The M60 is a gas-operated, air-cooled, belt-fed, automatic machine gun firing from the open-bolt position, chambered for the 7.62mm NATO cartridge. During Vietnam, the original version of was used as a squad automatic weapon, with each soldier carrying additional 200 linked rounds of ammunition, a spare barrel or both. The M60E3 Machine Gun is an M60-variant, lightweight, updated version of the M60 with a bipod attached to the receiver, ambidextrous safety, universal sling attachments, carrying handle on the barrel and a simplified gas system. However, due to design flaws created by the updates to the M60, it was phased out in favor of the M60E4.
The Mk 43 Mod 0 is the Navy SEALs version of the M60E4; it looks similar to the M60E3 with several internal changes. An obvious difference between Mk 43 and M60E4s is the barrel length, and the fact that it can be used as either a suppressive or direct fire weapon. The M60 series weapons have primarily been replaced by the M240 family of weapons, despite the fact that the M240s are a few pounds heavier.
The M240 machine gun is a belt-fed, gas-operated, air-cooled, crew-served, fixed headspace weapon using 7.62mm rounds. This family of weapons has been in use by U.S. armed forces since the mid-1980s, with the M240B model in current use by the U.S. Army and USMC. The M240B features a hydraulic buffer system to reduce recoil.
The M249 SAW light machine gun is a gas-operated, air-cooled, quick-change barrel weapon with folding bipod and M192 LGM tripod available. It uses 5.56mm round and can be fed from linked ammunition or STANAG magazines as used in M16 and M4, allowing the gunner to use a rifleman’s magazines in an emergency (although this can cause malfunctions). The M249 Special Purpose Weapon (SPW) has no carrying handle, magazine insertion well or vehicle mounting lug in order to reduce its weight. It features a collapsible buttstock and Picatinny rails were added for mounting of optics, lasers or other M4 SOPMOD kit accessories.
The Mk 46 Mod 0 (for 5.56mm rounds) is a variant of the M249 SPW, retaining the standard plastic buttstock, with the option to use a lighter SPW barrel or the thicker, fluted barrel of the same length. The Mk 48 Mod 0 is a 7.62mm variant of the Mk 46, with a Mod 1 as the updated version.
This Article is written by James Kara Murat