The M249 light machine gun (LMG), formerly designated the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW), and formally written as Light Machine Gun, 5.56 mm, M249, is the American adaptation of the Belgian FN Minimi, a light machine gun manufactured by the Belgian company FN Herstal (FN). The M249 is manufactured in the United States by the local subsidiary FN Manufacturing LLC in South Carolina and is widely used in the U.S. Armed Forces. The weapon was introduced in 1984 after being judged the most effective of a number of candidate weapons to address the lack of automatic firepower in small units. The M249 provides infantry squads with the heavy volume of fire of a machine gun combined with accuracy and portability approaching that of a rifle.
The M240, officially Machine Gun, 7.62mm, M240, is the US military designation for the FN MAG meaning general-purpose machine gun), a family of belt-fed, gas-operated medium machine guns firing the 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge.
The M240 has been used by the United States Armed Forces since the late-1970s. It is used extensively by infantry, most often rifle companies as well as ground vehicles, watercraft and aircraft. Despite being heavier than comparable weapons, it is highly regarded for reliability and its standardization among NATO members is a major advantage.
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