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NEWS | June 27, 2024

West Virginia, North Carolina Guard Test NextGen Army Weapons

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 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team tested the Next Generation Squad Weapon system in early June at Fort Liberty. The system includes the XM7 rifle, the XM250 automatic rifle, and the XM157 fire control system, which are designed to replace the M4 carbine, M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, and 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 6.8 mm round and have an optional suppressor that reduces the sound and flash signatures when fired. The XM157 is an optical scope that includes rangefinder information and zoom capability for engaging targets at farther 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 Squadron, 150th Cavalry Regiment. “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 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.



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