its long history, including the AK-74 (the current standardized weapon for the Russian Federation, firing the newer 5.45x39mm round) and RPK machine gun. However, the 74 and other modern AK's are infuriatingly rare in fiction, even in places and times where they should be present, if not the dominant gun *COUGH!* Call of Duty
, Rainbow Six
, Red Dawn
*COUGH!*. Probably due to Critical Research Failure
and/or They Just Didn't Care
on part of the developers. And in the case of films made prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, due to the fact that the AK-74 was unavailable for use as a prop. The single most produced weapon in the history of firearms, with more variants and licensed modifications in existence than any other weapon, and used as a basis for many other rifles such as Israel's IMI Galilnote
(and by extension the South African Vektor R4, which is based on the Galil). The Other Wiki
has a list
, though this includes all weapons even slightly
influenced by the AK design, not just actual variants. Common complaints about the Kalashnikov target its perceived lack of accuracy and unusual controls. Funnily, the AKM has greater range and accuracy than the FAMASnote
, and the controls are wonderful if one bothers to learn them (though some variants, like the above-mentioned Galil, adapt the controls to be ambidextrousnote
). Most of the licensed and unlicensed AK variants are actually based on the AKM; the official designation AK-47 was only used for weapons produced from 1947 to 1959. Enjoys considerable US civilian popularity with sport shooters, hunters, and home defense.
- Cool Action: The AK's magazine is loaded by locating the front lip of the magazine and then rocking it back into the magazine well. People who are unused to the rock and lock action sometimes make the mistake of trying to load an AK by slamming the magazine directly into the well. Video games often forget this, despite that it looks really cool; unfortunately, it also makes bullpup AK-action rifles rather difficult to actually load.
- Bonus points for removing an empty mag by striking the release lever with the one you are loading. More bonus points if the hand that pulls on the charging handle is the same one used to change the mag, extra bonus points if reaching around below the gun for this (this is how Russian special forces do it).
- Any video game, movie, or otherwise that features Soviet/Russian soldiers or settings will have some form of this gun, assuming the setting is after World War II. In movies, however, it will often be a Chinese copy, the Norinco Type 56, recognizable chiefly by the fully hooded front sight; a real AK has partially open front sight. Most Vietnam war movies will have the Norinco Type 56 in the hands of NVA/VC soldiers. This is Truth in Television, as the Type 56 was heavily used by the North Vietnamese.
- The Punisher likes him some AK-47 due to it's reliabilty and stopping power. "One click for semi. Two clicks for auto. Mikhail Kalishnakov was not a man to mess around."note
- The creators of Red Dawn used Maardi ARM rifles, the Egyptian variant of the AKM. These rifles were cleverly mocked up, to the point where they closely resembled the AKS-74, at the time the main weapon of USSR paratroopers but which were quite unavailable in the West at the time.
- Metro 2033, being a Russian game, uses the AK-74 as one of the most common rifles. Ironically, it's far rarer than the crappy homemade Bastard Carbine, though this can be explained in-universe as every AK being taken by other factions After the End.
- Appears in version three of Survival of the Fittest, but without ammo. One character's given the gun, another gets the bullets. Danya's hope was that this would force the two to either fight or work together.
- The comic Hard Graft makes extensive use of the AK-47 when kitting out both the good and bad guys.
- Jackie Brown: "AK-47, the very best there is. When you absolutely, positively, have to kill every single motherfucker in the room; accept no substitute."
- There was one used in the Firefly episode "Heart of Gold".
- Used by female KGB sniper codenamed 'Trigger' in the James Bond short story "The Living Daylights". The weapon seems an unlikely choice for a sniping mission, but as the AK-47 wasn't as well known then it probably seemed like a particularly 'cool gun' to Ian Fleming.
- Kalash93 loves AK's in real life and also loves including them in his stories.
- The protagonist of I Did Not Want To Die makes his last stand wielding an AKMS.
- Sunny Breeze, the main character of Racer and the Geek, has an AK-74. As his mental state deteriorates, he takes to cuddling it for comfort.
- Both the AKM and AK-74 are used in Shell Shock.
- Though it's not stated exactly which weapon the human protagonist in Blissful Dream had, given that he used to be a member of the Russian VDV, it is likely that he had an AK-74M.
- The basic Lasrian mook weapon in darkSector is an AKS-74U fitted with a suppressor, reflex sight and skeleton stock.
- A video game with these and without regular Russian troops is the Grand Theft Auto III set of games; this tends to be a 'basic' assault rifle. In San Andreas, both CJ and Tenpenny note that other gangsters are bringing these to their fights instead of pistols. He's right, which is convenient when you expend a lot of your own 7.62x39 fighting them in the first place.
- Appears in Left 4 Dead 2; it's the slowest-firing and least accurate of the assault rifles, but also the most powerful.
- The N-Tec 5 rifle in All Points Bulletin. Widely considered to be overpowered "noob" gun.
- The UC rifles in Alpha Protocol are modeled after the AK-105. You also get a golden one after defeating the first boss.
- In Singularity, when you time-travel to 1955, the Red Army grunts have these. In the present day, in the altered timeline where the Soviet Union conquered the world in the 1960s, the standard rifle is clearly derived from the AK with Steampunk bling to show that it's an E99-enhanced weapon.
- Harry Turtledove's most famous novel, The Guns of the South, centers on Afrikaners from the early 21st century trying to alter history by supplying the Confederate States with AK-47s.
- The Chinese Assault Rifle in Fallout 3 is apparently a slightly modified folding stock Type 56 with different ammo.
- This is justified and/or lampshaded by the fact that the personnel possessing the weapon are forward agents in the United States. At any rate, AK pattern rifles chambered in 5.56x45mm are big business for Russian (Izhmash) and Chinese (Norinco) arms manufacturers, due to the ubiquity of the NATO round.
- Appears in Counter-Strike as the standard assault rifle of the Terrorist team. Generally regarded somewhat inferior to the CTs' M4. Ironically and counter to stereotypes, its strength is the extreme accuracy and power of the first round fired (though followed by a fairly realistic wild muzzle rise), making it the choice weapon of players who prefer both one-shot kills to being able to follow up if they miss.
- Naturally, shows up in 7.62 High Calibre, in many variants, including the AKS-74, the AK-74, the AKS-74u, and the AK-47 (which is surprisingly uncommon). AKs become common among the rebels later in the game, eventually taking over from the World War II submachine guns and pump-action shotguns. The Blue Sun mod continues to add more, including semi-automatic civilian rifles and tacticooled guns with synthetic furniture and rails.
- Hotel Moscow's Vysotoniki in Black Lagoon uses the AK-74 as their weapon of choice (understandable as they are former Soviet army personnel). The 47 itself is seen in the hands of guerrillas in the "Goats, Jihad and Rock 'n Roll" arc.
- King of Thorn: Russian soldiers are seen in action with AKS-74Us during the expedition to the origin of MEDUSA led by Vega.
- An AK-74 appears in Payday The Heist where it is known simply as an "AK." It can be fitted with extended magazines and a reflex sight, and have its wooden furniture replaced with ported polymer.
- Common in the Battlefield series, starting with Vietnam, which features both the Type 56 and an AKMS.
- Battlefield 2 has the standard AK-47 for the PLA's Assault and Medic kits, as well as the MEC Special Forces Assault. Normal MEC, their Special Forces Medic kit, Spetsnaz, and Rebel/Insurgent Forces get the AK-101 for the same kits.
- The modernized AK-74M is the basic rifle for the Russian Assault (and as such, the final unlock for their American counterpart) in Battlefield 3, while the AK-12 takes its place for all 3 factions' Assault class in Video Game/Battlefield4.
- In a rather eloquent bit of Description Porn, Yuri Orlov describes what makes the AK-47 awesome for soldiers, generals and gun runners like himself.
Yuri Orlov: Of all the weapons in the vast soviet arsenal, nothing was more profitable than Avtomat Kalashnikova model of 1947. More commonly known as the AK-47, or Kalashnikov. It's the world's most popular assault rifle. A weapon all fighters love. An elegantly simple 9 pound amalgamation of forged steel and plywood. It doesn't break, jam, or overheat. It'll shoot whether it's covered in mud or filled with sand. It's so easy, even a child can use it - and they do. The Soviets put the gun on a coin. Mozambique put it on their flag. Since the end of the Cold War, the Kalashnikov has become the Russian people's greatest export.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has both the AKS-74 and its carbine variant the AKS-74U (known as the Krinkov to foreigners for some reason) as common weapons that use readily available ammo throughout the three games, and the 74U is the starting rifle in Call of Pripyat. One oddity that is notable with the carbine variant is that it uses a banana-shaped magazine that is commonly used in the AK-47. This is probably due to licensing issues with the weapons; the AKS-74U's model here makes it more like the Yugoslavian-made Zastava Arms M92 carbine, except that it uses the triangular skeletonized folding stock used by the AKS-74 instead of the M92's under folding metal stock.
- WSU wrestler "The AK-47" Allysin Kay.
Colt M4 Carbine
A modern weapon of choice for many civilian law enforcement and military units. The basic M4 (and the earlier CAR-15) was shorter and lighter than the M16. Also available as the fully automatic M4A1. The M4 has come to supplant other weapons in U.S. military usage and even the M16 both in real life somewhat (the shorter length improving maneuverability in enclosures such as vehicles) and moreso in fictional depictions. The shorter barrel does reduce the effective range of the weapon, so it won't completely replace the M16 any time soon (the Marine Corps
, often the first to fight in wartime, still use the M16A4 as their standard weapon; they do issue the M4 in place of the M9 pistol to some officers, however). A large number of variants exist (sometimes derisively called M4geries), with the most common alteration being the use of a gas piston operation rather than the original direct impingement system to improve reliability; such weapons include the HK416, Bushmaster M4 Type Carbine, LWRC M6, and Barrett REC7. The vast majority of gas-piston variants are semi-auto rifles in civilian hands, meaning they'll never actually see conditions where the improvement in reliability could be meaningful. Seeing as up to 85% of malfunctions are diagnosed as being either from magazines or ammunition rather than the firearm, there is doubt as to whether or not there is any actual benefit to gas pistons, especially considering the lack of standardization in gas piston AR's, and the ability of a piston to instantaneously add another thousand dollars or more to the price. Piston AR systems are also known to come with their own slew of problems, especially freezing up in cold weather, as well as having piston and charging handle breakages. The HK416 is particularly infamous for this, especially among the Norwegian army. It's not, after all, as if Eugene Stoner just randomly decided to use direct gas impingement for the hell of it.
- Used in many television shows (such as The Unit) and movies (such as S.W.A.T.) involving firearms. If it involves special forces, it's even more likely to appear.
- Also in a number of video and computer games such as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (Snake's signature weapon is the "M4 Custom" due to being the most customizable weapon in the game), Americas Army (where there's both a regular M4A1 Carbine and a customizable M4A1 exclusive for Special Forces missions), Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon games, the SOCOM series... if it's a military-themed shooter, an M4 or M4A1 variant is most likely in it.
- Special mention should be made of the M4 in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, where, in the campaign, the SAS uses the M4 SOPMOD (Special Operations Peculiar MODification), which includes an infrared laser, suppressor and other mods.
- While the version in Modern Warfare 2 is often mistaken for an HK416, it's actually an M4 S-System, an airsoft gun developed by the Tokyo Marui Model Company that was based on the real weapon. It's essentially an M4 with an ARMS Selected Interface Rail, a PRI folding front sight and an ARMS #40L rear sight.
- Black Ops features the CAR-15 as the "Commando"; it's apparently a customized model, replacing the carrying handle with an M4-style flat top rail.
- Modern Warfare 3 also keeps an M4 stylistically similar to the MW2 version. It should also be noted that a modeling mistake in every previous game has an essential component to the weapon's operation (the gas block) removed along with the front sight when the player mounts alternate optics; MW3 is the first game to keep a low-profile gas block on an M4 with optics.
- Black Ops 2 eschews the M4 in favour of the HK416, referred to in-game as the "M27" (the designation for the USMC's squad automatic version). It serves alongside the XM8 and SCAR as one of US forces' primary rifles, and can be fitted with the same array of crazy, futuristic accessories as the other assault rifles.
- The M4 appears as the primary weapon of the USMC's Special Forces class in Battlefield 2, fitted with a red dot scope.
- The M4 appears in almost equal numbers to MP5 submachine guns in the hands of police SWAT teams in films and television. These M4's are hardly ever seen without some sort of accessory, be it flashlights, laser pointers, or some sort of red dot sight or close-range scope (sometimes all the above!).
- Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer) use CAR-15s during the infamous bank heist scene in Heat.
- The HK416 appears in Battlefield: Bad Company, as well as its sequel; in this case, it's renamed the "M416", apparently a pass at what its official designation would be if it were formally adopted by the US Army.
- The HK416 returns for Battlefield 3, under the same name for the Assault class, alongside the M27 IAR variant for Support and (with the Close Quarters expansion) the 7.62mm HK417 for Recon. The Engineer kit also gets both the burst-firing M4 and the full-auto M4A1, and the Aftermath expansion's "XBOW" is made from a broken HK417.
- In the Killzone series, the LR300 (now known as the Para-Ordinance Tactical Target Rifle), an M4 variant using a patented gas system with no recoil buffer tube to allow the mounting of a side-folding stock, becomes the M82-G Assault Rifle◊ used by the ISA. The M82-G has an early production handguard, and is shown as a bullpup (which would be unlikely to function in real life, given how far back the magazine is). In the first game it has a non-functional tube reflex sight and an M203 grenade launcher; in the second, an EOTech holographic reflex sight and what appears to be a flashlight replacing the grenade launcher.
- This is Max Payne's most powerful automatic weapon (apart from the Jackhammer).
- A popular weapon in Counter-Strike, it is the standard assault rifle of the Counter-Terrorist team. It was an M4A1 until Global Offensive changed it to the shorter-barreled Mk. 18 Mod 0 (under the name "M4A4"); a later update added an actual M4A1 with a fixed M16A1 carry handle as a cheaper, silence-able, but lower-capacity alternative.
- The "Assault Carbine" and "Marksman Carbine" in Fallout: New Vegas are variants firing a fictional 5mm round and the standard 5.56mm round, respectively, the latter fitted with an ACOG-like scope.
- This is the weapon that the protagonist has at the beginning of I Did Not Want To Die. Of course, it malfunctions, leading to his death at the end of the story.
- King of Thorn: Colt M4A1s are seen in the hands of American soldiers patrolling the US-Mexican border and SAS operators during Operation Sleeping Beauty. Marco Owen takes a M4 from a dead SAS operator for himself which is later taken by ALICE mimicking Laura Owen. All of these rifles are fitted with EOTech holographic sights, AN/PEQ-2 illuminator/lasers and a forward handgrip.
- The M4A1 appears in PAYDAY: The Heist as the "AMCAR-4", your starting primary weapon. It can be fitted with a flash hider, extended magazines and a holographic sight. It returns as simply the "CAR-4" for PAYDAY 2, alongside the Model 733 taking up the old "AMCAR" name.
- Serious Sam 3: BFE replaces the classic Tommy Gun with a version of the HK416 named the M29 Infantry Assault Rifle.
- The Half-Life HD Pack replaces the original MP5 with a Colt Model 727: a version of the Model 723 "M16A2 Carbine" with a redesigned barrel for use with the M203 grenade launcher.
- Takedown: Red Sabre includes multiple variations of the M4 for the player's use, from the standard M4A1 to a shorter-barreled "PDW" version and the Mk. 18 CQBR in various alternate calibers.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has the LR300 rifle (named as TRs-301) as a mid-game NATO weapon. Among the NATO weapons, it is considered a Jack of All Stats in that it can accept any attachment (for Western weapons, of course) without having to pay for tiered upgrades, and utilizing the more powerful 5.56 round which becomes ubiquitous in the later levels of the three games. The only shortfall of this gun is its sub-par reliability, as is typical with AR-15 style rifles.
A variant of the AR-15/M16 assault rifle. Using steel stampings as opposed to aircraft-grade aluminum forgings and a short-stroke gas piston as opposed to Stoner's direct impingement system, this 5.56x45mm assault rifle was intended to be a lower-cost version of the M16 for export and/or localized production in Third World countries (the latter was intended as a way for small nations with no local industry to speak of to establish one); this by and large failed when the United States instead gave away M16s by the truckload to counter the Soviets doing the same with AK variants, with the AR-18 only tending to be picked up by banana republics who didn't have enough bananas to afford the M16. It also served to keep Armalite in the firearms business, since they'd foolishly sold the AR-15/M16 patents to Colt, and the expiration of those patents was still 16 years away. Since neither the Americans nor the Soviets were particularly interested in The Troubles
, quantities were purchased by the various splinter factions of the Irish Republican Army, to the point where their general strategy was referred to as "Armalite and ballot box." The only First World nation to adopt it in large numbers was Japan, with the Self Defense Force selecting a modified, home-produced variant (the Howa Type 89) as their main service rifle in 1989. Although the design itself was a flop, both the SA80 (standard issue weapon of the British Army since 1985), and the G36 (standard issue weapon of the German Bundeswehr since 1997) are heavily based on its action and can be considered spiritual successors
to the weapon. Many other assault rifles also draw heavily on the AR-18's short-stroke piston, ironically including most of the gas piston derivatives of the AR-15 platform.
- Cool Action:: most servicemen have learned to duct-tape two magazines together to unload and flip around for easy reloading. See also the M16.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator.
- Mal Reynolds in Serenity.
- Carried by various mooks in the 1970's James Bond movies.
- Far Cry 2 has an oblique reference to this weapon in the form of the "Armalite AR-16," a fictional AR-15-like platform named after the AR-18's obscure 7.62mm predecessor. This is seemingly just so that all the rifles in the game would be using 7.62mm ammo, forgetting that the AK series 7.62mm round isn't the same as the NATO one anyway.
- The BBC mini Harry's Game, being set in 1970's Belfast, features this in the hands of some IRA types.
Heckler & Koch G36
This German assault rifle is starting to turn up all over the place in fiction due to its rather futuristic appearance. Developed from the AR-18 action as a replacement for the G3 battle rifle, the G36 is used by numerous special police units and special forces units throughout the world, though use by actual militaries is somewhat less widespread, mainly due to the lack of compatibility with NATO STANAG magazines, though there is an adapter for the series to load from STANAG mags. Was the basis of the aborted XM8 assault rifle, which was essentially a G36 mechanism in a plastic body; its mechanism was also used in the UMP and MP7 SMGs
. The civilian versions, the SL8 semi-auto and R8 bolt-action, are among the most famously nerfed
real-life firearms, and both are often mocked as being the "emasculated" versions of the G36 by firearm enthusiasts. There is a Mexican-designed rifle, the FX-05 Xiuhcoatl
, whose suspiciously similar look made its designers the target of a lawsuit by Heckler & Koch, though it was dropped as soon as its inner workings were proved to be completely different.
- The G36 is the standard assault rifle wielded by governemnt troops in I Did Not Want To Die.
- Doctor Who — used by Van Staaten's forces in "Dalek", UNIT generally since 2005 and the British Army on occasions.
- Primeval — Helen's mercenaries carry them.
- Four Brothers — used by the bad guys during the siege of the Mercer house.
- Gaz's weapon of choice in Modern Warfare. This gun also available in Modern Warfare 3.
- Carried by the Mooks in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
- And the mooks in Equilibrium.
- Also the mooks in V for Vendetta, both elite fingermen as well as British army grunts.
- Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear onwards. Rainbow Six 3: Athena Sword also features the SL8 as a sniper rifle.
- The regular double-optic model (with an unusually short muzzle) is used by expert Freedomers and Loners in S.T.A.L.K.E.R..
- The rifles in the Doom movie are visually modified G36s.
- J.D. and the team leader of the Umbrella response team use the K variant G36 in the first Resident Evil film.
- In the James Bond movie Die Another Day, Moon's OICW rifle is actually a modified G36.
- The XM8 rifles used in XXX: State of the Union are modified G36 rifles; the most obvious sign of this is that they still have hinges for folding stocks visible.
- An SL8 was used in advertising materials for Perfect Dark, presumably standing in for one of the game's futuristic weapons.
- Perfect Dark Zero's version of the "Superdragon", meanwhile, is heavily based on the G36K.
- The SL8 with a long-range scope appeared in Resident Evil 4, as a semi-auto alternative to the original sniper rifle.
- GoldenEye Wii has the same weapon, usually suppressed, also as a semi-auto alternative to the slightly more common Arctic Warfare. The Reloaded version replaces it with the Mark 12 SPR.
- In First Encounter Assault Recon, the Rakow G2A2 assault rifle is essentially an SL8 fitted with an M14 rear sight and a tiny C-Mag.
- The basic STAR 556 rifle in All Points Bulletin is similar - SL8 stock and short G36C foregrip, but it uses a normal magazine instead of a C-Mag.
- In Dead Fantasy Part V, the squad of special forces-esque soldiers at the end appear to be armed with G36 rifles fitted with silencers.
- This weapon (particularly the G36K version) is becoming increasingly common in the various Stargate series, strangely enough. It was even Cameron Mitchell's Weapon of Choice.
- The Rittergruppen rifles in Alpha Protocol are modeled after G36C.
- Yet another weapon in Black.
- Used (and referred to by name) by Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible III.
- Features in Combat Arms in 5 variants. The 3 variants based around the G36E are generally considered game-breakers due to the ridiculously high damage, easy to control (but still high) recoil, and accuracy better than many sniper rifles.
- Available in several variants in 7.62 High Caliber as an advanced assault rifle.
- Mirror's Edge has the G36C used by some SWAT teams.
- ARMA II has numerous G36 and XM8 variants as well as the MG36 light machine gun.
- Deimos in Madness Combat 9 dual-wields a pair of these.
- Army Of Two allows the player to use a G36C; upgrades include a barrel and handguard about the length of the G36K's and an SL8 thumbhole stock.
- Appears in the first Far Cry game as a late-game weapon that proves to be a faster firing alternative to the M4 carbine. It also features the AG36 underbarrel grenade launcher, for added mayhem. Problem is, rifled grenades are hard to come by, so players use them sparingly.
Has been in Austrian service since 1977, also used by the Australian armed forces
and the Irish Defence Forces. One of the most popular weapons with a bullpup design, with the magazine behind the trigger rather than in front. Extremely durable - one example could fire after being run over repeatedly by a 10-tonne truck. The weapon's distinctive and rather villainous appearance (the very narrow barrel and front section makes it almost appear the AUG is skulking behind the shooter's arm, up to no good) made it a favorite for arming the Big Bad
or The Dragon
until bullpups became more common around the millennium. As far as Cold War
bullpup rifles go, this is pretty much the only one that is widely recognized as being any good and was actually considered to be way ahead of its time with many more modern bullpups taking their cue from it. While like most bullpups, the AUG is not ambidextrous (since the action is moved back into the stock, spent casings will eject directly at the face of a "wrong-handed" shooter), each rifle is shipped with a spare left-handed bolt that allows the bolt, charging handle and ejection port to be reversed when the rifle is issued to a lefty. Its most advantageous feature is the use of transparent magazines, allowing the user to visually see how many rounds they have left without unloading the weapon. Notably, the original version did not allow for the use of a bayonet, but when the Irish military adopted it as their main service rifle, this feature was added.
- Cool Action: The "HK Slap" can be done on the AUG as well, due to the cocking handle being almost identical in location and design to the MP5's cocking handle. Also, inserting the barrel and slapping the secondary firing grip with their hand to lock it into position looks particularly badass, giving the impression that the user is about to get serious.
- The Dragon in Die Hard had one of these.
- The Big Bad in Commando.
- The Hidden (1987). The criminal puppetmaster alien wields one of these while possessing the body of a nightclub stripper, as well as a bullpup Mossberg shotgun.
- The first scoped weapon available to the player in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines.
- Shows up the hands of mooks alongside the FAMAS in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
- Also appears as an early prototype wielded by CIA agents in Black Ops.
- One of the Colombian gangsters is seen with one at the beginning of Predator 2.
- Jackie Brown: "Now this here is a Steyr AUG, Steyr AUG's a bad motherfucker, it's expensive too, made in Austria, my customers don't know shit about it so there ain't no demand for it, but let me tell you though, you put this bad boy in a flick, every motherfucker out there'll want one."
- A silenced one is used to assassinate the Chinese ambassador during the dinner celebration for the US/China trade agreement in The Art Of War (the below average action film starring Wesley Snipes, not the book).
- Counter-Strike had this, including the "HK Slap"
- Rainbow Six of course, no doubt to the lone Aussie's delight. Double the scope with a silencer or larger magazine...Bad Ass.
- One of the Irish mercenaries in Sin City shoots Dwight with one.
- Available in 7.62 High Caliber as a very accurate, powerful ,and relatively compact late game rifle. It's mostly seen early in the game in its Para form, converted to a 9mm submachine gun, in use by the Algeiran police.
- The standard rifle aboard Red Dwarf.
The FAMAS ("Fusil Automatique de la Manufacture d'Armes de Saint-Etienne," meaning "automatic rifle of the Saint-Etienne weapons factory") is another bullpup rifle and the main service weapon of the French military and foreign legion since 1978. The FAMAS was affectionately nicknamed "le Clairon"
(the Bugle, due to its shape) by French troops during the '70s and '80s, and is accurate and durable. Includes a massive carrying handle (which spans half the length of the rifle), a built in bipod, and a colossal fire rate of over 1000 rounds per minute. Unfortunately, it's a solid case of Awesome, but Impractical
, due to several design flaws and poor decisions. Due to severe problems with its delayed blowback action, which is powerful enough to rip apart regular NATO brass-cased 5.56x45mm cases and its rifling which does not stabilize standard 5.56mm NATO bullets (does terrible things to the accuracy, making it only accurate on par with 9mm pistols), it's also known as the range rifle, that is being reliable only when being shot on the firing range. If the SA80 has a reputation for crumminess due to mechanical problems, then the FAMAS is infamous for crumminess due to just plain stupid design decisions. The FAMAS G2 version was introduced in 1994, to (finally) bring the gun into proper compliance with NATO standards (it can now use standard NATO ammo instead of just the French-made rounds, and uses STANAG mags), and allegedly improves the reliability...but in yet another stupid decision or just poor funding, the French Army didn't bother to buy them, instead sticking with the inferior F1 model for another 18 years and counting. Only the French Navy did (and as far as anyone knows, the French Navy hasn't had occasion to fire them in combat), so the G2 version hasn't gotten a chance to prove itself and likely never will. The French government is planning to organize a bid call in 2013 to seek a potential replacement, although rumor has it that the F90note
is already the chosen one.
- Featured in Metal Gear Solid where almost everybody without a set Weapon of Choice uses one at some point. Supposedly, the developers chose the weapon because it would be easier to recognize in the low-polygon Playstation graphics, and because it was relatively unknown at the time.
- Has been in every Rainbow Six game from 3: Raven Shield onwards.
- Usable in Counter-Strike, buyable exclusively from the Counter-Terrorist side. Generally it's chosen when one wants an M4 but doesn't have quite enough money.
- Used by the Mooks in the first 2-3 levels of Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain.
- The UN helicopter crews in Macross Zero can be seen carrying them.
- Can be seen amongst many other guns on a rack in Tomorrow Never Dies.
- French Soldiers in Taxi 2.
- Mook weapon in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
- The game also shockingly didn't take advantage of the enormous fire rate of the weapon in real life and the gun only fires in three-round bursts in it.
- Shows up in prototype form as a weapon used by the allied SOG and CIA members in Call of Duty: Black Ops, and more bizarrely, by Soviet Spetsnaz in exactly one level (reverse-engineered?). This game, unlike Modern Warfare 2, did actually show off the gun's insane cyclic rate.
- Killzone's Helghast assault rifle is based somewhat on the FAMAS; in the first game, with the export sight and carrying handle of a G36, and in both with a SPAS-12 forend under the barrel.
- The standard issue rifle for Britannian soldiers is based heavily on the FAMAS.
- The machine guns used by the Mistral Armslave in Full Metal Panic!: The Second Raid are modelled after the FAMAS.
- Michelle and Jacques (before he got tossed back in time and get Oni whip instead) use this as their primary weapon in Onimusha 3.
- Shows up in Perfect Dark as the "AR-43", despite not looking anything like an Armalite. Like other games, it's nerfed to have a much slower firing rate than in real life.
- Can be seen in the Weapons Locker extension for d20 Modern.
- Battlefield 2: Euro Force adds a FAMAS with a 4x scope as EU Medic's primary weapon. Battlefield 3 with the Back to Karkand expansion allows players to unlock the Surbaissé (lowered) model (which removes the massive carry handle and replaces it with a low-profile rail).
Israel Military Industries TAR- 21
The IMI Tavor TAR-21 (Tavor Assault Rifle-21st century) is a relatively new, compact bullpup assault rifle designed by IMI for the Israeli military. It has spent over 10 years in development and has only recently been assigned to three brigades (the Givati, Golani, and Nahal brigades), however in fiction its shown up in very large numbers due to its futuristic appearance, either in the hands of special forces or (most bizarrely) terrorists. Like the P90, it was once rare outside of fiction, but a large number of orders have recently been placed by various nations for it. It is considered the best of the current generation early 2000's bullpups. It has two main variants: the TAR-21 is the standard weapon, while the CTAR-21 is the "compact" version. One of the most interesting features of the weapon is that, unlike most other assault rifles, it comes standard-equipped with a red-dot scope; the battery for the scope itself is actually inside
the rifle. Original prototype designs for the weapon actually didn't even have iron sights (they are on the production model). This rifle became available for sale in the United States civilian market in 2013. The MSRP per unit is over two thousand dollars.
- The standard version and the MTAR 21 variant are available in Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield.
- And has been in every Rainbow Six game after 3, often bizarrely showing up in the hands of terrorists.
- In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, it has somehow ended up in the hands of the Russian Army, as well as Makarov's henchmen.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has an upgraded version of the smaller MTAR-21 variant, used by Menendez's mercenaries, Pakistani ISI commandos, and is selectable by the player on the loadout screen; also appears in multiplayer as the first assault rifle unlocked.
- Returns in Call of Duty: Ghosts, now classified as an SMG.
- Nikolai carries the CTAR 21 variant in Resident Evil: Apocalypse.
- Both Shin Kudo and Edgar LaSelle carry CTAR-21s in episodes 2 and 3 of Macross Zero, Shin's in particular having the peculiar addition of a folding/telescoping stock for no reason at all (most likely an animation error).
- Sgt. Lugo of Spec Ops: The Line uses the TAR-21 in addition to his Scout Tactical sniper rifle. After he dies, the player can find it and equip it themselves.
- The Baksha ASP Rifle from F.E.A.R. is a TAR-21, apparently chambered for 7.62mm NATO, with a 3x scope added and firing in three-round bursts. With a much-reduced capacity, it returns as the "Semi-Auto Rifle" in F.E.A.R. 2's all-but-defunct multiplayer mode.
The Fabrique Nationale Herstal Special Forces Combat Assault Rifle, shortened to the SCAR
pecial Operations Forces C
ifle) is an assault and battle rifle designed by FNH USA, as an entry into a trial by the U.S SOCOM to replace or supplement the aging M4 rifle in 2003. The focus of the SCAR rifle is in modularity, with initial offerings coming in a wide variety of calibers including 5.56, 7.62x51mm and 7.62x39mm ammunition. During trails and further development, the 7.62x39mm version was dropped, and the first two became the SCAR-L (Light) and the SCAR-H (Heavy) respectively. The SCAR proved to be the top performer of the competition, and was adopted in 2010 by SOCOM. They really liked the H version, so much they canceled their orders for the L version completely (figuring that the existing M4 carbines were still good enough...which didn't really bother FN much since they make most of those too these days). U.S Special Forces, such as the U.S Army Rangers
and a few special forces groups outside of the U.S field it. As of late, it's been showing up in quite a few types of media, especially Video Games
, due to its futuristic appearance and connection to Special Forces
soldiers. It was quite popular with SOCOM, who ordered quite a number a few years back. However, the orders stopped once the Army made SOCOM pick up the tab for these rifles. The GL1 grenade launcher of the FN F2000 was modified to fit the SCAR, in the form of the the Mk 13 Mod 0 EGLM.
- In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the SCAR-H CQC used by U.S Army Rangers and Task Force 141. Corporal Dunn's signature weapon is a SCAR-H with a thermal sight. The -L version inexplicably shows up in MW3 instead.
- Black Ops 2 features both the normal SCAR-H as well as the HAMR IAR as a light machine gun.
- In Endwar, the primary assault rifle of the Joint Strike Force is based on the SCAR. In-universe fluff mentions how, with the breakup of NATO, Belgium-based FN is suing U.S weapons manufacturers for copyright infringement.
- Navy SEAL Team 9 uses the SCAR-L late in the plot of Jormungand when the HCLI team kidnaps a prisoner from Guantanamo Bay, resulting in one of the biggest shootouts of the series.
- Arthur uses a SCAR to hold off combat projections in Inception until Eames dares to dream bigger.
- In Alive in Joburg, the short film that served as the basis of District 9, CGI Soldiers use these to engage an attacking alien.
- In Racer and the Geek, Shades wields a SCAR-L.
- The Combat Rifle in Left 4 Dead 2 , is a modified SCAR-16S, the semi-auto civilian version of the SCAR-L. It's the most highly accurate of the assault rifles and fires in three-round bursts.
- It shows up several times in the Battlefield series, starting with Battlefield 2.
- Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter has both the SCAR L and H models, as does the sequel. Future Soldier also features the SCAR-H CQC with a sliding stock with the Arctic Strike DLC.
- In Army Of Two: The 40th Day, the SCAR-L is one of the rifles used by the 40th Day Initiative, as well as Salem and Rios.
- The AR-21 and its variants are all based on the SCAR in Alpha Protocol.
- G.I. Joe: Retaliation has the Joes use these, most noticeably General Joe Colton.
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive features the SSR (a designated marksman version of the SCAR-H) as the CT team's semi-auto sniper rifle.
- ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead features many variants of the SCAR-L and SCAR-H with numerous attachments.
- The Blue Sun mod for 7.62 High Caliber adds both variants of the SCAR in various barrel lengths for virtually any purpose.
Yet another futuristic-looking bullpup, the F2000 has a lot in common aesthetically with the FN P90
, and like the P90 is designed for ambidextrous use. The bottom-ejecting system of the P90 was considered unsuitable for the longer 5.56x45mm round, so instead an innovative forward-eject feature as designed, which instead of tossing spent casings to the side, pushes them into a tube along the right side of the rifle, where they remain until more casings push them far enough to fall out the front (instead of into the face of a left-handed shooter, as is typically the case with bullpups). Unfortunately, this left no room for an ambidextrous charging handle
...though given that right-handed AK users have been able to deal with a changing handle on the "wrong side" for over 60 years, it's probably not that big a deal. The standard model includes a proprietary (and quite cool-looking) optical sight, that doubles as a trajectory calculator for the GL1 grenade launcher that can be attached under the barrel. The F2000 Tactical simply has a flat-top rail allowing optics of the user's choice to be mounted. The F2000 is used as a special forces weapon in its native Belgium and in most other countries that have adopted it, with Slovenia being the first to make it their entire army's standard-issue rifle.
- In A Certain Magical Index, the F2000 is a favored weapon of the Misaka clones.
- Duke and Ripcord use them in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
- Many can be seen in Gamer.
- Sylvester Stallone and Jet Li's characters in The Expendables use them.
- In Iron Man 2, an F2000 is one of the many guns integrated into War Machine's armor.
- Too many video games to count. Naturally, the GL1 grenade launcher is commonly attached to both the Standard and Tactical versions.
- Sam Fisher's weapon of choice in the Splinter Cell series. His is a highly customized version called an SC2000, capable of fitting several types of attachments including a less-than-lethal grenade launcher, underbarrel shotgun and a 20mm sniper cannon barrel and sight. The first two attachments are actually available for the real F2000; the 20mm cannon most certainly is not.
- In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, a customized F2000 Tactical with an AK-like barrel and gas system is used by Maverick, Desperado, and World Marshal PMC troops. A codec call with Boris names this weapon as the MAK-200.
- Obviously in 7.62 High Caliber, with the usual large scope as an optional accessory.
- Appears in all 3 S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games as a late-game, high end assault rifle with the grenade launcher integrated in it.
- Appears in Modern Warfare 2, with the highest recoil of all assault rifle, as well as the highest rate of fire.
Heckler & Koch HK33
H&K realized that they had a success on their hands with the G3 rifle, and in the 1960's and 70's set about making a series of firearms based on the G3. The most famous among these is the MP5, but this also includes the MP5's big brother, the HK33. Using an identical roller-delayed blowback action and offered in a wide variety of calibers, the HK33 was designed from the start to be an assault rifle for export customers. The HK33, while not as successful as the MP5, never the less saw plenty of success in that role, spawning numerous variants including the compact HK53, semi-auto civilian HK93 and STANAG-compatable G41. Well over two dozen nations use the HK33 in all of its variants, including Brazil, Chile, Turkey (marketed and built under license there), Ireland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Mexico. In film, its beefy looks, sinister black finish and similarity to the MP5 and G3 make it frequently depicted as a Bad Gun
- NYPD ESU teams are shown using this rifle in the climactic raid in Léon: The Professional.
- A S.W.A.T Team member uses it in Blade, brutally murdering a steel door while trying to hit the titular damphyr. Some vampires can also be seen using it.
- The HK53 can be seen in Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 3, as part of their respective "Euro Force" and "Back to Karkand" expansions.
- The crazed Norwegian at the start of The Thing (1982) uses an HK93 to try and shoot at a dog, before turning it on the men of Outpost 31.
- Goi uses it as a sniper rifle in War, using it to cover Jason Statham's character in a big shootout.
- In Four Brothers, a S.W.A.T sniper uses this to end the rampage of Detective Fowler.
- Used frequently in the German historical film Der Baader Meinhof Komplex, used by the leftist Red Army Faction characters in the film as well as German Police.
After China saw the efficiency of NATO troops during the first Gulf War, they began to modernize the military from a "people's army" to a modern technological elite force. First, they held trials in 1987 and found the 5.8x42mm had the best ballistics surpassing the US 5.56mm and the Russian 5.45mm (according to the Chinese government
, at least; no non-Chinese organization has been able to test this claim since China doesn't export the ammo). The Type 87, a modified Type 81 rifle which itself was a hybrid of the AK and the SKS, was used to test the cartridge. The first rifle in the QBZ family is the QBU-88 rifle, designed in 1988 with Israeli advisers. After two years of development led by lead designer Duo Yingxian, the QBZ-95 was ready in time for the 1997 UK's handover of Hong Kong to China. In the same year, the QBZ-97 variant which fires the NATO 5.56mm from the NATO STANAG magazine was produced for the foreign market. Not all soldiers were satisfied with the ergonomics however, as they soon found that the rear fire-selector switch to be slow and cumbersome, while the brass ejection of the bullpup configuration limited their abilities to fire the rifle left-handed. And so, the students of Duo Yingxian sought to improve his design. The new QBZ 95-1 not only moved the fire selector to the pistol grip, but also modified the ejector to eject casings at a 45 degree angle allowing for sustained left handed fire. In addition, a bolt release was added behind the magazine to greatly decrease the time needed to reload an empty rifle. The sight line was also lowered and accessory rails were added to the base of the front sight. In response to complaints about the 5.8mm's lethality (or rather the lack of), the 95-1 was upgraded to accept the heavy variant of the 5.8mm originally intended for the QBU-88 sniper rifle and QBB-95 light machine gun. This QBZ 95-1 is now the standard variant with the People's Liberation Army. However, the Type 87 gained a life of its own. As Duo's students were busy coming up with a design, the Type 87 was developed into the QBZ-03 rifle with a more conventional layout. This allowed the 03 to be even more reliable and was favored by troops operating in the harsh desert conditions near China's western borders and also the 15th Airborne Corps.