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M249 SAW Familiarization


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TASK: To familiarize the soldier with the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).

CONDITION: Given a block of instructions, M249 SAW, and motivation.

STANDARD: To disassemble, separate into proper grouping, and reassemble the M249 SAW correctly with no deficiencies.

M 249 SAW

Features: The Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW), or 5.56mm M249 is an individually portable, gas operated, magazine or disintegrating metallic link-belt fed, light machine gun with fixed headspace and quick change barrel feature. The M249 engages point targets out to 800 meters, firing the improved NATO standard 5.56mm cartridge.
The SAW forms the basis of firepower for the fire team. The gunner has the option of using 30-round M16 magazines or linked ammunition from pre-loaded 200-round plastic magazines. The gunner’s basic load is 600 rounds of linked ammunition.

M 249 SAW

Background: The SAW was developed through an initially Army-led research and development effort and eventually a Joint NDO program in the late 1970s/early 1980s to restore sustained and accurate automatic weapons fire to the fire team and squad. When actually fielded in the mid-1980s, the SAW was issued as a one-for-one replacement for the designated “automatic rifle” (M16A1) in the Fire Team. In this regard, the SAW filled the void created by the retirement of the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) during the 1950s because interim automatic weapons (e.g. M-14E2/M16A1) had failed as viable “base of fire” weapons.

M 249 SAW

Background Con’t. –

Early in the SAW’s fielding, the Army identified the need for a Product Improvement Program (PIP) to enhance the weapon. This effort resulted in a “PIP kit” which modifies the barrel, handguard, stock, pistol grip, buffer, and sights.

The M249 machine gun is an ideal complementary weapon system for the infantry squad platoon. It is light enough to be carried and operated by one man, and can be fired from the hip in an assault, even when loaded with a 200-round ammunition box. The barrel change facility ensures that it can continue to fire for long periods. The US Army has conducted strenuous trials on the M249 MG, showing that this weapon has a reliability factor that is well above that of most other small arms weapon systems. Today, the US Army and Marine Corps utilize the license-produced M249 SAW.

Major Components

Major Component Pictures

Major Component Pictures

Major Component Pictures

Firing Techniques

Disassemble M249

1) Clear Weapon

2) Ensure bolt is forward and feed tray is closed

3) Separate parts into proper grouping

To clear Weapon:

Charge weapon (pull cocking handle rearward). Be sure bolt is locked in rear position. Push charging handle forward until you hear it click.

Push Safety to right (No RED band visible)

Raise Feed Tray Assembly. Look for any debris inside chamber, magazine well and Feed Pawl Assembly. Close Cover Assembly, and ensure it locks in place.

Place Safety to left (RED band visible). Hold cocking handle to rear, pull trigger, and ride bolt forward to close and lock.

Disassembled M249

Assemble M249

1) Assemble M249

2) Perform function check

To Perform Function Check:

Ensure safety is to left (RED band visible) and charge weapon by pulling the cocking handle to the rear to lock the bolt (cock the weapon). Push cocking handle forward until you hear it click.

Push safety to the right (RED band not visible).

Pull the trigger (Nothing should happen).

Push safety to left (RED band visible). Pull charging handle to the rear and pull the trigger riding the bolt forward, simultaneously watching link exit the weapon.

Pull cocking handle to rear locking the bolt in place and placing it on safe (RED band not visible). Clear the weapon using the procedures for clearing the M249.

Push safety to left (RED band visible). Pull cocking handle to the rear. Pull the trigger and ride the bolt forward.

Assembled M249

Check on Learning


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