This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
Rounding out our coverage of Machinegunapalooza 2017 – by which I mean the numerous machine guns of the 2017 Association of the United States Army annual meeting – we have the IWI Negev (5.56mm) and Negev NG-7 light machine guns. These Israeli belt feds are, among production weapons, some of the best-designed machine guns in existence today, incorporating the operating concept of the PKM into a weapon with light overall weight, exceptionally robust construction, and modern features. Also, unlike the PKM, the Negev is select-fire, with a semiautomatic fire setting in addition to fully automatic.
From the PKM, the Negev takes its lightweight belt feed pawl design, and some elements of its bolt group (which does differ substantially from the PKM, however), but like Western designs such as the M249, the 5.56mm Negev sports the ability to take rifle magazines (either Galil or AR-15 magazines, depending on the configuration) as well as belts.
Feed pawl design of the Negev, showing its resemblance to the PKM. This image is as viewed from the muzzle end, as the Negev feeds left-to-right like most Western machine guns.
This diagram shows the Negev’s ability to use rifle magazines. A Galil mag is shown inserted through the trapdoors at the bottom of the receiver.
Further, the Negev uses a modern short top cover design, which allows optics to be mounted via a vertical mount directly to the weapons receiver, unlike either a PKM or M249:
The Negev isn’t as light as some of the more advanced prototype machine guns that were being shown at AUSA 2017. Compared to the 12.5 pounds of the KAC 7.62mm lightweight machine gun, or the 14.5 pounds of Textron’s 7.62mm CT machine gun, the 7.62mm Negev NG-7 is a fairly burly 17.5 pounds. However, this is comparable to the PKM, which is lauded for being light in comparison to Western MGs like the M240 (27 lbs), M60 (23 lbs), and MG3 (23 lbs). In contrast to the KAC and Textron weapons, as well, the 5.56mm Negev has been in service since the mid-1990s, with the 7.62mm version coming online around 2012.