Tag Archives: NGSW

NGSW? Don’t Hold Your Breath

The current NGSW field 

The U.S. Army is full-speed ahead on an initiative to select a new series of innovative 6.8mm-caliber Next Generation Squad Weapons to phase out its 5.56mm platforms for combat troops. However, it would seem the Department of the Army is hedging their bets with traditional systems just in case things don’t work out like planned such as in past ambitious programs for futuristic small arms.

In April, FN won a 5-year $119 million contract for new M4/M4A1 Carbines from the company’s South Carolina factory– where 500 of the shorty 5.56s roll out every, single, day.

And this week, Big Army likewise issued a $78 million award to FN for more M249s, the squad-level U.S-made variant of the FN Minimi light machine gun that has been standard since 1982.

Just google the Individual Carbine (IC), Objective Individual Combat Weapon (OICW), or the Advanced Combat Rifle (ACR) programs to see why keeping the legacy infantry arms in production until things work out is a good idea.

The army advanced combat rifle ACR prototypes.

After SPIW, ACR, and OCIW, is NGSW the charm?

Despite past programs such as SPIW, ACR, and OCIW that left the U.S. Army still fielding successive generations of Eugene Stoner’s AR platform at the end of the day, today’s NGSW program could be different. The new Next Generation Squad Weapon program is moving right along and its competitors read like a who’s who of modern rifle, ammo, and optics makers.

Names like Beretta, Heckler & Koch, Leupold, Sig Sauer, Vortex, and Olin-Winchester are enumerated among the current vendors of what could end up as the most revolutionary small arms award of the 21st Century thus far.

The current field

More in my column at Guns.com

Guns of the U.S. Army, 1775-2020

While you may know of today’s standard U.S. Army infantry rifles, and those of the 20th Century, how about those present at Lexington and Concord or the line of Springfield muskets from 1795 through 1865? What came after?

For all this and more, check out the easy 2,000-word primer I did for this last weekend at Guns.com.

Put those German Sigs in the safe

In 1951, arms maker J. P. Sauer und Sohn GmbH relocated from Suhl in then Soviet-occupied East Germany and set up shop in Eckernförde near the city of Kiel.

In 1976, the firm was purchased by Swiss firearms giant SIG, forming Sig Sauer– largely to have an outlet to fulfill overseas orders for guns like the P220 without having to cut through layers of Swiss red tape.

This also led to a huge series of West German police contracts for the P225/P6 handgun.

After that, Sig Sauer came to America, where it has expanded operations in a big way ever since. Today, the U.S. branch of the company employs 2,300 and is responsible for most of the recent R&D.

Meanwhile, the original German branch of Sig Sauer has atrophied to just 130 employees.

By 2021, there will reportedly be -zero- left in Germany.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Sig Says they have delivered their prototype Next Gen small arms systems to the Army

New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer reports they have recently delivered their Next Generation Squad Weapons system to the U.S. Army for testing and evaluation.

Sig is one of three contractors who last year got the nod from the Pentagon to continue with the NGSW program, which is designed to replace 5.56mm NATO small arms– such as the M4 Carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon– in the Army’s frontline units.

Sig’s belt-fed MG 6.8mm machine gun, which is submitted as the NGSW-AR, is billed as being 40% lighter than the M249 but with “dramatically reduced felt recoil.” It has ambidextrous AR-style ergonomics, quick detach magazines, increased M1913 rail space, and a quick-detach Sig-developed suppressor.

Meanwhile, Sig’s MCX Spear rifle, submitted as the NGSW-R rifle, is also chambered in the new 6.8mm cartridge, has a fully collapsible and folding stock, rear and side charging handle, free-floating reinforced M-LOK handguard, fully ambi controls, and a quick-detach suppressor.

More in my column at Guns.com 

Has Vortex cracked the combat optic of the future?

Wisconsin-based Vortex Optics announced Monday they have entered into an agreement with the U.S. Army an agreement to deliver a possible component of the service’s Next Generation Squad Weapon.

The contract between the Pentagon and Vortex is an Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreement, an award type traditionally used to fund innovative prototype procurement and development of forward-looking technology. As such, Vortex will provide production-ready prototypes for use in Soldier TouchPoint evaluations.

The optic at the center of the OTA is Vortex’s 1-8×30 Active Reticle Fire Control, which the veteran-owned company explains is “built around a revolutionary technology based on many years of internal research and development, along with multiple cooperative development efforts with the Army’s PM-Soldier Weapons group.”

The Active Reticle has reportedly been proven to increase hit percentage and decrease time to engage during Soldier TouchPoints in the past two years. In the case of a battery power loss, users still have an uncompromised 1-8x, direct-view optic and glass-etched reticle, which alone exceeds current optics.

And it looks pretty sweet.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Next Generation Squad Weapons abound

Groovy and very sci-fi looking new guns competing in the U.S. Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons program were shown to the public last week.

Intended to replace the current standard M4 Carbine and M249 SAW light machine gun, the new NGSW contenders — which use 6.8mm (.277-caliber) hybrid ammunition with an EPR bullet– were on hand at the largest land warfare conference and tradeshow in North America: the Association of United States Army annual meeting (AUSA 2019) last week in Washington DC.

General Dynamics Ordnance & Tactical Systems, which is working with True Velocity and Beretta, showed off their new RM277 NGSW platform, a bullpup with lots of modularity.

Notably, the gun uses True Velocity’s 6.8mm composite-cased cartridge, which has a “drastic reduction in cartridge weight and enhanced accuracy.”

Other contenders include a team made up of Textron, which has subcontracted with ammo maker Winchester-Olin and firearms maker Heckler & Koch, while Sig Sauer is going it alone.

In the below, BG Dave Hodne, Director SL CFT, and BG Potts, PEO Soldier, talk about soldier lethality and how the NGSW fits into the equation, below.

U.S. Army: Goodbye 5.56, hello 6.8mm hybrid

Big Green has been looking at shrinking the weight of small arms ammo for decades. The theory is: the lighter it weighs, the more can be carried or sent in resupply, making each warfighter more deadly. This has included polymer cased ammo (don’t laugh, the Marines have been buying millions of rounds of polymer .50 cal for years)  and more exotic telescoping cased rounds.

In 2016, the the Army started shopping hard for a new Next Generation Squad Weapon-Rifle (NGSW-R), a replacement for the M4/M4A1 carbine; and the Next Generation Squad Weapon-Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR), which would take the place currently held by the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. Both would be in an updated 6.8mm chambering that would be up to the manufacturer to develop with ammunition industry partners.

Now don’t think this is existing 6.8mm Remington or similar, but something totally different.

At least 37 different arms makers looked at the NGSW program, and five submitted prototype systems last year.

In the past week, three got down-selected to continue: AAI Corporation/Textron Systems in Hunt Valley, Maryland; General Dynamics-OTS Inc. in Williston, Vermont; and Sig Sauer in Newington, New Hampshire. While Gen Dyn has Heckler & Koch as well as Winchester-Olin on board to help carry the load, Sig is going all-in and striking out alone.

They have released the most information on their submissions and they look pretty sweet:

More in my column at Guns.com