The U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command has begun the process of fielding thousands of suppressors to infantry, reconnaissance and special operation units for employment on the M27, M4 and M4A1 rifles.
Small arms suppressors are designed to reduce a weapon’s noise, flash and recoil. They are also time-efficient, as attachment and detachment only takes a few seconds. Suppressors can save lives as Marines engaged in battle can expose themselves from their firing position. It reduces their audible and visual signature, making it more difficult for the enemy to ascertain their location, U.S.M.C. said in a statement.
In recent years, the Marine Corps had already begun suppressing its M38 and M4A1 rifles. However, an increased number of commanders felt suppressing additional weapons would increase the overall lethality of the infantry.
The impetus for equipping additional weapons with suppressors came from a series of experimentations at a 2016 “Sea Dragon” event, which enables the Marine Corps to experiment with current and emerging technologies and operational concepts.
At the event, a battalion employed the suppressors as part of a Marine Corps Warfighting Lab experimentation.
“The positive feedback from that experiment was the primary driving force behind procuring suppressors,” said Maj. Mike Brisker, MCSC’s Program Manager for Infantry Weapons' weapons product manager.
“We’ve had a few limited user experiments with various units since that time, and all of those events generated positive reviews of the capability,” Brisker added.
Before acquiring the suppressors, MCSC worked with the Marine Corps’ Combat Development and Integration (CD&I); Plans, Policies and Operations; and the Fleet Marine Force to determine the optimal concept of distribution to support the close combat Marine.
Billy Epperson, the Infantry Weapon Capabilities Integration Officer at CD&I said the Marine Corps conducted Limited User Evaluations in 2019 with commercial suppressors provided by vendors showcasing the latest and greatest in technology to characterize requirements in support of an acquisition effort that began in fiscal year 2020.
In 2020, PM IW procured about 6,700 small arms suppressors through Defense Logistics Agency’s Tailored Logistic Program, and acquired more than 7,000 additional units on the first delivery order upon the contract award. Brisker said the goal is to field approximately 30,000 suppressors by fiscal year 2023.