The M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW for short), is the American version of the Fabrique Nationale (FN) “Minimi” light machine gun. The Minimi was first developed during the late 1970s however mass production did not begin until 1982; soon after it was adopted by the US Armed Forces as the “M249 SAW”. The Minimi and the American M249 SAW are gas-operated, air-cooled and fitted with a quick-change barrel so gunners can quickly replace an overheated or jammed barrel. It can fire both linked ammunition and ammunition kept in magazines at a rate of fire between 750 and 1,000 rounds per minute. The FN Minimi and its variants have excellent reputations for reliability and firepower and continue to see widespread service by various militaries around the world.
Initial date of manufacture:
1982 to present