Special Report

The Guns Used By the US Green Berets

Courtesy of The Overwatch ELR via Facebook

The Green Berets, formally known as the United States Army Special Forces, are an elite unit specializing in counterinsurgency, unconventional warfare (including helping a foreign insurgency to overthrow a government), direct action (such as seizing or destroying enemy material or recovering personnel), and special reconnaissance, the Army explains. They may also help train foreign allied forces. (These are America’s 17 most elite special forces.)

These small, tactical teams can sabotage enemy communications, infiltrate enemy lines through guerrilla war-style tactics, and do much more — and accordingly they need a range of weapons which suit these unique warfare scenarios.

To determine the guns used by U.S. Green Berets, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a catalog of weapons used by the Army Special Forces produced by Military Factory, an online database of military vehicles, aircraft, and arms. We removed similar guns and guns that are believed to no longer be in use by the Green Berets and ranked the rest according to when they entered service. Supplemental data on the type of weapon, maximum effective range, and the caliber used by each gun also came from Military Factory.

The Green Beret arsenal is quite varied and includes everything from handguns and shotguns to sniper rifles and rocket launchers. Most of the guns that are currently in use were entered into the service over the last few decades. Still, there are some older models that have proven effective on the battlefield and are still in use from over 50 years ago.

One of the mainstays of the Green Berets’ arsenal is the FN SCAR (Special Forces Combat Assault Rifle). This gun was chosen for a few reasons, including accuracy and long-range engagement, which make it a favorite selection in extensive open terrain operations. The gun is chambered for 7.62mm rounds and the overall design is focused on modularity and durability. The SCAR was chosen by Special Operations Command to replace the Colt M4A1 modular automatic rifle, which had been a long-standing staple of the U.S. Armed Forces.

For precision engagements, the Green Berets employ the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System, fitted for long-range accuracy, suppressive capabilities, and quick follow-up shots. Its semi-automatic nature mitigates recoil, preserving target sight while improving rate-of-fire. This sniper rifle is chambered for 7.62mm rounds and is primarily designed as an anti-personnel rifle. (Also see, the guns in the U.S. Navy SEAL arsenal.)

Ultimately, the Green Berets’ weaponry reflects their wide-ranging scope of operations, combining traditional and advanced systems. 

Here is a look at the guns used by the Green Berets.

27. General Electric M134 Minigun
> Year entered service: 1963
> Type: Six-barrel gatling gun
> Maximum effective range: 3,280 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 7.62x51mm NATO

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26. M72 LAW
> Year entered service: 1963
> Type: Anti-tank rocket launcher
> Maximum effective range: 1,640 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 66mm

25. General Electric GAU-17/A Minigun
> Year entered service: 1965
> Type: Six-barrel gatling gun
> Maximum effective range: 3,280 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 7.62x51mm NATO

24. Heckler & Koch HK MP5
> Year entered service: 1966
> Type: Submachine gun
> Maximum effective range: 660 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 9×19 parabellum

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23. Colt / AAI M203
> Year entered service: 1969
> Type: Breech-loading under-barrel grenade launcher
> Maximum effective range: 480 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 40x46mm grenade

22. Mossberg Model 590
> Year entered service: 1975
> Type: Pump-action shotgun
> Maximum effective range: 130 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 12-gauge

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21. Fabrique National M240
> Year entered service: 1977
> Type: General purpose machine gun
> Maximum effective range: 5,905 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 7.62x51mm NATO

20. Fabrique Nationale M249 SAW
> Year entered service: 1984
> Type: Squad support weapon
> Maximum effective range: 2,600 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 5.56x45mm NATO, 7.62x51mm NATO

19. Colt M45 MEU (SOC)
> Year entered service: 1986
> Type: Special forces semi-automatic service pistol
> Maximum effective range: 165 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: .45 ACP

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18. M136 Light Anti-Armor Weapon (AT4)
> Year entered service: 1987
> Type: Anti-armor rocket launcher
> Maximum effective range: 985 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 84mm

17. Remington M24 SWS
> Year entered service: 1987
> Type: Bolt-action sniper rifle
> Maximum effective range: 2,624 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 7.62x51mm NATO

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16. SIG-Sauer P228
> Year entered service: 1988
> Type: Semi-automatic pistol
> Maximum effective range: 165 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 9x19mm parabellum

15. Beretta M9
> Year entered service: 1990
> Type: Semi-automatic service pistol
> Maximum effective range: 164 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 9×19 parabellum

14. Stoner SR-25
> Year entered service: 1990
> Type: Designated marksman rifle
> Maximum effective range: 2,625 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 7.62x51mm NATO

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13. FGM-148 Javelin
> Year entered service: 1996
> Type: Anti-tank guided missile launcher
> Maximum effective range: 8,202 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 127mm

12. Benelli M4 Super 90 (M1013 JSCS)
> Year entered service: 1999
> Type: Semi-automatic combat shotgun
> Maximum effective range: 164 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 12-gauge

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11. Navy Mark 12 Special Purpose Rifle
> Year entered service: 2002
> Type: Designated marksman rifle
> Maximum effective range: 1,800 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 5.56x45mm NATO

10. Fabrique Nationale Mk 48
> Year entered service: 2003
> Type: Light weight machine gun
> Maximum effective range: 2,624 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 7.62x51mm NATO

9. Mk 14 Mod 0 EBR
> Year entered service: 2004
> Type: Designated marksman rifle
> Maximum effective range: 1,500 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 7.62x51mm NATO

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8. McMillan TAC-338
> Year entered service: 2005
> Type: Sniper rifle
> Maximum effective range: 5,250 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: .338 Lapua Magnum, .338 Norma Magnum

7. Heckler & Koch HK G28
> Year entered service: 2006
> Type: Designated marksman rifle
> Maximum effective range: 2,000 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 7.62x51mm NATO

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6. M32 MGL
> Year entered service: 2006
> Type: Six-shot grenade launcher
> Maximum effective range: 1,315 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 40x46mm grenade

5. M110 SASS
> Year entered service: 2007
> Type: Designated marksman rifle
> Maximum effective range: 2,624 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 7.62x51mm NATO

4. Barrett M107
> Year entered service: 2008
> Type: Anti-materiel / anti-personnel sniper rifle
> Maximum effective range: 1,850 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: .50 BMG (12.7x99mm NATO)

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3. AirTronic PSRL-1 (RPG-7USA)
> Year entered service: 2009
> Type: Anti-armor / anti-personnel shoulder-fired rocket launcher
> Maximum effective range: 2,625 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 40mm Rocket

2. Fabrique National FN SCAR (Mk 16 / Mk 17)
> Year entered service: 2009
> Type: Modular automatic assault rifle
> Maximum effective range: 1,640 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: 5.56x45mm NATO, 7.62x51mm NATO

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1. Remington MSR
> Year entered service: 2013
> Type: Bolt-action sniper rifle
> Maximum effective range: 4,920 ft.
> Caliber/ammunition: .338 Lapua Magnum, .338 Norma Magnum, 7.62x51mm NATO

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