Machine guns are tricky beasts. They are entirely necessary for modern combat, but they tend to be heavy, and not exactly easy for Special Operations troopers to wield in their fast-paced environment — especially when it comes to medium machine guns. The current Big Military General-Purpose machine gun is the M240B and M240L. These 7.62 NATO guns are amazing pieces of machinery but aren’t offering the capability SOCOM needs for their Special Operations Commandos.

So, SOCOM went looking for a gun to bridge the gap between 7.62 NATO and the mighty 50 BMG. It seemingly found it with the SIG MG 338.

I’m a former Marine machine gunner and I love machine guns. I tend to have strong opinions on them. Today was the first time I ever picked up the MG 338. I was impressed at how light the weapon was. The gun weighs a mere 20 pounds, which makes it much lighter than the current M240B and its 27.6-pound weight. It has a bizarrely futuristic design, similar to the Kriss Vector in that it’s all rounded and less edges. The 338 Norma Magnum also outperforms the standard 7.62 NATO by a wide margin.

The MG 338.

The M240B has a maximum effective range of 800 meters on a point target when mounted to a tripod. The SIG MG 338 takes that number and punches it up to 1,500 meters for point targets. On an area target or a vehicle, we are looking at at least a 2,000-meter effective range. The gun is lighter, more powerful and more advanced than the 1977 design known as the M240B.