Belt-fed squad automatic weapons, are among the most impressive examples of military small arms technology on the battlefield today. Based on existing technology while incorporating modern advances to keep it relevant in the 21st century, SAWs bridge the gap between heavy machinegun and infantryman’s rifle.

The standard issue SAW for America’s armed forces is the M249 SAW. A belt-fed fully-automatic light machinegun chambered in 5.56mm. While many returning veterans have hundreds of hours of experience with these impressive machines, few have any idea how they’re made.

To get a better understanding of what goes into building these world-class weapons, we paid a visit to one of the biggest military arms makers on the planet, FNA – located in Columbia, SC. Come take a look, and see how FNA takes the M249 SAW from billet, to bullet.

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