Sig’s New Belt-Fed Machine Gun – SHOT Show 2020

This year Sig Sauer showcased their brand new .338 Norma Magnum belt-fed machine gun.

To find out more, please visit Sig Sauer.

If you asked me what was my favorite thing to come out of SHOT Show 2020 was, it would be Sig Sauer’s new Medium Machine Gun.  While I recognize it is largely unimportant to most people out there since it is designed for the military, for me having been in the military as well as security contracting and having had used other machine guns, from the M240-B to the Mk48, this new gun has a special place in my heart.

Let’s start with what it is.  It is a NEW, emphasis on new, medium machine gun.  Why the emphasis?  Well, for the last 40+ years, the only advances in that class of gun have been to put some lightening cuts on it and add a section or two of pic rail.  Literally, that is it.  But in 2020 Sig put out an amazing belt-fed machine gun with some truly meaningful upgrades.

The continuous top rail can be used for mounting any combination of day optics, thermals, night vision or lasers.

Let’s start with the caliber.  Sig’s new machine gun is chambered in 338 Norma Magnum.  Ballistically, it is an incredible cartridge.  It far outpaces the .308 in maximum effective range and at the same time even beats out the .50 caliber with respect to armor penetration at distance.  Making it effective both against enemy personnel as well as vehicles.

And how about weight?  If you have ever carried weapons over distance, weight becomes a huge factor really quick.  The new machine gun is 4lbs. lighter than the current .308 machine guns being fielded, at 20lbs., and incredibly more capable.  Not to mention the weight savings versus a M2 50 cal…

As far as meaningful changes go, there are many.  For starters, let’s look at the feed tray.  Sig’s feed tray is relatively small and opens to the right.  This is a big deal.  Traditionally the top cover and feed tray open forward, hinging towards the front of the receiver.  This led to a number of problems.  One being your optic.  Your optic was mounted on a part of the weapon that was constantly moving, being opened and closed, which you hoped returned to zero.  Also, it would often connect and bang your optic off of the barrel or heat shroud when opened all the way forward.  Or, if you were trying to use a thermal or night vision device in front of your day optic, you would run into problems there as well.  Sig’s machine gun solves all of this and allows for the rock-solid mounting of any optics on the integrated top rail.

The ease at which this new machine gun is loaded is amazing.

Have you ever tried to load a belt-fed while moving?  Not a lot of fun.  Usually, the top cover is bouncing around while you are trying to place rounds onto the feed tray, trying not to trip…  Loading is simple with this.  You can either open it up and do it in the traditional manner, albeit with a smaller and easier to manage top cover, or just inset the belt straight into the left side of the receiver till the first round clicks, then one more time till you get a second click, advancing those rounds into the feed claws.  Done.  Easy day.

I had the chance to shoot the new machine gun at Sig’s Media Range Day.  While my experience was limited, I will say the recoil impulse seemed a little lighter than that of a .308 belt-fed, even though it is chambered in .338 NM.  And speaking of .308, if the range can’t handle .338 NM, or for cost savings, it is just a matter of some simple parts swapping and you can convert the gun between those calibers.

The recoil of the .338 NM in this machine gun was quite controllable.

While this may very well not have a broad appeal to the market, since it isn’t available for commercial sale…yet, I love the meaningful advances brought to the platform.  If they ever do offer a semi-automatic version of it, start saving now.  Rumor has it that the price tag is up past $30,000…

To find out more, please visit Sig Sauer.

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About the author: Ivan Loomis has spent a lot of time outdoors, backpacking and camping as well as extensive international travel. Eventually, he landed in the Marine Corps in the late 90’s. After a hiatus from the service to race the Baja 1000 a couple times, he reenlisted with the Air Force. Departing that he wound up in a large metropolitan Police Department for a spell before landing in the Security Contracting world.One constant through these experiences was gear and weapons. Having spent time in a lot of environments and with the opportunity to field a lot of equipment, he’s grown fond of well-made gear.He now shares those experiences, adventures, and knowledge through contributing articles and videos to various publications, including his own site:

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  • Ti February 5, 2020, 12:41 pm

    What I picked out of this, and kudos to Sig, it is convertible between .308 and .338!

  • Mike in a Truck February 5, 2020, 12:32 pm

    Was on a deer hunt ( driven) back in ’79 when one of our party with a 338 Norma Mag took a large black bear that was kicked out of the swamp.Impressive damage. Cool Sig squad automatic. Humped an M60 at almost 24# and ripping off a minimum of 8 rounds to prevent a stoppage, and at 4# this things a feather.Id love to have one in semiauto in 7.62 just to save on powder. But at $30k it’s not happening.This is what galls me about firearms like this. None of the materials and processes are exotic or come from another planet. I dont begrudge a manufacturer making a profit- but when you come down to it, it’s just aluminum, steel, plastic and maybe some bits of titanium. Get the dam price down to AR15 territory and I’ll buy one- yeah dream on.

  • John Bibb February 5, 2020, 10:52 am

    How many rounds is barrel life with the hotter cartridge? How fast and what kind of tools / gauges are needed to install and headspace a new barrel? Any easy carry handle on top?

  • Mike Price February 5, 2020, 9:55 am

    They show this stuff like I can just run down to my nearest gun show and order one. What is the point in showing machine guns and other guns you can’t buy? What is anybody going to do with belt feed machine gun?

    • Big Al February 5, 2020, 6:22 pm

      Get off your high horse there bub, the man stated clearly at the beginning that he knew your bitch but that he had a reason. Jeez!
      And what’s wrong with knowledge just for the sake of knowledge?

    • jack February 6, 2020, 6:52 am

      In Nam I had to take our machine gunners place when he got hit, it was nice to know a little bit about the gun’s opp before I started to use it, this could happen when the next zombie apocalypse hits us, you may have to pick one up off the ground and “go to work”

  • Timothy A Greene February 5, 2020, 5:30 am

    Dat stash dough

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