In the early 1990s, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps introduced a new weapon designed to radically boost the firepower of infantry squads. The M249 squad automatic weapon, or SAW, fired the same ammunition as the M16A2 rifle at a rapid rate of fire and was more compact than the gun it replaced. Although controversial, the M249 still serves today in the U.S. Army and U.S special operations forces worldwide.
For decades the U.S. military’s rifles and machine guns have chambered either 5.56mm or 7.62mm rounds. Now, the Army’s newest weapons are being tested to fire a new caliber bullet that’s faster and more accurate to give soldiers an edge over their adversaries.