The United States is one of the biggest and best arms manufacturers in the world. U.S. defense spending outranks many other countries by orders of magnitude. U.S. military spending in 2023 was roughly $750 billion compared to military spending of the next country in line, China, which was about $237 billion. And though a large portion of it goes to U.S. arms makers, some also goes to purchase arms from foreign companies. (Here are the nations selling the most weapons and who their clients are.)
While the U.S. excels at building aircraft, drones, tanks, and naval vessels, there are some weapons designed by other nations that find their way into our ranks. Quite a few of these are small arms used by infantry units across multiple U.S. military branches.
It is worth noting that legally speaking, the U.S. government must prefer domestically-produced small arms, among other things, under the Buy American Act of 1933 for its military procurement. So while some of these arms may come under the guise of a foreign flag, they are usually produced right here in the U.S.
To determine the small arms used by the U.S. military that are not made by U.S.-based companies, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a range of sources, including military handbooks, government press releases, and firearms publications pertaining to small arms and light weapons currently used by different U.S. military branches. Data on the type of weapon, caliber, maximum range, and year it entered service, came from Military Factory, an online database of military vehicles, aircraft, arms, and more. The weapons are listed in alphabetical order.
Most of the weapons originating from these foreign countries are from central Europe and they range from shotguns, rocket launchers, battle rifles, and submachine guns. The dates that these weapons entered service vary greatly as well, ranging from the end of World War II to within the last decade. (These are the fastest firing machine guns in the world.)
Here is a look at the US Military’s small arms that are made by foreign countries:
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