Encyclopedia > Carbine

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Carbine is a firearm, similar to but shorter than an ordinary rifle or musket in barrel and stock. Carbine was originally developed to be used by cavalry soldiers, for whom a full-length rifle was too heavy and cumbersome to be fired from horseback. Carbines have also been issued to secondary troops, such as cooks, technicians etc., for whom a lighter weapon is sufficient and desirable. Many military rifles have been manufactured in both full-length and carbine versions. After WWII the assault rifle, which is basically a cross-breed of the carbine and a submachine gun, has become the standard infantry weapon, and carbine as a category of military firearms has virtually vanished.

Today the term 'carbine' is used on variety of firearms, basically anything between a pistol and a rifle. Pistols with a shoulder stock, submachine guns or assault rifles with only single fire cabability and small rifles designed to fire pistol cartridges can be seen to bear the title.

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