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What are the Different Navy SEALs Weapons?

By Matt Brady
Updated: May 17, 2024

The Navy SEALS — short for sea, air and land — use a wide range of weaponry in the field of operations. The SEALS' standard-issue weapon-of-choice is the Colt M4A1 Carbine Assault Rifle. Other Navy SEALS weapons include an array of sniper rifles, shotguns, machine guns, handguns, grenade launchers, mortars and rockets. Navy SEALS are commonly required to carry out high-profile missions on any kind of terrain, which requires that they be trained to ably handle a wide range of weaponry. Although they typically go on missions with an Assault Rifle and backup pistol, Navy SEALS weapons are mission-dependent and can alternate frequently.

The Colt M4A1 Carbine Assault Rifle is the SEALS' weapon of choice. The M4A1 is a more compact variation on the M16A2 rifle. The Navy developed the rifle along with the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Together, the two military forces designed the Special Operations Peculiar (SOPMOD) M4A1 Accessory Kit. The kit, used with the M4A1 Carbine Assault Rifle, provides the Navy SEALS with a highly versatile weapon.

The M4A1 Carbine Assault Rifle is capable of firing as a semiautomatic or full automatic weapon. It fires accurately during day and night and can fire from 700 to 950 rounds per minute. It can also be converted to a shotgun and even a grenade launcher. The accessory kit enables SEALS to outfit the M4A1 with holographic display sight, infrared vision, aiming lasers, and other features. The Navy is also constantly at work adding new features and capabilities to the M4A1.

Another heavily used item in the Navy SEALS weapons catalog is the backup handgun. SEALS often use the M11 Sig Sauer P-228. Only 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) wide, and 7.1 inches (18 centimeters) long, this pistol is easy to conceal and carry in practically any situation. Its compact size and accuracy has made this one of the standard Navy SEALS weapons since 1989. When in need of something with a little more firepower, SEALs often use the MK23 Mod O .45 cal SOCOM offensive handgun. The MK23 service pistol is able to operate in the harshest of environments, having shown the ability to fire accurately when exposed to sand, water and extreme temperatures.

When the standard-issue Navy SEALS weapons don't fit the requirements of a mission, SEALS also have an arsenal of machine guns, submachine guns and shotguns at their disposal. Although they use a variety of shotguns, the shotgun of choice typically is the Benelli M4 Super 90. The M4 Super 90 can fire in any weather condition and is extremely reliable. As such, other branches of the military have also adopted this weapon.

Sniper rifles are also an important part of Navy SEALS weaponry. Multiple sniper rifles are used for various situations, such as the M14, the M82A1, and the MK11 Mod 0 Sniper Weapon System. Each different sniper rifle has different firepower capabilities and different ranges, suited for many different scenarios and targets.

For certain missions, Navy SEALS also use Anti-Tank Rockets, as well as mortars and grenade launchers. In all, the list of Navy SEALS weapons comprises a formidable range of firepower. The large selection provides SEALS access to weapons for every kind of combat mission, whether on the sea, air or land.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon237250 — On Dec 28, 2011

They use whatever they can kill you best with.

By sarge1985 — On Apr 15, 2011

@mandyeats - The Navy Seals originated in World War II, and since then there have been a number of advances in weaponry in the US military. So yes, the Seals have upgraded through the years.

As for Vietnam, in addition to the M60 used by everyone at the time, the Seals used just about any weapon they could get a hold of. This included some exotic ones like the Swedish K submachine gun.

By mandyeats — On Apr 13, 2011

Did they use different weapons in the past, such as in Vietnam?

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