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February 2nd, 2022

Vortex Gets $20 Million Contract for XM157 NGSW-FC Optic

Vortex military NGSW-FC laser optic

Wouldn’t it be cool if your rifle scope had a built-in laser rangefinder, plus a weather sensor, a ballistics calculator, compass, and even wireless communication? Yes that would be very cool indeed, and that is why the Pentagon is spending at least $20 million on an amazing new “smart optic” from Vortex.

Vortex Optics has been awarded the contract for the U.S. military’s “Next Generation Squad Weapon–Fire Control” (NGSW-FC) optic. Under this contract, Vortex will provide up to 250,000 XM157 NGSW-FC optics over 10 years. These XM157 optics include an amazing set of features: variable magnification optic, backup etched reticle, laser rangefinder, ballistic calculator, atmospheric sensor suite, compass, Intra-Soldier Wireless, visible and infrared aiming lasers, and a digital display overlay.

The new XM157 smart optic is described as a “computer atop the weapon” since it can calculate range, ballistics, atmospherics, directional information, and digital overlay. The fire control system will replace the close combat optic, rifle combat optic, and machine gun optic used by U.S. Special Operations units, Marine Corps, and Army infantry units.

The XM157 is a Low Powered Variable Optic (LPVO) with a display overlay, Laser Rangefinder (LRF), ballistic solver, environmental sensors, aiming lasers, digital compass, and wireless communication to provide for seamless connectivity on the battlefield. The XM157 is based on a 1-8x30mm LPVO with glass-etched reticle on USA-made lenses. The XM157 weighs less than the combined weight of traditional LPVOs plus weapon-mounted Laser Rangefinders.


Vortex NGSW-fc XM157 scope contract
Illustration from Task & Purpose video above.

Vortex Contract Worth at Least $20 Million… And Potentially $2.7 Billion!
With a starting price of $20 million, the NGSW-FC Optic contract stipulates that Vortex will receive at least $20 million from the Pentagon. This will cover the XM157 advanced optics as well as supporting accessories, spare parts, repairs, and engineering services. The Vortex subsidiary Sheltered Wings will fulfill the contract.

As reported in Guns.com: “The 10-year contract… covers the production and delivery of up to 250,000 XM157 Next Generation Squad Weapons-Fire Control systems. The NGSW-FC will be the common sight for the Army’s new NGSW-Rifle, set to replace the M4 Carbine in front line service, and the NGSW-Automatic Rifle, the intended replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. The contract minimum is set at $20 million, with a fantastic $2.7 billion maximum mentioned if all options are taken, pointing to a unit price for each NGSW-FC optic as being in the neighborhood of $10,800. However, it should be noted that, going past the sights themselves, the contract includes supporting accessories, contractor support, spare parts, repairs, and engineering efforts, likely pointing to a significantly lower per-unit cost than the basic math would imply.”

Vortex Nation Podcast About NGSW Fire Control Optic

The Pentagon chose Vortex to provide its Next Generation Squad Weapon – Fire Control Optic (NGSW-FC). But what is an NGSW-FC? What is Vortex’s new scope replacing? What weapons will it ultimately sit on? What features/capabilities does it have? What is Active Reticle? What is Intra-Soldier Wireless? How do the features work? How was it tested? Is it easy to use? Vortex Rep Alexander Lewis answers these questions and more in the 49-minute Podcast linked below.

Vortex Podcast Answers Key Questions about new XM157 Smart Optic

Podcast Highlights about NSGW-FC Optic:

00:00 – NGSW-FC Intro
08:44 – A Traditional LPVO at its Core
16:22 – Smart Scope Technology
19:43 – The “Active Reticle” (Rendering)
23:40 – Smart Scope Technology
29:07 – Size/Weight
33:08 – Laser Rangefinder and Interfaces
42:53 – Battery and Power

Next Generation Squad Weapons Program
Launched in 2017, the Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) program is a U.S. military initiative to develop operationally relevant squad-level lethality against various threats. Three defense firms have been selected to provide weapons and ammunition prototypes for the program: SIG Sauer, General Dynamics, and Textron Systems. The weapon system also provides soldiers with significant range and signature management capability improvements.

Permalink - Videos, News, Optics, Tactical, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
February 2nd, 2022

Edelkrone StandONE Folding Base Is Perfect for LabRadars

edelkrone standone all terrain foldable camera stand labradar radar

Do you own a LabRadar chronograph, or perhaps you are planning to add one to your range gear this season? With a LabRadar, you don’t have to go downrange to set up the chrono on a tripod and fuss with bore-sighting. LabRadars are excellent chronographs, particularly when paired with an inertial trigger.

Here is an excellent accessory that can be easily fitted to LabRadars. This Edelkrone StandONE all-terrain foldable camera stand can provide a stable base when shooting from a bench or the ground. It can quickly and easily adjust to uneven ground so that your LabRadar sits properly vertical and square to the horizon. The versatile Edelkrone StandONE sells for $119.20 at B&H Camera.

edelkrone standone all terrain foldable camera stand labradar radar
Note how the StandONE can adapt to uneven ground through the multiple hinges on the legs.

Forum member X-47B found this stand and he says it works great with his LabRadar. He is a commercial photographer, so he is familiar with the latest and greatest camera stands. In our Shooters’ Forum he posted: “Working in commercial photography and video I come across all different equipment. When I got this Edelkrone StandONE folding base, I realized it is the perfect base for a LagRadar. Works on friction, no ball-head needed. It works on any terrain and folds up tiny, so it’s perfect for prone or the bench.” Stated load capacity is 15 pounds, and this is made to hold expensive camera gear, so there’s no problem placing a LabRadar unit on top.

edelkrone standone all terrain foldable camera stand labradar radar

Permalink Competition, New Product, Tech Tip No Comments »
February 2nd, 2022

Home-Built Wood Cleaning Cradles — Great DIY Project

IBS Piedmont 600-yard match

We saw some interesting gear at a 600-yard IBS match at the Piedmont Gun Club (Rutherfordton, NC) a few seasons back. On display were a variety of hand-made wood cleaning cradles designed to fit on table tops. These typically employ a box-style design, with layer of cloth or other padding to cushion the underside of the stock. On display were both single-rifle cleaning cradle/boxes and dual-rifle rigs. This is a good do-it-yourself project that can be built with simple tools.

Click Photos to View Large Versions
IBS Piedmont 600-yard match

Notice that these cradle-boxes feature an extended lower section in the rear. This lower “lip” butts up against the edge of the table so the whole assembly stays in place. In the photo above it appears that the lower section may actually be cut from a rubber block, but we’re not sure.

IBS Piedmont 600-yard match


Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Tech Tip 1 Comment »