M249 SAW Machine Gun
The M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) is a light machine gun that is found throughout the US military. It fires 5.56mm45mm NATO ammunition and comes in a number of variants.
The original, full-length SAW, featuring a 18.3 inch barrel, tubular steel stock and fixed carrying handle. The M249 SAW was typically fed from 100 or 200-round plastic boxes. A magazine well is fitted in order to accept STANAG magazines typically used in M16 / M4 rifles.
Full-length M249 featuring a fixed plastic stock similar in style to the M240 machine gun. Other improvements include better heat guards, softened sharp spots, folding hand guard and a hydraulic buffer to cut down on recoil.
A more compact variant of the SAW, designed for airborne troops, the Para features a collapsible stock and a 13.7 inch barrel.
A special version of the M249 designed for use by Special Operations Forces (SOF). Gone are the folding handle, magazine well and vehicle-mounting lug. Newly added are a set of Pictatinny rails for mounting accessories. The SPW features a collapsible buttstock. The SPW's barrel is longer than the M249 Para but shorter than the full-length SAW.
MK 46 Mod 0
Similar, but not identical to the SPW, the MK 46 Mod 0 is the model chosen by USSOCOM. The main differences are the fixed buttstock and different Pictatinny rails on the forearm.
MK 48 Mod 0 / Mod 1
A variant of the M249 chambered in 7.62x51mm and designed with SOF in mind. The MK 48 Mod 0 is lighter than the M240 and more reliable than the M60E4. A set of Pictatinny rails allows for the mounting of various accessories. The MK 48 Mod 1 upgrade features a 19.75 inch barrel.
M249 (Para) Specifications
M249 - Images and Further Info
US Marines fire M249 PIPs in Afghanistan. The product improvement program (PIP) introduced a number of improvements over the originally-fielded M249 such as a new shaped stock, a hydraulic buffer system to reduce recoil, a hand guard over the barrel and a folding carrying handle.
US DoD photo
A soldier with the 10th Mountain division provides security with a M249 Para fitted with an Elcan sight and a Grip Pod. The Grip Pod is a fore grip that can open out into a bipod (as shown).
photo : US DoD
A United States Marine with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable)'s Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF) fires a M249 Para.
U.S. DoD Photo by Sgt. Robert A. Sturkie
US soldier armed with a modern M249 Para - note the M4-style collapsible buttstock and Pictatinny rails for mounting of accessories. The rounds are fed from a soft bag rather than a hard plastic box.
DoD photo by: Spc. Charles W. Gill
A US Army Ranger engages the enemy with a MK 48 Mod 0 7.62mmx51mm belt-fed machine gun. The MK 48 Mod 0 features the firepower and reliability of the larger and heavier M240. Unlike the MK46 Mod 0, the Mk 48 features a carrying handle.
photo : courtesy US Army.
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