The XM5 is the US Army variant of the SIG MCX SPEAR, a 6.8×51mm (.277 Fury), gas-operated, magazine-fed, assault rifle. It was designed by SIG Sauer for the Next Generation Squad Weapon in 2022 to replace the M4 carbine. The XM5 is based on the SIG MCX Spear.
At the time of writing this article, it's not clear whether the rifle will be referred to at the "M5" upon becoming a standard issue weapon (as was the case with the M16, previously referred to as "XM16" and "XM16E1" before full issuance, the "X" standing for "Experimental"), or if it will instead maintain the XM5 naming.
Note: The rifle being put into limited service does not yet appear to mean that it will replace the M4. This will likely be decided depending on how it performs when used in operations in limited numbers in 2024. This is likely to be the case with the XM250 platform as well.
In January 2019, the United States military began their "Next Generation Squad Weapon Program" in order to find more modern replacements for the M4 Carbine and M249 light machine gun. In September 2019, SIG Sauer submitted their designs. The XM5 was designed to fire the 6.8×51mm SIG Fury cartridge (also known as ".277 Fury" and other names) in response to concerns that improvements in body armor would diminish the effectiveness of common battlefield rounds such as the 5.56×45mm NATO (used in the M4 and M249) and 7.62×51mm NATO. The .277 Fury acts as a better do-all intermediate cartridge between the 5.56x45mm NATO, and 7.62x51mm NATO with better ballistics at both short and long ranges.
On April 19th 2022, the United States Army announced that it had awarded a 10-year contract to Sig Sauer to produce the XM5 rifle, along with its light machine gun counterpart, the XM250 Automatic Rifle, to (at least possibly) replace the M4 and M249, respectively. It appears this will depend on results when these firearms are put to use in actual operations.
- SIG Sauer MCX Spear - Official SIG Sauer site for their MCX Spear rifle.
- SIG Sauer Firearms at Palmetto State Armory - A link to Palmetto State Armory's selection of SIG Sauer firearms. This is an affiliate link and purchasing through it will give us a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!