The term ‘assault rifle’ has been a politically loaded term right from the start – as the origins of the German military designation “Sturmgewehr” (assault rifle) shows.
Although its commonly repeated that the term was made up by Hitler, Peter G. Kokalis actually did thorough first-hand, primary research into it and determined that in fact the term was made up by the Officers or General in charge of the German Army’s small arms development and procurement division in order to persuade Hitler to approve the production order for the StG-44. This explains why the MP-43 was called “MP” (Maschinen Pistole – submachine gun) and even the 44 was initially called an “MP” as well, before being reclassified as the StG-44.
(As a quick reminder, per its original specification, an ‘assault rifle’ is a carbine-sized, military rifle that fires an intermediate-sized cartridge from a detachable magazine, AND which is capable of full-automatic fire on demand. By this definition then, the German paratroops rifle, the FG-42, has become known as a ‘battle rifle’ rather than an ‘assault rifle’ becuase it fired the full-power 7.92mm Mauser cartridge. With the benefit of hindsight, the “Maschinenkarabiner” – Mkb – ‘machine carbine’ designation given to the prototype Mkb-42 would have been a more sensible term to stick with for the -44, or maybe something like ‘light automatic rifle’ for the -44 and ‘automatic battle rifle’ for full-power weapons like the FG-42. Interestingly though, the StG-44 was actually physically heavier than the FG-42.)
At any rate, Hitler had allegedly refused to authorize the production of the new MP-44 submachine-gun model becuase he saw the SMG as a defensive weapon and he believed that the Army should be focussed on attacking, not defending. So, the araments board came back with a revised production request for a new ‘assualt rifle’ that would help the German Army go back on the offensive again with greater firepower and Hitler signed off the production order for the ‘StG-44’ without any further quibbling – and the rest is history. Sort of….
Fast forward 72 years, and once again the term ‘assault rifle’ is being used as a political propaganda phrase – only this time its slimy politicians and their media lackeys who are using this term, and its close cousin ‘assualt weapon’ to stir up public fear and resentment against the most popular semi-automatic sporting rifle in the USA – the AR-15, and its derivatives. Since many of these individuals are either ignorantly or purposefully broadcasting that the “AR” in AR-15 stands for ‘assault rifle’, ArmaLite felt compelled to produce the following InfoGraphic to set the record straight.