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Sig Sauer Lightweight Machine Gun to replace SOCOM’s M240 SAW?

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The SOCOM’s new lightweight machine gun to replace M240 SAW could be Sig Sauer’s SLMG, a brand new designed machine gun. The SLMG, the Sig Sauer Lightweight Machine Gun, was unveiled this week at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, the Army Times reports.

Since May 2017, the U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) has been on the hunt for a new lightweight machine gun. Then they have revealed that they are looking for 5,000 belt-fed machine guns that, chambered in .338 Norma Magnum, weighed under 24 pounds.

Weighing in at 20 pounds and rocking a foldable stock, the SLMG seems to fit these conditions. A former member of Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group and current Sig Sauer Academy instructor, Colin Murphy, claimed that the SLMG is “the lightest, most powerful [man-portable] machine gun on the face of the earth,” according to Military.com.

The SLMG rate of fire is 600 rounds a minute, Military.com reports, which also meets SOCOM’s requirements. It also fulfills SOCOM’s requirement of having an effective range of 2,000 meters. Even better, Army Times reports that engineers at Sig Sauer are working on designing a “drum-type” magazine that could be used as an alternative to belt-fed ammunition.

SOCOM also requires that the machine gun is able to use both suppressed and unsuppressed barrels. According to Sig Sauer, the SLMG isn’t just suppressor ready, but tests haven’t revealed any change in the weapon’s rate of fire while using a suppressor, according to the Army Times.

Indeed, the SLMG could “not only replace the M240 SAW in most tactical scenarios but also provide enough reach and firepower in the vehicle, boat and aircraft mounted .50-caliber machine gun configurations,” as Army Times reported.

It is worth noting, however, that this is Sig Sauer’s first stab at a medium machine gun. When the contract was first announced in 2017 it seemed likely that SOCOM would end up with General Dynamics’ 24-pound medium machine gun given that, at the time, was the only platform in production that can chamber the .338 Norma Magnum round.

The story is developing and the further information is yet to be released, according to the various sources.

Weapons

Sig Sauer’s MPX Copperhead: The Army’s Next Deadly Submachine Gun?

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A new weapon designed by Sig Sauer is leading what could be a return to the submachine gun platform.

The new MCX Copperhead submachine gun was likely designed for use by U.S. Army VIP protection teams looking for a concealable, high firepower weapon. A version of the Copperhead is now available on the civilian market in pistol form.

In mid-2018, the U.S. Army put firearm manufacturers on notice that it was looking for its first new submachine gun since World War II. The service issued a request for information for a Sub Compact Weapon (SCW), a select-fire weapon chambered in 9×19-millimeter and featuring a full-length MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail for attaching lasers and optics. The weapon would also be the first official “Big Army” weapon to be equipped with a suppressor.

Ten companies responded to the Army’s request, and by November the service had picked six to submit sample weapons for testing. The SCW is reportedly destined for U.S. Army special operations forces, which could include Delta Force, Special Forces, Rangers and other units as a close quarters battle weapon.

Another likely user of the SCW—the Army’s Personal Security Details. PSDs originated in the Iraq War as groups of highly trained soldiers designed to protect officers and NCOs at the brigade level. The fluid nature of combat in Iraq meant that officers and their staffs traveling from one location in their unit’s area of responsibility to another could come under attack by insurgents. In Iraq in 2006, the commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division had two PSD teams of fourteen soldiers each. The 4th Brigade command sergeant major likened PSDs to the Secret Service personnel assigned to protect the president of the United States.

PSDs, in particular, would benefit from a sub-compact weapon. Although PSDs don’t wear suits like the Secret Service and need to conceal their weapons under clothing, they do ride shotgun in air and ground vehicle convoys. PSD troopers will spend long hours inside vehicles where they could use a subcompact weapon that stores easily by their side. In addition, a short-barreled weapon would allow a PSD soldier to draw his or her weapon even from the confines of a Humvee or truck cabin, returning fire without dismounting.

Sig Sauer’s new short-barreled MPX Copperhead submachine gun was made public at the 2019 SHOT Show, a firearm industry trade event held in January 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Copperhead was revealed just months after it was announced Sig was one of the six companies that had won the right to submit a weapon for Army evaluation purposes, arousing suspicions it is the civilian version of Sig’s SCW entry.

The Copperhead is a gas piston powered weapon with an overall length of 14.5 inches and a width of 2.5 inches. It has a height of 8 inches. The Copperhead is chambered in 9×19-millimeter with a 3.5-inch barrel. The barrel is equipped a built-in flash hider in order to keep the overall barrel length as short as possible. The new weapon also carries over the interchangeable barrel system from other Sig Sauer MPX guns, allowing the installation of a longer barrel. This could also conceivably include threaded barrels, making aftermarket muzzle devices and suppressors a possibility.

Another clue that Sig’s new sub gun was designed for the Army’s SCW lies in its name. The Copperhead is finished in Cerakote color #E190, a coppery color similar to the dark tan Coyote color and very similar to the finish on the Army’s new service pistol, the M17, also manufactured by Sig Sauer.

Ergonomically, the Copperhead is fully ambidextrous, with the charging handle, selector switch, magazine release, and bolt release all equally accessible to both right and left-handed shooters alike. The Copperhead comes with Sig Sauer’s Pivoting Contour Brace, allowing it to be fired both from arm brace or the shoulder position, but can be equipped with other stocks sold by the company for the MPX line.

The Copperhead, like its bigger brother the Sig Sauer MPX, is a piston operated weapon with a manual of operation very similar to the U.S. Army’s M4 carbine. The Copperhead’s upper and lower receivers resemble that of the M4, and the new submachine gun uses a charging handle and bolt release, making operating the two weapons very similar. (While there are significant differences between the M4 and Copperhead internally, externally they are functionally identical.) Civilian shooters accustomed to AR-15s would find the Copperhead quick to pick up and master.

There are a number of other features. As requested by the U.S. Army, it has a full-length Picatinny rail for the attachment of aiming devices, including front and rear iron sights, red dot sights and holographic sights. The Copperhead is sold with one twenty-round magazine and can accept 9×19 magazines meant for other guns in the MPX line—including ten and thirty round magazines .

Whether or not the MPX Copperhead was expressly designed for the Army’s Sub Compact Weapon program or not is a matter of speculation, but we can be fairly sure that the MPX system, in one form or another, was submitted for the service’s consideration. The Copperhead could be the closest thing a civilian can buy to a weapon issued to highly trained Army protection teams.

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Weapons

Why the Glock 26 Is So Dangerous

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Guns with short barrels and small magazines, subcompacts are meant for those who favor carry-ability over firepower and range. The Glock 26, referred to by the company itself as the “Baby Glock,” is a compact weapon that can carry as much ammunition as full-sized nine-millimeter handguns.

The Glock 26 trades magazine capacity for compactness. But it does have the ability to gain back that firepower at the expense of carry-ability if the user so wishes. The “Baby Glock” G26 will also take the Glock 19’s fifteen-round magazine, the Glock 17’s seventeen-round magazine, and even Glock’s submachine gun-sized thirty-three-round stick magazine without modification.

One of the most competitive markets in the world of handguns is the subcompact market.

Guns with short barrels and small magazines, subcompacts are meant for those who favor carry-ability over firepower and range. The Glock 26, referred to by the company itself as the “Baby Glock,” is a compact weapon that can carry as much ammunition as full-sized nine-millimeter handguns.

The Glock 26 was released in 1994 and was designed from the outset for the fields of home defense, law enforcement and concealed-carry weapons. The subcompact Glock 26 followed up on the compact Glock 19, which, in turn, was a smaller version of the original Glock 17. With each iteration, Glock simultaneously improved the overall design and made it smaller and more useful to concealed carriers and those who needed a discrete handgun.

A comparison between the Glock 17 and Glock 26 is illustrative. Both are nine millimeter Luger handguns, and they both use the same striker-fired operating system, known as “Safe Action.” The company designed the gun’s three internal safeties so that the gun owner must disengage them in order to fire the weapon. Both have the same 5.5-pound trigger pull with half-inch trigger travel. At 1.18 inches, both guns are even the same width. All of this is important as it allows new or existing gun users to pick up a larger Glock 17 (or Glock 19) as a first gun and then purchase a smaller Glock 26 without having to learn the ins and outs of a new firearm. From manual of operation to feel, the Glock 26 is for all intents and purposes the same gun.

However, it is important to note that the dimensions and ammunition capacity of the two guns diverge in separate—but equally useful—directions. The Glock 26, at 6.41 inches, is more than an inch and a half shorter than the Glock 17. The Glock 26 weighs 21.71 ounces unloaded, a quarter pound less than the Glock 17, and weighs even less loaded due to the smaller magazine. The Glock 26 takes a ten-round double-stack magazine, while the Glock 17 takes a seventeen-round magazine.

The Glock 26’s magazine system is the largest and most versatile in its class. One competitor, the Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard, can store just six .380 caliber rounds. Another, the Beretta Nano, carries eight nine-millimeter Luger rounds. The Glock 26, on the other hand, takes ten nine-millimeter rounds in a double-stack magazine, all while remaining just over an inch wide and maintaining a relatively short grip. In the interest of keeping the grip short the Glock 26 lacks a flared magwell. (Some individuals find the Glock subcompact’s grip a little too short, and for them, there are inexpensive thirty party grip extensions that provide a larger grip surface.)

The Glock 26 trades magazine capacity for compactness. But it does have the ability to gain back that firepower at the expense of carry-ability if the user so wishes. The “Baby Glock” G26 will also take the Glock 19’s fifteen-round magazine, the Glock 17’s seventeen-round magazine, and even Glock’s submachine gun-sized thirty-three-round stick magazine without modification.

Glock periodically pushes out new versions of its handguns, conservatively adding new features when they become available. In 2018, Glock introduced the Gen 5 Glock 26. The Gen 5 features the Glock Marksman Barrel with enhanced right-hand polygonal rifling and an improved barrel crown. The Gen 5 also includes a new dot pattern on the grip, backstrap and front strap for a better hold, ambidextrous slide stops, and a new slide finish, called nDLC, for protection from corrosion and wear. Missing in the Gen 5 are finger grooves, which are redundant with the new grip pattern.

The Glock 26 is actually several handguns in one. At its core, it is a subcompact pistol with a larger than average magazine capacity. Alternately, it is a handgun with standard seventeen-round magazine capacity. Finally, it can be a thirty-three-round blaster for target plinking at the range. The “Baby Glock” isn’t just a contender for concealed carry enthusiasts, it’s also a viable option for everyone else as well.

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