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The service rifle (also known as standard-issue rifle) of a given army or armed force is that which it issues as standard to its soldiers. In modern forces, this is typically a highly versatile and rugged assault rifle suitable for use in nearly all theatres and environments. Service rifles are also often selected for their upgradability (e.g. the addition of underslung grenade launchers, sights, flashlights, laser sights, etc).

Although certain weapons issued to special forces units are rarely considered "service weapons" in the truest sense, certain specialist rifles and submachine guns are categorized as such if issued as per standing operating procedures upon entering special environments or scenarios. These may include urban warfare (FIBUA/MOUT) and jungle warfare environments.

Most armies also have service pistols/side arms.



The bolt-action M1903 Springfield was used as the USA's service rifle until 1936, when it was replaced by the gas-operated M1 Garand.

Originally, rifles used in combat were not standard-issue weapons like the service rifles of today. Rifles were for specialist marksmen only, whilst the ordinary infantry were issued less accurate smoothbore muskets which had a higher rate of fire, with bore diameters as high as 19 mm, or 0.75 inch. By the middle of the 19th century, however, rifles were becoming more and more common on the battlefield, with the muskets being phased out. Originally, these combat rifles were single-shot muzzleloading weapons, but as technology advanced through the 18th and 19th centuries, so too did the technique of loading rounds. First, breech-loading firearms, like the Prussian Needle gun of the mid-18th century came to prominence, which then evolved into repeating weapons, such as the bolt-action Mosin-Nagant rifle used by Imperial Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the Soviet Union in World War II. By this time almost all prominent armies in the world had some sort of standard service rifle. During the Second World War, there was yet another leap forward in rifle design which was to influence service rifles even today. That is, the use of a fired cartridge's gas emissions to automatically rechamber rounds into the breech once a bullet had been fired, as well as expelling the old cartridge. These weapons were known as gas-operated firearms. Some of the earliest examples of these were most prominent in the Second World War, and were usually semi automatic, such as the American-made M1 Garand, first brought into service with the United States in 1936. These "battle rifles", as they were called, usually fired a "full-sized" (as opposed to an intermediate) rifle cartridge, such as the .30-06 Springfield or .303 British. Another type of commonly-issued rifle which was to become well known during this time was the assault rifle, a (usually) fully-automatic rifle firing a lighter "intermediate" cartridge, as opposed to the full-sized cartridges used by battle rifles. The first of these was the Sturmgewehr 44, used by Nazi Germany in the later stages of the Second World War. The StG44 was not issued in large numbers, and was never adopted as Germany's service rifle. However, this weapon was to serve as the precursor to other assault rifles such as the Soviet AK-47, the American M-16, the Belgian FN FAL, the German G3 and the Swiss Sturmgewehr 57, which today supersede battle rifles as the service rifle of choice for militaries the world over.

Service rifles by nation


Firearm Type Calibre Service
AK-47 Selective-Fire 7.62x39mm 1950s-


Firearm Type Calibre Service
Remington EN M1879 Rolling block .45-70 1879-1891
Mauser Modelo Argentino 1891 Bolt action 7.65x53mm Mauser 1891-1909
Mauser Modelo Argentino 1909 Bolt action 7.65x53mm Mauser 1909-1959
FN-FAL Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1959-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
Lee-Enfield Bolt-Action .303 SAA Ball 1904-1950s
L1A1 SLR Semi-Automatic 7.62x51mm NATO 1957-1980s
F88 Austeyr Selective-Fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1988-Present


Steyr AUG
Firearm Type Calibre Service
Lorenz Rifle Rifled musket 14mm? 1854-1867
Wanzl rifle Trapdoor breechloader 14mm Wanzl rimfire 1854-1867
M1867 Werndl-Holub‎ Rotary block 11x42mm 1867-1881
M1881 Kropatschek Bolt action 11.15x42R 1881-?
M1886 Mannlicher Bolt action 11x42mm, 8x52mmR 1886-1895
Steyr-Mannlicher M1895 Straight-pull 8x50mm rimmed 1895-1945
Stg 58 (FAL) Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1958-1977
Stg 77 (Steyr AUG) Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1977-Present



Firearm Type Calibre Service
Albini rifle Hinged breechblock 11mm 1867-?
FN Mauser M1889 Bolt action 7.65x53mm Argentine 1889-1940
FN Mauser M1936 Bolt-action 7.65x53mm Argentine 1936-1949
FN SAFN-49 Semi-automatic .30-06 Springfield 1949-1956
FN FAL Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1953-present
FN FNC Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1979-present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
SIG SG 510 Battle rifle 7.62x51mm NATO


Firearm Type Calibre Service
M1873 Brazilian Comblain Falling block 11x53mmR 1873-1892
M88 German Commission Rifle Bolt action 7x57mm Mauser 1892-1894
Mauser M1894 Rifle Bolt action 7x57mm Mauser 1894-1908
Mauser M1908 (M1908/34, M1935) Bolt action 7x57mm Mauser 1908-1954
Mauser M954 Mosquetão Bolt action .30-06 Springfield 1954-1968
Mauser M968 Mosquefal Bolt action 7.62x51mm NATO 1968-1978
FAL IMBEL LAR Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1978-1985
IMBEL MD2 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1985-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
Heckler & Koch G3 (BA72) Semi-automatic 7.62x51mm NATO 1961-1990s
Burmese MA1 Assault rifle 5.56x45mm 1990s-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
Ross rifle Bolt Action .303 British 1905-1916
Lee-Enfield Bolt Action .303 British 1917-1953
FN FAL Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1955-1985
Colt C7 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1984-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
SIG SG 510 Battle rifle 7.62x51mm NATO 1950s-Present

Czech Republic

Firearm Type Calibre Service
Vz. 24 Bolt-action 8mm Mauser 1924-1952
Vz. 33 Bolt-action 8mm Mauser 1934-1945
Sa vz. 52 Semi-automatic 7.62x45mm vz. 52, 7.62x39mm M43 1952-1959
Sa vz. 58 Selective fire 7.62x39mm M43 1959-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
FN Model 1949 Semi-automatic 7.92x57mm Mauser 1949-??
Hakim Semi-automatic 7.92x57mm Mauser 1950s-??
Rasheed Semi-automatic 7.62x39mm 1950s-??
AKM/AKMS Select Fire 7.62x39mm 1960's?


Firearm Type Calibre Service
Mosin Nagant Bolt action 7.62x54R 1891–1962
SVT-40 Semi-automatic 7.62x54R 1940–1962
RK 62 Selective fire 7.62x39mm 1962–Present
RK 95 TP Selective fire 7.62x39mm 1995–Present


FAMAS bullpup assault rifle
Firearm Type Calibre Service
Charleville musket Flintlock .69 Musket ball 1717-1816
Delvigne rifle Flintlock Musket ball 1826-1846
Thouvenin Carabine à tige Percussion cap Musket ball 1846-1848
Minié rifle Percussion cap Minié ball 1848-1864
Tabatière rifle Breech-loading Minié ball 1864-1867
Chassepot M1866 Bolt action 11mm 1867-1874
Gras M1874 Bolt-action 11mm 1874-1886
Lebel Model 1886 rifle Bolt-action 8mm Lebel 1886-1940
Berthier rifle Bolt-action 8mm Lebel 1890-?
MAS-36 Bolt-action 7.5x54mm French 1936-1978
MAS-49 rifle Semi-automatic 7.5x54 French 1949-1979
FAMAS Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1978-Present


G36 rifle
Firearm Type Calibre Service
Needle gun Breech loading 15.4mm 1848-1871
M1871 Mauser Bolt action 11x60mm R 1871-1888
Gewehr 1888 Bolt-action 7.92x57mm Mauser 1888-1915
Gewehr 98 Bolt-action 7.92x57mm Mauser 1898-1945
Mauser Kar 98k Bolt-action 7.92x57mm Mauser 1935-Present (limited use)
Gewehr 41 Semi-automatic 7.92x57mm Mauser 1941-1945
Gewehr 43 Semi-automatic 7.92x57mm Mauser 1943-1945
Sturmgewehr 44 Selective fire 7.92x33mm Kurz 1944-1945
M1 Garand Semi-automatic .30-06 1945-1953 (West Germany)
FN FAL Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1953-1965 (West Germany)
Karabiner-S Semi-automatic 7.62x39mm 1945-1949 (East Germany)
MPi-K Selective fire 7.62x39mm 1949-1990 (East Germany)
Heckler & Koch G3 Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1958-Present (West Germany)
Heckler & Koch G36 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1995-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
Pindad SS1 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1991-Present
Pindad SS2 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 2006-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
Mauser 98 Bolt-action 7.92x57mm 1900s-1970s
G3A6 Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1970s-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
AK-47 Assault Rifle 7.62x39mm 1950s-Present
M16A2 Assault Rifle 5.56x45mm NATO 2007-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
Lee-Enfield Bolt-Action .303 SAA Ball 1922-1960s
L1A1 SLR Semi-Automatic 7.62x51mm NATO 1960s-1988
Steyr AUG Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1988-Present


IMI Galil assault rifle
Firearm Type Calibre Service
Lee-Enfield No 4 Bolt action .303 British 1948-1958
Mauser Kar98k Bolt-action 7.92x57mm Mauser 1948-1974
FN FAL Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1955-1981
M16 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1973-present
Galil AR Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1974-present
IMI Tavor TAR-21 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 2005-present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
M1870 Italian Vetterli Bolt-action 10.4mm Vetterli 1870-1887
M1870 Italian Vetterli Bolt action 10.4mm Vetterli 1892-1950
Carcano Bolt action 6.5x52mm Mannlicher-Carcano 1892-1950
M1 Garand Semi-automatic .30-06 Springfield 1945-1959
Beretta BM-59 Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1959-1990
Beretta AR70/90 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1972-present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
L1A1 SLR Battle rifle 7.62x51mm NATO 1957-Present
M16A2 Assault Rifle 5.56x45mm NATO 1980s?-Present


Arisaka Type 38 rifle
Firearm Type Calibre Service
Snider-Enfield Breech-loading .577 Snider 1868-1880
Murata rifle Bolt action 10x60R 1880-1898
Type 30 rifle Bolt action 6.5x50mm Arisaka 1897-1905
Arisaka Type 38 Bolt-action 6.5x50mm Arisaka 1905-1945
Arisaka Type 99 Bolt-action 7.7x58mm Arisaka 1939-1945
M1 Garand Semi-automatic .30-06 Springfield 1945-1964
Howa Type 64 Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1964-Present
Howa Type 89 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1989-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
Mauser 1895 FMM 1895 Bolt action 7x57mm Mauser 1895-1902
Mauser 1898 FMM 1902/7/10/12/24/36 Bolt action 7x57mm Mauser 1902-1954
Mauser 1898 FMM 1954 Bolt action .30-06 Springfield 1954-?
Heckler & Koch G3 Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1965-Present(Slowly Replaced by FX-05 Xiuhcoatl)
M-16 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1971-Present
Heckler & Koch G36 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1999-Present
FX-05 Xiuhcoatl Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 2006-Present

New Zealand

Firearm Type Calibre Service
Lee-Enfield Bolt-Action .303 SAA Ball 1900s-1950s
L1A1 SLR Semi-Automatic 7.62x51mm NATO 1950s-1980s
Steyr AUG Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1980s-Present

North Korea

Firearm Type Calibre Service
Arisaka Type 38 Bolt action 6.5x50mm Arisaka 1945-1948(limited use)
Arisaka Type 99 Bolt-action 7.7x58mm Arisaka 1945-1948(limited use)
SKS Semi-automatic 7.62x39mm 1945-1958
Type 58 Selective fire 7.62x39mm 1958-Present
Type 68 Selective fire 7.62x39mm 1968-Present
Type 88 Selective fire 5.45x39mm 1988-Present


A collection of Norwegian rifles from the Fram museum. Showing from the top:Krag-Jørgensen (civilian M1894 with carved stock), Krag-Petersson, Jarmann M1884, Remington M1867
Firearm Type Calibre Service
Kammerlader Breech-loading Minié ball 1842-1870
Remington M1867 Rolling block 12.17x44mm 1867-1908
Jarmann M1884 Bolt action 10.15x61mmR 1884-1900
Krag-Jørgensen M1894 Bolt-action 6.5x55mm 1894-1940
Lee-Enfield No 4 Bolt-action .303 British 1940-1952
Mauser M98 Bolt-action 7.92x57mm Mauser 1945-1950
Selvladegevær M1 Semi-Automatic .30-06 Springfield 1950-Present (limited use for drill/display)
AG-3 Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1966-Present
Heckler & Koch HK416 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO Being issued from 2008

People's Republic of China

Chinese QBZ-95
Firearm Type Calibre Service
Chiang Kai-shek rifle Bolt-action 7.92x57mm Mauser 1935-1952
Type 53 Carbine Bolt-action 7.62x54mmR 1953-1976
SKS Semi-automatic 7.62x39mm 1956-1989
Type 56 Selective fire 7.62x39mm 1956-1986
Type 81 Selective fire 7.62x39mm 1981-Present
QBZ-95 Selective fire 5.8x42mm 1995-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
AKM Selective-Fire 7.62x39mm 1960s-


Firearm Type Calibre Service
M14 Selective fire 7.62x51mm 1960s-
M16 Selective fire 5.56x45mm 1960s-
CAR-15 Selective fire 5.56x45mm 1960s-
Steyr AUG Bullpup 5.56x45mm 1990s-


Firearm Type Calibre Service
96 Beryl Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1997-present


G3 rifle
Firearm Type Calibre Service
Enfield m/1859 Percussion cap 14mm Minié 1859-1872
Snider-Enfield m/1872 Breech-loading 14mm Snider 1872-1910 (after 1886 limited use with colonial troops)
Kropatschek m/1886 Bolt action 8x60mm Guedes 1886-1961 (after 1904 limited use with colonial troops)
Mauser-Vergueiro m/1904 Bolt-action 6.5x58mm Vergueiro 1904-1937
Mauser m/937 Bolt-action 7.92x57mm Mauser 1937-Present (limited use for drill/display in the GNR)
G3 m/961 Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1961-Present

Republic of China/Taiwan

Type 91
Firearm Type Calibre Service
Hanyang Type 88 Bolt action 7.92x57mm Mauser 1911-1947
Chiang Kai-shek rifle Bolt-action 7.92x57mm Mauser 1935-1950
M1 Garand Semi-automatic .30-06 Springfield 1950-1968
Type 57 Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1968-Present
Type 65 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1976-Present
Type 91 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 2003-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
vz. 24 Bolt action 7.92x57mm 1938-1944
PA md. 86 Selective fire 5.45x39mm 1986-Present

Russia/Soviet Union

AK-47 assault rifle
Firearm Type Calibre Service
Model 1857 Six Line Rifled musket .60 calibre 1857-1867
M1867 Russian Krnka Trapdoor breechloader 15mm 1867-1869
Berdan rifle Bolt action 10.75x58mm 1869-1891
Mosin-Nagant Bolt-action 7.62x54mmR 1891-1963
SVT-40 Semi-automatic 7.62x54mmR 1940-1963
SKS Semi-automatic 7.62x39mm 1945-Present (mainly used as ceremonial arm)
AK-47 Selective fire 7.62x39mm 1949-1959
AKM Selective fire 7.62x39mm 1959-Present (moderate usage in urban environments)
AK-74 Selective fire 5.45x39mm 1974-1991
AK-74M Selective fire 5.45x39mm 1991-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
Karabiner 98k and other Model 98 pattern rifles Bolt action 7.92x57mm 1944-1959
SKS Semi-automatic 7.62x39mm 1959-1970
Zastava M70 Selective fire 7.62x39mm 1970-Present
Zastava M21 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 2004-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
AR-15 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1968-1973
M16S1 rifle Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1973-present
SAR-80 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1980s-unknown
SR-88 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1988-unknown
SAR 21 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1999-present

South Africa

Firearm Type Calibre Service
Lee-Enfield Bolt Action .303 SAA Ball 19??-19??
R1A1 Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1950s-19??
Vektor R4 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 19??-


G36 rifle
Firearm Type Calibre Service
Model 1857 rifle musket Rifled musket ? 1857-1867
M1857/67 Berdan Trapdoor breechloader 15x41mmR 1867-1868
M1868 Spanish Peabody Falling block .56-50R Spencer, 11.15x58mmR (.43 Spanish) 1868-1870
M1870 Remington Rolling block 11.15x58mmR 1870-1893
M1893 Mauser Bolt action 7x57mm Mauser 1893-1945
Coruña 42 Bolt-action 7.92x57mm Mauser 1942-1958
CETME Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1958-1997
CETME Model L Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1984-1999
Heckler & Koch G36 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 2000-Present

South Korea

K2 Assault rifle
Firearm Type Calibre Service
Arisaka Type 38 Bolt action 6.5x50mm Arisaka 1945-1950(limited use)
Arisaka Type 99 Bolt action 7.7x58mm Arisaka 1945-1950(limited use)
M1 Garand Semi-automatic .30-06 Springfield 1945-1968
M16A1 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1968-Present
Daewoo K1A Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1981-Present
Daewoo K2 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1984-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
M1896 Swedish Mauser Bolt-action 6.5x55mm 1896-1995
Ag m/42 Semi-automatic 6.5x55mm 1942-1964
Ak 4 Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1964-1990
Ak 5 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1985-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
Infanteriegewehr Modell 1842 Muzzle-loading percussion 18mm 1842-1867
Eidgenössischer Stutzer 1851 Muzzle-loading percussion 18mm 1851-1863
M1842/59/67 Swiss Milbank-Amsler Breechloader 18x25mmR Rimfire 1869-1869
M1867 Swiss Peabody Falling block 10.4x38mmR Rimfire (.41 Swiss rimfire) 1867-1869
Vetterli rifle Bolt-action 10.4x38Rmm Rimfire 1869-1890
Schmidt-Rubin Bolt-action 7.5x55mm Swiss 1889-1957
Sturmgewehr 57 Selective fire 7.5x55mm Swiss / 7,5mm GP 11 1957-1990
Sturmgewehr 90 Selective fire 5,6mm Gw Pat 90 1990-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
Type 45 Siamese Mauser Bolt action 8x50mmR 1903-1960s
M1 Carbine Semi-automatic .30 Carbine 1944-1970
M1 Garand Semi-automatic rifle .30-06 1944-1970
M16A1/A2/A4 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1967-present
HK 33 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1968-present
IMI Tavor TAR-21 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 2008-present

United Kingdom, British Empire & Commonwealth of Nations

Firearm Type Calibre Service
Brown Bess Flintlock .650 Ball 1722-1838
Ferguson rifle Breech-loading .650 Ball 1776
Baker rifle Flintlock .615 Ball 1801-1837
Brunswick rifle Percussion cap .704 Ball 1837-1851
Pattern 1853 Enfield Percussion cap .577 Ball 1853-1867
Snider-Enfield Breech-loading .577 Snider 1866-1901
Martini-Henry Falling block .577/450 Martini-Henry 1871-1918
Lee-Metford Bolt action .303 British 1888-1926
Lee-Enfield Bolt-action .303 British 1895-Present (limited use)
Ross rifle (Canada) Straight Pull .303 British 1905-1916
L1A1 SLR Semi-automatic 7.62x51mm NATO 1956-Present
C7 rifle (Canada) Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1984-Present
SA80 (UK) Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1985-Present
Steyr AUG (Australia) Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1987-Present
INSAS (India) Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1997-Present

United States

M16A1 rifle
Firearm Type Calibre Service
Brown Bess Flintlock .75 Ball 1776-1795
Model 1795 Musket Flintlock .69 Ball 1795-1816
Model 1816 Musket Flintlock .69 Ball 1816-1835
Springfield Model 1835 Flintlock .69 Ball 1835-1842
Springfield Model 1842 Percussion cap .69 Ball 1842-1855
Springfield Model 1855 Percussion cap .58 Minié 1855-1861
Springfield Model 1861 Percussion cap .58 Minié 1861-1867
Springfield Model 1863 Percussion cap .58 Minié 1863-1867
Springfield Model 1865 Breech-loading .58 Musket Rimfire 1865-1867
Springfield Model 1866 Breech-loading .50-70 Government 1866-1873
Springfield Model 1868 Breech-loading .50-70 Government 1869-1873
Springfield Model 1873 Breech-loading .45-70 1873-1886
Krag-Jørgensen Bolt action .30-40 Krag 1894-1903
M1895 Lee Navy (Navy/Marines) Straight-pull 6mm Lee Navy 1895-1903
M1903 Springfield Bolt-action .30-06 Springfield 1903-1957
M1917 Enfield Bolt-action .30-06 Springfield 1917-1943
M1 Garand Semi-automatic .30-06 Springfield 1936-1963
M1 Carbine Semi-automatic .30 Carbine 1942-1960
M14 Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1957-Present
M16 Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1961-Present
M4 carbine Selective fire 5.56x45mm NATO 1994-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
FN FAL Selective fire 7.62x51mm NATO 1950s-Present
AK-101 Selective fire 5.56x45mm 200?-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
Gewehr 98 Bolt-action 7x57mm ???-???
AK-101 Selective fire 5.56x45mm 2008-Present


Firearm Type Calibre Service
Mosin-Nagant Bolt-action 7.62x54mmR 1960s-Present
SKS Semi-Automatic 7.62x39mm 1960s-Present
AK-47 Selective fire 7.62x39mm 1960s-Present

See also


  1. ^ V. Kenneth. Burmese Small Arms Development. Small Arms Review, August 2009.

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