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Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW): The US Army’s New Super Rifle?

NGSW Rifle Sig Sauer
SIG Sauer NGSW. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The US Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW), will soon begin its next round of testing. The US Army is looking to replace the M4 Carbine, M249 SAW, and M240 machine gun as well as the 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm rounds with a more lethal cartridge with a longer range. The US Army wants infantry and Special Operations units to field a new weapon starting in 2023. 

NGSW: A History

The NGSW program began in 2017 after the military decided through lessons learned from U.S. troops in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other places that the 5.56 cartridge needed to be replaced as it was too light, especially with the improvements made by our adversaries in body armor protection.

The amount of equipment and associated weight that each operator carries into battle is ever-increasing. Therefore, having an advanced weapons system that is much lighter is a definite consideration.

The requirements for the replacement NGSW Rifle were simple, it had to fire the improved 6.8mm ammunition projectile. 

NGSW Automatic Rifle Requirements:

  • A maximum length of 35 inches
  • A maximum mass of 12 pounds including attachments
  • Ability to suppress targets from 3,900 ft (1,200 m), and ability to accurately fire on targets 2,000 ft (610 m) away.
  • Able to utilize the Small Arms fire-control system

Two arms manufacturers, True Velocity (acquired LoneStar Future Weapons), and Sig Sauer, Inc., are taking part in the program. Three other weapons designs from Textron Systems, FN-America, and PCP Tactical were dropped from the program between September 2019 and November 2021. The program is expected to cost $10 million in the first year, and $150 million in the next.

The True Velocity/General Dynamics/Beretta option is a partnership between these three companies which has General Dynamics designing the weapon. The design NGSW prototypes are bullpup designs, with the magazines loaded behind the trigger group presents a very compact platform. The General Dynamics’ bullpup design benefits from a relatively long barrel length, higher muzzle velocities, and increased range.

The beauty in this design is the simplicity as the rifle and squad automatic rifle are essentially the same design. The differences are minimal, but the automatic rifle comes with a bipod. Unlike the current light machine guns in the inventory, this weapon will fire magazines. The bullpup design shortens the overall length of the weapon while providing much better balance for the shooter, but it does require retraining for the troops, as bullpups tend to handle differently. 

The video below shows troops training with the weapons. 

The new 6.8mm TVCM composite-cased cartridge used in the True Velocity bid is being designed and manufactured by Beretta, while Delta P Design is manufacturing the suppressor for their weapon. 

True Velocity’s 6.8mm case design’s most impressive feature of its ammo is that much of the Army’s inventory of existing weapons can still be utilized with a simple barrel change. Watch the YouTube video below:

The design by SIG Sauer for the NGSW Rifle is essentially a variant of their existing MCX rifle while the SIG Sauer Lightweight Belt-Fed Machine gun is in their new 6.8x51mm hybrid round. The Army wants the troops to be carrying lighter ammunition, and SIG utilizes a hybrid case where part of the cartridge is a composite material and part brass. Like all SIG Sauer products, they both are extremely well-made.

SIG Sauer’s rifle is a short-stroke, gas piston system that eliminates the need for a receiver extension and buffer tube. The weapon comes with a 13-inch barrel and a fully collapsing butt-stock that folds to the side. The ergonomic controls are very similar to that of the M4 carbine, so very little retraining is required. However, the recoil is similar to that of firing a 7.62mm, and it is heavier than a standard M4.

The SIG LMG is much lighter than the SAW it is replacing. An internal recoil buffer cuts the recoil down to a bare minimum and the weapon is very easy to control. As with contemporary modern machine guns, it is a belt-fed, air-cooled weapon that fires from the open bolt and features a side-loading design. This allows for the weapon to have top-mounted optics with minimal interference when loading the weapon. It also features a quick detachable suppressor and M4-like ergonomic controls. 

With pros and cons for each design, the Army has a difficult decision to make. The winner of the competition will get a contract for eight years and like every other weapon competition will present a spirited debate on both sides. The winner is to be announced later this year. 

Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 1945, he covers the NFL for and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.

Written By

Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 1945, he covers the NFL for and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.



  1. Jack Cage

    January 18, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    Great summary of a four year slog. All involved players of the last half century have been shaped by Mr. Stoner’s AR design. The very different bullpup design might be a factor. Great stuff.

  2. Big damage dave

    January 18, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    I will say that GEN DYN’s bullpup looks to have far less recoil and utilizing the longer barrel should allow for less chamber pressure and this easier maintenance and longer component life.

    I wish that SIGs offer could free itself from the AR design, I dont see two charging handles being necessary and with the high pressure ammo i fear an overly complex and technical system. That said they are a fantastic company and if anyone can pull it off its probably SIG

  3. Johnathan Galt

    January 18, 2022 at 2:54 pm

    If they’re going with a bull pup, why not us an up-barreled P-90? The magazine arrangement is much less likely to catch on things, carries more ammo, and the downward ejection allows ambidextrous use.

  4. Gerald Cline

    January 18, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    Many troops who had trained with and carried the M-14 back in the early 60s were never happy with the M-16’s 5.56 cartridge. It just didn’t have the impact of the old 7.62×51mm NATO round (based on the even older 30-06 Springfield cartridge). True, the M-16 was easier to hump around the jungle, but the M-14 was missed. The 5.56 still used in the M4 Carbine was to light for the more open situation in the Middle East. I understand there were troops who preferred to carry the old M-14 on patrol if they could get their hands on one. The 5.56x45mm may address some of the problems of the old 5.56 cartridge.

  5. Michael Byrd killed a right wing terrorist slut

    January 18, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    Another retarded suggestion as usual from the retard whose user name comes from a Russian slut. An upsized P90 would be absurdly heavy even in 5.56mm. The blowback design at that size is also very inaccurate. The same reason France is replacing the FAMAS.

    GD’s NGSW is already ambidextrous. Maybe you should read or do a Google search before saying stupid things.

  6. Nate Montana

    January 19, 2022 at 4:14 am

    Considering the 6.8SPC can be used on the AR-10 system with a simple barrel swap, i think the US Army is making a costly mistake here by switching weapon systems. The Sig offering is much heavier than the AR platform and less accurate. The Bullpup offering doesnt let the operator adjust the length of pull of the weapon, i think the Army will field one of these designs and operators will simply convert AR-10’s to 6.8SPC to get back to the weapon system they cut their teeth on while taking advantage of the new cartridges advantages. We’ll see what happens, but thats what i would do. as far as the new machine gun in .338 Norma? That contract is going to SiG 100%

  7. Nate Montana

    January 19, 2022 at 4:34 am

    Honestly If i was the US army i would simply chamber the HK416 in 6.8SPC and field it to frontline troops, no need to reinvent the wheel with these other goofy designs, the HK416 combines the reliability of the AK-47 piston system with the accuracy of the AR system, add a ligher more capable round to that via the 6.8SPC, sprinkle in some carbon fiber stock and handguard to the mix and Boom! next gen weapon.

  8. Nate Montana

    January 19, 2022 at 11:36 am

    ^^^^I meant to say the 6.8TVC round not the 6.8SPC round in the new weapon, you’ll know what i mean lol didnt have my coffee this morning

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