The adage for the past couple of decades among Joes (skip this if you are sensitive as it may be NSFW) is that the 5056 NATO-caliber M249 SAW is like a high-maintenance first wife: you have to pamper and court her and maybe, just maybe, she will work out. The 7.62 NATO-chambered M240 on the other hand, is just a dirty whore: no matter what you do to her, she’ll keep on working through the night, rain or shine.
Thus endith the addage.
There may be some smoke to that, as, in my experience, I have never seen any but a factory fresh and over-lubed SAW run a full 200-round belt without a stoppage under field conditions whereas I have also seen some downright grungy and funky M240s chew through belt after belt. This may be why the Marines have largely dumped the SAW for the M27 IAR and the Army is looking to move on to the NGSW-AR to put the M249 in the rearview.
Offering users either a 12-pound belt-fed machine gun in 5.56 NATO or a 14-pound model in 7.62 NATO, FN’s new Evolys platform has reached the market.
While it may be easy for some to shrug off the Evolys series as just a lightened Minimi/M249 or FN Mag/M240 – an evolutionary outgrowth of guns like the compact MK 46 and MK 48 if you will – the latest short-stroke gas piston machine gun series out of Herstal utilizes a number of new thoughts to make it more of a 21st-century gun.
Like the ability to “dummy-proof” the loading process by designing the feed cover and pawl system to automatically reposition cartridges when the cover is closed on a belt that is not correctly placed in the feed tray. Like fielding a carbine-length (36-inches overall) 7.62 GPMG that can be carried slug in the same manner as a rifle and fired from all standard positions at 750rpm, with a controllable recoil due to an integrated hydraulic buffer.
Plus, they look super sci-fi, which is always a bonus.