Why The Military Is Doubling Down On Its ‘Super SAW’ Machine Guns

Why The Military Is Doubling Down On Its ‘Super SAW’ Machine Guns

Jared Keller

Security,

It’s here to stay.

Key point: All of this is to say that SOCOM’s super SAW may have picked up some additional bite.

U.S. Special Operations Command plans on continuing to equip operators with FN America’s Mk 46 spec-ops designed M249 Squad Automatic Weapon variant and the beefed-up Mk 48 “super SAW,” doubling down on the two lightweight machine guns adopted nearly 15 years ago amid a major overhaul of the military’s small arms arsenal.

The Department of Defense recently awarded FN America, a South Carolina-based arms manufacturer, a $13.45 million contract to provide both the 5.56mm Mk 46 and 7.62mm Mk 48 light machine guns to SOCOM, The Firearm Blog reports. The contract represents an increase over SOCOM’s $11.5 million deal in 2010 for the two weapons, which FN specially designed for Naval Special Warfare starting back in 2004.

The Mk 46 and Mk 48, though they eclipse their SAW cousin in range, firepower, and ergonomics, have their own unique set of problems. The Mk 48 in particular “had a tendency to lose accuracy due to how much the weapon would shake during sustained firing,” The War Zone observed in May. “There were also problems with overheating and the gas system filling quickly with carbon, the latter issue leading to jamming unless operators thoroughly cleaned the weapon regularly.”

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