If an AR15 is too tame, look what you can get, now!

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For almost 30 years the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon has been the go-to light machine gun for U.S. Army infantry squads — and Marine Corps squads, too, until recently…And now you can walk into your local gun shop and purchase a semi-automatic M-249S SAW, a replica of the fully-automatic M-249.

FNH USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Belgian weapons manufacturer FN Herstal, began selling the semi-automatic version of the weapon on the civilian market in November as part of their new Military Collector Series, which also includes replicas of their M-4 carbine and M-16 assault rifle. Fans of black guns are celebrating the release of the “street-legal” version of the SAW, and FNH is proudly marketing it as “civilian-ready…”

The Army adopted the M-249 in 1982 and began issuing it to automatic rifleman in 1984 after going more than two decades without a viable light machine gun for infantry squads. It became the standard squad machine gun in 1988 and has seen action with the Army and the Marine Corps in every major American ground conflict since the invasion of Panama in 1989, including Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan…

With a sustained firing rate of 750 rounds per minute and a maximum cyclic rate of 1,000 rounds per minute, it’s highly effective in laying down suppressing and cover fire. The barrel can overheat after sustained shooting but is optimized for quick replacement…

The timing suggests that FNH USA’s decision to introduce a semi-automatic SAW may be due in part to the Marine Corps abandoning their own M-249s. It would be difficult for FNH to compensate for the lost government sales, but the announcement of the new semi-automatic version met with excitement from gun collectors.

“The M249S might not be fully automatic … but it comes with a slew of goodies that should get military-firearms enthusiasts’ hearts pumping,” Elwood Shelton wrote in GunDigest.com. Nick Leghorn at TheTruthAboutGuns.com reported that the M-249S was the most popular gun at the NRA Annual Meeting when it was previewed there in April.

The M-249S sells for $7,999.

Gun nuts, the types whose testicles are directly wired into NRA agitprop, will hock one of their children to get something like this.

I’m not taking the time to snoop around gray-and-black-market sites to see if anyone’s offering the appropriate goodies for rewatting this critter into full automatic. Nutballs in my neck of the prairie are generally too cheap to buy something like this piece. There is at least one full automatic AK47 I hear once in a while up on the mesa across the valley at everyone’s favorite illicit shooting range this corner of northern New Mexico.

The coppers go up and smack him on the wrist and say, “don’t do that!” And drive away.

BITD, way back, I preferred a Schmeisser.