"A general-purpose military weapon for field or urban combat. It fires a three-round burst. Good range, low power, high rate of fire."
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This is a compromise between a slow-firing rifle and a long-ranged machine-gun. The Assault Rifle can keep enemies in check at a range most weapons can't fire at, while still maintaining just enough rate of fire to threaten both targets in cover and those closing the distance. A very well-balanced, highly recommended weapon at both the early and later stages of the game.
Unfortunately, its relatively low shot power is a very real drawback, so you may want to upgrade your colonists to the Heavy SMG or Charge Rifle when possible, especially if facing against raiders using personal shields, or heavily-armored mechanoids that can soak up enormous punishment. If you're however looking for an accurate weapon, this weapon generally dominates both the Charge Rifle by a fair margin and a more tangible accuracy boost over the Heavy SMG.
The Assault Rifle can be built at the machining table.
The Assault Rifle is based off of the well-known American M16 assault rifle in real life.