Colt awarded contract for M240B machine guns

Colt have won a contract worth $126 million to manufacturer the FN designed M240B machine gun, the standard medium caliber machine gun of the Army and Marines.

Colt Defense, LLC., West Hartford, Conn., was awarded on Sept. 25, 2009 a
$32,143,048 firm-fixed-price contract for M240B machine guns. Work is to be
performed in Hartford, Conn., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31,
2015. Bid solicitation was open to the Firms in the U.S. and Canada with two
bids received. TACOM-RI, CCTA-AR-SA, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting
activity (W56HZV-09-D-0175).

Daniel Watters, an expert on military procurement, told me that the military have been trying to maintain, or expand, the small arms production industrial base by procuring from second sources.

A mounted M240B

A big thank you to Daniel Watters for the info.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • fred

    Good for US!
    Great design.
    Great company.

  • I wonder why they still buy this overweight machine gun.

    12.5 kg is at least 3 kg too much, a same calibre machine gun could even be built at less than 8 kg with the same barrel length.

  • fred

    Maybe because it is one of the best pieces ever made.

    Weight is not the main issue with this type of arm.

  • Weight IS an issue. 3 kg equals a long belt of additional ammunition or a vest armour plate.

    The M240 is just one of many excellent machine guns. PKM, MG3, Vz.59 and SS77 are equals.
    The SS-77 weighs 9.6 kg and is (especially since they further improved the reliability) one of the best universal machine guns as well.

    Btw, about fred’s link: Remtek hypes up every reviewed firearm. See their HK 21E article here:

  • MrSatyre

    From the “because I’m a n00b” category of questions: anyone know why FN wouldn’t manufacturer the gun themselves? Production capacity issues, maybe? I know Colt’s designs get licensed out to other manufacturers, but I didn’t know FN did the same thing.

    • MrSatyre, they are manufacturing it. The Pentagon want there to be a high capacity for production. In the event of a war they would need to ramp up production. No good only one company being able to make it.

  • Ramsey

    In a high round volume machine gun like the 240B weight serves 2 purposes. It helps to keep the gun on target (that heavy bolt mechanism has a lot of momentum) and it provides thermal mass to keep the gun in service longer (more time until the barrel melts)

    I carried one for 4 years, and I love that mean pig. It was sure a pain to jump one though, because of the huge overall length.

  • jody

    it is one of the best machineguns ever built, but sven is right. a new one should be designed that is lighter. US soldiers in iraq and afghanistan have said they liked carrying it dismounted, but if they could change anything, they would make it 1 or 2 kilograms less.

    of course this assumes the US stays with both 5.56×45 and 7.62×51. there is plenty of room to develop ammunition somewhere in between these two calibers that is nearly better than both. instead of fielding 2 machineguns and 2 (or more) rifles for infantry, the US could simply do the obvious and work up a round that can replace both.

    with the M16A2, it has already defeated the entire point of 5.56×45 – to have ammunition with a low enough recoil for automatic fire in a rifle. it is obvious the US military does not want it’s infantry to have automatic rifles, so manufacturing inertia is the only reason to stay with these relatively wimpy 4 gram bullets.

  • Btr

    If the US gov wanted to expand the small arms production base, they could REOPEN THE MACHINEGUN REGISTRY!!!

    • Btr, LOL, good point.

  • Jason Smith

    Is “have” the correct word to use in the following statements:

    “Colt HAVE won…”, “…the military HAVE been…”

    Try saying those sentences out loud with the word “has” instead. I’m no grammar expert, but “has” sounds more correct.

    Regarding the article, good for Colt! I’m all about maintaining the industrial base when it comes to war materiel.

  • Lance

    Thats good we need american companies to make our weapons. IM not a FN fan at all but the M-240 is a good weapon. I hope Colt gets more M-4 contracts as well.

  • Lance

    Ohh and I hope Colt can win a contract for M-249 and or more M-60 barrels as well.

  • Matt Groom

    This is funny. “You took our rifle contract, so we’ll take your GPMG contract!” Hilarious.

  • Matt Groom

    @ Mr. Satyre

    The government requires that a design that will be adopted by the military be leased to the government with the sale. The patent rights and manufacturing techniques must be submitted so that they can be given to other manufacturers should the need arise. The Military apparently needs more of these, so they chose a contractor to produce them in addition to the contractor who currently produces them already. A “Sole Source contract” is a big deal and it’s big money, but it has an expiration date. After the agreed upon period of time, the contract goes to the lowest bidder. That’s how Colt lost the M-16A2 contract.

    @ Jody

    I agree that a newer GPMG design and a single, universal cartridge design is about 52 years overdue, but that’s not gonna happen any time soon. The 6mm SAW was the last serious attempt the Military made towards a modern, universal cartridge in the 1980’s. The 6mm SAW was a very good design that loses nothing compared to newer intermediate designs, but they insisted on using Aluminum or Steel Cases, which simply didn’t work as well as intended, and the whole project was scraped because of that. If the Military were to adopt a brass cased 6mm SAW today, it would be an excellent idea, but it’s simply too expensive an undertaking. Were talking hundreds of billions of dollars in procurement of off the shelf weapons, training materials, magazines, optics, accessories, and equipment and even then, somebody somewhere would not be happy that we didn’t pick the “best” design available.

  • FWIW: The US Army is currently working with FN on a lightweight M240 variant. Formerly known as the M240E6, the M240L uses titanium in constructing the receiver and certain other parts.

    TACOM has been offering open solicitations on the M240 and M249 for awhile now, but obviously, FN knows best as to how to make them economically. One wonders how steep the learning curve will be for Colt, and if they will be able to make any money off of this contract.

    • Daniel, very interesting. Do you know how far along the M240L project is?

  • They’ve been working on the M240L since at least 2000, and for awhile now they’ve been promising that it will be ready for issue “soon”. It was type-classified as Limited Production last November, at which time the designation switched over from M240E6 to M240L. As of this summer, the Low Rate Initial Production deliveries were scheduled to begin by this October to support fielding under an Urgent Materiel Release.

    FWIW: The government doesn’t get any second-source rights to the M240L until a certain number of them are purchased. The DOD doesn’t receive unlimited rights to the design until January 1, 2050.

    • Daniel, thanks for the info.

  • fred

    If you want it light here it is..
    The arms you mention are not equals to the 240.
    I will take what Ramsey says.
    As for remtek I don’t care about them.
    The man that wrote the review has the clout.

  • fred
  • “@SO
    If you want it light here it is..
    The arms you mention are not equals to the 240.
    I will take what Ramsey says.
    As for remtek I don’t care about them.
    The man that wrote the review has the clout.”

    True, most of the machine guns on my list are not equals to the M240 – they’re superior.

    About the Mk.48; I’ve heard some *disappointed* reports about that one concerning durability.

    About the author Kokalis: Opinions about him are *mixed*.

  • reaper

    Sven, consider what the M240 replaced…it is day and night better than its predecessor, the M60.

    I have to agree that the PKM, MG3, Vz.59 and SS77 are equal if not superior weapons in many aspects. I’ve always had a love for the MG3 for some reason, though you cannot beat the rugged PKM (a weapon also designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov that currently being assembled by Vltor), which was popular with private military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan when I was there.

    on a side note: adopting the 6.5×39 grendel cartridge would free up the logistical challenge of equipping ammunition to troops rapidly throughout modern war zones. Despite the cartridges weighing more than 5.56mm counterparts, they are more effective and longer ranged for use against human targets and are proven to be ballistically superior to the 7.62 NATO (308) while retaining considerably less recoil. In my opinion, the US military should phase out all cartridges for the 6.5x39mm Grendel for carbines, assault rifles, and machine guns.