Most Popular Military Small Arms in the World

Popular military weapons from around the world

In the ever-evolving landscape of modern warfare, small arms remain a crucial component of military arsenals around the world.  

These weapons, characterized by their portability and individual use, play a vital role in the effectiveness of military units in various combat scenarios.  

And sometimes there’s a street legal version you can buy too. 

From assault rifles to pistols and sniper rifles, the range of small arms used in contemporary militaries is diverse, each serving a specific purpose on the battlefield.   

Colt M16. The most popular assault rifle with military units

1. Colt M16

  • Price: $1000

The standard issue rifle in the U.S. military, the M4 Carbine is renowned for its versatility, light weight, and accuracy.  

It’s an upgraded version of the M16 rifle and is favored for its adaptability to different combat situations. Equipped with a shorter barrel than the M16, it is particularly effective in close-quarters combat. 

Designed by Eugene Stoner, this is the foundation of the AR-15 rifle that you absolutely should have at home.  

It was a great improvement on the M1 Garand and the lighter ammo meant soldiers could carry more bullets.  

Stoner made that technical breakthrough all the way back in 1956, and it’s a basic recipe that the US army, Colt and DN Herstal have refined to this day.  

Of course the AR-15 is the most popular and controversial rifle in America these days. You can buy a semi automatic rifle from $500 to more than $5000 and you can get everything from polymer receivers through to titanium and carbon fiber parts. 

The M4 Carbine is favored for its light weight, compact size, and versatility. It allows soldiers to quickly adapt to different combat situations, from close-quarters to mid-range engagements, and is easily customizable with various attachments. 

A real Colt M4 Carbine assault rifle will cost much more, naturally.  

Century Arms C39v2 AK-47 Rifle

2. AK-47

  • Price: $700+

This is the world’s most popular assault rifle. It has overthrown governments, smashed insurrections and just plain gone to war from the streets of Moscow to the slums of Mogadishu. 

Mikhail Kalsahnikov’s masterpiece is largely considered less accurate than an M4, and louder. But what it lacks in finesse, it makes up for in brute strength. 

The AK-47 rifle is famous for being able to withstand years of abuse in brutal conditions. Full of sand, in a swamp, and with the nastiest steel jacketed ammo in the mag, it just comes up firing.  

Because of that preternatural ability to keep going, you still see decades old rifles in action in the hands of underfunded rebels and militia all around the world.  

And the price and accessibility of 7.62x39mm ammo means it has slowly converted the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa to its charms.  

You can buy a semi auto on these shores and get everything from a real wood tribute act through to a full carbon and steel lightweight special with a big time price tag. 

Ammo is cheap and the guns are fun, so the AK has a massive following on US soil too now. Get a semi automatic rifle here.

Glock 17 Gen 5

3. Glock 17

  • Price: $539.99

The Glock 17, a semi-automatic pistol, is known for its simplicity, reliability, and lightweight design.  

Used by numerous military and police forces globally, it’s renowned for its high magazine capacity and low maintenance requirements. 

The military use more or less the same gun you can buy off the shelf. And although the Sig P320 has won the US military contract, the Glock 17 is far more popular globally. 

FN SCAR - The world's best machine gun


  • Price: $3,399.99

The FN SCAR, developed by the Belgian company FN Herstal, is used by various U.S. Special Forces units.  

It is the preferred rifle of French, Indian, Spanish, German, Mauritian and US Special Forces. In short, this is a spectacular rifle that stands out from the crowd.  

This modular rifle comes in two primary versions: SCAR-L for light (5.56×45mm NATO) and SCAR-H for heavy (7.62×51mm NATO).  

Its adaptability, reliability, and accuracy make it a top choice for special operations units that can afford them. 

5. IWI Tavor TAR-21

  • Price: $1000

The Israeli military face different challenges to other crack units around the world. It fights almost exclusively in urban settings, guerilla warfare against terrorist insurgents. 

 So a bullpup rifle helps them manoeuvre through hallways and doorways. Of course a Short Barrel Rifle is another approach, but then you lose range when you need it. 

The IWI Tavor TAR-21 is a fully ambidextrous assault rifle that has now been exported to more than 20 countries.  

It is still a bullpup rifle, so the old complaints about trigger feel remain.  

But it is one of the world’s most popular bullpup rifles and specialist teams around the world turn to them for specific tasks. 

The Heckler & Koch 416 rifle. A military favorite.

6. Heckler & Koch HK416

  • Price: $3,199.99

Adopted by several special forces units worldwide, including the U.S. Navy SEALs, the HK416 is an assault rifle famous for its reliability and performance in harsh environments.  

It uses a gas piston system derived from the G36 rifle, almost eliminating common malfunctions in direct impingement systems. 

The reliability came at a cost and this is a heavy rifle thanks to the advanced gas system that effectively uses a pusher rod rather than gas tube.  

Brighter folks than us say it is worth lugging the extra weight around.  

The civilian version of this rifle is the HK MR556. It comes with a lot of the same tech, it’s hellishly expensive and yet grown men drool over them like teenage boys. 

The small and yet preposterously well equipped Norwegian military use them, as do the US Marine Corps. 

You can buy the HK MR556, which is a high quality AR-15. But it isn’t fully automatic.

Sig P226 Legion

7. Sig Sauer P226

  • Price:

Now the Sig P320 Compact is slowly taking over, for better or worse, but let’s take a moment to thank the Sig Sauer P226 for its service.  

This is a duty pistol that has served military and law enforcement officers around the world, and continues to do so in vast numbers every day.  

Plenty of American LEOs still carry a P226 and it has become an icon around the world. 

You can buy them in varying specs, but our favorite is the Sig P226 Legion. The basic version, though, is in active service almost everywhere. 


  • Nick Hall

    Nick is a lifelong gun enthusiast who has a simple mission. He wants to find the best deals for guns online and help you make the best choices with weapons your life may depend on one day.Nick won a minor league shooting competition at the age of 11 and it all went from there. Now he runs one of the biggest firearms websites on the net and his work has featured in Playboy US, Tatler Asia, Forbes and a whole host of national magazines and websites.

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