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    W. Va., N.C. Army Guard test Army’s Next Gen weapons

    Next Generation Squad Weapon Testing

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy | U.S. Army Sgt. Shandell Green, a scout with B Company, 1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy 

    National Guard Bureau

    FORT LIBERTY, N.C. – Soldiers with the West Virginia and North Carolina Army National Guard are among those testing what may become the Army’s new standard issue rifle and machine gun.

    “To be able to come here and make a difference in the Army and help develop these weapons, these optics, it's been a great privilege,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Brandy, with 1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry Regiment, West Virginia Army Guard. “I’m super-excited.”

    The early June testing was held at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, where Soldiers with the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team put the Next Generation Squad Weapon system through its paces. The system includes the XM7 rifle, the XM250 automatic rifle, and the XM157 fire control system, which are designed to replace the current M4 carbine, M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, and the M240 machine gun.

    Personnel with Program Executive Office Soldier, which oversees the Next Generation system’s development, ran the testing and gathered data to further evaluate the weapon system and its ammunition. Both weapons and ammunition are geared to give Soldiers “significant capability improvements in accuracy, range, and lethality,” according to the PEOS.

    “Weapon advancements such as the Next Generation Squad Weapon ensures that units under our command have the best weapons possible,” said U.S. Army Col. Paul Hollenack, commander of the 30th ABCT. “The fielding of the XM7 and XM250 is a step in making sure that we are doing just that.”

    Both weapons chamber a 6.8mm round and have an optional suppressor that reduces both the sound and visible flash signatures of the weapon when fired. The XM157 is an optical scope that includes rangefinder information and zoom capability for engaging targets at further distances.

    “This weapon has helped me engage targets, even with the iron sights, at 300 meters,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Shandell Green, a scout with B Troop, 1st Sqdrn., 150th Cav. Regt. “And that's not even using optics.”

    During testing, the Soldiers engaged targets out to 500 meters using a variety of courses of fire, stances, and positions, under both day and night conditions.

    “Getting out here and actually getting some hands-on experience has been a real eye opener,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Victor Don-Martinez, a forward observer with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment, North Carolina Army Guard.

    Before putting rounds downrange, the Soldiers first ran through basic marksmanship drills and tactical movements while carrying the weapons.

    “It’s been a lot of drills, a lot of dry fires,” said Brandy.

    Soldiers also had to learn the new optics, which has added display and targeting features over those currently used, and it took time to simply get used to the scope itself.

    “It's harder to maintain a clear sight picture,” said Don-Martinez, of the scope. “You have a lot more shadow that you have to worry about.”

    That means ensuring the eye is centered on the scope to maintain the aiming point, he said, adding that it got easier with practice.

    “I've gotten it down to where I can just kind of like cock my head down and get it just right,” said Don-Martinez.

    The XM7 rifle also weighs about two pounds more than the M4 – roughly 6 pounds for the M4 versus about 8 pounds for the XM7.

    “It doesn't really affect how you shoot it, if you're supported,” said Don-Martinez. “If you're unsupported, you definitely do feel it in your arms a little bit more.”

    For Green, that means he has to “hit the gym even harder,” he said jokingly.

    “When I pick up the XM7, it is a little heavier,” said Green. “But I feel like you get used to it as you carry it. If I were to pick up an M4 right now, it'll probably feel really light to me right now because I've been holding this XM7 all day.”

    Though the rifle’s capabilities offset the added weight, said Don-Martinez.

    “When I first showed up to the testing, I was like, ‘I don't need a new rifle. I have an M4, that thing is pretty great,’” he said. “But then you start learning more about the XM7 and it's like, alright, I can see why the Army is trying to transition to this and you shoot it and it's not a bad rifle.”

    The rifle is “very much the future of the Army,” he said. “I'm pretty excited to see what happens.”

    Brandy agreed.

    “I wouldn't want to be on the other side of it,” he said. “It's definitely got a lot more punch to it.”



    Date Taken: 06.27.2024
    Date Posted: 06.27.2024 11:03
    Story ID: 475012
    Location: NORTH CAROLINA, US

    Web Views: 131
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