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This infantry automatic rifle could replace the M249 SAW

Automatic riflemen are the offense and defense of combat arms Soldiers on the battlefield. They provide overwatch and suppressive fire for fire teams and are often the most casualty-producing members of a team. Since 1984, these riflemen have relied on the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) in combat theaters, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the SAW’s cumbersome weight (20-plus pounds) triggered the need for a new high-powered option. One possibility: the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR), already in use by the Marine Corps. The M27, designed by Heckler & Koch, is less than half the weight of the M249, offering more mobility, less strain and the ability to engage the enemy faster. Also, the new build resembles the M4, making it hard for enemy snipers to distinguish machine gunners as targets while still providing infantry Soldiers on the battlefield with vital overwatch.


• Firepower: Semiautomatic and full automatic options

• Cyclic rate of fire: 700–900 rounds per minute

• Maximum range: 3,545 meters

• Effective range: 600 meters with iron sights; 1,000 meters with optics

• Muzzle velocity: 2,900 feet per second

• Ammunition: 5.56 mm NATO round; 30-round magazine

• Lifespan: Cold hammer forged barrel lasts for 15,000 rounds


Research and photo from Heckler & Koch USA