FN Lands $13.4 Million SOCOM Contract for MK46 and MK48 Machine Guns

SEALs training with light machine guns. (Photo: Navy)

The United States Special Operations Command – SOCOM – just tapped FN to buy new MK 46 and MK 48 light machine guns. The contract is for $13.4 million and is split between FN America in South Carolina and FN Herstal in Belgium.

According to the contract, SOCOM turned directly to FN America for the guns “Only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements,” reads the contract.

Delivery will be completed by 2023, with most of the production, 85 percent, handled by FN America. The contract calls for guns, spare parts and engineering services. It is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract. The Navy will pay FN an initial payment of $1.2 million.

The MK46 is an improved, lighter-weight version of the M249 Light Machine Gun or LMG, also known as the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon or SAW and the M249 MINIMI. It weighs just under 15.5 pounds, more than a pound and a half lighter than the original machine gun.

The MK46 is chambered for 5.56 NATO. The MK48 is scaled up for 7.62 NATO, pushing its weight up to just over 18 pounds. By comparison, the M60 variant it replaced weighs between 21 and 23 pounds, based on its configuration.

SOCOM has been using these guns for a while now and it stands to reason they like them if they’re coming back for more.

See Also: SIG Tapped to Supply SOCOM with Suppressed Rifle Kits

The 5.56 M249S is a semi-auto version of the battle-proven M249 light machine gun. (Photo: Hodoway)

Both the MK46 and MK48 are open-bolt, belt-fed light machine guns. With the MK46 machine gunners can carry a little more ammo, while the MK48 is more effective, particularly against armored targets, at longer ranges. Both have a point target range of 800 meters and a 730 round-per-minute rate of fire.

Because of this, they’re largely restricted to military and law enforcement sales. But FN America now offers a closed-bolt, semi-automatic version of the M249 and we got one nice and hot in this detailed review.

“This gun is built every bit as solidly, part-for-part, as the military machine gun,” said John Hodoway in our review. “They use the same hammer-forged barrel. All of the external parts, bipod, sights and feeding mechanisms are identical. This gun is not some bantamweight – this is in the heavyweight category.”

***Semi-auto M249S rifles start around $8,000. You can buy one today on GunsAmerica.com!***

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Awesome Bill from Dawsonville September 7, 2018, 12:00 pm

    I thought the Marine Corp just ditched the M249 and other branches were planning on retiring it in the near future but SOCOM just doled out a few million bucks to buy more?

  • Mike in a Truck September 7, 2018, 8:54 am

    I like that M249S.But who-wee that price! Maybe as a retirement present from me to me.Im an M60 baby.Humped one up hill and over dale from everywhere and back.Yeah thats the Army-give the biggest gun to the smallest guy in the squad.But with interlocking fields of fire-aint no one coming through.

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