Tag Archives: sig sauer

A Dozen Interesting Takeaways on Sig’s Next Gen Weapons

I recently got to hang out with the folks from Sig Sauer and learned about the company’s successful submission to the Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons program. 

As part of Sig’s Freedom Days event at the Ben Avery Shooting Center outside of Phoenix, Arizona, the company had its MCX Spear and prototype XM250 light machine gun on display and available for attendees to shoot. 

Jason St. John, a well-mustachioed retired Army Ranger and now Sig’s director for government products, took a break from holding class on the systems and gave us the 411 in the below three-minute video. 

Some of the key takeaways:

  • The MCX Spear/XM5 has a low-profile buttstock that is both extendible and side-folding, providing soldiers a more compact firearm while riding in vehicles and aircraft. Nonetheless, it is still fully deployable with the stock folded. Attached with T27 Torx screws, it can be replaced with other stocks, and Sig has flavors including one with a gas mask cut and a six-way adjustable precision rifle stock. Alternatively, an M4-style tube can be fitted. 
     
  • It is closer in size to a compact AR-10/SR-25 rather than an M4. St. John explained it as “an AR-10 version of the M4 version of the MCX,” in talking about the upscale. “There’s no way to go to a medium-caliber solution without moving up from a small-caliber rifle…you’re not going to get the performance from an M4-sized rifle, so it was inevitable that the rifle was going to grow.”
     
  • The rifle is about as ambi as it comes. This includes a selector lever, bolt catch/bolt release, and a magazine catch/release on both the left and right-hand sides of the lower receiver. 
     
  • It has two charging handles – a rearward handle that is familiar to any AR/M4 user, and a side-mounted non-reciprocating charging handle on the left of the upper, akin to that seen on a G3/HK91 or SCAR NRCH. It folds to a low profile.
     
  • The MCX Spear has a user-swappable barrel and barrel extension held inside two T27 Torx screws in a self-contained clamp. Just loosen it up and swap it out for a shorter barrel or a different caliber. It doesn’t get much more modular than that. Sig has a commercial version of the gun in .277 Fury and 6.5 CM with .308 Win models coming soon. Sig also plans a Sig MCX Spear Rattler with an 8-inch gas trap barrel that, with hybrid ammo, will still provide carbine-like velocity. 
     
  • For those quiet moments, the MCX Spear has a two-position gas valve – “normal” and “adverse,” each with its own suppressed and unsuppressed settings – that allows the user to tweak the gas system for different ammo types and field conditions. Keep in mind that the Army may have to use the rifle anywhere from the polar regions to the jungle and desert. 
     
  • The XM250 has an extendable buttstock. Sig also offers the gun with a side-folding stock, so that already exists should the Army look for a more compact LMG down the road. 
     
  • The charging handle is on the left side of the XM250’s receiver while the feed tray opens from the left as well, rather than the top as on some other machine guns. Sig said this is so the feed tray doesn’t interfere with in-line optics mounted on the gun’s top Pic rail.
     
  • The machine gun has a quick-change barrel with a self-contained clamp that can be changed in seconds. This feature also allows the gun to swap between its standard 6.8 caliber to, for instance, a 7.62 NATO caliber, in minutes. 
     
  • Firing from an open bolt, the XM250 has a three-position safety: safe, full auto, and semi. Unlike other designs, it can be loaded with the bolt forward and charged with the selector on safe. 
     
  • Like the MCX/XM5, the X250 has a two-position (“normal” and “adverse”) gas valve, each with suppressed and unsuppressed settings.
     
  • The hybrid bi-metallic case on the 6.8x51mm cartridge developed for the Army by Sig uses a steel base/head and a brass case to allow the pressure to go from the traditional ~68,000 psi of an all-brass case to the region of 120K psi without any failure while still using conventional primers and powder. This translates to a 350 fps boost in velocity. Alternatively, this also allows for 16-inch-barrel-level velocities from an 8-inch barrel or a 24-inch-barrel-level velo from a 14-inch barrel.

Still curious and want more? Check out St. John’s full 18-minute talk and demo, below, filmed front and center at Freedom Days, an event that is likely coming closer to your area in future months.

Is the Army going back to Battle Rifles?

While initial media briefs on the systems set to replace the M4 Carbine and M249 SAW on the Army’s frontlines held back some details, the specs are now public. 

The largest and most sweeping small arms program developed by the U.S. military since the 1950s, the Next Generation Squad Weapon initiative recently picked Sig Sauer to provide the XM5 rifle and XM250 light machine gun to replace the M4 and M249, respectively. Both weapons use Sig’s in-house developed SLX suppressor system and 6.8x51mm cartridge– sold on the consumer market as the .277 Sig Fury. Meanwhile, the platforms will use an integrated optics system developed for the purpose by Vortex. 

A briefing by the Army last month immediately after the announcement that Sig was the tentative winner to supply the XM5 and XM250 was fuzzy when it came to weights and dimensions. 

“So, I — so the weights are — I’ll give a comparison to the M4 and the 249 in general weight difference,” said Col. Scott Madore, PM Soldier Lethality when asked. “So, the rifle — the Next-Gen Squad Weapon rifle is about two pounds over the M4. Now the automatic rifle is actually four pounds less than the current M249 squad automatic weapon.”

Now the Army has released the figures, with the XM5 listed as 8.38 pounds, and 9.84 with its suppressor attached. The overall length, with the suppressor attached, is 36 inches with the side-folding stock extended and the standard 15.3-inch barrel. By comparison, the service lists the weight of the M4A1, complete with backup iron sight, sling, adapter rail system, and an empty magazine, as 7.74 pounds. The length of the M4A1 with its stock extended and without a suppressor is 33.82 inches. 

The NGSW-R, the XM5 rifle, is Sig Sauer’s MCX Spear. Using a 20-round magazine, it is chambered in a new 6.8×51 caliber. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Like the combat load of the XM5 compared to the M4, the XM250 user will carry fewer rounds at a heavier weight, described as four 100-round pouches, at 27.1 pounds. The M249 light machine gun combat load, which is three 200-round pouches, weighs 20.8 pounds.

The XM250, Sig Sauer’s light machine gun, is the tentative NGSW-AR winner. Like the XM5, it is chambered in 6.8x51mm. It is expected to replace the M249 SAW in front-line service with the U.S. Army. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Is the juice worth the squeeze? The Army thinks so, saying the benchmark for the 6.8 cartridge was that it weigh less per round than the 7.62 NATO.

With that in mind, in a very real sense, comparing the XM5/XM250 to the M4/M249 is an apple to oranges situation, and it may be more appropriate to journey back to about 1965 and compare the new guns to the M14 battle rifle and M60 machine gun, both of which were in 7.62. 

The basic wood-stocked M14 hit the scales at 9 pounds empty and was, initially, carried with five 20-round magazines, later increased to seven mags. A 140-round combat load of 7.62 carried in seven steel M14 mags is 11.2 pounds, or about 1.5 pounds less than the same quantity of 6.8 as carried with the XM5.

A demo of the then-new M14 at Fort Dix in June 1959. Similar in size to the M1 Garand, with 29 of 116 parts interchangeable with that .30-06 semi-automatic rifle, the M14 was select-fire and had a larger, 20-round magazine. (Photo: Springfield Armory National Historic Site)

The M60, which was often derided as “The Pig” due to its weight, took cues from the German MG42 machine gun and, even with the use of early plastics in its furniture, weighed 23 pounds when introduced, although this was later whittled down to a more carry-friendly 18.5 pounds, both figures significantly heavier than the XM250. 

A demo of the then-new M60 before troops. The 23-pound 7.62 NATO belt-fed machine gun replaced the awkward M1919A6 and was considered much lighter than the latter 32-pound weapon, so much so that it was demonstrated firing one-handed overhead. (Photo: Springfield Armory National Historic Site)

As noted by the Army, “The 6.8 mm has proven to outperform most modern 5.56mm and 7.62mm ammunition against a full array of targets.”

Sig’s CROSS gains weight for PRS

Sig’s newest addition to its CROSS bolt-action precision rifle family picks up some weight to clock in on the PRS circuit. 

On the rifle range at Sig’s Freedom Days event at the Ben Avery Shooting Center outside of Phoenix last week was an interesting new CROSS model that only went “live” with Sig on Thursday.  

The new PRS model rifle differs from the standard CROSS as it has a bull barrel, a redesigned stainless steel buttstock, a straighter pistol grip, and a full-length steel Arca rail on the bottom for bipod and tripod action. This takes the rifle up to 14.5-pounds, which is quite a weight gain from the CROSS’s typical 6.5-pound range, but the original series is meant for hunting and tactical use in the field whereas the new CROSS PRS is more for Precision Rifle Series matches where extra heft isn’t a bad thing– so long as it helps with accuracy. 

Even at 14.5 pounds and fitted with a can and some decent glass, the CROSS PRS has a good balance to it. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

More in my column at Guns.com.

Getting Some Sun in the Sonoran Desert

So I spent most of last week hanging out in Phoenix with some friends, covering Sig’s Freedom Days event. Tons of fun, even if I had to set up the Guns.com booth with my buddy, Ben.

Of course, I am the Jerry Garcia-looking character in the above. 

Check out some of these highlights: 

Anywho, got to hang out and detail the action, so expect lots of neat stuff next week about what I saw, heard, and found out.

Now to nurse that sunburn…

Sig’s $4.5 Billion Army Rifle, Machine Gun Contract: By the Numbers

Here are some interesting data, dates, and figures to keep in mind on the NGSW contracts:

XM5 – Designation of the Sig Sauer NGSW-Rifle as adopted. The rifle, Sig’s MCX-Spear design, is intended to replace the M4 Carbine in use with “close combat forces.” Once it has been fully adopted and released, the “X” will fall off, making it the M5.

 

Sig Sauer NGSW XM5 rifle
The XM5 is based on Sig Sauer’s MCX-Spear rifle system (Photo: Sig Sauer)
Sig Sauer NGSW XM5 rifle
Chambered in a new 6.8-caliber round, it is suppressor-ready and uses 20-round magazines (Photo: Sig Sauer)

 

XM250 – Designation of the Sig Sauer NGSW-Automatic Rifle as adopted. The weapon, Sig’s Lightweight Machine Gun design, is intended to replace the M249 SAW Carbine in use with “close combat forces.”

 

Sig Sauer XM250 NGSW machine gun
The XM250 is Sig Sauer’s LMG, and is belt-fed, using the same suppressor and cartridge as the XM5 (Photo: Sig Sauer)
Sig Sauer XM250 NGSW machine gun
It is reportedly four pounds lighter than the M249, while using a more powerful round with a greater effective range. (Photo: Sig Sauer)

 

XM157 – Designation of the Fire Control system, a separate contract awarded earlier this year to Vortex, to provide an integrated optic to be used on both the XM5 and XM250.

 

 

6.8x51mm – The Common Cartridge family of ammunition to be used by both the XM5 and XM250. The first types will be general-purpose, blank, drill/dummy inert, a reduced range training cartridge to allow the Army’s current ranges to be used, and high-pressure test rounds.

$4,500,000,000 – The total contract value if all options are taken for Sig Sauer to manufacture and deliver the XM5 Next Generation Squad Weapon Rifle, the XM250 NGSW Automatic Rifle, and the 6.8 Common Cartridge Family of Ammunition, as well as accessories, spares, and contractor support, over the next 10 years.

$20.4 million – Funds authorized for now to Sig covering weapons and ammunition that will undergo further testing.

$20 million – Amount of the contract awarded to Winchester earlier this year to plan the production of new NGSW ammo types at the contractor-run Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri. Lake City has already been providing projectiles for Sig Sauer and the other competitors to use on their cartridges during the prototyping phase.

$2.7 billion – Maximum amount of the 10-year contract to Vortex to provide the XM157 Fire Control optics system for the NGSW firearms. The Army said this week the weapons will be fielded as a system, with both the rifles and machine guns carrying the same optics and suppressors.

140 – The number of rounds carried by the average XM5 user. The XM5 ammo loadout is seven 20-round mags for a weight of 9.8 pounds, compared to the current M4 loadout of seven 30-round mags (210 rounds total) for 7.4 pounds, meaning XM5 shooters will give up 70 rounds and carry another 5 pounds in a total weapon, optic and ammo load compared to the M4.

400 – The number of rounds carried by the average XM250 user. The XM250 ammo load per automatic rifleman is four 100-round pouches weighing 27.1 pounds. Compare this to the current SAW gunner who carries three 200-round pouches (600 rounds total) for 20.8 pounds. In other words, XM250 light machine gunners will lose 200 rounds and add 3.6 pounds compared with the M249 SAW load. While the XM250 is lighter overall, the ammo is heavier and the new optic adds 2.6 pounds to the system.

16,348 – The number of XM5 rifles planned to be purchased by the Army in Fiscal Year 23.

1,704 – The number of XM250 machine guns planned to buy in FY23.

17,164 – The number of NGSW fire control modules planned to be purchased by the Army in FY23.

27 Months – The length of the Army’s rigorous testing and evaluation process prior to down-selecting Sig this week.

500 – Number of Soldiers, Marines, and special operations personnel involved in 18 touchpoints and more than 100 technical sub-tests during the past 27-month evaluation.

20,000 – Hours of user feedback garnered from Soldiers and Marines in the testing process.

120,000 – Soldiers in the Army’s active (COMPO 1) and reserve (COMPO 2) close combat force– identified as infantrymen, cavalry scouts, combat engineers, medics, special operations, and forward observers– who will use the NGSW platforms. Army spokesmen this week said other units and specialties will continue to use legacy small arms. “For example, the company supply sergeant will continue to carry M-4 or another weapon, not the Next-Gen Weapon.”

250,000 – Current ceiling of NGSWs in the contract. With that being said, the Army stated this week the current thinking is to field 107,000 M5 rifles and 13,000 M250 machine guns initially, roughly an 8:1 ratio.

Two pounds — The weight that the XM5 rifle is heavier than the current M4 it is set to replace.

Four pounds – The weight that the XM250 machine gun is lighter than the current M249.

3-to-5 Years – The length of time Sig Sauer will remain as the primary supplier of 6.8 ammunition to the Army as the military ramps up production at its own facilities. After that, it is expected the company will still provide ammo to the Army as a secondary source.

10 Years – Potential length of this week’s contract between Sig and the Army, broken into annual ordering periods.

65 Years – The last time the Army fielded a new weapon system of this nature– a rifle and machine gun along with a new caliber family of ammunition. The previous date was 1957 when the M14 and M60, in 7.62 NATO, replaced the M1 Garand, M1918 BAR, M1 Carbine, and M1919 machine gun.

2023 (3rd quarter) – When the Army expects its IOT&E– Initial Operational Test and Evaluation– a major program milestone that, will be completed on the NGSW, paving the way for full-rate production.

2023 (4th quarter) – The year the Army expects to equip the first unit with production NGSW variants, as detailed in a Pentagon press conference this week.

2026 – Expected start date of 6.8mm ammo production at a new building constructed specifically for the purpose at Lake City.

2029 – The theorized date mentioned by Army spokesmen this week when 6.8 ammo production “perhaps open it up to commercial vendors like we do with the other calibers.”

2032– The year this week’s Army NGSW contract with Sig concludes.

The Army’s Plan to Replace the M4 and M249 with a 6.8mm Super Gun Family is Underway

In the cumulation of a story I’ve been working on and filing installments on since 2017, in what could be the biggest change in American military small arms in 65 years, the U.S. Army announced a major new contract for Sig Sauer this week.

The Army’s award on Tuesday of a 10-year firm-fixed-price follow-on production contract to New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer covers the manufacture and delivery of the new XM5 Rifle and the XM250 Automatic Rifle, as well as the weapons’ fodder– the 6.8 Common Cartridge family of ammunition.

The big prize of the Army’s four-year Next Generation Squad Weapon program, the XM5 is intended to fill the role currently held by the M4 Carbine series while the XM250 will replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, two 5.56 NATO weapons that have been on the frontlines for decades.

XM250, left, XM5, right

More in my column at Guns.com.

Meet the P210 Carry, a More Refined EDC

An evolution over 80 years in the making, Sig Sauer’s new P210 Carry 9mm blends a classic lineage and modern features to live up to its name.

Swiss firearms designer Charles Gabriel Petter, who learned the up-close and personal side of weapons in action while an officer in the French Foreign Legion during the Great War, was a cultivated polyglot who moved freely across Western Europe in the 1920s and 30s. After a decade with the Lewis Arms Company, he perfected a series of modifications and improvements to single-action self-loading pistols, taking cues from the even-then famous Browning locked-breech system.

A series of his patents led to the French Model 1935A pistol, and by 1938 SIG in Switzerland had licensed them for use in a pistol which the company intended to submit to replace the dated Luger in Swiss military service. Working with Petter for a further decade, the Swiss Ordnance SP47/8 was adopted in 1948 as the P49 by the Swiss Army and others including the Danish military and West German border guards.

By 1957, the P49 designation was renamed the P210, remaining in production in Switzerland until 2006 by virtue of its reputation for accuracy, reliability, and simple elegance. They were so iconic they were even immortalized in art.

Today’s P210 Carry owes its lineage to Swiss firearms designer Charles Petter’s circa 1938 patents, and decades of military, police, and sports use by the P210 series since then.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Shooting Sports Showcase?

This week, I had a chance to be on the ground in Northern Alabama for the annual Shooting Sports Showcase.

The Showcase is hosted by the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers, the Professional Outdoor Media Association, and the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. Held on the ranges of the massive CMP Marksmanship Park in Talladega, this year’s event was the second of its kind, following up on last year’s inaugural show.

Photo dump ensues:

More here, after the jump. 

Wasn’t the whole point of the P365 to make a 380-sized 9mm?

I was on the ground at SHOT Show in 2018 when Sig Sauer introduced the P365, a micro-compact 9mm– really the first in its class– that delivered a 380-sized carry pistol but with a 10+1-shot capacity in 9×19 rather than 9x17mm.

It was the talk of the show and the gun has become one of the most popular carry pistols since then, sparking a flurry of imitators from Ruger, S&W, Springfield Armory, Taurus, and the like. Hell, even Sig has like a dozen different models of P365, all cannibalizing the same marketplace, which is now bordering on oversaturation.

Speaking of which…

Meet the new P365-380, which is the same size (albeit three ounces lighter) as the 9mm version while only having the same magazine capacity (surely they could have crammed an extra round or two in there?).

Sig says the design philosophy for the P365-380 is to offer shooters– especially those with smaller hands or those that find the manipulation and snappy recoil of small 9mm pistols challenging– another option.

Plus, in my opinion, it also opens up markets such as in Latin America and Europe for the P365 where 9mm Luger is banned for civilian consumption, reserved for M&P use, but .380 is allowed.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Sig Goes Modular in Pistol Red Dots

New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer this week announced that the new Romeo 2 red dot is now shipping, in a choice of four different reticles

Billed by Sig as designed and built “for the most rugged and adverse conditions” the Romeo 2 uses a 7075 aluminum housing that features a modular shroud system including two steel shrouds to provide multiple layers of protection and allow the user to configure their optic in three different profiles.

Two steel shrouds and a polycarbonate rear window allow the Romeo 2 to be used in three different configurations from open to fully enclosed. The optic is rated IPX7 when it comes to waterproofing. (Photo: Sig)

It also is night-vision friendly for goon work, with Sig’s Dark Adaptive Reticles & Coating system and three of the 15 brightness settings are specifically for use with PNVs. A MAGNETAC system automatically turns off the optic when holstered with a compatible holster and turns in on when drawn. (Photo: Sig)

More in my column at Guns.com.

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