SIG Sauer have announced that their light weight medium machine gun, the MG 338, has been purchased by US Special Operations Command (US SOCOM). The guns weigh under 20lbs and are chambered in .338 Norma Magnum giving the gun an effective range out to 2000 metres. The gun uses a short-stroke gas piston system and SIG Sauer’s proprietary recoil mitigation system, it can also be re-chambered to 7.62x51mm.
The light weight medium machine gun project dates back a number of years with a joint USMC & US SOCOM sources sought solicitation launched in May 2017. SOCOM’s purchases so far have included the guns themselves, 338 Norma Mag ammunition and some of SIG’s new next generation suppressors.
The ammunition and guns have been safety certified to enable them to undergo troops testing with MARSOC and have completed function, drop, stress, and various endurance and cook-off tests. The testing by MARSOC is in-line with the original 2017 solicitation that sought up to 5,000 guns. It is unclear if General Dynamic’s .338 LWMMG is also being evaluated.
The MG 338 is SIG Sauer’s first entry into the machine gun market (with their smaller 6.8x51mm MG 6.8 now in the running for the US Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon program). We got our first look at the machine gun back in September 2019 at Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) exposition in London.
Check out SIG’s video showing the gun in action below:
Here’s SIG Sauer’s announcement of the procurement:
SIG SAUER, Inc. is pleased to announce the United States Special Operation Command (USSOCOM), working closely with SIG SAUER, has completed a safety certification of the new SIG SAUER MG 338 Machine Gun, SIG SAUER 338 Norma Mag Ammunition, and Next Generation Suppressors. Following this historic official safety certification, SIG SAUER has completed deliveries of multiple systems, comprised of the MG 338 Machine Guns, 338 Norma Mag Ammunition, and Next Generation Suppressors – all researched, designed, engineered, and manufactured by SIG SAUER in the U.S.A.
“The safety certification of the complete SIG SAUER MG 338 system and delivery of the system to USSOCOM is historically very significant. For the first time in decades the U.S. Military certified a new machine gun, ammunition, and suppressor at the same time, bringing new innovation, portability, and increased lethality to our ground forces, with all components coming from one company,” began Ron Cohen, President and CEO, SIG SAUER, Inc. “This certification was achieved following the outstanding performance of the complete MG 338 system through the rigors of the extensive function, durability, and safety tests set forth by USSOCOM.”
The SIG MG 338 bridges the gap between the current machine guns currently in use with the U.S. Military. In comparison to the current M240 (7.62x51cal) machine gun, which has been in service with the U.S. Military for 60 years, the SIG MG 338, is noticeably lighter, weighing only 20 pounds, and provides significantly more range and lethality. In comparison to the M2 (.50cal), which has been in service with the U.S. Military for 110 years, the MG 338 is approximately one-quarter the weight, and in a historic first, offers a man-portable solution with similar effective-range. Making this system even more desirable is the new SIG SAUER Next Generation Suppressors which drastically reduces the impact of harmful toxic fumes and signature, making the operator less vulnerable.
The SIG SAUER MG 338 machine gun is a belt-fed, lightweight medium machine gun weighing under 20lbs., chambered in 338 Norma Mag. The MG 338 features a short-stroke gas piston system and a proprietary recoil mitigation system, with a free-floating, quick-change barrel, ambidextrous controls, switchable feed tray, charging handle that can be alternated to either side depending on operator preference, and as a modern, multi-caliber, modular system the new SIG MG 338 is easily convertible to 7.62x51cal.
“We are incredibly proud of this historical accomplishment and honored to have received this safety certification by USSOCOM for the performance of the complete MG 338 system,” concluded Cohen.
Below are some of my photos of the MG-338 that SIG Sauer displayed at DSEI 2019 in London:
Check out SIG Sauer’s announcement here.