First of all, no list claiming best assault rifle is going to be perfect. Each rifle has its own features, peculiarities, plus points and drawbacks.
1. AK-47. This one certainly had staying power. Inspired by the original assault rifle built in Germany (StG 44), designed and built by Russian poet, Mikhail Kalashnikov, in 1947, this weapon has been used the world over. Sturdy, with easily accessible parts and ammunition, this weapon has remained on the list simply because it has been in use for so long. And that says a lot. Certainly there are others with far less recoil, but it would be surprising if this now ancient weapon were to disappear. It gets the job done and it’s easy to use.
2. FN SCAR. Made by the FN (Fabrique Nationale) Herstal company, this Special Operations Forces (SOF) Combat Assault Rifle comes in two main types—SCAR-L for light ammo and SCAR-H for heavy ammo.
3. M16 rifle. This is the US military name for the AR-15 rifle as it is modified for full-automatic and semi-automatic fire. First deployed in 1963, South Vietnam, this weapon of choice is only recently being phased out by the US military in favor of the M4 carbine.
4. Steyr AUG. Austrian manufacturer, Steyr Mannlicher GmbH, this bullpup was designed in the early 70’s and adopted by the Austrian army, designated in 1977, the StG 77 (Sturmgewehr 77)—named after the original assault rifle, the Nazi’s StG 44.
5. M-4 carbine. This is the new hot shot—air-cooled, magazine-fed, gas-operated, selective fire—this weapon has a telescoping stock and is fired from the shoulder. With a shortened barrel compared to the M16, this rifle allows greater ease of operation in close quarters combat. This is the rifle that is replacing the M16 in the US military.
6. TAVOR. Also known as IMI Tavor TAR-21, the “TAR-21” means “Tavor Assault Rifle—21st Century,” while the name “Tavor” comes from Mount Tabor in Northern Israel. This weapon provides rifle muzzle velocity in a carbine length, bullpup design.
7. FAMAS G2. This is a French weapon. “FAMAS” stands for “Assault rifle of the Saint-Étienne weapon factory” in French. Also a bullpup design, the FAMAS line had been adopted by the French military since 1978, but the G2 found greater acceptance because of its greater compliance with NATO standards.
8. G36. The Gewehr36 is produced by German company, Heckler & Koch. It is gas-operated and accommodates two types of magazines—30-round and 100-round.
9. Heckler & Koch HK-416. This is a modified version of the M4 carbine from America. The improvements led Delta Force to replace its M4’s with the HK-416.
10. L85A2. A variant of the British SA80, This one, with improvements, stayed beyond its original naming (Small Arms for the 1980s). Heckler & Koch was contracted in 2000 to modify the SA80 line of rifles. The A2 variant was the result.