TFBTV: Top 5 Best Assault Rifles

    An assault rifle has to meet a certain set of criteria: It must be select-fire and use an intermediate cartridge. In this video we explain what our favorites are, factoring in accuracy, controllability, and of course how easy it is to shoot.

    Also I anticipate this, so let me state it here: The AK is not included because a select fire AK is not controllable nor user friendly, even to an experienced shooter. This is a myth perpetuated by Hollywood and whoever else, but they are just brutal to run. Also had to ding it for a myriad of other reasons that may be hit on in another video. (Puts on flamesuit)

    Hell, if this video gets 500 thumbs up, Patrick and Alex will shoot an AK74 until it catches on fire or blows up. Whichever comes first 🙂

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    The full english transcript …

    – Hey guys, I’m Alex C.

    – And I’m Patrick R.

    – We’ve got another episode of TFB TV, and it’s another top five coming at you.

    Today’s topic is the top five best assault rifles.

    What you see on the table are, in fact, assault rifles.

    – They are.

    These are all assault rifles, true to the definition.

    – They meet the lexical definition of an assault rifle, that is to say, intermediate caliber, – Correct.

    – Select fire, and, yeah, magazine fit and whatnot.

    I guess you don’t have to have magazine fit.

    – No, I don’t think it’s part of the definition.

    – No, whatever.

    But, it’s kinda part of the colloquial definition.

    – Right, right, the big black scary rifle kind of thing.

    – Absolutely, kinda unfortunately.

    But some people will tell you an assault rifle is a semiautomatic modern sporting rifle.

    Those people are wrong.

    Don’t listen to those people.

    – Right. – They’re foolish and they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    – Also, I do wanna add, “AR-15” does not stand for “Assault Rifle 15”.

    – Right. Unless you’re wrong, which, you know…

    – Well, you’re still wrong. (laughing) – Right, right.

    Anyways, so let’s start from our left to your right.

    It’s only suiting that we start with the granddaddy of the modern assault rifle.

    That’s known generally as the Sturmgewehr.

    Sturmgewehr translating to “assault rifle” or “storm rifle”, this is of course an MP 43, which predates the MP 44, StG 44.

    Legend has it Hitler renamed it the Sturmgewehr as kind of a propaganda type deal.

    Whether he did or not is debated by some, but I can tell you one thing, it’s a fantastic rifle.

    It’s served as great proof of concept, and it showed the world that assault rifles had a valid place on a battle field.

    And World War II was a very fast-moving modern battlefield.

    – It was, it was.

    – Today, even at our military training, still they employ some of the tactics that were used, some squad-based tactics and things like that.

    – That’s very accurate.

    – Used then. So, yeah.

    – Let’s talk a little bit about the rifle.

    I mean, the actual shooting experience.

    – Sure, sure.

    – It’s got a real low cyclic rate, so it’s kinda a chugga chugga chugga full auto to it.

    It’s really controllable, really an enjoyable gun to shoot.

    – I would say the controllability is what made this gun make it onto the table.

    It’s so easy to hold on target with that low cyclic rate, and with the modern ammo that’s not too under what they would have loaded back then.

    But it’s ludicrously controllable.

    I have a buddy who’s also a machine gun enthusiast who says this is his favorite one.

    And it’s because of that that it made it onto the table, combined with great accuracy, easy to clean, easy to use, easy to maintain, and it’s reliable as hell.

    – True, true, but we can’t ignore the fact that it kinda gave us the rest of these.

    – It did. For one reason or another some people will learn you on the fact that it may not have been the first assault rifle, but it’s definitely, like I said, the granddaddy of the modern assault rifle.

    – Yes.

    – Next up, this is probably familiar to a lot of you guys.

    This is an HK33, which is the big bad grandpa of the 93, which is the semiautomatic copy.

    The reason I chose this gun is because I really like the G3, I like the handling characteristics, the way the G3 functions, the reliability, the accuracy, and the 33 is a 556, so it’s just the assault rifle version of the beloved G3 rifle.

    – Right, right, right.

    – They shoot really well, they’re very controllable in full auto.

    I could lay down sustained fire with this with relative ease, not that I ever would have to under certain circumstances.

    This actually wouldn’t be my go-to gun, but it’s one of my favorites, it’s one of the best, and as far as reliability is concerned, these HK roller-delayed blowback guns are just legendary.

    – Yes, I’ll agree to that.

    There are a couple downsides to this gun in my opinion.

    – Weight.

    – Weight is one of them.

    Two, is the magazines.

    – From a consumer standpoint, yes.

    – Yes. – Yeah.

    – That’s where I’m getting what I’m getting at.

    They are expensive, they are hard to get ahold of.

    And even from a military standpoint, they are heavy, and they’ve got snaggy things on the side, which I don’t like.

    But it is a great gun.

    – It is a great gun.

    They actually adapted this at one point into a gun that HK called the G41, that had things like a bolt catch and took AR-15 magazines.

    That would have been a really cool gun to have mass produced. – I agree, I agree.

    – But it didn’t, or they didn’t, and there’s a lot of these floating around out there on the marketplace.

    – There are, I think.

    Actually, I think they’re selling some rebuilds right now through Sentry maybe.

    – Yeah, a couple different outfits will make you one or are making them, but they’re fantastic assault rifles.

    Unfortunately HK is no longer making them at their factory.

    – No, they are not.

    Now I mean, shooting this gun here, it’s not as smooth and light as the M16, I don’t think.

    – It’s very different, whereas this has a smoother, more wandering feel, the M16 has a more chattery kind of pulsating feel to it.

    – I don’t know, maybe I’m just used to that.

    – You’re definitely used to it.

    There’s a reason.

    But let’s keep on moving down the line.

    That’s a great gun, that’s again the HK33, with the 53 being just a shortened version of that.

    Next up, we chose the G36.

    Now, this gun’s been in the news a lot lately, because they claim it has a wandering point of impact, they claim the polymer’s melting.

    However, in our tests so far– – We haven’t found anything like that yet.

    – And we find it odd that countries like Spain, Latvia, Saudi Arabia, namely Saudi Arabia, wouldn’t have reported the same problems…

    – Right.

    – that the Bundeswehr is reporting.

    Now there’s some people that say the politicians involved in that whole deal are responsible for basically fanning the flames.

    – Yeah, I mean.

    – I would do the same thing if I was looking to advance a political career.

    – I agree, but we are no politics here.

    – We’re no politics, it’s just that, unfortunately that’s just kind of a fact of the way the military industrial complex works.

    – Right.

    – Politics work their way in, certain guns get adopted, it happens, so it’s hard to do what we do without hitting on politics at all.

    – Right, agreed, agreed, agreed.

    – But anyways, back to the gun.

    The gun’s fantastic, it’s reliable as hell.

    I mean, we’ve shot it a ton, and it hasn’t failed one time.

    – No, it hasn’t.

    It’s really a great gun.

    It’s light, it’s handy.

    – I like how it has modern features, it’s a polymer, you can couple the magazines together, they have trigger groups that have two-round bursts and full auto and single, a folding stock.

    Easy dis-assembly, it’s very modular, you could put Picatinny rails on the back, the top, the front.

    – I would rather have the Picatinny rail on top than the…

    – I like that ’90s look personally.

    – Yeah, it’s cool, but it’s just not as usable as a modern sight.

    But, it is a great gun.

    It’s very controllable.

    If you take a look at our accuracy tests you can see us do some magnums with it and holding it on targets pretty easy.

    – Yeah. Anyways, so that’s the G36.

    If you haven’t shot one, go find a range that has ’em for rent and rent one.

    – Now, my favorite.

    – Patrick’s favorite, and for good reason.

    – Yes, M16, and this is an A1.

    It’s really, I mean, when it comes to bringing polymer and steel together to build a great military firearm, this kinda paved the way, I think.

    But, it’s just such a fabulous gun.

    – It borrows a lot of features from a lot of great other guns.

    For example, from the Johnson rifle, it took his rotating bolt design with the multi-lugs, so whenever someone says, “Oh, it’s got a Stoner multi-lug bolt.” that’s a Johnson multi-lug bolt.

    Johnson actually worked with Stoner.

    It’s also got a high sight plane because it was brought more inline, a characteristic of the Johnson machine gun.

    It’s got high use of aluminum, it’s got a hinged dust cover that was borrowed from the StG44.

    So a lot of great guns came together in one gun to create the M16, which is a firearm that’s loved by many today.

    – I mean, and there is some controversy as far as when they initially fielded this gun.

    – For a good reason, when they first fielded it.

    – Right, and a lot of people still…

    I have no idea why I did that. (laughing) Just a habit of closing the dust cover.

    – I’ve talked to a lot of Vietnam veterans who say, “Why would you ever own one of those rifles?” And if I had experience– – There were some legitimate gripes.

    – And if I had experienced what those guys had, I would have the same opinion. – I agree, I agree.

    But in reality though, it’s a fantastic weapon for an assault rifle’s true purpose.

    – Right, you know, it’s had a baptism by fire and emerged just fine.

    – And, I mean, I still see.

    Armies today are going from things like the G36, or whatever the case might be, to an M16 based weapon system.

    – Absolutely, and you know, just like the HK416 that’s the new hotness that everybody wants is this gun, basically, well, it actually does have a G36 piston.

    You can take the piston out of a G36 and put it in a 416.

    So it combines the great reliability of that piston system with the familiarity of this gun.

    So, it’s a very cool hybrid system, and the M16A1 is my personal favorite.

    I don’t know about you.

    – No, I agree, this is my favorite.

    – Well there you go.

    There’s something cool about the retro triangular handguards and stuff like that.

    – But, with that said, when it comes to the M16 family of firearms, I’m happy with any of them.

    – Yeah, absolutely.

    They just shoot fantastically.

    – Yeah, they handle well, I’m familiar with them, and if I were gonna go somewhere bad, I’d want one of these.

    – Well, you know, they’ll be around until we die.

    – That’s true.

    – Alright, last one on the table.

    This is actually my personal favorite.

    This is the FN FNC.

    The FNC is used by the armed forces of Belgium, it’s used by the armed forces of Sweden as a licensed Bofors product known as the AK5, by Indonesia, and I wanna say there’s one or two more, but I’m not 100% sure.

    But the FNC, it’s really cool.

    It uses a long-stroke gas piston like an AK but it uses an aluminum lower receiver like an M16 and a stamped sheet metal upper.

    And it’s just a really fun gun to shoot, really.

    That’s why I put it on the table, more than anything, is because it’s so ludicrously fun.

    It folds nice and compact, it’s reasonably light, and I’ve never had a jam, ever, and I’ve owned this for longer than anything else I’ve owned on the table.

    It just is so dang reliable that I almost felt bad if I didn’t include it.

    It uses that long-stroke gas piston system with M16 magazines, it’s got three round burst and full auto, it’s got basically everything that I would want in an assault rifle.

    And, that’s why it made it onto the table.

    – Well, one thing it has that I don’t want is some pretty heft weight, for what it is.

    Comparative to– – Yeah, it’s reasonably heavy comparative to– – Comparative to like an 04 or even the M16.

    It is comfortable in the hand, I will give it that.

    – Yeah, it’s got the nice grip angle of an FAL, you can swap that out if you don’t like it.

    But they’re very cool, very unique guns.

    They shoot almost with a little bit of that AK-47 slop but with kinda the distinctive chatter of an M16.

    It’s almost hard to describe.

    But they shoot very well.

    They’re very fun.

    – I guess if it’s good enough for Al Pacino it’s good enough for me.

    – Yeah, if you saw Heat, that’s the gun he used in that movie.

    But, the last taking point we have is you’re not gonna see an AK on the table, and we came to a point of contingent on this.

    The AK is very dated and antiquated, not to say, obviously, that the Sturmgewehr isn’t, it got some extra points for being historically significant and whatnot, but the AK has some serious problems.

    The sights are extremely crude, it’s got a v-notch on it, it’s not particularly accurate.

    It’s hell to shoot on full auto, and it’s just not very fun to shoot.

    – It is not very fun to shoot, but it does have it’s place in a modern military.

    I’m gonna go ahead and challenge you on that.

    – Sure.

    – And later, maybe we’ll go ahead and have a little bit of an argument as to why it should or should not be included.

    – Anyways guys, thanks for watching TFB TV.

    Hit that subscribe.

    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!