A semi-automatic rifle
is a type of rifle
that fires a single bullet
each time the trigger
is pulled, without the need manually to operate a bolt, lever, pump or other firing or loading mechanism. Such a rifle can fire single rounds in this manner until the firearm
's supply of cartridges
is depleted. They are also commonly known as self-loading rifles ('SLR') or auto-loading rifles.
A semi-automatic rifle is distinguished from a fully automatic rifle or machine gun in that it can only fire once each time the trigger is pulled. In some contexts, the term "automatic rifle" may refer to a semi-automatic/SLR rifle, not a fully automatic rifle.
Semi-automatic rifles may be chambered for pistol cartridges, intermediate cartridges, or full-sized rifle cartridges.
Semi-automatic rifles are mistakenly believed by many people to be capable of fully automatic fire or easily convertible to have that functionality. They are also mistakenly believed to be commonly used by criminals. These perceptions have attracted the attention of gun control
advocates, who have introduced and passed legislation restricting the sale, importation, ownership, and manufacture of semi-automatic rifles. In the United States
, semi-automatic rifles with a military-style appearance were prohibited from manufacture or importation by the Federal Assault Weapons Ban
, which was enacted in 1994 and expired in 2004. Certain U.S. states such as California
, New Jersey
and New York
have restrictive laws regarding to the ownership and sale of semi-automatic rifles.
Many semi-automatic-only versions (also known as "sporting" or "civilian" versions) of fully automatic rifles are available, and their external appearance can be nearly identical to their automatic counterparts. However, modern semi-automatic rifles are designed so that they cannot be converted easily to fully automatic fire. In the U.S., BATF
regulations require that semi-automatic rifles be manufactured so that they cannot accept parts or modifications that would allow them to be capable of fully automatic fire.
Types of semi-automatic rifles, by country and/or designer
Commercial semi-automatic rifles
Military semi-automatic rifles (and commercial derivatives)