Army deep into testing first new rifle, machine gun and bullet in 60 years

XM7 rifle
Photo credit PEO Soldier Public Affairs, U.S. Army

In a Herculean task for military bureaucracy, it appears that the Army is nearly ready to begin fielding the first new rifle, machine gun, and bullet in 60 years. The XM7 rifle and XM250 designed by Sig Sauer are designed to replace the M16 family of weapons and the M249 Squad Automatic Rifle, as well as replace the rounds fired by both weapons moving from 5.56 to a 6.8 round.

Direct feedback from soldiers was sought by Sig Sauer during a recent range test held at Aberdeen Test Center in New Hampshire.

"Absolutely would take this weapon to combat in a heartbeat. It is light, functions very well, has an awesome load system and is easy to handle and engage targets with," a soldier in the 75th Ranger Regiment stated in an Army press release.

Seeking direct soldier feedback from the Rangers and some National Guard soldiers is the latest round of testing these two weapon systems have been put through. Next, the Army intends to test the weapons in various natural settings and have soldiers conduct parachute jumps with them to test airborne qualifications.

Also underway is support for an effort defined by the unwieldily acronym DOTmLPF-P standing for Doctrine, Organization, Training, materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel, Facilities, and Policy. Long story short, simply fielding a new weapon system is inadequate if it is not properly integrated into every aspect of a soldier's training, if field manuals are not available if they are not factored into military doctrine, and if range facilities cannot accommodate them.

The first Army unit to receive the XM7 and XM250 for operational use is expected to take place in the fiscal year 2024.

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Reach Jack Murphy: or @JackMurphyRGR.

Featured Image Photo Credit: PEO Soldier Public Affairs, U.S. Army