M-1 - The US Army designation for the semiautomatic rifle used during WWII
and the Korean War. Also known as the Garand, for its designer, it was
intended to be only a transitional stopgap piece as the arsenal moved from the
bolt action rifle of WWI and on to a light machine gun. The M-1, however,
proved to be a very successful design, being easy to operate, nearly
indestructible, and cheap to mass produce. The rifle’s formal name is the
Springfield M-1, and there are over a dozen official variations on the basic
layout, not counting the M-1 carbine, which has the same stock and firing
system but uses pistol ammunition.
To make things a little more confusing, M-1 was also the Army designation
for the Tommy Gun.
M-4 - The latest incarnation of the M-16, although mechanically the same,
has so many integral additions (including nightvision scope, IT compatibility,
and grenade launcher) that it deserved its own designation.
M-9 - When the US Army decided to have the Italian Beretta 92 become their
standard issue pistol, they changed the designated model number to something
that to them sounded more military.
M-16 - The American military standard issue infantry weapon from the
Vietnam War until the Second Iraq
War, and the first made with an
all aluminum frame. It is a fully automatic rifle which has been in use, with
modifications, since 1966. Many US allies have purchased M-16’s for their own
armed forces, although the gun is still plagued by some very serious
reliability and jamming problems. Since 1982, the fully automatic feature was
removed in favor of automatically firing in three-shot bursts, so cannot truly
be called an assault rifle. The Colt AR-15 is the civilian version of the same
Mac-10 - Also known as the Inghram, it is one of the smallest high-capacity
assault pistols, first developed in 1970. Note that the bullet clip in the
handgrip is very long, increasing its capacity to 30 rounds compared to a
regular semi-automatic pistol.
Mace - A club with a metal head and metal shaft. (A weapon with a metal
head and a wooden shaft is more accurately termed a composite club.) The head
can be a solid or hollow sphere, or an array of flanges set in a circle. The
wider use of maces in the 14th century came
about as a direct reaction to
larger number of warriors wearing plate armour. The impact from the rounded
head could stave in the armour, causing more damage that one could with sword
or axe. (Medieval clerics sometimes preferred the mace when fighting, for as a
weapon which breaks bones but doesn’t necessarily draw blood, it was justified
as being more in tune with Christian ideals.)
Machete - A long bladed cleaver; a single-edged short sword of the West
Indies first used as an agricultural tool to clear heavy brush and cultivate
crops in the mid-1500’s. Still used to cut vegetation, the machete is the last
remaining sword that humans still use with which to kill each other.
Machine Gun - A mounted gun capable of automatic loading and continuous
fire. Technically, a true machine gun is too large to be held while firing.
The single-soldier models are known as submachine guns.