The North Carolina National Guard is etching its name in the annals of military innovation. Soldiers from the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) have become the second unit in the entire US Army to field test the Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW)—the XM7 rifle and XM250 automatic rifle.

This move, which took place earlier this month, signifies a significant shift, not just for the Guard Soldiers but for the future of American infantry tactics.

A Leap Forward in Firepower and Adaptability

The NGSW program represents a leap forward in firepower and adaptability.

Kickstarted in 2017 to replace the M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the XM7 brings a modular design, a potent 6.8mm round, and an integrated suppressor to the table. This translates to a lighter, more controllable weapon with increased range and reduced sound signature, crucial for modern close-quarters combat.

The XM250, meanwhile, offers a lightweight, belt-fed design for sustained fire, making it a force multiplier for suppressing enemy positions.

“This is great,” enthused Staff Sgt. Steven Grayson, an infantryman with the 252nd Armored Regiment. “We are the second unit in the Army to be fielding these weapons systems.”

Next Generation Squad Weapon Testing
Soldier engages targets with the XM7 rifle and XM157 scope at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, June 13, 2024. (Image source DVIDS)

Staying Ahead of the Curve

The NGSW program isn’t just about firepower. It’s about staying ahead of the curve.

As Grayson highlights, “At my level, it’s a great step having that ability to penetrate Level 4 plates and defeat some of our adversaries’ armor when necessary.