Knight’s Armament Company has announced a new very light weight belt fed light machine gun – which they have appropriately termed the Stoner X-LMG (for “Extra Light Machine Gun). The new weapon is based on the previous Knight’s LMG, itself a development of the ARES, Inc (unrelated to ARES Defense, now called FightLite Industries) Stoner 86 LMG which itself descended from the famous Stoner 63 Light Machine Gun. Like those weapons, the new Stoner X-LMG is a 5.56mm caliber weapon, but unlike those it achieves a virtually unheard of light weight of just 8.6 pounds, unloaded. The release of the X-LMG was announced via IHS Jane’s, as well as – oddly enough – Turkish gear outlet Öztekin. From IHS Jane’s:
Knight’s Armament Company (KAC) has developed a new version of its Stoner 63 machine gun – the Stoner Extra – Light machine gun (X-LMG).
The X-LMG has been optimised for use primarily with special forces users. The unique design of operating mechanism and in-line butt-stock configuration significantly reduce firing forces on the operator making the gun very controllable, particularly during repetitive long suppressive bursts.While meeting the operational needs of the user at the time, the Mark 23 was acknowledged to be only marginally robust in use. The later Knights Armament Company redesign of the Mark 23 (KAC Stoner LMG) addressed the shortcomings of the earlier design, and has now been further enhanced with the introduction of the X-LMG.
The combination of MIL-STD-1913 rails located on the top and bottom, and side ‘M-Lok slots provide a facility to mount a variety of daylight optics and night vision devices, singly or in tandem. In addition, a further length of integral MIL-STD-1913 sight rail is located on top of the rear-receiver.
The 5.56 x 45 mm calibre weapon weighs 3.9 kg and measures 890 mm in length, including a 381 mm barrel.
Of note is the fact that the new Stoner X-LMG dispenses with the KeyMod attachment points of its predecessor and replaces them with a triple row of M-LOK slots on each side. This is in keeping with the industry’s flight away from KeyMod and towards the stronger and more robust M-LOK.
The light weight of the X-LMG puts it in the same category as other very light weight support weapons such as the USMC’s M27 IAR and ArmWest’s MGX, both of which are magazine-fed. The X-LMG has an interesting relationship between the MGX, as both weapons are the brainchildren of people who worked at Armalite during the development of the AR-15. The Stoner 86 – upon which the X-LMG is largely based – was designed by Eugene Stoner who designed the AR-10, while the MGX was designed by L. James Sullivan, who together with Robert Fremont designed the AR-15, and who was a member of Stoner’s design team for the AR-10.
EDIT: Sources tell us the name for this weapon may be “LAMG”, not X-LMG.