Firing the M249 PARA Like an Idiot

There are moments in my firearms career that I am proud of and remember with great fondness. Hitting the 10 ring from 1,000 yards away on the first shot. Scoring 4 headshots on delicious animals with a 100% accuracy rate. Out-shooting (albeit¬†for a brief glimmer of a moment) the Marine Corps Rifle Team. This…this was not one of those moments . . .

The video pretty much says it all.

I see that second so clearly in my mind. My “muscle memory” kicked in and told me to rack the charging handle and as I was doing it my conscious brain suddenly realized what was going on. You can even see the guy sitting there next to me slowly shake his head in disappointment.

I’m sitting here cringing just thinking about it.

I was sitting behind a loaded M249. The camera was rolling. I was rocking my awesome sunglasses. It was a prime opportunity to look really cool on video and I absolutely blew it.

Oh well. Doesn’t matter…went full auto anyway.

For those who are curious, the M249 PARA is the shortened version of the M249 SAW or Squad Automatic Weapon (now renamed LMG or Light Machine Gun, I believe), shorter and lighter than its older brother. It is a belt-fed fully automatic firearm that commonly uses 200-round belts of 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition, although the guys at the range were bragging about their 300 AAC Blackout version as well. The original design was by Fabrique National Herstal (FNH), but U.S. manufacturers have taken over the production of these guns for the military.

This is the current favorite firearm for the U.S. Army, providing excellent firepower for their small squads of soldiers. The Marine Corps uses these as well, but are in the process of replacing them for combat troops with the M27 Infantry Assault Rifle.