SEALs’ Weapon of Choice
Colonel Charles A. Jones U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (Retired)
The February 2012 issue of Naval History featured an outstanding story about SEALs by Dick Couch (“SEALs: 50 Years & Counting,” pp. 16–23). On the issue’s cover was a SEAL with a weapon identified inside the magazine as a Stoner M63A1 light machine gun.
The Stoner was the signature weapon for SEALs in Vietnam and was one of two weapon systems invented by Eugene Stoner. Stoner’s most famous development was the M-16 weapon series. Lesser known is his Stoner 63 weapon system, comprising a basic design around which six weapons were based, including an assault rifle, a fixed machine gun, and the more popular light machine gun pictured on the cover of Naval History.
That particular light machine gun is an example of the model that fed from the left side of the weapon from a drum magazine holding 150 rounds of ammunition. The other Stoner light machine gun fed from the right side, from a box holding 100 rounds of ammunition.