National Guard soldiers with the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team became the first Guardsmen to field-test the service’s Next Generation Squad Weapon systems this month, officials said in a press release.

Troops with the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team fired the next-gen weapon systems, the XM7 rifle and the XM250 automatic rifle, on June 6 at Fort Liberty, North Carolina. The XM7 and XM250 are set to replace the M4 carbine and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, respectively.

The Guard’s field test comes after the 101st Airborne Division became the first active duty Army unit to receive the new armaments.

And while soldiers had already been testing the Army’s newest rifle and automatic rifle, they are now officially being distributed across the service’s components, marking the first time in decades that the branch has fielded such equipment, which includes a fire control system and a new caliber family of ammunition.

“Weapon advancements such as the NGSW ensures that units under our command have the best weapons possible,” said Col. Paul Hollenack, the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team commander. “The fielding of the XM7 and XM250 is a step in making sure that we are doing just that.”

Soldiers assigned to 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, South Carolina Army National Guard also received the new weapons. They conducted an integrated training weapons strategy qualification table with the rifles during a week-long training event that culminated June 23, according to another Army release.

“The XM7 is a great rifle. We are training and practicing target shots,” said Cpl. Joseph Negron, a cavalry scout assigned to that unit. “My favorite thing about the XM7 is how the weapon can be easily used by righthanded and lefthanded shooters.”

“The XM7, compared to the M4, is definitely a step up,” he added. “The rifle is a little bit heavier, but it’s accuracy is definitely worth the extra weight.”

Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media

More In Your Army
Biden drops out of 2024 race
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin praised Biden for his "profound and personal commitment to the Department of Defense and the American military" on Sunday.