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Small arms comprise weapons designed to be carried by individual personnel into combat—most notably service rifles, sidearms, and specialized weapons. These weapons utilize the concept of direct fire, that is, an uninterrupted line of sight through which to engage a target. Their main role is to neutralize enemy infantry units in medium- to close-range combat. Each type of weapon has specific attributes that make it best for a distinct situation. This entry describes the types and features of small arms used by the U.S. military.

Service Rifles

Modern service rifles are known as assault rifles, meaning they combine the power of a traditional single-shot rifle with a faster rate of fire and high-capacity ammunition magazines. This makes them multipurpose weapons capable of performing a variety of soldierly ...

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