By: Friedrich Seiltgen
Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has announced that Sig Sauer has been awarded safety certification for their new Lightweight Medium Machine Gun (LWMMG).
Sig is proud of the fact, and rightly so, that for the first time in more than a hundred years, the U.S. military certified a new machine gun and ammunition at the same time. Sig accomplished a hat trick by getting the suppressor approved also! The new setup is the Sig MG 338 in caliber .338 Norma Mag.
Also included in the deal are the newest generation of silencers, also produced by Sig. Sig claims the MG 338 will bridge the gap between the M240 in 7.62×51 and the M2 Ma Deuce in .50 caliber. Sig boasts the belt fed M338 weighs only 20 pounds, has greater range, and can punch through Russian and Chinese body armor at long ranges. The gun can also be quickly converted to 7.62X51 if the need arises, or to use the cheaper ammo for training and familiarization. When you look at the futuristic MG 338, Star Wars pops into your head. It has quite a distinct look to it.
The new gun uses a short stroke gas piston operating system, folding stock, switchable feed tray, and a charging handle that can be placed on either side. This gun features a proprietary recoil mitigation system, a rate of fire of 600 rpm, a free-floating quick-change barrel, uses the current tripod and accessory mounts as the M240, and has ambidextrous controls for those left-handed folks out there.
The .338 NM ammunition is another giant leap in small arms technology. The 300-grain round has similar recoil of the .308, but has an effective range of 2,000 meters, as well as the capability to penetrate body armor and soft-skinned vehicles at 1,000 meters.
USSOCOM will purchase 5,000 guns initially, along with ammunition and silencers for its Special Forces Operators.
The MG 338 isn’t the only new weapon system the Army is looking into. In April last year, Textron systems AAI division delivered its initial Next Generation Squad Weapon – Technology (NGSW-T) prototype demonstrator.
These weapons feature telescoped ammunition, which is designed so that the projectile is partly or completely enveloped in its propellant. Some telescoped ammo is also caseless. The caseless ammo brings with it a significant weight and space reduction. The caseless concept has been resurrected from the HK G11 prototype rifle, which used a 4.73×33 caseless round feed by a 50 round box magazine. HK developed the G11 during the Cold War, and the project was ended after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
In October 2019, the Army chose the 6.8 mm instead of 6.5 mm as another round for the weapon. The reason for the 6.8 mm is the military’s change of strategy by shifting from urban warfare to the open ranges of Afghanistan, and the need to penetrate modern body armor at longer ranges.
The new weapons system is three weapon systems based on a single platform that allows multiple configuration of calibers, magazine, or belt fed, etc. The new 5.56mm system will replace the M249 Light Machine Gun. The 7.62mm CT Cased-Telescoped system provides a 27-pound weight reduction and will replace the M240, and finally the 6.8mm carbine will replace the M4 while reducing soldier load and increasing lethality.
The Army, like other branches of the military, is enjoying Presidents Trump’s military buildup. Let’s hope they use the money wisely and send proven, tested products to the battlefield.
Friedrich Seiltgen is a retired Master Police Officer with 20 years of service with the Orlando Police Department. He is currently a Patrol Officer with the Starke, Florida Police Department. He conducts training in Lone Wolf Terrorism, Firearms, First Aid, Active Shooter Response, and Law Enforcement Vehicle Operations in Florida. He is a contributor to The Counter Terrorist Magazine, Homeland Security Today and The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International. Contact him at [email protected].
Photo Credit: sigsauer.com