US Army Contract for M249


(McLean, VA – September 24, 2020) FN America, LLC is pleased to announce that the company has been awarded a firm-fixed-price contract to supply the U.S. Army with M249 Squad Automatic Weapons, also known as the M249 SAW. The contract is expected to be completed by 2025.

The FN M249 SAW has been a mainstay throughout the U.S. military since 1986 and is.. Yea yeah, Blah blah blah. I’m going to skip the rest of the Press & propaganda release because this raises another thought. This big award to FN for the M249 begs the question about what is going on with the next big evolution and replacement for the 249 and the new miracle-wonder 6.8 machine gun round that is supposed to be fielded very soon to replace all this stuff..


  1. You would think the USMC have some surplus M249’s that were displaced by the M27 IAR. They should hand those over and save the tax payers a couple of bucks. Lol.

  2. Yeah, here would be the thing about this: Small arms are wear items. Especially ones built out of stamped components.

    The M249 isn’t quite as bad as the M60, but it still wears out and you still have to keep replacing them. The M240 is a beast; I saw little to no wear on anything on those guns from the day I unpacked ours to the day I inspected them some six years later after returning from Iraq in 2004. One of them I know for a fact had probably something just under a hundred thousand rounds on it. Still as solid as the day it left the factory… But, that’s a receiver which is built up out of steel plates and forgings. Hell, even the internal finished components showed little to no wear on them. The exteriors looked like shiite, but that was about it.

    Also, the USMC M249 fleet is pretty much scrap metal, at this point–All of the ones I saw were in horrid condition, worse than anything I saw in the Army.

    I honestly doubt that the 6.5mm bullshit is going to survive Milley’s retirement and the coming budget crunch. Odds are pretty good that your grandkids will be issued an M16 of some flavor variety when they go to enlist, and I’d bet money on the M16 actually beating the Brown Bess for longest-issued general-issue infantry weapon by the time we actually replace it. They’ve been talking shit about new rifles since I enlisted in ’82, and nothing has actually happened to make it so.

    Good Christ, the goddamn M4 wound up as the infantry rifle of choice via sheer happenstance–It was, if anyone remembers, supposed to go to support troops only. Then the grunts got a look at it, and they dumped the A2 like it had AIDS.

    • “I’d bet money on the M16 actually beating the Brown Bess for longest-issued general-issue infantry weapon by the time we actually replace it.”

      It’s hard to see anything better on the horizon. You can argue 5.56 vs 6.5 vs 6.8 or piston vs DI, but none of those things seem important enough to justify junking the whole thing.

      Most of the ways in which the M16/M4 are insufficient really boil down to, “you’re looking for a tool for a different role.”

    • I’ve been ranting about all these megabuck “next generation weapon” projects being mental masturbation since the late 90’s. The M16 (and derived rifles/carbines/whatever) are going to be around for a long, long time. The logistic and budgetary inertia is such that nothing new can come close to arming as many troops for as low a per-troop cost as the M16 (and derived weapons). The M16, given enough ammo, kills stuff. It works. It’s reasonably accurate.

      Same deal with the 249 and 240: They work. We’ve got a shitload of parts already in stock for them. We’ve got huge, deep supply lines set up for the 5.56 and 7.62 ammo, links, etc. They’re not going anywhere.

      These are all echoes of the reason why the Garand was chambered in .30-06. Army brass looked at the supply of ’06 ammo on hand in the late 1930’s, and then looked at the new rifle, chambered in this “.276 Pedersen” cartridge and said “Nope, gotta be in .30-06. John Garand, being a man of high intelligence coupled with common sense, actually saw this coming, and had several Garand rifles already chambered in ’06, ready for evaluation. The rest, as they say, was history.

      • 7.62 NATO will eventually go the way of the dinosaur for 6.5 creedmoor or something similar. Logistically and ballistically, it’s making less and less sense.

        I agree that 5.56 is likely here to stay.

  3. Some of the most common-sensical analysis I’ve seen on this issue.

    Chamber the new whiz-bang gun in 6.5mm or 6.8mm or just maybe 6mm. All of this to be some narrative on some O-6’s OER Support Form, so he can make O-7. Maybe after that, he can get that big retirement job selling the services more stuff they don’t really need and probably won’t work.


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