Since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than 30 years ago, the United States has been the world’s preeminent military superpower. To maintain its dominance, the U.S. has by far the largest military budget in the world, reaching $722 billion in fiscal 2022. While much of that spending goes towards nuclear modernization and technological advancement, the 1.4 million men and women in active duty – and the weapons they carry – remain the backbone of American military might. (Here is a look at the world’s 20 strongest militaries.)
Success on the battlefield can hinge on the capabilities and effectiveness of the weapons American troops have at their disposal. As a result, the military often spends tens of millions of dollars working with private contractors over the course of years to develop firearms and weapons systems for different branches, units, or for general use.
Before being fielded, these weapons must meet a stringent set of specifications – often related to weight and range – and withstand rigorous testing. The weapons carried by those in uniform are chosen to offer every possible advantage in combat and function reliably under the harshest conditions.
Using data from a range of sources, including military handbooks, government press releases, and firearms publications, 24/7 Wall St. identified the small arms and light weapons currently used by the U.S. military. The 44 weapons on this list range from standard issue sidearms and assault rifles to rocket launchers and mounted machine guns.
Several of the weapons on this list are derived from civilian firearms and have been modified for military use. The Army’s M2010 sniper rifle, for example, is based on the popular Remington 700 hunting rifle. Similarly, the Mossberg 590A1, one of the military’s standard pump action shotguns, is a variation of Mossberg’s 500 series civilian shotguns. (These are the 50 most popular guns in the world.)
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