Could the Army’s next medium machine gun be featured at this year’s SHOT Show? SIG Sauer believes so. Among the numerous new weapons, gadgets, and coffee mugs unveiled in Las Vegas during the 2019 Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, there was also the SIG Sauer Lightweight Machine Gun (SLMG).
SIG aims to win the United States Special Operations Command’s (SOCOM), Army’s, and Marine Corps’ Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) contract for a new medium machine gun with this belt-fed platform. But what’s so special about it?
First, it weighs a lot less than the current M240B: It’s seven pounds lighter. Throughout the history of war, lighter means better. Whether one is talking about the Greek hoplites who fought the Persians at Thermopylae or U.S. Marines battling it out with the Taliban in the mountains of Afghanistan, the goal has always been to be as lethal as possible without any unnecessary weight. If seven pounds could be shaved off by a better weapon, that means warfighters could carry more ammunition and thus be more lethal.
The SIG Sauer Lightweight Machine Gun (SIG Sauer).
Second, the weapon comes with ambidextrous feeding and charging mechanisms, a valuable trait for a weapon as it makes it easier to use in and when mounted on vehicles, regardless of angles. It also has a foldable stock and can be outfitted with a suppressor; it has an adjustable gas block to make it compatible with any suppressors available on the market.
Third, it fires the .338 Norma Magnum, a very accurate and potent round ideal for repeated shots at targets as far as 2,000 yards out. It has controllable recoil and can crank out 600 rounds per minute. Firing at long ranges, a machine gun like this is more about hitting an area than putting accurate shots on a target’s A-zone (vitals), and that reduced recoil contributes to putting more rounds on target. Judging from the emerging reports from SHOT Show, the SLMG excels in the recoil category. SIG Sauer is also experimenting with a drum magazine that would facilitate more mobile firing and potentially less jamming.