“People are more important than hardware.” This is one of the five special-operations truths. It’s not the gear that makes an operator special — it’s their mentality, training, and personality traits.
That being said, special operators field some state-of-the-art weapons that allow them to dominate any battlefield scenario they might encounter. US Special Operations Command’s standard-issued rifle is the M4A1 with the SOPMOD II upgrade, which adds a variety of accessories to the rifle, such as rails, lasers, scopes, magnifiers, and grips. Many special operators, however, are free to customize their rifle as they see fit. The MK18 variant is also commonly seen in special-operations armories. This shorter version of the M4 was designed for close-quarters fighting and is extremely reliable. Additionally, the HK416 is a favorite of Delta Force and the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), also known as SEAL Team 6. The weapon is designed around the AR-15 platform but with some significant changes. It was a special collaboration between Delta Force and Heckler & Koch and was also used by the SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden. American commandos, especially the SEAL Teams and Rangers, briefly fielded the FN SCAR because of long-range engagements in Afghanistan. The SCAR, which was specifically designed for special-operations units, promised one platform for all jobs since operators could change barrels according to the situation. But the weapon never really became popular because of its inefficient design and tendency to malfunction. The machine guns of choice for US special-operations units are the MK46 and MK48. The former is chambered with the 5.56 mm round and offers a lighter and more portable option, whereas the latter, firing the 7.62 mm round, is heavier but packs more punch. Both weapons are reliable and have trickled down to conventional units because of their effectiveness. Given their small numbers, special-operations units rely heavily on firepower to overcome a usually numerically superior enemy. Firepower that is disproportionate to their numbers makes special operators exceptionally lethal and effective on the battlefield. Firepower superiority gives special-operations units a short and local advantage that often translates to victory. [full article]