The main weapons and equipment items used by the United States DoD members are listed below. Listing every weapon in the arsenal would not be practical for an article, so this series will cover the highlights, starting with some of the main weapons and equipment used by the Infantry and Special Operations Units. Then the discussion will turn to military vehicles, including tanks and armor, missiles and artillery, military aircraft, and military ships and submarines.

Small Arms

M-4 Carbine

The M-4 combat assault rifle first entered Army service in 1997. The rifle is the standard weapon used by some Army units such as the 82nd Airborne Division and special operations units, such as Army Rangers.  With a shortened barrel and collapsible stock, the M-4 is ideal for close quarter marksmanship where light weight and quick action are required. Firing a standard 5.56mm round, the weapon weighs a mere 5.6 lbs. (empty). A revised rear sight allows for better control of the weapon out to the maximum range of the ammunition used.

The M4 has also benefited from its customization. Current versions of the rifle offer several attachments, including sight mounts, flashlights, grenade launchers, and shotguns.

The M110 Sniper Rifle

The M110 was initially deployed for active use by U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan in April 2007. Soldiers with Task Force Fury were the first to use the rifle in a real combat zone. The initial response was enthusiastic. Snipers and spotters who used the weapon praised its semi-automatic capabilities as an improvement over previous bolt action rifles that required soldiers to manually reload the weapon’s chamber after each shot.

M40A5/6/7 Sniper Rifle

This is the preferred sniper rifle for the U.S. Marine Corps. The M40A5 sniper rifle is based on the Remington model 700. It is a heavy barrel, bolt action, magazine fed 7.62mm rifle that is optimized for accuracy with Match Grade ammunition. The rifle is equipped with a special Schmidt & Bender 3–12×50mm Police Marksman II LP scope, the rifle weighs approximately 16.5 pounds. It is equipped with a built-in five round magazine.

M-249 SAW

The M-249 official name is the SAW which means Squad Automatic Weapon. Early test versions of the M-249 were plagued with problems, but the current model is considered reliable. The weapon entered Army service in 1987, replacing the M-60 Machine Gun.

The M-249 is a .223 cal (5.56mm) gas operated light weight machine gun which feeds from a belt held in a 100 or 200 rounds box under the gun. This weapon has a plastic pistol grip and a folding stock so it can be kept compact and light.

M-240 Machine Gun

The M-240 entered Army and Marine Corps service in 1997. The M-240 fires the 7.62mm NATO round.  Advantages of this weapon include its popularity with other nation’s forces and number of configurations. For example, in a helicopter crash, the M-240d helicopter-mount version could be quickly modified by installing the bipod and butt stock of the M-240b version, which would then allow the weapon to be used for self defense by the surviving helicopter crew members.

M-2 Machine Gun

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The Browning M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun, Heavy barrel is an automatic, recoil operated, air-cooled machine gun with adjustable headspace and is crew transportable with limited amounts of ammunition over short distances. This gun has a back plate with spade grips, trigger, and bolt latch release. This gun may be mounted on ground mounts and most vehicles as an anti-personnel and anti-aircraft weapon. The gun is equipped with leaf-type rear sight, flash suppressor and a spare barrel assembly. Associated components are the M63 antiaircraft mount and the M3 tripod mount.


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