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U.S. Army Special Forces: "The Green Berets"

Small Arms & Crew-served Weapons

This is a partial listing of the weapons currently in use by U.S. Special Operations forces. It does not include "unconventional" or non-standard, special purpose weapons.

M9 Personal Defense Weapon: A semiautomatic, double-action pistol, the M9 is more lethal, lighter, and safer than its predecessors. The M9 is carried by crew-served weapon crewmen and by others who have a personal defense requirement, such as aviators. It replaces the M1911A1 .45 caliber pistol and the .38 caliber revolver.

M4 Carbine: The M4 is a lightweight, gas operated, air cooled, magazine fed, selective rate, shoulder fired weapon with a collapsible stock. A more compact version of the M16A2 rifle, the M4 provides the individual soldier operating in close quarters the capability to engage targets at extended range with accurate, lethal fire. It achieves over 80% commonality with the M16A2 Rifle and will replace all .45 caliber M3 submachine guns and selected M9 pistols and M16 series rifles.

M16A2 Rifle: The M16A2 is a lightweight, air-cooled, gas-operated, low-impulse rifle. An improved version of the M16A1 it is replacing, the M16A2 incorporates improvements in sight, pistol grip, stock, and overall combat effectiveness. Accuracy is improved by incorporating an improved muzzle compensator, three-round burst control, and a heavier barrel, and by using the heavier NATO standard ammunition, which is also fired by the Squad Automatic Weapon.

M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW): The M249 is a lightweight, gas-operated, one-man-portable machine gun capable of delivering a large volume of effective fire to support infantry squad operations. The M249 replaces the two automatic M16A1 rifles in the rifle squad on a one-for-one basis in all infantry type units and in other units requiring high firepower.

MK19-3 40mm Automatic Grenade Launcher: A self-powered, air-cooled, belt-fed, blow back operated weapon, the MK19-3 is designed to deliver accurate, intense, and decisive firepower against enemy personnel and lightly armored vehicles. It is used in offensive and defensive operations and will be the primary suppressive weapon for combat support and combat service support units. The MK19-3 is mounted on the HMMWV, M113 FOV, 5-ton trucks, and selected M88A1 recovery vehicles.
Weapon M9 M4 M16A2 M249 MK-19
Caliber 9 mm 5.56mm 5.56mm 5.56 mm 40 mm
Weight 2.6 lbs. 6 lbs. 8.9 lbs. 16.3 lbs. 72.5 lbs.
Max Effective Range 50 m 500 m 550 m 800 m 2,200 m

PROGRAM STATUS: All are currently in series production and fielding.


  • Beretta (Accokeek, MD) - M9 Personal Defense Weapon
  • Colt's Manufacturing (Hartford, CT) - M4 Carbine, M16A2 Rifle
  • FN Manufacturing (Columbia, SC) - M16A2 Rifle, M249 Squad Automatic Weapon
  • SACO Defense (Saco, ME) - MK19-3 Automatic Grenade Launcher


This page is an unofficial document and does not represent information endorsed by the United States Government, the United States Special Operations Command or the United States Army Special Operations Command. However, most information is derived from those sources and has been checked for accuracy. For comments, questions, and suggestions, please go to the Communications Center.

Gunnery Network - SOF