Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

As Army weapons officials near the end of a bold effort to arm close-combat units with Next Generation Squad Weapons, new details have emerged about the program's elusive 6.8mm ammo, designed to pierce enemy body armor.

The Army's long-standing effort to develop this revolutionary round, capable of taking on a sophisticated peer enemy on the battlefield, has required gunmakers to challenge design assumptions and innovate. Now that plans to develop and field the bullet are taking shape, it remains to be seen whether it will live up to its promise to transform the fight for infantrymen.

Just recently, the three gunmakers selected for the final phase of the effort have presented a much clearer picture of the three distinctly different cartridge designs. Both Army and industry officials have disclosed concrete information on the composition of the 6.8mm projectile and how gunmakers have designed their NGSW auto rifle and rifle candidates to cope with potential problems created by the new high-velocity ammunition.

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The sun may not be out, but the guns certainly are.

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, AAI Corporation Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc. were all chosen in August as finalists for developing the Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon, one of the service's primary modernization priorities, and all three companies were touting their best best rifle and automatic rifle prototypes at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference last week.

Task & Purpose stopped by the General Dynamics booth at AUSA to get a better look at their prototypes for the Army's next rifle of choice.

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The Army says it's settled on three defense contractors to battle it out to become the service's M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon replacements, but at least one other company is hoping that a bit of consumer approval could help upset the competition.

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If the Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon program is supposed to produce the iPhone of lethality, then the service is looking for as many killer apps as possible.

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Sig Sauer's prototypes for the Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon program (Courtesy photo)

Just days after the Army announced the selection of three defense contractors to whip up prototypes for the service's Next Generation Squad Weapon program, one gunmaker has already unveiled their candidates for the U.S. military's next great service rifle.

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VIDEO: Should the Army go with 5.56mm or 6.68mm ammo for its Next Generation Squad Rifle?

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The U.S. Army has selected three firms to advance to the next phase of testing to select the service's Next Generation Squad Weapon.

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