The M249 is one of the most successful squad automatic weapons ever introduced. Where previously an entire crew was required to set up and run a machine gun, the M249 allowed a single soldier to carry all of the necessary equipment and operate the firearm. It was a major leap forward, but the gun wasn’t perfect. As nice as the FN-produced firearm looks, there are some improvements to be made. Israel’s IMI figured out a way to fix all of those issues and produced a light machine gun that is superior to the M249 in almost every way. They call it the Negev, and I had a chance to get familiar with it this past weekend . . .
Apparently SOFIC, the “Special Operations Forces Industry Conference” run by the NDIA, is a big deal. I had never experienced it before, but then again I’ve only been in this industry for a couple years. This year I twisted Robert’s arm enough to get me a front row seat to the shindig, and boy was it worth the price of admission. Not only were there rows upon rows of product to salivate over, but the special operations community put on a small demonstration of their abilities live in the harbor in Tampa. From my seat — which was even closer to the action than the generals and dignitaries — it was amazing. I’ve patched together a quick video to showcase a taste of what went on. Needless to say it’s on the schedule for next year, too.
If there was a theme to SOFIC this year, it was that lighter is better. Lighter rifles, lighter silencers, lighter gear…lighter everything. Except marketing budgets and corporate waistlines, that is. Keeping in line with that theme, KAC has introduced a new rifle designed to give our boys in the field a lighter designated marksman rifle with some built-in signature reduction. The SR-25 rifle is chambered in 7.62 NATO and sports a 14.5 inch barrel, onto which is (more or less) permanently attached a .30 caliber silencer — KAC designates this puppy the M110K5. It makes sense since the barrel will be shot out long before the silencer, and eliminating the need for a QD mounting system and perfectly tuning the can to the gun make it lighter and more accurate. We’ll see this on the civilian market about the same time the Stoner LMG is available for commercial sales, though.
By James “Bud” Harton
Years ago, actually eons ago, I was a crew chief/door gunner on a UH-1D helicopter in Vietnam. I was assigned to an assault company and our unit was comprised of 24 UH-1D “slicks” as troop carriers and eight UH-1C gunships in our armed platoon. The “slicks” earned their nickname as they did not have any outboard weapons, just the M60D machineguns mounted on each side of the rear of the cargo hold. Slicks carried the troops into the landing zones and then kept them supplied while in the field and the gunships, armed with mini-guns, rockets and 40mm automatic grenade launchers, escorted the slicks in and then provided overhead cover for the grunts in the field . . .
The guys over at SRM have been refining their 1216 shotgun, adding in all kinds of new bells and whistles. Improved plastics for the magazine to prevent warping, better materials for the stock, and even a better design for the receiver will all be available this year for new buyers. But something they’ve been tinkering with more and more is their dedicated “less lethal” bolt — a drop-in replacement that will only fire “less lethal” low pressure rounds, and will split if a full power load is used (to prevent more than one round from flying downrange). After a session showing off their latest tricks to a team of special forces soldiers, the guys asked them to do something ingenious: make a lethal shotgun slug that’s quieter than a .22 caliber gun (even without a silencer) and won’t penetrate walls and still be lethal on the other side. So they did. And it’s going on sale soon . . .
It all started with the Honey Badger, a strange yet awesome creation from the R&D department of Advanced Armament Corp. back in the day. The plan was to create a do-it-all weapon, one that’s shorter and quieter than an MP5, has the barrier penetration and “stopping power” of an AK-47, uses as many standard AR-15 parts as possible, and can swap from subsonic to supersonic ammunition without needing to adjust any settings on the gun. That’s how the 300 AAC Blackout cartridge came to be, and now SIG SAUER is in the process of perfecting the rifle even further. Enter their MCX . . .
The whole point of the MP5 is to have a small, easily concealable, maneuverable weapon. And while H&K’s design is pretty good, it can be so much better. Lighter magazines that don’t jam. Controls like the common AR-15, not a completely new platform that soldiers need to familiarize themselves with and train for. Mission configurable in the field. Easy to disassemble. And, most important, actually making the damn things accurate. If memory serves, the acceptance test for an MP5SD was a mean radius of 8 inches at 100 yards for the shot pattern, which is nowhere near the accuracy you’d want. The MPX fixes all of these things, and looks awesome doing it. We’ll have a review when they finally hit the civilian shelves, but for now enjoy the full auto goodness.
Following the shooting at Ft. Hood a couple days ago, the Texas Senate Committee on Agricultural Affairs and Homeland Security decided to hold a hearing — even though they were out of session for the year — on the topic of open carry. The usual characters showed up, from anti-gun Austin residents and Moms Demand Action radicals to people like CJ Grisham, whose testimony was sliced out into this YouTube video. The full 8 hour video from the session is available here, but if you listen to any one argument, this would be the one.
A TTAG reader forwarded the following:
INTERIM GUIDANCE FOR PRIVATELY OWNED FIREARMS POLICY ABOARD MARINE CORPS INSTALLATIONS
Date Signed: 4/03/2014
MARADMINS Active Number: 176/14
R 031603Z APR 14
MSGID/GENADMIN,USMTF,2007/CMC WASHINGTON DC DMCS(UC)/F002//
SUBJ/INTERIM GUIDANCE FOR PRIVATELY OWNED FIREARMS POLICY ABOARD MARINE CORPS INSTALLATIONS// . . .
In a recorded statement to the press that was just aired, President Obama addressed today’s Ft. Hood shooting, pledging to “get to the bottom of what happened.” He saluted the service members and their families and pledged to get the base and surrounding community what it needs to deal with the situation. Saying the shooting re-opens the wounds of the earlier Hassan massacre, he stated that he knows everyone around the country is keeping those involved in their prayers and that service members need to feel safe when they’re on their home base. Strangely, he didn’t address the fact that those stationed at Ft. Hood, like almost all other domestic military bases, are required to be disarmed. Still.
If this had happened yesterday, we’d have thought it a tasteless April fools joke. From kcentv.com: “We have reports that there are several injuries from this shooting. There is at least one patient being transported to the hospital. We are also getting reports of victims in the Battle Simulation Center on 65th and Warehouse. The suspect is still at large. The shooter was said to be in building 33026 which is the Medical Brigade Building. Fort Hood has been put on lockdown.” You may remember from the Hassan massacre that Ft. Hood, like most military bases is a gun-free zone. Live reports at the above link. Watch this space. [h/t PhoenixNFA]
The Sa. Vz. 58 is an excellent weapon system, but its stock configuration is admittedly a bit dated. Fortunately, there are quite a few firms that invested in modernization programs for the venerable little carbine. One of these, an Israeli firm named FAB Defense, makes Vz. 58 accessories authorized for use by the Czech military. The Mako Group distributes FAB Defense products in the United States, and was kind enough to send me some T&E samples so I could pimp out my Vz. 58. I’ve been running the FAB Defense products through their paces for two months and can now make a full report to the Armed Intelligentsia . . .