Calibers

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TAMPA, Fla. — Textron Systems showed off its newest effort to develop an ultra-light 7.62mm machine gun at the 2015 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference.

The new MG is being designed to weigh 14.5 pounds – more than eight pounds lighter than the lightest version of the M240.

The effort is part of the Case-Telescoped Weapons and Ammunition program which has produced a matured 5.56mm lightweight machine gun similar to the M249 squad automatic weapon, according to Textron officials.

The newer 7.62mm version is under contract with Joint Service Small Arms Program Office to develop the operating system to handle the larger caliber, according to Ben Cole, mechanical engineer for AAI Corp., owned by Textron. JSSAP is based in the U.S. Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

Formerly known as the Army’s Lightweight Small Arms Technologies, or LSAT, the program is designed to lower ammunition weight by 40 percent as well as producing significantly lighter infantry weapons.

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Agilite is now offering its new contractor pouch that holds either two or three 5.56mm magazines.

The contractor pouch features mil-spec elastic that tightens the pouch according to the number of mags in it, eliminating rattle, according to a recent Agilite press release.

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Adams Arms recently unveiled the newest model in the Small Frame .308 Lineup: The Patrol Battle Rifle (PBR).

The PBR features a 16-inch Mid VooDoo barrel,  nine-inch Extended Evolution Rail, Enhanced SOPMOD-style stock and VDI .308 Jet Comp, according to a recent press release.

The Small Frame .308 PBR retails for $1,775.

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The Pentagon proved in a winter test that its guided small-caliber bullet could hit a moving target with accuracy.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) released a video Monday showing the smart bullet changing trajectory mid flight to track and hit a moving target.

Called the Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program, DARPA engineers plan to “revolutionize rifle accuracy and range by developing the first ever guided small-caliber bullet.” DARPA officials said they want the 50-caliber round and optical sighting technology to “extend the day and nighttime range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems.”

The program has entered Phase II of development, which includes “design, integration and demonstration of aero-actuation controls, power sources, optical guidance systems, and sensors,” according to DARPA. [click to continue…]

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Rob Curtis, long-time senior photographer for Military Times, is now the new, Staff Features Editor for Recoil Magazine.

This is a pretty big win for Recoil, a tactical firearms mag launched in 2012. Rob has become one of the most knowledgeable small-arms and gear writers in the business.

I have known Rob for about 16 years. For 11 of those years, we worked together at Military Times. We had our first real-world assignment together in June 1999 when the U.S. Peace-Keeping Force went into Kosovo. Four years later, Rob and I found ourselves together again during the start of the ground invasion of Iraq in 2003. We swallowed the same dust in an all-day street battle, shadowing soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division in Karbala.

Since then, Rob and I have worked together, argued like brothers and competed against one another covering weapons and gear used by the U.S. Military. He has also been a mentor as I still struggle to learn photography.

Rob is a skilled photographer and videographer, but he has also branched out and developed as a writer. He was the driving force behind the creation of GearScout at Military Times several years ago. Some of the leadership was skeptical of the concept at the time, but Rob has built the site into a respected source of behind-the-scenes gouge on the military small-arms and gear industry.

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It has been widely reported that the Russian military has adopted the AK12 rifle for its elite forces, but there is very little info available about its other new rifle choice – the AK 103-4.

Deputy Minister of Defence Yuriy Borisov announced on Russian radio on 24 January that the Russian armed forces had selected the AK12, chambered in 5.45×39 mm, and the AK-103-4, chambered in 7.62x39mm, according to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly.

Without question, the AK12 is the big news. Improved ergonomics is the key feature that sets the AK12 apart from the AK family, according to AK12-maker Kalashnikov Concern, formerly known as Izhmash.

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“The AK-12 assault carbine also has a new ergonomic fire selector control … a person can operate the mechanical controls of the assault rifle with one hand,” Kalashnikov officials maintain. “A soldier can still do everything he needs to do with the weapon: move the safety, pull back the bolt and replace the magazine even if wounded or when using his other hand.”

But the piece of this story that has been driving me crazy is the lack of information or images of the AK103-4.

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I posted a story on Military.com today describing how the U.S. Army recently notified Beretta USA that its new M9A3 includes too many design changes to still be considered an M9.

As you may recall, Beretta submitted the M9A3 Engineering Change Proposal to the Army in December as an alternative to the service’s Modular Handgun System.

Besides its new earth-tone colors, the M9A3 features a  MIL-STD-1913 accessory rail for mounting weapon lights. It also has a much-thinner, Vertec grip for smaller hands and an optional wrap-around grip for those with larger hands.

The M9A3 will also feature a redesigned, over-center safety lever that cants slightly upward to help eliminate accidental safety activation when the slide is racked during malfunction drills, Beretta officials maintain. The new pistol has improved, removable front and rear sights and a threaded barrel for suppressor use. Beretta USA has also increased the magazine capacity from 15 to 17 rounds.

The M9A3 has a lot of new features, but it’s still an M9, according to pistol experts.

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