The M249 Squad Automatic Weapon is an individually portable, gas operated, magazine or disintegrating metallic link-belt fed, light machine gun. It is designed to be used on the front lines, providing crucial support at the infantry squad/fire team level by providing highly accurate fire plus the maneuverability to take the objective.
The M249 PARA is optimized for airborne, armored infantry and close quarters combat (CQC) operations with a shorter barrel and collapsible buttstock. It retains all the features of the M249 SAW and can be field-converted back to the standard model configuration in just 30 seconds.
The MK 46 is a version of the M249 specifically developed to meet the requirements of U.S. Special Operations Forces for a lightweight variant that retains the full functionality and reliability of the standard model. The weight reduction and a reduction of overall length are achieved by utilizing a lightweight barrel and removing the carrying handle, magazine well, and vehicle mounting lugs.