XM-8 Is Gun of the Future

U.S. soldiers have been waiting for a long time for weapons to replace current ones that rely on Vietnam-era technology. And the new weapons are right around the corner.

One of these weapons is the XM-8 (search), a rifle with chameleon-like qualities that allows soldiers to interchange parts, outfitting it for urban warfare or long-range sniping. Military and civilian weapons experts are still working out the kinks in the XM-8, which will replace the M-16.

"The ability to reconfigure the weapon to the mission was very, very important. ... It grew out of soldiers telling us they need these kinds of capabilities," said Col. Michael J. Smith, project manager for Soldier Weapons.

The XM-8 is designed to be lighter and more user-friendly than current weapons. It is part of a new family of weapons, including machine-gun type weapons like the XM-307 and XM-312 that are lethal at more than a mile away.

In addition to being lighter, the new technology in the XM-8 makes hitting targets extremely easy. The rifle could be in soldiers' hands as early as next summer.
Click on the video box at the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Todd Connor.