M249 Short SAW

Pfc. Phillip Ruiz, from 2nd Platoon, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, provides security for Soldiers and Marines during a presence patrol in Rawah, Iraq.

Pic from Army.mil.

The short-barreled/sliding-stock version of the SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) is 10 inches shorter than the standard model and is particularly handy for airborne troopers and urban operations. Not sure what the performance loss is, though.


  1. Hello I’m a firearm idiot when it comes to big guns (although I own a couple of small arms). Dumb question: Why would you scope a weapon like that? I always thought that the idea of that was to supress…and firing on full auto would make the scope useless anyhow, right?

  2. Not a dumb question, because what you ‘always thought’ makes sense. My guess would be one of two things (or maybe both): A) The scope is used mainly for suveillance and IDing a target. If it’s got a laser ranger, so much the better for calling in fires. B) Especially in ‘urban peace-keeping’ mode, ROE is pretty strict. Maybe the SAW gunners do a lot of one-shot shooting? Just a civvie making wild guesses…

  3. The Army seems to be putting scopes on everything these days. I doubt that a short SAW is very accurate. I was trained to aim low and walk the rounds onto the target with the SAW. I fired an M60 once with a night vision scope – very fun.

  4. that scope is an ELCAN sight. If I am not mistaken thats one of the earlier ‘reflex/red dot’ quick target acquisition sights like an aimpoint. The ELCAN is a bit more sturdy, being built in the earlier days of ‘red dot’ sights. As much as a machinegun is for suppression, even the machinegunner some times needs to snap shoot a tango on the run.

  5. As a Canadian Army infanteer (and C9-qualifed through the Machine gun course), I must say that there is a mix of reactions to scopes. On one hand you get the tunnel vision, and its tricky when you get into distances of about 40 feet, as if you have the scope you can fire relatively accurately, but you have tunnel vision and can get clipped. On the flip side with the scope on ur weapon at 40 feet, if you choose to keep your head out of the scope to keep a watch on everything, then you just have very very crappy battle sights on top of the scope. Of course in close firefights inside buildings you wouldnt really use any sight whatsoever, and at long distances the sights are amazingly helpful, especially as your ,m249 is a section (squad in us lingo) weapon, therefore effective at the 600 meter range. The sights from approx 280-600 meters are amazing help especially for ammo conservation. But why you would put a scope on a compact m249 geared for urban is beyond me and mine. Although for infantry theres always the ‘lcf’ – look-cool-factor, lol.

  6. btw Murdoc, you do not do ‘one-shot’ snap-shooting with machine guns, lol, its damn near impossible and rather useless. ROE’s for machine gunners are standard. If you ever do have the point where you should be firing, you are definetly opening her up. However you’re pretty dead on in terms of surveillance. Overall I kinda like the scope but if it was all urban I’d bring out the iron sights (i stole sum a long, long, long time ago,just when they got rid of all of canada’s iron sights in favour of the elcan. hope they never noticed 😉

  7. In the picture though the soldier has a bipod, providing he shoots in very short bursts(3-5 rounds). From a standing position, with the gun bipod on a wall, is it not more likely to have a higher accuracy than someone with standing with an m4? Not only this, but the fact that you have belt of ammo allows you to fire/cover a building/sector for longer periods of time than an m4 can with a 30 round mag. Street combat is not all about kicking in doors and clearing rooms. There is also a good element of shooting from one building into another, waiting for someone to pop out their head. Or in the Iraq case, from one rooftop to another.

  8. Most CF soldiers never fold the bipod up because its useful to plant it. However in terms of accuracy even getting the 3-5 round bursts will be nowhere near as accurate as standing up with an m4 (c8) and using our famous double-tap. and the answer to covering for longer time is sorta. I disagree because when I was on exercise just last weekend, our c9’s were out of ammo a heck of a lot faster than the m16’s. Full auto with those guns is not that goood in terms of time. Yolu have to really watch. Plus with our 30 round mags, we can carry like 8 of em, and you usually will carry 2 boxes. Our mags longer usually