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M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, 5.56mm,

NSN 1005-01-127-7510, LIN M09009
NSN 1005-01-451-6769, LIN M39263

The M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) provides a heavy volume of close and continuous fire needed to accomplish the mission, and they can engage targets beyond the capability of individual weapons with controlled and accurate fire. The SAW is the designation for a sub-family of the FN Minimi squad automatic weapon. The M249 is an air-cooled, gas-operated, fully-automatic-only firearm that fires from an open bolt position. It can accept belts of linked 5.56x45mm NATO (.223) ammunition through the top-mounted feed tray or M16-type magazines through the side-mounted port. The latter allows a SAW gunner to use riflemens' magazines in an emergency if he runs out of belted ammunition, though this often causes jams as the magazine spring cannot adequately keep up with the weapon's high rate of fire. Linked ammunition can be fed from either a loose belt or from a plastic box (or cloth pouch) for 200 rounds, clipped under the receiver. The hard plastic box has issues with being insecurely attached and by producing noise with movement in its standard form. The M249 SAW features a built-in bipod and a tripod-mounting lug for supported fire, as well as a quick change barrel that helps prevent overheating during sustained fire. Barrels are engaged and disengaged by rotating the built-in handle, and a spare is normally carried slung in an "A-bag" by the gunner or his assistant. The forearm is designed to contain a small cleaning kit for field use, though it may not be stored there in practice.

(Don't try this at home!)

For training exercises, the M249 is used with the M249 Blank Firing Adaptor (NSN 1005-21-912-8997), essentially a steel plug which screws into the muzzle and partially blocks it. (While standard blank firing adaptors for the M16 and M4 family of weapons will fit into the barrel of the M249 SAW, their use has been abandoned in favor of a SAW-specific BFA, due to the risk of catastrophic failure of the weaker rifle BFA, which is not durable enough for sustained automatic fire.) Gas-operated weapons rely on the projectile to trap gas pressure in the system as it leaves the barrel; without this, there will be insufficient pressure to cycle the weapon. U.S. M249s are sometimes fitted with the M145 MGO, a low-power optic that fits on via a top M1913 rail, when the rail is fitted. The regular M249 does not have a rail, however. The M249 mod kit increases the weight to 16.41 pounds.

United States military doctrine describes 3,600 m as the maximum range. Effective ranges include 800 m for a point target, 1000 m for an area target, and 600 m for suppression (suppression fire is attained by keeping the maximum height of the rounds no more than 1 m off the ground). Tracer ammunition burnout is at 900 m, however. The advised rates of fire are 85 rounds per minute with no barrel changes. With a barrel change every two minutes, this increases to 200 rounds per minute. For a barrel change every minute, the rate of fire can go up to 850 rounds per minute, which is approximately equal to the cyclic rate of fire, at about 850 to 900 round/min.

In addition to its traditional use as an infantry weapon, the M249 is also sometimes used as a vehicle-mounted weapon, most often on Humvees, either in the normal roof mounting (manually or remotely operated as part of a system such as the CROWS mount, sometimes in addition to heavier weapons such as an M2 Browning machine gun), or on a swing arm mounting accessible by the front passenger seat. It is also one of the weapons that can be mounted on the SWORDS robot.
(Content extracted from Wikipedia)

PS Magazine Articles

Dec 2007:  Do not use the M60 pintle to mount the M249....





15.07 lb (6.85 kg)


1040 mm standard

Muzzle Velocity

965 m/s

Rate of Fire

Cyclic 650-850 rds/min

Effective Ranges: Point

600 m


800 m


M249E3 5.56x45mm NATO FN Minimi Para machine gun variant; shorter barrel
M249E4 5.56x45mm NATO FN Minimi SPW machine gun; also incorporating PIP kit improvements
Mk 46 Mod 0 5.56x45mm NATO FN Minimi SPW/M249E4 machine gun variant; fixed buttstock and improved rail handguard.
Mk 46 Mod 1 5.56x45mm NATO FN Minimi SPW/M249E4 machine gun variant; fixed buttstock, an improved rail handguard and has a 200 round box magazine. Currently in service with certain USSOCOM units.

M249 Para with Detached Standard Barrel and Buttstock

MK46 Model 0

Useful NSN's:

weapon parts

1005-01-490-9698 front rail system with pistol grip 47.21 9M ui kt replaces front grip
1005-01-483-4893 knights arms saw rail system ? ? ui ea 3 rails mount around the barrel for accessory attachment
1005-01-334-1507 cartridge magazine 43.25 9M ui ea 100 round mag
1005-01-411-1264 buttstock 459.01 2M ui ea M5 collapsible buttstock used by infantry
1005-01-515-8268 buttstock 493.01 9M ui ea new collapsible M4 rifle style buttstock, this is a RFI item
1005-01-521-7962 bipod machine gun 184.01 9M ui ea new bipod for SAW
1005-01-130-3506 bipod machine gun 173.01 9M ui ea
1005-00-791-5420 spare barrel carrying case 24.54 9M ui ea part of BII
1005-01-249-0184 barrel heat shield 45.72 9M ui ea
1005-01-425-6541 adapter ammunition bracket 100.01 9M ui ea
1005-01-225-1156 tripod adapter assembly 30.16 9M ui ea
1005-00-312-7177 weapon sling 6.86 9M ui ea
5340-01-158-0134 snap hook (for weapon sling) 1.51 9T ui ea
5380-00-880-7666 barrel dust cap 3.81 9T ui box 100 per box

front grip bipod

1005-01-541-1772 front grip bipod mount 98.51 9M ui ea this item is a RFI item

machine gun barrels

1005-01-475-4296 short machine gun barrel 561.01 9M ui ea used by infantry
1005-01-470-5046 long machine gun barrel new style 458.01 9M ui ea new barrel is a mono block style
1005-01-387-8516 long machine gun barrel old style 458.01 9M ui ea

flash suppressor

1005-01-526-3464 B E meyers co M249 flash suppressor 98.27 ? ui ea 2.75 inches long used for night time operations
1005-01-529-6234 short barrel flash suppressor 4.75 9M ui ea new issue flash suppressor for short barrel
1005-01-528-5007 flash suppressor washer 1.78 9M ui ea used with flash suppressor nsn 1005-01-529-6234

saw molle ammo pouch

8465-01-491-7522 desert molle 200 round saw pouch 10.55 2F ui ea
8465-01-524-7620 acu molle 200 round saw pouch 13.45 2B ui ea
8465-01-532-2399 coyote brown molle 200 round saw pouch 20.31 ? ui ea
8465-01-465-2263 woodland molle 200 round saw pouch 11.81 2F ui ea
8465-01-516-7973 eagle molle coyote brown saw pouch w/det top 59.35 ? ui ea
6530-01-518-0913 blackhawk od green saw pouch w/det top 32.01 ? ui ea
8465-01-494-9301 artic white molle 200 round saw pouch 9.88 2F ui ea
8465-01-551-2451 tactical tailor saw magazine pouch ? ? ui ea
8465-01-544-9269 diamondback tactical battlelab saw pouch ? ? ui ea

machine gun mounts

1005-00-945-9756 saw pintle mount 50.97 9M for mounting the machine gun to different machine gun mounts

sight and mounts for other sights see M16/M4 list

1240-01-411-6350 M145 machine gun sight 643.01 2M ui ea also can be used on M240B machine gun
6650-21-920-2496 anti-reflection lens M145 machine gun sight 25.46 9M ui ea
6135-01-398-5922 lithium battery 1.22 9B ui ea for M145 machine gun sight
5340-01-362-9873 AN/PEQ-2, AN/PAQ-4 mounting bracket 2.48 9T ui ea mounts lazer to M249 on feed tray cover (this for weapons without rails)
5340-01-458-0473 AN/PEQ-2, AN/PAQ-4 picatinny rail grabber 116.99 9T ui ea mounts lazer to M249 via rail system
5365-01-447-8991 AN/PVS-4 spacer adaptor 31.39 9T ui ea for mounting an/pvs-4 night sight to M249 machine gun via rail system
5340-01-449-8533 AN/PVS-4 mounting bracket 92.71 9G ui ea for mounting an/pvs-4 night sight to M249 machine gun via rail system
3040-01-233-0352 AN/PVS-4 mounting bracket 29.68 9G ui ea mounts sight to M249 on feed tray cover (this for weapons without rails)

tools and cleaning items

1005-01-131-1914 scraper assembly 17.65 9M ui ea part of BII scraper tool used to clean weapon
5120-13-112-9600 spanner wrench 8.02 2B front sight spanner wrench for adjusting front sight
1005-01-113-0321 cleaning rod handle 1.37 9M ui ea
1005-00-050-6357 cleaning rod 10.69 9M ui box 25 per box
1005-00-937-2250 swab holder 0.37 2M ui ea
1005-00-494-6602 cleaning brush 0.33 2M ui ea tooth brush with bristles on both ends
1005-00-610-8828 cleaning brush 1.35 9M ui ea
1005-00-903-1296 bore cleaning brush 0.49 2M ui ea
1005-01-131-2121 chamber cleaing brush 0.95 9M ui ea
9920-00-292-9946 pipe cleaner 15.41 2B ui box 1344 per box
9150-01-102-1473 clp 0.73 36 ui bottle 1/2 oz
7920-00-205-1711 wiping rag 22.51 2E ui bundle 50 pounds per bundle
1005-00-912-4248 small arms cleaning cotton swab 5.31 9M ui pg 1000 per pg

The M249 blank-firing attachment (NSN 1005-21-912-8997)

Related End Items ("Also See...")

NSN Description
1005-00-073-9421 M16A1, Rifle, 5.56mm (Phased out in 1980s and 1990s; in service for two decades; fully automatic)
1005-01-128-9936 M16A2, Rifle, 5.56mm (Most widely-used M16 variant, uses 3-round burst mode)
1005-01-367-5112 M16A3, Rifle, 5.56mm (Rare, full-automatic version of M16A2)
1005-01-383-2872 M16A4, Rifle, 5.56mm (Similar to M16A2, with 3-round burst mode, but with detachable carrying handle and modular rail system)
1005-00-903-0751 M134 Minigun ("Gatling Gun"), 7.62mm
1005-00-589-1271 M14, Rifle, 7.62mm
TBP Rifle, 5.56mm, HK416
1005-01-469-2133 Rifle, .50 Caliber, Sniper:  XM107 (Barrett Family)
1005-01-534-2841 XM110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS)
1005-01-240-2136 M24, Sniper Rifle, 7.62mm
1005-01-081-4582 M231, Submachine Gun, 5.56mm (Firing Port Weapon for Bradley)
1005-01-118-2640 M9, Pistol, 9mm, Automatic, Beretta (Model 92F)
1005-00-017-9701 M7, Bayonet, Multi-Purpose (Older Model)
1005-01-227-1739 M9, Bayonet, Multi-Purpose (New Model, with saw blade and integral wire cutter)

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