Automatic firearm
Overview
 
An automatic firearm is a firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

 that loads another round mechanically after the first round has been fired.

The term can be used to refer to semi-automatic firearm
Semi-automatic firearm
A semi-automatic, or self-loading firearm is a weapon which performs all steps necessary to prepare the weapon to fire again after firing—assuming cartridges remain in the weapon's feed device or magazine...

s, which fire one shot per single pull of the trigger (like the .45 "automatic"), or fully automatic firearms, which will continue to load and fire ammunition
Ammunition
Ammunition is a generic term derived from the French language la munition which embraced all material used for war , but which in time came to refer specifically to gunpowder and artillery. The collective term for all types of ammunition is munitions...

 until the trigger (or other activating device) is released, the ammunition is exhausted, or the firearm is jammed.
An automatic weapon fires, automatically extracts the used cartridge
Cartridge (firearms)
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim . Electrically...

 case from the barrel and ejects it, then loads a new case into the barrel; generally either by harnessing the recoil of the cartridge's explosion, or the diversion of propellant gases.
An "automatic pistol
Pistol
When distinguished as a subset of handguns, a pistol is a handgun with a chamber that is integral with the barrel, as opposed to a revolver, wherein the chamber is separate from the barrel as a revolving cylinder. Typically, pistols have an effective range of about 100 feet.-History:The pistol...

" or "automatic shotgun
Shotgun
A shotgun is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug...

" generally refers to a semi-automatic design, though full-automatic pistols (e.g.
Encyclopedia
An automatic firearm is a firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

 that loads another round mechanically after the first round has been fired.

The term can be used to refer to semi-automatic firearm
Semi-automatic firearm
A semi-automatic, or self-loading firearm is a weapon which performs all steps necessary to prepare the weapon to fire again after firing—assuming cartridges remain in the weapon's feed device or magazine...

s, which fire one shot per single pull of the trigger (like the .45 "automatic"), or fully automatic firearms, which will continue to load and fire ammunition
Ammunition
Ammunition is a generic term derived from the French language la munition which embraced all material used for war , but which in time came to refer specifically to gunpowder and artillery. The collective term for all types of ammunition is munitions...

 until the trigger (or other activating device) is released, the ammunition is exhausted, or the firearm is jammed.

Design

An automatic weapon fires, automatically extracts the used cartridge
Cartridge (firearms)
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim . Electrically...

 case from the barrel and ejects it, then loads a new case into the barrel; generally either by harnessing the recoil of the cartridge's explosion, or the diversion of propellant gases.

Uses

An "automatic pistol
Pistol
When distinguished as a subset of handguns, a pistol is a handgun with a chamber that is integral with the barrel, as opposed to a revolver, wherein the chamber is separate from the barrel as a revolving cylinder. Typically, pistols have an effective range of about 100 feet.-History:The pistol...

" or "automatic shotgun
Shotgun
A shotgun is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug...

" generally refers to a semi-automatic design, though full-automatic pistols (e.g. Steyr TMP
Steyr TMP
The Steyr TMP is a select-fire 9x19mm Parabellum caliber machine pistol manufactured by Steyr Mannlicher of Austria. The Magazines come in 15, 20, or 30 round detachable box types. A suppressor can also be fitted...

) and shotguns
Automatic shotgun
An automatic shotgun is a form of shotgun that is able to fire cartridges continuously while the trigger is pressed, unlike semi-automatic weapons which require the user to depress the trigger for each projectile fired.- Design :...

 (e.g. Daewoo USAS-12) do exist. Conversely, an "automatic rifle" generally refers to a fully automatic or hybrid semi-auto/full-auto
Selective fire
A selective fire firearm has at least one semi–automatic and one automatic mode, which is activated by means of a selector which varies depending on the weapon's design. Some selective fire weapons utilize burst fire mechanisms to limit the maximum or total number of shots fired automatically in...

 design.

Fully automatic weapons tend to be restricted to military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 and police
Police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

 organizations in most developed countries which permit the use of non-automatic firearms. Where fully automatic weapons are permitted, restrictions and regulations on their possession and use may be much more severe than for other firearms.

Other similar weapons not usually called automatic firearms are:
  • Autocannon
    Autocannon
    An autocannon or automatic cannon is a rapid-fire projectile weapon firing a shell as opposed to the bullet fired by a machine gun. Autocannons often have a larger caliber than a machine gun . Usually, autocannons are smaller than a field gun or other artillery, and are mechanically loaded for a...

    , which are 15mm or greater in bore diameter or larger and thus considered cannons, not small arms.
  • Gatling gun
    Gatling gun
    The Gatling gun is one of the best known early rapid-fire weapons and a forerunner of the modern machine gun. It is well known for its use by the Union forces during the American Civil War in the 1860s, which was the first time it was employed in combat...

    s, multiple barrel
    Multiple Barrel Firearm
    A Multiple barrel firearm is a firearm of any type with more than one barrel, usually to increase the rate of fire/hitting probability and to reduce barrel erosion/overheating.-Definition:...

     designs, often used with external power supplies to generate rates of fire higher than automatic firearms.


A fully automatic weapon (a machine gun) is one that fires a succession of bullets so long as the trigger is depressed or until the ammunition supply is exhausted. In addition, any weapon that shoots is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot automatically, more than one shot at a time by a single trigger pull, is legally considered to be a machine gun.

Submachine guns are fully automatic weapons that fire a handgun cartridge and can be operated by one person. Sometimes they are referred to as machine pistols.
A machine gun can normally fire between 400 and 1,000 rounds (bullets) per minute, or between 7 and 17 rounds per second.

See also

  • Machine gun
    Machine gun
    A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

  • Submachine gun
    Submachine gun
    A submachine gun is an automatic carbine, designed to fire pistol cartridges. It combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the cartridge of a pistol. The submachine gun was invented during World War I , but the apex of its use was during World War II when millions of the weapon type were...

  • Assault rifle
    Assault rifle
    An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...

  • Automatic rifle
    Automatic rifle
    Automatic rifle is a term generally used to describe a semi-automatic rifle chambered for a rifle cartridge, capable of delivering both semi- and full automatic fire...

  • Automatic shotgun
    Automatic shotgun
    An automatic shotgun is a form of shotgun that is able to fire cartridges continuously while the trigger is pressed, unlike semi-automatic weapons which require the user to depress the trigger for each projectile fired.- Design :...

  • Machine pistol
    Machine pistol
    A machine pistol is a handgun-style, often magazine-fed and self-loading firearm, capable of fully automatic or burst fire, and normally chambered for pistol cartridges. The term is a literal translation of Maschinenpistole, the German term for a hand-held automatic weapon...

  • Firearm action
    Firearm action
    In firearms terminology, an action is the physical mechanism that manipulates cartridges and/or seals the breech. The term is also used to describe the method in which cartridges are loaded, locked, and extracted from the mechanism. Actions are generally categorized by the type of mechanism used...

  • Bump fire
    Bump fire
    Bump firing is the act of using the recoil of a firearm to fire multiple shots in rapid succession. This process involves holding the foregrip with the non-trigger hand, releasing the grip on the firing hand , pushing the rifle forward in order to apply pressure on the trigger finger from the...

  • Federal Firearms License
    Federal Firearms License
    A Federal Firearms License is a license that enables an individual or a company to engage in a business pertaining to the manufacture of firearms and ammunition or the interstate and intrastate sale of firearms...

  • Gun Control Act of 1968
    Gun Control Act of 1968
    The Gun Control Act of 1968 , by president Lyndon Johnson, is a federal law in the United States that broadly regulates the firearms industry and firearms owners...

  • Gun politics
    Gun politics
    Gun politics addresses safety issues and ideologies related to firearms through criminal and noncriminal use. Gun politics deals with rules, regulations, and restrictions on the use, ownership, and distribution of firearms.-National sovereignty:...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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