Tag Archives: Heckler & Koch

Beretta will offer their NGSW Rifle to the People

Firearms powerhouse Beretta has announced it will support True Velocity in the production of the proposed Army Next Generation Squad Weapon and develop commercial variants. 

The announcement came this week during SHOT Show in Las Vegas, where True Velocity is exhibiting. True Velocity’s subsidiary LoneStar Future Weapons is the prime contractor in the group’s bid for the NGSW program, an initiative to replace the Army’s current 5.56 NATO platforms with a new series of small arms using a 6.8 caliber cartridge. The variant submitted to the Army for testing is the RM277, chambered in True Velocity’s proprietary 6.8TVCM composite-cased cartridge.

In addition, Beretta will take the lead in developing a semi-automatic variant of the RM277 rifle intended for sale in the U.S. commercial market. The latter could prove exceptionally popular should the platform secure the potentially huge NGSW award.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Sig Delivers Commerical NGSW-R Variant to the Consumer Market

I’ve been talking a lot over the past couple of years about the U.S. Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon program- which is rapidly coming to a head. While Winchester recently won a contract to set up the Army’s Lake City Ammunition Plant to make the NGSW’s 6.8mm ammo and Vortex pulled down a huge award to make up to 250,000 advanced optics for the weapons, the Pentagon has not decided which version of the NSGW-Rifle and NGSW-Automatic Rifle to order.

Current contenders for the weapons platforms themselves include Sig Sauer and two teams made up of defense contractor General Dynamics Ordnance Tactical Systems, working with Beretta and True Velocity; and AAI/Textron partnered with ammo firearms maker Heckler & Koch. 

Well, it seems Sig is confident enough about winning the big teddy bear when it comes to the NSGW-R that they are now releasing a commercial variant of it, the MCX-Spear in .277 Fury (the company’s civilianized 6.8mm NSGW round.)

The Sig Sauer MCX-Spear is a multi-caliber platform that can swap between .277 Fury, 6.5 Creedmoor, and 7.62 NATO via a simple barrel change at the user level. It has rear and side non-reciprocating charging handles, a 6-position folding stock, a lightened free-float M-LOK handguard, and a full-length Picatinny top rail for optics and accessories.

The overall length on the Sig Sauer MCX-Spear is 34.1-inches with the stock extended while the weight is 8.38 pounds. Listed with a 13-inch 1:7 twist, it looks like this will require an SBR stamp.

More in my column at Guns.com.

U.S. Army just a breath away from the Next Generation of squad weapons

The Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons program– which plans to replace the 5.56 NATO caliber M4 Carbine and M249 SAW with two new man-portable weapons that share a common 6.8mm caliber– is right around the corner from becoming a reality.

In the past week, Picatinny Arsenal and Project Manager– Soldier Lethality, have issued a $20 million contract for Olin-Winchester to set up the Lake City Army ammo plant for the production of the new 6.8mm rounds in General Purpose (GP), Special Purpose (SP), Reduced Range (RR), and blank cartridges.

Next Generation Squad Weapons program submitted cartridges

This was almost immediately followed up by the selection of Wisconsin-based Vortex to supply as many as a quarter-million optics for the country’s planned Next Generation Weapons platforms. The 10-year contract, announced late last week, covers the production and delivery of up to 250,000 XM157 Next Generation Squad Weapons-Fire Control systems.

With the ammo being set up for production and the optics package selected, all that is left for the NGSW program is to announce the winner of the contract for the weapons themselves. The current contenders for that award, as listed by the Army, are SIG Sauer, General Dynamics– OTS, and Textron Systems.

An award is likely sometime in the coming weeks and would stand to become the biggest change in combat small arms since Curtis LeMay ordered a batch of early AR-15s from Colt for his USAF Security Police in 1962. 

HK Won’t so CMMG Will

Missouri-based CMMG on Tuesday announced the first firearm made for the American consumer market chambered in 4.6×30– the FourSix.

Designed originally by Heckler & Koch in the 1990s for a low-recoiling NATO Personal Defense Weapon program– competing against FN’s 5.7×28 for the same purpose– the 4.6x30mm is a rimless bottlenecked cartridge that performs well under 150 yards whose small size allows guns chambered for it to carry a lot of rounds.

Who doesn’t like a legit HK MP7? The thing is, they are unobtainium.

Fast forward 20+ years and, while both cartridges have been adopted by NATO and standardized, only the 5.7×28 has been utilized by other firearms makers (e.g., Ruger 57, Diamondback DBX57) outside of its original designer. In short, the 4.6 NATO has only been used by the select-fire (and very Post-1986) HK MP7, putting it off-limits for those without a SOT or a CAC card.

CMMG’s FourSix, offered as a short-barreled rifle with NFA strings attached as well as a pistol format– both with 8-inch barrels– are developed from the company’s Banshee Mk4 platform.

Tweaks to the Banshee needed to run the 4.6 include a patent-pending Micro Gas Block and a proprietary 40-round magazine that fits an AR-style magwell and standard mag pouches. The latter part is key as it means users can also choose to pair their existing AR15 lower receiver with a CMMG FourSix upper, when they become available. 

The HK SL8 Fever Dream is still Alive

Much as the HK91 was a civilianized version of the G3, soon after the very sci-fi looking G36 hit the market in 1997 HK moved to give hungry fans what they wanted.

I mean, who wouldn’t want a G36, right?

First introduced in 2000, the .223 Rem caliber SL8 used a short-stroke piston actuated gas operating system with a 20.8-inch cold hammer forged heavy barrel. Semi-auto with a grey carbon fiber polymer thumbhole stock– it debuted during the Federal Assault Weapon ban– with an adjustable cheekpiece and buttstock, the initial version of the rifle included a removable Picatinny rail, an ambi charging handle that folded into the centerline of the gun, and adjustable sights.
So this is the “G36” consumers in the U.S. got stuck with:

The original SL8-1. Originally imported 2000-2003 and then again in 2007-2010, the first generation model now known as the SL8-1 included 10-round mags and a grey thumbhole stock.

In 2010, HK updated the design to the SL8-6 which ditched the space cadet grey for an all-black format and added an elevated Pic rail/carrying handle. It also had a vented handguard, closer to the G36 original. Unfortunately, this model was only imported for a year.
Now, the SL8-6 is back, and it is still kinda wonky but, if you call people like TBT, they can turn it into something great.

Cracking the Army’s Budget Book on SmallArms

The Army’s recently announced budget request for the fiscal year 2022 includes at least $114 million for new rifles, handguns, and the next generation of small arms. 

While the overall FY2022 Defense Department Budget is $112 billion, most of the non-operational dollars are for high-level R&D and big-ticket items like the F-35 fighter. The Army’s budget book for weapons and tracked combat vehicles meanwhile has a low nine-figure ask when it comes to individual small arms. 

The bulk ($97 million) is to go to the Next Generation Squad Weapons, with much of the balance to acquire new Barrett-made Precision Sniper Rifles, and a few crumbs for M4s, M17s, and the like.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Sig Shows off Planned Army Future Weapons

Sig Sauer, as I’ve covered a few times in the past couple of years, is one of the three teams who are in the running for the Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons, a group of guns using the same 6.8mm caliber that is set to replace the M4 and M249 families. Further, they are the only one that is solely a firearms company and plans to do everything in-house as opposed to the other two teams which are made up of several sub-contractors. 

Their submission:

Sig’s MCX Spear series carbine aims to be the Army’s NGSW-Rifle, replacing the M4. Standard features include a fully collapsible and folding stock, rear and side charging handle, free-floating reinforced M-LOK handguard, fully ambidextrous controls, and a quick-detach Sig Next Generation suppressor. (Photo: Sig Sauer)

Sig’s Lightweight MMG is a belt-fed general-purpose weapon intended to become the Army’s NGSW-Automatic Rifle, replacing the M249 while hitting the scales at 40 percent lighter and with a round that has double the effective range of 5.56. (Photo: Sig Sauer)

Both platforms use Sig’s 6.8mm hybrid ammunition, which is billed as offering a significant reduction in weight over traditional ammo while offering better performance and greater penetration while using a 121-grain bullet. (Photo: Sig Sauer)

Further, Sig thinks they are positioned to pull it off, a move that, when coupled with the fact that their P320 pistol has been adopted as the M17/M18, would give the company the Pentagon small arms hat trick with the exception of 7.62 caliber platforms.

New to the Gun Circuit: The Shooting Sports Showcase

So I am back from a brand-new firearm industry event, this year’s inaugural Shooting Sports Showcase. In a year where SHOT Show was canceled, the SSS was like a breath of fresh air.

The event was put on by the Professional Outdoor Media Association, the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association, and the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers and held at the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s superb 500-acre Talladega Marksmanship Park on Monday.

Like you really need an excuse to hit the CMP Range…

While small compared to SHOT– there were only about 60 exhibitors– you still got to spend lots of quality time with the big boys like HK, Glock, and Sig Sauer, but also with the smaller guys like Sol Invictus, Century, and Taylor’s.

And they all had lots of interesting stuff on hand.

Looking forward to next year’s Showcase already.

Sig: Next-Gen Weapons Delivered to the Army

Sig Sauer this week announced it has completed the delivery of the company’s Next Generation Squad Weapons system to the U.S. Army.

The company is one of three contractors who in 2019 got the nod from the Pentagon to continue with the NGSW program. The sweeping initiative aims to replace the Army’s 5.56mm NATO small arms – the M4 Carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. Sig’s program consists of an in-house-designed lightweight high-performance 6.8x51mm (.277-caliber) hybrid ammunition, NGSW-AR lightweight machine guns, NGSW-R rifles (based on the MCX carbine), and next-gen suppressors.

They certainly look the part and, if selected, would give Sig the small arms hattrick as their P320s have been adopted as the DOD’s standard handgun to replace everything from the USAF’s lingering K-frame 38s to the Marine’s M45 CQB railguns and everything in between. At that point, the only man-portable system used by the Army not made by Sig would be the M240 and M2, which FN still has a lock on.

More in my column at Guns.com.

KAC getting a lot of Pentagon Love

The aircrew of the Florida-based Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron stand for a photo after the 500th recorded drug bust in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, March 11, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo. Note the M107A1 with mounted AN/PEQ-15 aiming laser in the foreground, the M110 7.62x51mm sniper rifle with can in the background, and the fact that the crew names and weapons’ serials have been blurred for OPSEC/PERSEC.

In the past week, the DOD has announced two big contracts for Knight’s Armament Company in Florida.

For those who aren’t familiar with Reid Knight’s KAC, just keep in mind that the company served as the final home of Eugene Stoner, who redesigned his original AR-10 there as the new and very much improved SR-25. That 7.62 NATO precision rifle went on to pull down the Army’s XM110 Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle competition in 2005.

The resulting M110 has gone on to be used not only by the Joes but also with the Navy EOD and Specwar community, the Marines in a designated marksman role, and the Coast Guard’s HITRON interdiction teams.

It is so well-liked that, even while the Army is picking up HK-made G28s for the new M110A1, they are still buying M110s from KAC, announcing a $13M contract for the rifles last week. 

Quiet Time

U.S. Marines assigned to Scout Sniper Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 3/2, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conduct an M4 Carbine live-fire exercise on the flight deck of the USS Kearsarge, at sea, July 18, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Christopher Q. Stone, 26th MEU Combat Camera/Released)

And in other related news, the Marines just issued a $25M contract to KAC for 5.56 NATO suppressors for their M4/M4A1s and M27 IARs. 

When it comes to suppressor-use by its warfighters, the Marines have been consistently striving to make them the standard rather than the exception. In 2016, the expeditionary-focused service moved to equip every element of a test battalion, from combat engineers to headquarters units, with suppressed weapons after company-level trials yielded results.

By 2017, they were exploring the option of picking up enough to outfit all of their battalions. The new contract will go a long way towards that if all the options are used.

« Older Entries