10 Guns of the Special Forces

Disclaimer: This list is NOT all inclusive. US Special Operations have dozens of firearms at their disposal. This list is just a sampling and is arranged in NO particular order.

        FN SCAR

The Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) is a modular rifle made by FN Herstal (FNH) for the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to satisfy the requirements of the SCAR competition. This family of rifles consist of two main types. The SCAR-L, for "light", is chambered in the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge and the SCAR-H, for "heavy", fires 7.62×51mm NATO. Both are available in Long Barrel and Close Quarters Combat variants.

Pictured: Cypriot Army Special Forces with FN SCAR-16 rifles and members of U.S. Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Europe (NSWTU-E) with Colt Mk 18 Carbines compete in rifle drill competitions at a range in Cyprus, September 29, 2021. Joint training in the Eastern Mediterranean is essential in maintaining interoperability and strong relationships with ally and partner nations, ensuring stability throughout the theater. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Patrik Orcutt)

  • 5.56×45mm NATO(SCAR-L)
  • 7.62×51mm NATO(SCAR-H)
Action Gas-operated (short-stroke gas piston), rotating bolt
Rate of fire 625 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity
  • SCAR-L: 2,870 ft/s (870 m/s) (M855)
  • SCAR-L: 2,630 ft/s (800 m/s) (Mk 262)
  • SCAR-H: 2,342 ft/s (714 m/s) (M80)
Effective firing range
  • SCAR-L: 300 m (330 yd) (Short), 500 m (550 yd) (Standard), 600 m (660 yd) (Long)
  • SCAR-H: 300 m (330 yd) (Short), 600 m (660 yd) (Standard), 800 m (870 yd) (Long)
Feed system
  • SCAR-L: STANAG box magazine
  • SCAR-H/SSR: 20-round box magazine
Sights Iron sights or various optics



   HK MP5

The Heckler & Koch MP5 (from GermanMaschinenpistole 5, "machine pistol model 5") is a 9mm submachine gun of German design, developed in the 1960s by a team of engineers from the German small arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch GmbH(H&K) of Oberndorf am Neckar. There are over 100 variants of the MP5, including a semi-automatic version.


Pictured: Close-up view of a Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun firing at the Training Support Center Benelux 25-meter indoor range in Chièvres, Belgium, Oct. 22, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Pierre-Etienne Courtejoie/Released)

  • 9×19mm Parabellum
  • 10mm Auto (MP5/10)
  • .40 S&W (MP5/40)
Action Roller-delayed blowback, closed bolt
Rate of fire
  • 800 rounds/min (MP5A series, MP5/10 and MP5/40)
  • 700 rounds/min (MP5SD series)
  • 900 rounds/min (MP5K series)
Muzzle velocity
  • 400 m/s (1,312 ft/s) (MP5A2, MP5A3, MP5A4, MP5A5)
  • 425 m/s (1,394 ft/s) (MP5/10)
  • 315 m/s (1,033 ft/s) (MP5/40)
  • 285 m/s (935 ft/s) (MP5SD1, MP5SD2, MP5SD3, MP5SD4, MP5SD5, MP5SD6)
  • 375 m/s (1,230 ft/s) (MP5K, MP5KA1, MP5KA4, MP5KA5, MP5K-PDW)
Effective firing range
  • 200 m (656 ft) (MP5A2, MP5A3, MP5A4, MP5A5)
  • 100 m (328 ft) (MP5/10)
  • 70 m (230 ft) (MP5/40)
  • 100 m (328 ft) (MP5K, MP5KA1, MP5KA4, MP5KA5, MP5K-PDW)
Feed system 15- or 30- round detachable box magazine, 100-round Beta C-Mag drum magazine
Sights Iron sights. Rear: rotary drum; front: hooded post


  M4 Carbine

The M4 carbine is a family of firearms that was derived from earlier carbine versions of the M16 rifle, which was in turn derived from the original AR-15 rifle that Eugene Stoner designed and ArmaLite manufactured. The M4 is a shorter and lighter variant of the M16A2 assault rifle. It is a gas-operatedmagazine-fed, selective fire, shoulder-fired weapon with a telescoping stock and 14.5 in (370 mm) barrel to ease close quarters combat. Like the rest of the M16 family, it fires the .223 caliber, or 5.56 mm NATO round.



Pictured: A Soldier assigned to U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa engages pop-up targets with an M4 carbine during marksmanship training at Cao Malnisio Range in Pordenone, Italy, Jan. 26, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Davide Dalla Massara)

Weight 6.36 lb (2.88 kg) empty
7.5 lb (3.4 kg) with 30 rounds
Length 33 in (840 mm) (stock extended)
29.75 in (756 mm) (stock retracted)
Barrel length 14.5 in (370 mm)
Cartridge 5.56×45mm NATO
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt (Direct impingement)
Rate of fire 700–950 round/min cyclic
Muzzle velocity 2,900 ft/s (880 m/s)
Effective firing range 500 m for a point target and 600 m for an area target
Feed system 30 round box magazine or other STANAG magazines.
Sights Iron or various optics


  HK MK23 SOCOM .45

The Heckler & Koch MK 23Mk 23 Mod 0Mark 23, or MARK 23, is a weapon system consisting of a match grade semi-automatic pistol, a laser aiming module (LAM), and suppressor. It was adopted by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for special operations units in the 1990s as an offensive handgun. Production began in 1991, and it was the basis for the HK USP, which began production in 1993.


  • 1.2 kg (2.43 lb), empty
  • 1.47 kg (3.2 lb), loaded
  • 2.29 kg (5.0 lb), loaded, with suppressor and LAM
  • 245.11 mm (9.65 in), without suppressor
  • 421 mm (16.5 in), with suppressor
Barrel length 149.10 mm (5.87 in)
  • 39.116 mm (1.54 in)
  • 150 mm (5.9 in)
Cartridge .45 ACP
Action Short recoil, DA/SA
Rate of fire Semi-automatic
Muzzle velocity 260 m/s (850 ft/s)
Effective firing range 50 m 
Feed system

Detachable box magazine; capacities:

  • 12 rounds (standard)
  • 10 rounds (restricted)


   HK MP7

The MP7 is a German Personal Defence Weapon (PDW) manufactured by Heckler & Koch (H&K) and chambered for the HK 4.6×30mm cartridge. It was designed with the new cartridge to meet NATO requirements published in 1989, as these requirements call for a personal defense weapon (PDW) class firearm, with a greater ability to defeat body armor than current weapons limited to conventional pistol cartridges. The MP7 went into production in 2001. It is a direct rival to the FN P90, also developed in response to NATO's requirement. The weapon has been revised since its introduction and the current production version is the MP7A1.

Pictured: A U.S. Marine prepares to fire the MP7 during an embassy reinforcement exercise in Bucharest, Romania, Sept. 8th, 2016. The BSRF is an annual multilateral security cooperation deployment in the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions that is designed to enhance participants’ collective professional military capacity, promote regional stability and build enduring relationships with partner nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Clarence L. Wimberly)

  • 1.2 kg (2.65 lb) with 20 round empty magazine (PDW)
  • 1.9 kg (4.19 lb) without magazine (MP7A1)
Length 638 mm (25.1 in) stock extended / 415 mm (16.3 in) stock collapsed
Barrel length 180 mm (7.1 in)
Width 51 mm (2.0 in)
Height 169.5 mm (6.7 in)
Cartridge HK 4.6×30mm
Action Gas-operated, short stroke piston,rotating bolt
Rate of fire 950 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 735 m/s (2,411 ft/s) (Fiocchi CPS Black Tip ammunition)
Effective range 200 m (656 ft)
Feed system 20, 30 or 40 round box magazine
Sights Tritium-illuminated flip-up night sights; handgun and rifle sights (adjustable)



   HK P11

Since ordinary-shaped rounds are inaccurate and have a very short range when used underwater, this pistol fires steel darts about 10 centimeters (3.9 in) long. It has five barrels, each of which is loaded with a cartridge, giving the gun a pepper-box appearance, and it is electrically ignited from a battery pack in the pistol grip. After firing all five cartridges, the barrel unit must be sent back to its manufacturer for reloading. It is very similar to its predecessor, the Mk 1 Underwater Defense Gun. In the past, Heckler & Koch has denied knowledge of its existence.

HK P11


Weight 1,200 grams (42 oz) loaded
Battery pack 700 grams (25 oz)
Length 200 millimetres (7.9 in)
Width 60 millimetres (2.4 in)
Cartridge 7.62 x 36 mm, about 100 millimetres (3.9 in) long, miniature solid-fuelled rocket with fins
Caliber 7.62 mm
Action Electric actuated
Effective range 30 metres (98 ft) in air,
10 to 15 metres (33 to 49 ft) underwater
Feed system 5 rounds, each in a barrel
Sights 14.6 centimetres (5.7 in) between sights

   Remington Model 870 Shotgun

The Remington Model 870 is a U.S.-made pump-action shotgun manufactured by Remington Arms Company, LLC. It is widely used by the public for sport shooting, hunting, and self-defense. It is also commonly used by law enforcement and military organizations worldwide.

Remington Model 870 Shotgun

Weight 7.0 lb (3.2 kg) to 8.0 lb (3.6 kg)
Length 37.25 in (946 mm) to 50.5 in (1,280 mm)
Barrel length 18 in (460 mm) to 30 in (760 mm)
Cartridge 12 gauge, 16 gauge, 20 gauge, 28 gauge, or .410 bore
Action Pump-action
Feed system 4+1 to 7+1 round internal tube magazine
Sights Bead, twin bead, adjustable open sights, or ghost ring (all iron sights). Also cantilever and receiver-mounts for scopes


   AK-47 Assault Rifle

The AK 47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. US Special Operations Command has the AK 47 in the inventory for a variety of missions. It is one of the most reliable weapons ever made and makes for a great choice when having to swim a weapon over the beach. Even after six decades the model and its variants remain the most popular and widely used assault rifles in the world because of their substantial reliability even under harsh conditions, low production costs compared to contemporary Western weapons, availability in virtually every geographic region and ease of use.

Pictured: An Iraqi soldier with the Desert Battalion, fires from the kneeling supported position during a live fire exercise at Al Taqaddum, Iraq, March 8, 2018. This training is part of the overall Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve enhanced partner capacity mission which focuses on the training to improve the security capabilities within the nation. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Shannon Westpfahl)

Cartridge 7.62×39mm
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire Cyclic 600 rounds/min, practical
40 rounds/min semi-automatic
100 rounds/min fully automatic
Muzzle velocity 715 m/s (2,350 ft/s)
Effective firing range 400 metres (440 yd) semi-auto
300 metres (330 yd) full auto
Feed system Standard magazine capacity is 30 rounds; there are also 5- 10-, 20- and 40-round box and 75- and 100-round drum magazines
Sights Adjustable iron sights with a 378 mm (14.9 in) sight radius:
100–800 m adjustments (AK)
100–1000 m adjustments (AKM)


   Barrett M82 Anti-Material Rifle

The M82 is a recoil-operatedsemi-automatic anti-materiel rifle developed by the American Barrett Firearms Manufacturing company. A heavy SASR (Special Application Scoped Rifle), it is used by many units and armies around the world. It is also called the "Light Fifty" for its .50 BMG (12.7×99mm NATO) chambering. The weapon is found in two variants, the original M82A1 (and A3) and the bullpup M82A2. The M82A2 is no longer manufactured, though the XM500 can be seen as its successor.

Pictured: Spc. Alexander Day, a scout sniper with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, fires a Barrett M82 .50-caliber sniper rifle during a basic sniper course being taught by a mobile training team Nov. 9, at Fort Bragg, N.C. The MTT is part of the Army’s Sniper School based at Fort Benning, Ga.

Weight M82A1:
  • 29.7 lb (13.5 kg) (20" barrel)
  • 30.9 lb (14.0 kg) (29" barrel)
Length M82A1:
  • 48 in (120 cm) (20" barrel)
  • 57 in (140 cm) (29" barrel)
Barrel length M82A1:
  • 20 in (51 cm)
  • 29 in (74 cm)
  • 50 BMG
  • .416 Barrett
Action Recoil-operated, rotating bolt
Muzzle velocity 853 m/s (2,799 ft/s)
Effective range 1,800 m (1,969 yd)
Feed system 10-round detachable box magazine
Sights Fixed front, adjustable rear sight; MIL-STD-1913 rail provided for optics


   M249 Light Machine Gun

The M249 light machine gun (LMG), previously designated the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW), and formally written as Light Machine Gun, 5.56 mm, M249, is the American adaptation of the Belgian FN Minimi, a light machine gun manufactured by the Belgian company FN Herstal (FN). The M249 is manufactured in the United States by the local subsidiary FN Manufacturing LLC in South Carolina and is widely used in the U.S. Armed Forces. The weapon was introduced in 1984 after being judged the most effective of a number of candidate weapons to address the lack of automatic firepower in small units. The M249 provides infantry squads with the heavy volume of fire of a machine gun combined with accuracy and portability approaching that of a rifle.

Pictured: Soldier assigned to 1st Armored Division, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1-501st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, Headquarters and Headquarters Company guarding Entry Controlled Point at Iron Focus

Weight 7.5 kg (17 lb) empty,
10 kg (22 lb) loaded
Length 40.75 in (1,035 mm)
Barrel length 465 mm (18 in)
Cartridge 5.56×45 mm NATO
Action Gas-operated, open bolt
Rate of fire Sustained rate of fire: 50 RPM
Rapid rate of fire: 100 RPM
Cyclic rate of fire: 775 RPM
Muzzle velocity 915 m/s (3,000 ft/s)
Effective range 800 m (870 yd) (point target)
3,600 m (3,940 yd) (maximum range)
Feed system M27 linked belt, STANAG magazine