The M249 SAW, a revolutionary weapon created by the Belgian company
has marked a before and after in modern warfare. With its compact design and ability to fire short or sustained bursts, this light machine gun has proven to be an essential piece on the battlefield, being used by different allied countries and by the French foreign legion.
French foreign legion
in combat situations. And today you will discover its origin, design and some epic moments in which it has been used in combat. Let’s get to it!
M249 SAW: the most lethal weapon on the battlefield
The M249 SAW is a light machine gun that weighs about 7.5 kg and is 104 cm long. Its compact size and ability to fire short or sustained bursts make it ideal for combat situations. This weapon uses the
NATO caliber 5.56×45 mm
and can fire both M855 and M856 ammunition. It can also be adapted to fire cartridges of
.22 Long Rifle
which makes it ideal for training.
Due to its ergonomic design, the M249 SAW has been used by members of the special forces of different countries, including the United States, France, Spain and Germany.
Despite its power and versatility, the M249 SAW is considered an easy to clean and maintain weapon, making it popular with troops on the battlefield.
The story behind the M249 SAW
During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army began looking for a replacement for the
which had various weight and design problems. It was then that the Belgian company FN Herstal presented the design of the M249 SAW in 1974, inspired by the FN FNC assault rifle. After several modifications and improvements, the M249 SAW was finally adopted by the U.S. military in 1984.
Design and operation of the M249 SAW
The M249 SAW incorporates an air cooling system to prevent overheating during prolonged use. It also has a trigger safety and a bolt safety to ensure the safety of the soldier and prevent accidental firing. Its compact design allows for easy mobility on the battlefield, while its adjustable stock and deployable bipod allow for better stability when shooting.
One of the most impressive features of the M249 SAW is its ability to interchange barrels in full action, allowing for quick changes in the event of overheating or barrel damage.
In addition to its use in the French foreign legionthe M249 SAW has been used by the U.S. Marines, notably in the battle of Mogadishu in 1993.
battle of Mogadishu in 1993
which was depicted in the movie “Black Hawk Down”.
Black Hawk Down
Epic moments in which the French foreign legion used the M249 SAW in combat.
French foreign legion
is a unique military force that only recruits foreigners to serve in its ranks. They have used the M249 SAW in counter-terrorism operations, peacekeeping missions and conflicts over the years.
The M249 SAW is part of the basic training for soldiers of the French foreign legion, who must demonstrate proficiency in its use before they can graduate.
In 2015, during a legion training in the desert, the M249 SAW proved to be an essential weapon when facing a simulated ambush. And in 2018, a French foreign legion soldier managed to save the lives of his comrades in a combat situation thanks to his expert handling of the M249 SAW.