Knight’s Assault Machine Guns at the Range

Knights Armament introduced their “Assault Machine Gun” a couple years ago, and I had a chance to take both versions (5.56mm and 7.62mm) out to the range recently. The gun is the spiritual descendant of the Stoner 63, but is more directly mades on Eugene Stoner’s Model 86 light machine gun. It utilizes the content recoil principle, with the bolt never actually contacting the rear of the receiver during the cycling process. This results in recoil being felt by the shooter as a continuous steady force instead of a rapid series of impacts and that makes it tremendously controllable. Not surprisingly, these guns are already being sold to military and security organizations worldwide…


  1. This is(are) phenomenal product(s). As it appears, FN is ripping off U.S. government by selling it overweight, clumsy and excessively expensive guns. In some way it resembles parallel of Boeing and Airbus aircraft. As if progress stopped/ froze for traditional makers. Not so for this Knight’s wunder-gun.

    One most obvious question remains: when U.S. military adopts this and ditches FN dinosaurs?

    • Oh, btw. why U.S. Marines spend phenomenal money for M27/ HK406? Not that it would bother me; I am not that country’s taxpayer. It is just a matter of simple logic.

      • True, Mk48 in 7.62Nato is better in every aspect than M240, but it is still the same old school. Its receiver is welded which is anything but simple affair, trust me. I had many years back exposure to lesser version’s modification for laser welding. The time and effort spent on straightening after TIG welding is longer than welding itself. Also, I wish you saw the fixturing involved; it is a science on its own.

        In case such as we see on Knight’s and other new SAWs the approach is radically different. The main piece of it is a tube made out of aluminum extrusion. It is much easier to work with and at the end lighter too. It translates to greater utility and lower manufacturing cost by order of magnitude. And yes, it does not seen to fall apart.

        • The Mk48 has some severe longevity problems, not to mention it’s a real handful due to being overgassed; not even close to better than the M240 in every way. Different jobs for those two guns, and the Mk48 has its niche solely because other guns can’t get as small.

          • Good to hear update from field since I am out of touch for number of years. All I had hands on was Minimi in 5.56mm, not very good gun overall. Its inherent inaccuracy and frequent failures to feed from box mag were its major issues.

            Although not as controllable technique as it is, I consider sheet metal-welded receivers to be a progress in comparison to painstakingly machined and riveted ones out of bits. It saves lots of weight for one.

          • And the Knights Armaments MGs suffer from the very same problems as the MK48 family, only worse. They were never intended to do real GPMG work, as Ian states in the video. They are pure light machineguns, and cannot replace something like an M240 in a support role.

            Now, as LMGs on patrol? Different story.

    • “(…)FN is ripping off U.S. government by selling it overweight, clumsy and excessively expensive guns(…)”
      Wait, do you want say that “U.S. government” did not know what and for much was buying? If situation wasn’t so, they were not “ripped off” in my understanding – if you know product (product’s abilities/performance) and price, then… where is cheating?.

      • Of course they knew what they were buying and they were happy with the purchase (we seen plenty of complains about M60 already). The point is: is it adequate for what you need or is it overbuilt and therefor overprized? In case of M240 we know that is very much the case; it is based on ancient platform. I cannot talk about prizing (never came to actual fact of it since it is confidential) for U.S. customers; it also varies by customer and other circumstances. But I know for how much is building new C6A1 Colt for CDN government. You could buy mid-size car for that money.

        Yet, it is basically a relic worthy of museum display.

        • I almost wondered why private military companies haven’t replaced the government-run establishments, since we can come to the conclusion that the higher-ups of arms procurement are doing more “wine and dine with people to get money under the table, with the average tax-payer getting fleeced in the process.” Then it occurred to me that the governments usually dismiss the majority of private military firms as “glory-hounding know-nothing weekend warriors raised on Hollywood ideals and equipped with pampered-poodle-guns that could easily be destroyed by $1.00 Chinese-export stamped-head shovels.” Yes, I’m just joking here.

          • I bought a Chinese made machete in Africa which had made for children stamped on it, I assume it was a “typo” as in; it should have said “I presume” not for children, or keep out of reach etc.

            Big flat wobbly blade; razor sharp, 3ft long. Excellent bit of kit, but not a toy for sure.

          • 2ft blade maybe; long enough though and wide. Not very rigid but really, really sharp. No I mean really, light but with the size of it… Heads, arms, legs would simply be removed with minimal effort probably.

          • “Governments”,
            How many legitimate “private military firms” exist outside the USA ?
            I dont know about a single one.

        • The story on how we got the M240B is completely different from what you think it was.

          The US government t had designed several 7.62x51mm MGs in the 1950s, from the M60 GPMG to an entire family of (originally) Browning derived MGs for use in armor installations. All were pieces of shit, but since they were developed by the US Government, ended up being adopted. Same as happened with the M14.

          When the M1 Abrams was coming along, the US Army decided to actually test what was out there in 7.62mm MGs (especially since the fiascos of the 1950s and 1960s, with the M14 being the final straw, we shut down the government run small arms production lines).

          The FN MAG proved far superior in reliability to the US standard guns, beat out the MG3 by a noticeable margin (although the MG3 still showed well), and the PK was rejected for being Soviet (and thus requiring reverse engineering it while simultaneously converting it to use M13 disintegrating link… our feeble attempts at adapting German MGs to US ammo standards are how we got the M60, and people remembered) and fears that the PKs might lack the *durability* (and they would; Soviet doctrine didn’t call for the kinds of durability US doctrine did, so they weren’t designed for it). So, the MAG was adopted as the new coax and leader’s hatch MG for the Abrams.

          Years later, the Marines were fed up with ragged out M60s choking on them, and they raided the war stocks of “extra” M240s, slapped the FN infantry furniture kit on them, and started using them as the M240G. The Marines had talented the new and improved version of the M69, but found out they couldn’t take sustained fire (the SEALs liked them, because they were light, and they don’t carry enough ammo for it to matter – the guns will hold up long enough to run through the ammo, and if they end up being scrapped when they return to base, oh well.)

          A little bit later, the Rangers wanted a new GPMG to replace their old, worn out, M60s, and still needed something that *could* provide sustained fire support without burning the guns out, but the Marines had already cleaned out the available supply of M240s. However, it was still easier and faster to buy more MAGs, set up as infantry guns, as the M240, than it was to set up a whole new procurement program and issue RFPs.

          Once the M240B was “on the books”, it was easier and faster for the *rest* of the Army to let contracts for the “already in the system” M240B.

          In other words, the choice was driven by the institutional screwups of the *government* armories in trying to develop guns in-house, and arcane and time intensive procurement laws passed by Congress to try and forestall exactly what you decry, that basically made the M240 the only rational choice at each stage of it’s US selections.

    • Absolutely right in what regards FN, Denny. The Belgian firm has just succeded in ripping off the Portuguese government, with the new rifle contract that will (apparently) replace the venerable m/963 (G 3) with SCAR L 5.56mm rifles (plus a handful of 300 SCAR H in 7.62mm) to be delivered in a fashionable dark earth finish. Together with the assault rifles, the contract includes 830 FN Minimi Mk3 in 5.56mmm and 320 FN Minimi Mk3 in 7.62mm… The later are meant to complement and eventually replace the MG 3. Yeah, right…

      As in neighbouring Spain, local weapons manufacture capability has gone the way of the Dodo.

      • As it looks, Turks have done quite well with their new 7.62 rifle. I bet they would be happy to sell both to Spain and Portugal, although their capacity may be for time being tied to re-equipping their own forces. Same with MG42 based universal machine-gun which is in Turkish service for long time.

        • I was complaining about the machine-gun choice (FN Minimi), not the rifle (SCAR L and H).

          The Portuguese and Spanish military still have substantial numbers of MG 1, MG 42/59 (MG 1A2) and MG 3 in their inventories, mostly locally produced: the Portuguese, for instance, after buying early batches from Germany in the early 60s, started their own MG 42/59 production under licence at Braço de Prata, together with ancilliary stuff eg the stabilized Feldlafette tripod, which enables the weapon to be used in a heavy mg role, with optical sights.

          Several Portuguese AF and Army units (plus GNR, the local gendarmerie) already use the HK MG-4 in 5.56mm – that’s why the purchase of a large FN Minimi batch somehow puzzling.

    • “when U.S. military adopts this and ditches FN dinosaurs?”
      Well, I would not surprised if it would be never. Not due bad will, but due to introduction of new cartridges.

      • There IS a chance for innovation, at least on this continent, IF decision for adoption brand new weapon will come. What I mean is replacement of both 7.62Nato and .50cal Browning in MG application with .338 Norma Magnum. That would create opportunity to produce a radically new and versatile weapon for combined, vehicular and infantry use. Some prototypes were already shown and they are lot lighter than M240. Their effective range is up to 2km.

        • “(…)replacement(…).50cal Browning in MG application with .338 Norma Magnum.(…)effective range is up to 2km.(…)”
          Could .338 Norma Magnum do that? I attempted to find trajectory (bullet-drop vs distance chart) for that cartridge, but I failed, as it is apparently overshadowed popularity-wise by .338 Lapua Magnum.
          I even found common bullet-drop vs distance chart for .338 Lapua, see Trajectory chapter:

          which indicate that Lapua‘s cartridge has much less flat path @ 1000 yards. But this is not Norma cartridge, so question is: is there noticeable difference between .338 Norma and .338 Lapua in fly path in favor of this first?

          • I could not find direct ballistic comparison between 338NM and 50Br. as yet. In rough order you can consider that while typical 338LM bullet is at 250gr weight, the 338NM is at around 300gr. This by itself should be indicative of energy retention at extended distance.

            As much you can read elsewhere about original purpose of 338NM as an improvement over 338LM is the fact that the latter is more suitable due to its shorter case for MG application.

            You can read about MHMG project under consideration

          • “You can read about MHMG project under consideration”
            I read this as careful as I could, but it looks that it claims effective range for new .338 machine gun to be 1700 m, while 12,7×99 NATO is said to have range of 2000 m.

    • “(…)This is(are) phenomenal product(s).(…)”
      I have too few data to could agree with such statement. Please consider what we could deduce from given material: light, dual fed, controllable in full auto fire – all these are desirable, but not enough to constitute successful machine gun.
      What we do know: how much time you need to field strip? could it be done without tools? could it be done only in correct way? how would it work in extreme environment (very cold temperature or humid or sand)? In current situation I would label it shows promise. As it was put A Scandal in Bohemia:
      It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

  2. That 5.56 mag dump was a laugh, it looked like it was a Co2 powered pellet gun; so its enhanced control was evident. You might be able to use Nitinol in a “constant recoil” no buffer system, in that heat could cause a… Spring to contract and pull the bolt back before it hits the rear. Kind of similar to firing the cartridge before the round is chambered; but backwards, in regards recoil not “locking” counter acting forces etc.

  3. Maybe those wee Co2 cartridges used in pellet guns, cycle tire inflaters etc could cool barrels; if it was used in a design l7ke this were you don’t really do it alot but if you did maybe a simple system using such a gas cartridge could cool it down quick, the fire extingushers get very cold.

      • Well I don’t know “I know the pecheneg exists” but can you fire it, mag dump wise… With the cooling sleeve, more than once.

        You could carry 3 Co2 Cartridges in a ciggie box; no spare barrels or sleeves, small bits of kit.

        • “(…)mag dump wise(…)”
          Impossible. This weapon is belt-fed only.

          “(…)could carry 3 Co2 Cartridges in a ciggie box(…)”
          And it would be enough for how many shots?

          • Bit pedantic, I know its belt fed. But the point is, would a Co2 cartridge work, if so; it would be slimmer than said sleeve, that if you dont “dump” serves no purpose.

          • Could simply be valved port, into the barrel; smack the rear of the cartridge in a housing, all gas is set off; cools via the bore. Just a thought.

          • People thought about that before and experimented, the conclusion is cooling the barrel from inside the bore is inferior due to the smaller surface.

            There exists some kind of fan pumps with empty cartridge case on a hose connected to pump, which you insert into the chamber after the shooting and leave it working for few minutes to cool it off, but its not very speedy or effective, of course this is strictly civilian friendly in usage, it would not work in any military.

          • “This gun doesn’t have an air cooled sleeve does it.”
            Please read what I linked, if not read at least that fragment:
            The barrel is somewhat heavier than that of the PKM, and has radial cooling ribs. This is enclosed in a steel jacket, which runs up to the muzzle to provide forced air cooling, similarly to the Lewis machine gun of WW1 vintage. Cooling air enters the jacket through oval windows at the rear of the jacket, and exits at the muzzle.

    • @Pdb

      Only thing that could work here is that you have a barrel inside kinda like really big co2 cartridge surrounding it on all sides (barrel in the center, swimming in liquified gas), and when its heated after mag dump, you let the co2 out via the valve to cool it.
      Something like barrel and jacket arrangement in maxim mg, but co2 or other gas replacing the water.

      Problem ofc with it beside weight is how many times would it last for cooling, and that you cannot easily recharge it in the field.

  4. I’m sold…

    I find the barrel handle position interesting, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Does seem as though it might be prone to hanging up on things, way out in front like that. Would have to carry one for awhile to say, though.

  5. I’d say welcome to Florida, but I’m sure you’re already back home by the time this was uploaded. So I hope you enjoyed Florida.

    Its weakness is sustained fire, but it also weighs substantially less than other machine guns. Would it be possible for a variant to lose some of that weight saving to increase sustained fire or is that inherit in the design?

  6. If you had an an Ak, perhaps you could drill a port in the barrel halfway down, and saw a notch |\ thus shaped in the gas rod, then when it recoils gas would assist the pull back on the bolt via said port/notch.

    • Barrel port, vents into the gas rod tube. Point; reduce impact rearwards… Probably have to mess around with it a bit, via a hammer and a nail/file etc.

      • Timing etc, if you had a few Ak’s you’d get there after a bit, hack/saw/hammer/chop… So when the bolt has ejected a case; gas… Forward impetus. Few more Ak’s, drill… etc.

          • Why? Well looking at this video not having the bolt hit even a buffer seems to work; well.

          • The first prototype version of VHS assault rifle more than 10 years ago (maybe in the patent also) had some kind of gas buffering system (and some other rare feats), but on final version thats nowhere to be found, obviously its not yet perfected or maybe a gimmick idea (suitable for this webpage?)

            As for the constant recoil, you need also to have it being open bolt, if these 2 guns were closed bolt I think Ian would notice the difference in recoil and worse handling.

  7. Impressive upgrade from the original design that I remember from 1995-2005, I enjoyed working on that gun during my employment when they were located in Vero Beach. I do miss those days.

  8. Somehow, Ian missed opening them up, which is his usual routine. Was he not allowed to, or is he saving it for next sequel?

  9. Yes its light etc. But do you actually need it – is there a ‘real’ gap between Assault Rifles and a ‘proper’/ more capable support machine gun?
    Also it’s relatively new and the military – quite understandably – often want to wait ‘just a little’ to see if it really as good as it looks, or ‘not’, before committing a large slice of cash, effort etc. e.g. is it reliable over time, has hidden shortcomings or problems etc.

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