IWI NEGEV 5.56mm & 7.62mm Light Machine Guns Shown Off at [AUSA 2017]

Nathaniel F
by Nathaniel F

Rounding out our coverage of Machinegunapalooza 2017 – by which I mean the numerous machine guns of the 2017 Association of the United States Army annual meeting – we have the IWI Negev (5.56mm) and Negev NG-7 light machine guns. These Israeli belt feds are, among production weapons, some of the best-designed machine guns in existence today, incorporating the operating concept of the PKM into a weapon with light overall weight, exceptionally robust construction, and modern features. Also, unlike the PKM, the Negev is select-fire, with a semiautomatic fire setting in addition to fully automatic.

Something of an Easter egg in this one...

From the PKM, the Negev takes its lightweight belt feed pawl design, and some elements of its bolt group (which does differ substantially from the PKM, however), but like Western designs such as the M249, the 5.56mm Negev sports the ability to take rifle magazines (either Galil or AR-15 magazines, depending on the configuration) as well as belts.

Feed pawl design of the Negev, showing its resemblance to the PKM. This image is as viewed from the muzzle end, as the Negev feeds left-to-right like most Western machine guns.

This diagram shows the Negev’s ability to use rifle magazines. A Galil mag is shown inserted through the trapdoors at the bottom of the receiver.

Further, the Negev uses a modern short top cover design, which allows optics to be mounted via a vertical mount directly to the weapons receiver, unlike either a PKM or M249:

Negev NG-7 7.62mm, with its feed tray opened. A Mepro 4x combat scope is mounted to the receiver rail.
Negev 5.56mm with its feed tray opened. A Mepro red dot is mounted to the receiver rail.

The Negev isn’t as light as some of the more advanced prototype machine guns that were being shown at AUSA 2017. Compared to the 12.5 pounds of the KAC 7.62mm lightweight machine gun, or the 14.5 pounds of Textron’s 7.62mm CT machine gun, the 7.62mm Negev NG-7 is a fairly burly 17.5 pounds. However, this is comparable to the PKM, which is lauded for being light in comparison to Western MGs like the M240 (27 lbs), M60 (23 lbs), and MG3 (23 lbs). In contrast to the KAC and Textron weapons, as well, the 5.56mm Negev has been in service since the mid-1990s, with the 7.62mm version coming online around 2012.

Nathaniel F
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 nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.

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  • Major Tom Major Tom on Oct 31, 2017

    " the 5.56mm Negev sports the ability to take rifle magazines (either
    Galil or AR-15 magazines, depending on the configuration) as well as

    Why is this still a thing? The one lesson learned from the 249 was mag/belt combos are unnecessary and often unreliable. Conventional rifle mags don't have the capacity needed for suppressive or sustained fire and the increased complexity leads to increases in weight and cost.

    So why is this still a thing?

    • See 7 previous
    • Major Tom Major Tom on Nov 01, 2017

      @Warren Ellis His volume of fire and thus potential for mass casualties would've been greatly reduced. Even a simple bolt gun could produce enough return fire to do that.

  • RAE Industries RAE Industries on Oct 31, 2017

    Maybe the reliability issues have been addressed hopefully