This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
So far the only U.S. civilian legal semi-automatic version of the venerable M249 Squad Automatic Weapon was from the same company that makes the actual machine gun, FN Herstal. However, we recently learned about another semi-automatic M249, from Utah based Machine Gun Armory. The company has usually dealt with Military, LE, and international customers in the select fire and fully automatic departments, going to such events as SOFEX held in Jordan. But at SHOT 2018 we were able to get our hands on Machine Gun Armory’s semi-automatic civilian legal M249, know as the MGA Mk46 at the company. I asked a representative if their firearms were made using FN Herstal parts kits, or how much was actually made in-house but didn’t get a clear answer. One major point setting their builds apart from the FN ones are that the MGA Mk46s don’t have a STANAG magazine port. Not a bad subtraction really.
At the show, the company was showing off their MGA Mk46 P, or Pistol version. As ridiculous as it is to think that the M249 SAW Light Machine Gun could be one day be classified as a “Pistol” version, it does exist. Machine Gun Armory paired up with Paul Reavis of Gearhead Works with the ATF approved Tail Hook brace (they were demonstrating out of the Gearhead Works booth as a guest), attached it to their Mk46, inserted a short barrel on it (about 14 inches, but unconfirmed).
The mechanism is obviously different than that of a fully automatic M249 with a tilting sear. The belt-fed operation is obviously similar with the gun being fed by 5.56x45mm rounds on NATO links, but it is fired from a closed bolt. It also uses a H&K G3 style trigger pack, which is very neat when it comes to replacement parts.
One neat addition is that a Franklin Armory Binary trigger can be ordered with the product. It isn’t much, but I guess it makes it “Auto-ish”? Whether or not a person can “outrun” the carrier with the hammer isn’t known with the design they have. It can also be ordered in 7.62x51mm, .300 BLK, and even .260 Rem.
While not on display, there is a California compliant version of the MGA Mk46 as well-