Assault Rifle and Carbines Poster
What’s the difference between a carbine and a rifle? Or is there really a difference at all? Is this simply a case of To-may-to or To-mah-to?
This question is the source of a confusion for many people. And with good reason. Over the years, the term carbine has been used inconsistently by weapon manufacturers and their customers.
Still today there is no well-defined criteria for delineating a carbine from a rifle. Generally speaking, carbines are very similar to rifles and the distinction tends to be the barrel length and the weight. Rifle-like weapons with a barrel length of less than 20 inches are typically considered to be carbines. Weapons with barrels greater than 20 inches are usually called rifles unless specifically called carbines by the manufacturer.
By this definition, many so-called “Assault Rifles” would technically be carbines.
An assault rifle is a selective-fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles were first put into mass production and accepted into widespread service during World War II. Though Western nations were slow to accept the assault rifle concept, by the end of the 20th century they had become the standard weapon in most of the world's armies, replacing full-powered rifles and sub-machine guns in most roles. Examples include the StG 44, AK-47 and the M16 rifle.
Although there is no hard criteria for defining a carbine, they are basically short-barreled rifles. This means that all carbines are rifles, but not all rifles are carbines.
The shorter barrel of the carbine may decrease accuracy and effective range, but there are still plenty of practical applications for the modern carbine. These applications include hunting, home defense, and introducing newbies to shooting. Plus, they are just plain fun to shoot, which certainly counts for something.