Can You Identify These Heavily Regulated Military Weapons?

By: Mark Laufgraben
Image: Wiki Commons via US ARMY

About This Quiz

FRAG OUT! No one fights enemies bigger than the US Military, and big armies demand big hardware. Big in every dimension- size, weight, velocity, explosive force; these weapons demand that the big guys drop what they're doing and pay attention. You have the right to bear arms in the United States, but these babies demand special authorization, as well they should: Not just anybody is safe handling an intercontinental ballistic missile in their backyard! 

There are certain key traits between many of these tools of destruction- they tend to either pack explosive power or be capable of fully automatic fire. This category also contains many vehicles, which due to their size and speed could be potentially lethal in and of themselves if left in the wrong hands. The list also includes weapons that require a great deal of specialized training; you need a lot of particular knowledge to use these weapons, and they would only prove dangerous to the user without it. 

In well-trained, well-intentioned hands, these killers can help make the world a safer, more peaceful place. How many of them can you recognize? Get ready to go on a deadly journey of martial discovery. Make sure you arm up and are ready for action! 

The M60 family of machine gun fires 7.62×51mm NATO cartridges from a belt that falls apart as the weapon is fired. It is operated by a team ranging from 2-3 people, but can even be fired from the shoulder accurately at close ranges.

The PK is a gas-powered, open bolt machine gun with 7.62 mm rounds. It is of course a Soviet weapon, and has been in use from 1961 to the present day. As is often the case with Soviet weapon systems, it emphasizes cheapness and reliability, two traits that have served it well.

An airburst grenade launcher, the XM25 has fallen under a lot of criticism and its contract for production has been canceled, putting its future into doubt. It requires the replacement of a soldier's primary weapon, is extremely heavy, has limited ammunition and has been troubled with reliability issues.

Partly replacing the M60, the M249 SAW can fire 50 rounds per minute at a sustained rate of fire. One problem it has is the purported lack of lethality of its 5.56 ammunition. Stories exist of opposing forces taking multiple hits but still returning fire, which is less than ideal.

The MIM 104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile system. Modular and highly mobile, the Patriot specializes in being an anti-missile system- it shoots missiles right out of the air!

The Heckler & Koch MG4. A 5.56 weapon, it emphasizes reliability and the ability to use many different types of ammunition. The MG4 will also be the secondary armament of the new Puma infantry fighting vehicle.

The M61 is known as the Vulcan Cannon, and has been in service from 1959 to this day. It is an electrically fired rotary Gatling-style cannon, and can fire an astounding 6,000 rounds per minute. Please do not stand in front of it.

The RC-50 anti-sniper rifle is also capable of shredding light vehicles, radar installations and aircraft, making it an ideal Special Forces weapon. It only has 5 shots per magazine, however, so make them count!

First used in the Mekong Delta, Mk 19's latest upgrade will allow it to pack airburst ammunition, perfect for fighting against insurgents in cover. as well as upgraded sights.

Besides being potent anti-air weapons, STINGERS got a certain amount of cultural fame through their role in fighting against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It helped neutralize the enormous aerial advantage held by Russian troops.

The Remington PSR has an effective firing range of 1,640 yards. The military is currently seeking armor piercing ammunition for it that would allow it to engage people wearing up to Class IV body armor.

The FGM-148 Javelin is a weapon for that unenviable situation where an infantryman must fight against an armored vehicle. It is excellent at what it does, as it has self guidance, allowing the user to keep a lower profile, and targets the top of the vehicle where the armor is thinnest.

This lightweight and more portable sniper weapon is termed the "recce rifle." Its most important specification when being designed was to shoot any .556 cartridge at hand.

The AGM-114 Hellfire missile was originally designed as an air-to-surface missile for anti-armor use, but its use has broadened since its inception to include targeted killing of suspected insurgent officers.

While its exact operational range varies depending on model, the BGM-109 Tomahawk can fly as far as 1550 miles in some cases, striking its hapless target with half a ton of explosive munitions. Please do not stand where the Tomahawk falls.

One of the heaviest tanks in existence, the M1 Abrams MBT has served with distinction all over the world, although its most significant role has been in both of the US wars with Iraq. In spite of its power and range, however, it still struggles in urban environment due to natural limitations of heavy armor in such terrain.

The Stryker program has come under a lot of scrutiny since its inception. Whatever its original purpose, this vehicle proved extremely ill suited to functioning in an IED-rich theater like Iraq.

The M109 is the overall howitzer chassis for this weapon, the Paladin variant appends an A6 to the end. The Paladin is the US's main self-propelled artillery piece, and will continue to be so for at least a while- its competition projects were canceled!

The Heckler & Koch MP5 gained international recognition as an anti-terror weapon when it was used in part of an operation to storm the Iranian embassy in London. There is a civilian model capable of semi automatic fire which is humorously classified as a hunting weapon.

A Swedish weapon, the Carl Gustaf is known in the US as the M3 Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System or MAAWS. Although a very old design, the modern army still finds it useful for demolishing fortifications and in an anti-armor role.

Although small and comparatively lightweight, the MP7 PDW is capable of fully automatic fire, and is designed with special armor-piercing, high-velocity ammunition.

The military variant of the Mossberg 500 MILS differs in that it has metal trigger guards and safeties as well as heavier barrels, up to 20 inch in size.

The AGM-88 HARM is an air to surface weapon designed to home in on radiation signatures. Its purpose in so doing is to hit surface to air radar installations so as to blind the enemy and reduce their anti-air effectiveness.

The RIM-7 Sea Sparrow is a crucial part of our naval "layered" policy of anti-missile defense. It is a short ranged system tasked with knocking certain kinds of warheads out of the air, particularly those that skim the water en route to their target.

The AIM-9 Sidewinder is the classic air-to-air weapon of Western air superiority fighters. Created in 1956, approximately 111,000 of these have been produced. The Air Force even celebrated its 50th birthday!

The M67 grenade is basically what people think of as the platonic ideal of a grenade. It has its distinctive round shape, the "spoon" safety lever that is held, and, of course, the pin that is pulled. You've got 4 seconds, so make 'em count!

The AN/M14 thermite grenade is an incendiary weapon designed for the destruction of material. Its flames use iron oxide rather than oxygen and consequently can even burn under water!

The M32 MGL (Multi-Shot Grenade Launcher) can hold 6 rounds. While the typical ammunition is of course explosive, recent modifications have allowed the weapon to use less-lethal ammunition as well!

Bearing its legendary instruction "Front Towards Enemy" the M18A1 Claymore fires steel balls out at a 60-degree angle for about 100 meters in front of it. This simple device has proved to be both enduring and enormously deadly.

Contrary to what movies would have you think, C4 is actually quite stable, capable of sustaining sudden shocks or even gunshots without detonating. When it goes, though, the explosion proceeds at 8,092 m/s. Don't be there when it happens.

The BLU-82B/C-130 is a 15,000-pound bomb with a "conventional" warhead. At ground zero, the blast is rated at an overpressure of 1,000 pounds per square inch. It got its name by turning swaths of jungle into empty prairie. Do not meddle in the affairs of Daisy Cutters.

The GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) is a 30,000-pound warhead. Its blast can penetrate up to 200 feet down into the earth, leveling just about any normal bunker.

The Phalanx CIWS is a close-range anti-missile system used by the Navy. It features a radar station connected to a Vulcan cannon, aiming to literally blast the missiles out of the air. It is notable for its resemblance to Star Wars droid R2-D2.

The AGM-65 Maverick has 11 separate models used for a variety of different situations. In general, this air to surface missile is used for close air support against ground and naval targets.

The M3 Bradley is a tracked reconnaissance vehicle that doubles as an APC of sorts. It is typically used in tandem with M-1 Abrams tanks as their "scout cavalry", effectively increasing their reach on the battlefield.

The AH-64 Apache is the main extant attack helicopter for the US Army. It has a 2-man tandem crew and a unique helmet mounted display that can be slaved to a main cannon for efficient targeting.

The MQ-1C Warrior is a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAS designed to take the place of the MQ-1 Predator. It can be armed with Hellfire missiles or Viper bombs, and is capable of long distance travel toward its target.

The AN/TWQ-1 Avenger is turreted, and besides short range air defense by itself, it can also be linked to an overall defense network so as to keep the operator apprised of incoming threats.

The BGM-71 TOW missile has a motor that only fires for a fraction of a second- after that it actually flies through gliding! The operator guides the missile to the target, keeping the crosshairs on the target until impact. Hope you have a steady hand!

The LGM-30 Minuteman III is a MIRV ICBM, which means that on re-entry it can split up into multiple separate nuclear warheads, each with its own distinct targets. It can carry 3 such warheads, each armed with 170 kilotons of explosive force. You may not own one.

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