Tag Archives: sniper scope

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. 

Barrett Ships First New MK22 Army Precision Sniper Rifles

The MK22 is a version of Barrett’s popular MRAD bolt gun, which can be swapped between three different calibers on the fly, hence the “Multi-Role Adaptive Rifle” abbreviation.

Tennessee-based Barrett Firearms recently announced the first batch of new MK22 Precision Sniper Rifles have been shipped to the U.S. Army.

The U.S. Special Operations Command in 2019 tapped Barrett to produce what were then termed new Advanced Sniper Rifles identified in SOCOM’s budget justification book as part of an effort to continue “development of enhanced capabilities to improve performance” of “individual sniper weapons to engage out to 1500 meters.”

They soon followed up with this award earlier this year with a five-year $49.9 million contract under the Army’s Precision Sniper Rifle program for Barrett’s MRAD (Multi-Role Adaptive Design) MK22 MOD 0 rifle, paired with a Leupold’s Mark 5HD 5-25×56 optic, complete with a flat dark earth coating and the Army’s patented Mil-Grid reticle and sniper accessory kit. The MK22 will replace several currently fielded Army sniper rifles.

A special operations sniper participating in the MK22 Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) test conducts vertical wind tunnel testing with his MK22 in the “front-mount” configuration. (Photo: Mr. Michael Zigmond, audiovisual production specialist, U.S. Army Operational Test Command)

More in my column over at Guns.com.

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.

Could the Army Ditch Brass for Plastic?

The hybrid polymer-cased cartridge, developed by Texas-based True Velocity as part of the Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon program, is compatible with legacy firearms as well.

The 6.8mm TVCM composite case design, coupled with the Army’s 6.8mm (.277-caliber) common cartridge projectile, was originally developed and optimized for use in the NGSW-Rifle and NGSW-Automatic Rifle submissions submitted to that military program by General Dynamics-OTS. It performs better ballistically than 7.62 NATO and weighs 30 percent less.

However, using what True Velocity characterizes as a “switch barrel” capability, they have demonstrated it can work with much of the Army’s currently fielded small arms including the M240B belt-fed machine gun, the M110 semi-automatic sniper system, and the M134 minigun.

Which could mean that, even if NGSW tanks, there could be a revolutionary advance in the ammo used by U.S. troops in the near future.

More in my column at Guns.com.

SOCOM Getting More Precision rifles

When it comes to new guns for SOCOM, the command’s FY21 budget justification book details that over the past two years 1,562 MK27s (Glock 19 Gen 4s) were acquired along with 1,930 Upper Receiver Groups-Improved (URG-Is), 250 new Personal Defense Weapons, and 450 new ASRs.

ASR?

Oh, that would be the Multi-Role Adaptive Rifle/MK22 Advanced Sniper Rifle award issued by the U.S. Special Operations Command in 2019 to Barrett as part of an effort to continue “development of enhanced capabilities to improve performance” of “individual sniper weapons to engage out to 1500 meters.”

The MK22 is a version of Barrett’s popular MRAD bolt gun, which can be swapped between three different calibers on the fly, hence the “Multi-Role Adaptive Rifle” abbreviation.

Barrett just pulled down a $50~ milly contract for ASRs from the Army, btw.

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.

Meet the MK22, the Neapolitan Ice Cream of Precision Rifles

Murfreesboro, Tennessee-based Barrett Firearms this week announced that the United States Special Operations Command has placed an initial production order for their new MK22 rifle.

The MK22 set for delivery to the military is based on Barrett’s MRAD bolt-action precision rifle in .338 Norma Mag, .300 Norma Mag, and 7.62 NATO. The MRAD uses a monolithic upper receiver with caliber conversion kits utilizing a separate barrel assembly and bolt that can be changed on the fly in minutes by the user.

More in my column at Guns.com

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.

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