The Stoner LMG, also named as the KAC Stoner 96 (and developed from the KAC Stoner 86), is a light machine gun manufactured by the Knight's Armament Company. The Stoner, was designed by renowned American gun designer Eugene Stoner (famed as the designer of the AR-15) and was one of the last projects he worked on before he died in 1997.
The Stoner LMG was designed by Eugene Stoner as a replacement for the Stoner 63, a similar light machine gun designed by Stoner in the early 1960s. The Stoner LMG was designed around the need to reduce the amount of recoil produced when firing a machine gun and hence has been designed to fire with the bolt open (meaning that the movement of the bolt backwards, as is more conventional, is removed, reducing recoil). This is combined with a buffer located in the stock to further reduce the effect of recoil.
The Stoner is also fitted with a picatinny rail (another of Eugene Stoner's innovations while he worked at KAC) which allows for upto four attachments to be added. One of the more common additions on the rail is the inclusion of a belted ammunition container for increasing the Stoner's magazine capacity. The barrel (which is bored to accept the 5.56mm NATO cartridge) is air cooled and can be quickly replaced (which KAC claim can be done without influencing the rear sight).
The Stoner LMG was designed to use the 5.56mm NATO cartridge, a significant factor as the 5.56mm NATO is the standard issue cartridge for NATO forces. The 5.56mm NATO is fired from a belt which typically holds 200 rounds, while the Stoner can fire 550 rounds per minute.
The Stoner LMG was based upon Eugene Stoner's previous light machine gun designs (the Stoner 63 and Ares Stoner 86 LMG), although the design took a slightly different approach, instead focusing on reducing recoil. Despite the improvments in the design the United States (whom were KAC's largest and most likely customer) chose to continue to use the FN Minimi, under its designation M249.
However, the Danish Royal Navy decided to adopt the Stoner for use by their troops when they are deployed. Likewise, several other smaller, private contractors have also bought the Stoner, which continues in production to this day. Elements of the Stoner can also be found in the KAC ChainSAW, an experimental machine gun design from 2009.