While the Department of Defense hasn’t released anything new in the NGSW front Sig Sauer had their General Purpose Machine Gun submission out on the line during SHOT.
Burst Review’s video gives the 5 minute (7 actually) run down on the system and its improvements over the legacy M240s.
The MG-338, like the MCX Spear, is a well thought out evolution on the tips, tricks, and techniques machine gun users have pulled out of GWOT. It’s the direct result of troops wanting more from their weapons and Sig finding answers.
It’s largest single leap is the caliber change to weight ratio. The innards of the MG-338 aren’t all that dissimilar from other belt-fed gas guns but the .338 Norma Magnum is more efficient in the task and modern machining and design has shed the weight. A 21 pound weapon that can reach out touch a mile, especially when tripod mounted, is just what the section ordered.
The smaller ergonomic improvements are no less impressive for the operation of the system. A full/semi safety selector so the weapons can be zeroed without fighting the systems cyclic, take a single shot at distance, and be functionally in line with nearly every other selector improves soldier control and cognitive alignment with the machine gun.
Feed trays that open sideways interfere far less with mounted optics and ancillary equipment. The option to load the weapon feed cover closed makes that an incalculably easier one handed operation. A dedicated but removable ‘magazine well’ that holds belts ready to load in a ‘box magazine’ type format, essentially an upgrade “nutsack” as it colloquially known. I have questions about the durability of these compared to a magazine in general terms, not that I believe they are overly fragile or not an improvement over the SAW’s and 240’s.
What the this system does allow is, from a prone or other limited position, the left or right hand to complete the entire loading/reloading process. A single soldier can easily carry more of the responsibilities of a machine gun team and the gun can be run as or more efficiently with fewer soldiers.
I love seeing systems made more efficient and effective for the soldiers using them. I love seeing Sig make the machine gun team’s job substantially easier while almost doubling what they can hit and how hard they can hit it.
Above all, I love seeing small arms technology about to take that step forward we’ve been being teased about since the XM8.