The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has completed its safety certifications of Sig Sauer’s latest machine gun offering, the MG 338, and has begun purchasing the weapons systems.
In a press release, the firearms company confirmed it had passed the certifications and delivered the first of its machine guns to the U.S. military’s elite military command on Wednesday. The new machine gun is touted as a lightweight new weapon that can bridge the gap between the U.S. military’s current M240 (7.62x51cal) medium machine guns and its Browning M2 (.50cal) heavy machine guns.
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The MG 338 was approved along with Sig Sauer’s new .338 Norma Mag Ammunition and a new suppressor system. According to Sig Sauer, the certifications represent the first time in decades that the U.S. military has approved a new machine gun, ammunition and suppressor at the same time.
“For the first time in decades the U.S. military certified a new machine gun, ammunition, and suppressor at the same time, bringing new innovation, portability, and increased lethality to our ground forces, with all components coming from one company,” said Sig Sauer President and CEO Ron Cohen.
Among its features, the MG 338 also touts a significant weight reduction to the M240, coming in at only 20 pounds. On top of its M240 predecessor, Sig Sauer claims the MG 338 has increased range the .338 ammunition can deliver greater lethality. The MG 338 touts an effective range of 2,000 meters, a distance of over 1.2 miles.
The weapon’s proprietary recoil mitigation system, and free-floating barrel are meant to further assist the accuracy of the weapon, while reducing the fatigue a user may experience from heavy and repeated weapon recoil.
The new machine gun is also designed with ambidextrous controls, allowing both right-handed and left-handed users to easily operate the weapons system. Further, the machine gun has a quick change barrel, allowing operators to easily remove a damaged or overheated barrel.
The machine gun also has a built-in folding stock.
The new suppressor system, described by Sig Sauer as the Next Generation Suppressor, “drastically reduces the impact of harmful toxic fumes and signature, making the operator less vulnerable.”
Sig Sauer won another U.S. military contract in 2017, to produce the Modular Handgun System. The 10-year, $580 million U.S. Army handgun contract conferred Sig Sauer the right to produce the services’ replacements for its existing Beretta M9 pistols.