.338 FIREPOWER: Hands on with GD’s Lightweight Medium Machine Gun at [AUSA 2017]

    General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GDOTS) brought their .338 Norma Magnum caliber Lightweight Medium Machine Gun (LWMMG) to the 2017 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual meeting, giving TFB the chance at a closer look at this much-anticipated long range weapon.

    The LWMMG present at the show is one of the five original weapons manufactured in 2011-2012 which are still being used for testing. The program has been focused mostly on endurance testing, which has reportedly given very good results. GDOTS representatives cited a round count of 80,000 on the receiver and several other major components of the weapon present at the show, with expected fatigue life being considerably higher than that. GDOTS LWMMGs are operated via a combination of tapped gas and recoil forces, and weigh 24 pounds or less – comparable to the less 7.62mm M240 GPMG. GDOTS representatives said they are expecting other companies to compete against them in the joint SOCOM/USMC contract, though no other .338 Norma Magnum caliber machine guns have yet been unveiled.

    The handguard is 3D printed from polymer.


    Five rounds of .338 Norma Magnum in the belt on the left, composite polymer/brass cased .338 Norma in the belt on the right.


    GDOTS had a number of other interesting machine guns including the MK47 40mm Grenade Machine Gun, and the GAU-19 .50 caliber three-barrel electrically driven Gatling gun. As a first time AUSA attendee, I was also on the lookout for the GDOTS LW50MG lightweight .50 caliber machine gun (previously called XM806), but GDOTS representatives told me that project died with the XM806 program, and hasn’t been resurrected even with a renewed US Army light .50 program.

    Nathaniel F

    Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. He can be reached via email at [email protected]