What Rifles Were Used in World War I?


Quick Answer

According to firstworldwar.com, dozens of different types of rifles were put into service during World War I. However, many of these weapons had a relatively small distribution. Throughout the course of the war, most of the major armies relied on a handful of trusted rifles made by German, French, British and American manufacturers. These rifles can be divided into long-barrel types and short-barrel carbines.

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Full Answer

Four common long-barrel rifles were used during World War I: the German Mauser, the British Lee-Enfield, the French Lebel and the French Berthier. The Mauser was used by Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and many of the Middle Eastern and African forces. The Lee-Enfield was used by British forces, both on the Western Front and elsewhere. Finally, the two French rifle models were used by French forces and by Greeks, Bulgarians, Russians and Serbians.

The short-barrel carbine was introduced in 1916, two years into the war. The two most common carbines were the American Springfield and the Austro-Hungarian Steyr-Mannlicher. The Springfield was issued to American infantry forces, who were just entering the war at that time, while the Steyr-Mannlicher was used by soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and nations that had close contact with Germany.

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