Although there are many things that influence the popularity of a weapon (reliability, accuracy, performance, etc.), in the special operations community it can often come down to one thing: personal preference. Here is a gallery of 10 of the most popular weapons used by operators. Click on the images to learn more about them.
Designated the MP7 (4.6 x 30mm), it was first displayed in 1999, with H&K officially beginning production of the weapon in 2000. The MP7 is a compact firearm that uses polymers extensively in its construction, and a short 7.1 inch barrel that helps keep the weight at 4.1 pounds. For ease of carry, a sliding stock provides a length of 25.1 inches extended and 16.3 inches closed. Iron sights for backup complement mounting rails for sights, lights and lasers, etc., atop the length of the receiver and both sides of the forearm. A front grip that folds under the forearm is also standard.
The CQBR, designated Mk 18 Mod 0, is a variant of the M4 family of carbines. Designed for close-quarters battle (CQB), the CQBR is significantly shorter than its M4/M4A1 cousins, with a barrel length of 10.3 inches compared to the M4’s 14.5 inches. Like the Colt Commando previously used by U.S. special operations forces, the CQBR is an attempt to combine the potency of an assault rifle with the compactness of a submachine gun. Typical uses for such a weapon include hostage rescue, VIP protection, and operations in the tight spaces found on ships. The CQBR was initially taken up by the Naval Special Warfare community, most notably with the SEAL teams, but its use has now propagated into other units including the Green Berets and Coast Guard Maritime Security and Safety Teams (MSST) and Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT).
Based on the vintage M14 design, the Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) is a 7.62mm x 51mm semi-automatic sniper rifle in service with the United States Marine Corps (USMC). As the name indicates, the DMR is designed for the designated marksman role, i.e. a medium-range sniper capability integrated at the squad level.
The M40A3 is a bolt-action 7.62mm x 51mm sniper rifle used by the United States Marine Corps, including scout snipers and MARSOC. The M40A3 is based on the design of the Remington model 700. It features a heavy floating barrel and is typically used with 175 gr. M118LR ammunition. http://www.americanspecialops.com/special-ops-weapons/m40a3.php
The Barrett, also known as the M82 (a1/a3), M107, and ‘light fifty’, is a .50 (12.7mm x9mm NATO) caliber rifle used by U.S. special operations forces. More than just a sniper rifle, the Barrett is designated as an ‘anti-material’ weapon due to its ability to engage a wide range of targets. Although the .50-caliber round fired from the Barrett is devastating to personnel, including those wearing body armor, trained SOF snipers can use also the Barrett to take out targets taking cover behind hard cover, disable the engine block on a truck, knock out a power generator, disable a communications array, or even penetrate armored vehicles. EOD operators sometimes use the Barrett to disable IEDs from a safe distance. The Barret is a semi-automatic weapon, typically fed from a 10-round box magazine. It comes in a number of flavors, with the earlier M82 / M82a1 models being refined into the M107 rifle used today. The USMC has fielded a version of the Barrett designated the M82A3.
The RAD M91A2 sniper rifle, manufactured by Redick Arms Development (RAD) to meet the U.S. Navy’s requirement for a long-range bolt-action sniper rifle for Naval Special Warfare units. It is used by regular SEAL teams and by DEVGRU (SEAL Team Six).
The MEU (SOC) pistol is a modified 1911 .45 ACP pistol developed for USMC special operations units such as Force Recon and MARSOC. USMC Force Recon units have been using the pistol since 1985. It is officially designated the M45 MEU (SOC).
The MK16 Mod 0 SCAR-L is a relatively new 5.56mm x 45mm carbine / assault rifle that has been selected by SOCOM to replace a number of existing weapons such as the M4A1 and the CQBR. The MK16 can be configured with a 14-inch barrel (standard), with a 10-inch barrel (CQC), or with an 18-inch barrel (LB). These barrels can be field-swapped quickly to change the weapon’s configuration. In this way, a single MK16 can be configured as a close-quarters weapon, assault rifle, or light sniper rifle.
The MK23 Mod 0 .45 SOCOM handgun was developed by H&K specifically for U.S. Special Operations Command, and in 1996 was adopted as a service pistol under the designation MK23 Mod 0. It has excellent potency and accuracy, but the tradeoff is that it is larger, heavier, and less wieldy than the Sig Sauer P226 or P228. The MK23 gives shooters match-grade accuracy, and also exceeds the most stringent operational requirements for a combat handgun.
Developed exclusively for one of the world’s most elite special operations units, the MP5-N (Navy) model comes standard with an ambidextrous trigger group (safe, single fire, and full-automatic fire) and threaded barrel. Operationally tested and proven, this configuration represents the essence of the modern submachine gun.
If you like Guns, chances are you like gear too…
Project Go Bag Explained
Photo: My kitchen floor experiment.
Our first project in our mini crate club program is the “Go Bag”. Your items will ship monthly, and over the next 10 months we’ll build up your kit for you. Because the foundation of a good “Go Bag”, is the container system, and that is typically expensive, we are asking you to buy your own bag.
I personally recommend the Patagonia Black Hole 25 and have purchased this for myself over the weekend. I’m a fan of multi-functionality. This bag is rugged, has a lifetime guarantee (not that you need it with quality product; think Tommy Boy here…), and is pretty much as waterproof as you need it.
For those who want to rough it? One of the items can serve as your container as well, you’ll have to wait and see.
What’s the first item? Well, it’s a surprise…Interested? Sign up here.
Former Navy SEAL, sniper, bestselling author, and gear hound.
My Kitchen Floor Crate Club Project