The Army’s new XM7 gas-operated, magazine-fed assault rifle is expected to officially arm the operational Army in Q2 2024.

The Army’s SIG MCX Spear is a weapon developed by SIG Sauer and selected for the service’s Next Generation Squad Weapons program to replace the legacy M4 carbine.

After awarding an XM7 production contract to Sig Sauer in 2022 to produce up to 107,000 new rifles for close combat forces including infantry, cavalry, scouts, combat engineers, forward observers and combat medics. The weapon will not be issued to non-close combat forces, the army said in statements.

Army weapons developers emphasize that the development of the XM7 was based on extensive “touchpoint” texts from soldiers in which the weapon was evaluated, tested and fired at targets.

Soldiers evaluated the weapon for ease of use, rate of fire, ergonomic variables and precision attack.

Soldiers’ touchpoints, Army weapons developers said, led to several design changes before the weapon went into wider production.

XM7 extensively tested

A March 2023 Army essay on the The XM7 is currently undergoing Army product qualification testing to prepare for formal delivery and operational use of the new weapon.

The Army report quotes a soldier from the 75th Ranger Regiment as saying, “I would definitely take this weapon into combat in a heartbeat.” It is light, works very well, has a fantastic loading system and is easy to handle and aim to attack.”

The Army plans formal “operational testing” in 2024 to “evaluate natural environments and airborne qualifications.” Although the contract is specific to the Army, it includes options for the US Marine Corps and the Special Operations community to join.

Advances in enemy body armor led the mm would lose effectiveness against state-of-the-art enemy body armor defenses. The new .277 SiG Fury was designed with higher chamber pressure, higher velocity and higher lethality.

While handling, weight, maneuverability and accuracy are always important in a weapon, there are several other features that are of great importance to soldiers, especially in close combat.

The weapon length should not be too long, as soldiers in close combat need to quickly maneuver in tight areas and move between rooms and narrow walls. Melee soldiers also must clear areas, meaning they must attack quickly and disperse while passing through doors and narrow entrances.

Equally important, soldiers must ensure that the weapons do not jam, which reportedly occurs frequently with the M4 carbine that the XM7 replaces. Perhaps most importantly going forward, the weapon is likely to be equipped with the technical infrastructure to allow it to be upgraded with the introduction of new performance-enhancing technologies.

Kris Osborn is military affairs editor at 19FortyFive and president of Warrior Maven – Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a senior specialist in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. Osborn has also worked as a host and on-air military specialist on national television networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel and The History Channel. He also holds a master’s degree in comparative literature from Columbia University.

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