TAMPA, FL – Special operators say the next machine pistol must provide the power, range and accuracy of a .50 caliber with the dimensions of a M240 machine gun at platoon level.

This light medium machine .338 Norma Magnum Pistolto put it mildly, it is a “big step forward” in small arms for special operations, said one expert.

The initiative was launched in 2017 and in the following years two companies, Sig Sauer and General Dynamics, are fighting mainly for the contract.

A lieutenant colonel in the Special Operations Forces’ lethal program for the Special Operations Command shared details of this and other small arms programs during his presentation Tuesday at the SOF Industry Conference held here by the National Defense Industry Association.

Due to the basic rules of the media, employees with rank O5 and lower are not identified by name due to the operational nature of their work with SOCOM.

“This will basically give us firepower, not exactly .50 caliber in the M240 form factor,” the official said. “This is a big step forward in the lethality of SOF and there will be a lot of equipment.”

The current M240 machine gun has a 7.62 mm NATO cartridge. It is a cartridge that has been in operation for more than half a century and has seen much progress, but, most experts agree, has reached the limits of its potential for range and mortality.

Marines and the army Recently added a multi-barreled sniper rifle capable of firing 7.62mm, a .300 Winchester Magnum and a .338 Norma Magnum, the Marine Corps Times reported.

The official said that the command is still working through the competition, but expects the delivery of the machine gun by fiscal 2024.

Sig Sauer offered the Sig Sauer Lightweight Machine Gun, or SLMG, a 20-pound folding machine gun designed to be powered on both sides. This feature allows the weapon to be used effectively in the operation of dismantled, aircraft or ground vehicles.

And the Sig Sauer version allows an adjustable gas block that meets the pressure requirements for various suppressors.

In 2019, Sig Sauer’s defense product manager Corey McQueen told the Army Times that the suppressant supplement did not change the rate of fire of the weapon, a previous concern for this type of system.

Each version of the small hand now includes suppressors.

In 2017, Sig Sauer won a contract to exchange weapons for all services with the Modular Handgun System program. He also won the contract to exchange weapons for carbines and machine guns earlier this year for the next-generation squadron weapons program.

General Dynamics points out that at distances up to 1,000 meters, its combination of weapons can pierce Level III armor and kill soft-skin vehicles.

Another ongoing replacement for small arms is the medium-range gas pistol housed in the 6.5 Creedmoor.

These weapons will arrive a little earlier, and deliveries are expected to begin this year, according to slides shown by the official.

The next step for gas weapons is to create an attack option that is useful for air operations and close combat in populated areas.

For both weapons, the key additives will be “supplies”, the official said. This means optics, weapon attachments and, most importantly, new types of ammunition.

He said the forces wanted armor-piercing shells, training and “something that acts as a tracking device.”

The services are after “one-way tracking” for years. This is because when the shooter fires a tracer, the emitted light can be seen from both sides. This is useful for a shooter who “walks in circles” at a target with others who shoot in their formation. But it works in both directions, which means that the enemy can see where he is firing and direct them accordingly.

Todd South has written about crime, the courts, the government and the military in numerous publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer Finalist for a joint witness intimidation project. Todd is a veteran of the Marines in the Iraq war.


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