The Army is the oldest branch of the U.S. military, established even before the founding of the country. At that time, most soldiers were equipped with muskets and swords. Nearly 250 years later, the modern-day Army soldier has access to a range of small arms that play an important role in soldiers’ operational capabilities on the battlefield. These weapons are selected to provide reliability, versatility, and firepower
To identify every standard-issue gun in the U.S. Army, 24/7 Wall St. referenced data from a range of sources, including military handbooks, government press releases, and firearms publications, including the Army’s Weapon Systems Handbook. We ordered these guns by the time they entered the service and included supplemental information regarding type of firearm, range, caliber, and manufacturer from Military Factory.
The weapons on this list are used in a variety of operational capacities, ranging from pinning down enemy combatants to destroying vehicles and other assets. The list includes shotguns, side arms, machine guns, designated marksman rifles, sniper rifles, and more. (Also see, these are the 50 most popular guns of all time.)
Some of these guns date back more than half a century, in terms of when they entered the service. Newer iterations of these older models are still reaching the battlefield.
One of the most common guns in the U.S. Army’s arsenal is the M4 carbine. An evolution of the M16, the M4 is a lightweight, gas-operated, air-cooled, magazine-fed firearm. It offers soldiers increased maneuverability and adaptability in urban and close-quarters combat due to its shorter barrel length. The M4 is fairly modular and can be equipped with various attachments, including optics, laser sights, and under-barrel grenade launchers.
Another example of a common gun within the Army’s small arms inventory is the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. Serving as a light machine gun, the M249 is capable of delivering sustained suppressive fire to support infantry squads. This gun plays an important role in providing covering fire, pinning down enemy forces, and creating windows of opportunity for allied forces to maneuver.
For more specialized roles, the U.S. Army employs the M240 machine gun. This firearm is chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge and serves as a medium machine gun. The M240 is designed for providing accurate and sustained fire, intended for suppressing enemy positions and engaging light armored vehicles.
These standard-issue small arms, which are being continuously improved, allow U.S. Army soldiers to deal with a range of combat scenarios. However, it ultimately comes down to the soldiers’ training, not just equipment. Here are 21 bases where the U.S. military trains its combat forces.
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