The Army’s been rolling M240 machine guns for some time, Model Bs that weigh 27.6 pounds. Knowing that every ounce means pain, FN Manufacturing of the US has been working hard to lighten loads with their M240L. But it’s titanium, and expensive. The Barrett M240LW changes things in a whole different way, albeit more traditionally.
Simply put, Barrett’s machine gun has less metal in it to weigh it down. It doesn’t use exotic materials in the receiver, it just uses better machining and cutting-edge designing to insure that less metal doesn’t mean less strength; just looking at the sides of the receiver you can see the spars that provide support, like with aircraft.
The biggest change is to the receiver. Not only is it an all-new design, it’s actually a two-piece design, with each half of the receiver sandwiched around the machine gun’s workings. It also doesn’t have a barrel shroud, which we think could be a shortcoming but that’s an easy fix.
All said and done, Barrett has shaved off a good six pounds off the machine gun, more than a fifth of the total weight, which brings it almost down to SOCOM’s Mk 48‘s 18¼ pounds, but with a much longer lifespan. Form and function remain relatively unchanged from the other M240 machine guns.
Of course, we were invited to shoot Barrett’s new general-purpose machine gun at SHOT Show earlier this year, but when we got there, their ammo was all used up. The whole place smelled like a dream, though. For being M240LW serial number 000001, it was said to have performed flawlessly. Seeing is believing. Barrett, you’re going to send us #000002, right?