A Battle rifle and a assault rifle are two different types of firearms with many of the same characteristics and purposes. The differences basically come down to the size of the round the rifle fires.

These days, assault rifles get all the focus in the media. People know that assault rifles are primarily used in war. Because of this, they are worried that there are too many assault weapons in the country and are using them for the wrong reasons.

Most countries use assault rifles as their standard issue firearm for soldiers. What many people do not know is that the battle rifle has been the service weapon for many militaries for centuries. It wasn’t until late World War II where the first official assault rifle was produced.

What is a battle rifle?

What is a battle rifle?

A battle rifle is a military service rifle that fires a full powered round. Battle rifles were always the standard military weapon since firearms existed. The term “Battle Rifle” was invented to distinguish the difference between assault rifles.

Many battle rifles fire in semi-auto only due to power of the round fired from the each respective gun. The battle rifles that fire at full-auto are usually very modern developed weapons that handle the recoil of a full-powered round.

Common Battle Rifles

The list below includes common rifles of today and standard issue rifles from past wars.


The World’s most successful Battle Rifle. Still in service today with many countries.


A descendant of the STG 44, this Battle rifle is one of the first modern battle rifles still in service.

Kar 98k

The German army’s standard issue rifle in WWII

M1 Garand

The standard Battle Rifle for the US troops during WWII


One of the latest Battle Rifles in service today. The SCAR 17 is also available to civilians. Learn how to shoot one here.


Deemed as one of the worst designated marksman rifles, the M14 has been used through various conflicts.

What is an Assault rifle?

Why are bullets conical shaped?

An assault rifle is a military service rifle that fires an intermediate powered rifle round. Assault rifles are now the standard service weapon in most militaries around the world. The reason why militaries use Assault rifles over battle rifles as their main rifle is because of their high magazine round capacity while maintaining a reasonable recoil at select fire modes. Plus, assault rifles still maintain excellent accuracy at their recommended range.

Learn about the first official assault rifle – the STG 44

Common Assault rifles today


The World’s most popular rifle. Variations of this rifle are used all around the world.


The standard rifle of the US military since the late 1960s. Plenty of variants exist and are used around the world.

HK G36

The smaller brother of the G3 chambered in 5.56x45mm. The G36 is one of the staples in the HK family.


The standard rifle for the French military. Made famous for it’s unique look and fast fire rate.

Battle Rifle Round vs an Assault Rifle Round

Battle Rifle Round vs an Assault Rifle Round

As mentioned before, the main difference between the assault rifle and battle rifle is the size of the cartridge fired from the weapon. With battle rifles firing full powered rounds while assault rifles firing intermediary powered rounds, what is the main difference between the two?

Full powered rifle rounds have a minimum effective range of 1000 meters. Intermediate rifle rounds have an effective range of 300 meters. With this amount of range difference, the round size between these two would be different also.

Common battle rifle round

One of the most common battle rifle rounds is the 7.62x51mm NATO. It’s used by many marksman rifles as well

Common Assault Rifle Round

This the smaller “sister” round – the 5.56x45mm NATO. Most of today’s assault rifles are chambered in this round because it is used by allies of NATO forces all over the globe.

FN SCAR platform uniqueness

The SCAR Platform

To get a good clarification of the differences between both rounds, there has been a weapon platform that has variations that chamber both ammo types. The FN SCAR platform is chambered in both 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm. So, each differently chambered rifle would be an assault rifle and a battle rifle respectively.

Related: Read about the FN SCAR platform

There are other weapon platforms like this including the HK 416/HK 417.


Fires the standard 5.56x45mm round which makes this the assault rifle version.


Fires the larger 7.62x51mm round which makes this battle rifle version. Learn how to shoot one here.

Battle Rifles Today

Battle Rifles Today

Since battle rifles have taken somewhat of a backseat to assault rifles, most battle rifles today have been also been designated as a marksman rifle. Many of these rifles have been built or modified to support various scopes and other attachments to fill this role due to their accuracy and range.


A once bad rifle with a number of improvements over the years.

Mk 14 EBR

The M14 ultimately was updated and improved to become this, the Enhanced Battle Rifle. As you can see, the upgrades improve on what the M14 was lacking.


There is still a need for battle rifles today. They fill a specific need when additional range and stopping power are needed rather than the usual assault rifle. Due to the greater recoil, additional practice is needed to really master battle rifles. So get your hands on a high powered battle rifle if you can and get to the range.

Remember, practice makes proficient.