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An assault rifle is a rifle capable of automatic fire with an intermediate cartridge from a detachable box magazine. Its cartridge falls in between the low power ammunition used in Pistols, Submachine Guns, and high power rifle ammunition used in Battle Rifles and many Sniper Rifles, allowing for more controllable recoil while still maintaining an effective range of several hundred meters.
Assault rifles are meant to be lightweight and though they are selective-fire weapons with large magazines, they do not have the thermal mass, cooling ability, or ammunition capacity to sustain a high volume of fire like a machine gun.