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Marines Issue Mission Enhancement Kits For Mossberg 500A2 Shotguns

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

In this article on, entitled, “Marines make an entrance with new breaching capabilities” By Ashley Calingo, Office of Public Affairs and Communications, Marine Corps Systems Command, she discusses the newly acquired Mission Enhancement Kits for the Corps’ Mossberg 500A2 Shotguns. The MEK consists of a shorter breaching barrel and optionsl stock configurations.

The first contract for these kits was awarded to Pro Patria by USSOCOM back in 2009. Since then, Pro Patria has provided kits to the US Army, US Navy and US Marine Corps.

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. —
To Marines on a breaching mission, the shotgun is more than just a weapon. It is a tool Marines use to breach—or gain entry into—an enemy-held building using the minimal amount of force. Marine Corps Systems Command’s Military Enhancement Kit gives Marines the tactical advantage by transforming current shotguns into a more compact and versatile weapon.

Sgt. Trenton Hansen, a Special Reaction Team member from the Marine Corps Base Quantico Provost Marshals Office, uses a Military Enhancement Kit to breach open a door. The MEK provides versatile capabilities to Marine units trained to engage on breaching missions. The kit builds upon the Mossberg M500A2, but gives Marines a shorter, vented breaching barrel and three interchangeable buttstock attachments, including the collapsible buttstock featured in this photo. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Alan Matthews)

The MEK is a ballistic breaching tool—or what Marines use to safely shoot the locks off of doors. It is designed to augment the M500A2 pump-action shotguns currently used by Marine reconnaissance, security forces, military police, explosive ordnance disposal and special operations units. The kit gives Marines a shorter, vented breaching barrel and three interchangeable buttstock attachments: a pistol grip, fixed buttstock and a collapsible buttstock. At 18 inches long, the MEK’s barrel is nearly three inches shorter than the M500A2’s standard barrel, making it less cumbersome for Marines to carry.

“When you’re breaching or conducting methods of entry, having the ability to secure the weapon on your body without it becoming cumbersome is important,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Flor, ballistic breaching course chief and senior instructor at the Methods of Entry School, the Marine Corps center of excellence for breaching. “Having a shorter barrel and a pistol grip removes all of the extra space that is not necessary for ballistic breaching. So when you stow it, you can stow it much more rapidly.”

Current shotguns can be modified by Marine Corps armorers with a special adaptor from the MEK that allows Marines to easily interchange the buttstocks in a matter of seconds without the need for additional tools.

“Having the ability to transition through the three stocks—the folding, the pistol grip and the fixed—makes the weapons more versatile,” Flor said. “The kit allows the weapon to be tailored to the tactical user at the user level.”

The shorter breaching barrel and different stock grips, namely the pistol grip, offer several tactical advantages, Flor said.

“For instance, if reconnaissance Marines repel from a helicopter carrying a long weapon system that’s unsecured, it can catch on parts of the air frame or the rope and become a safety hazard,” Flor said. “Having a shorter weapon system, secured tightly, is more manageable. That’s an advantage.”

The MEK also yields significant savings for the Marine Corps—another advantage.

The Military Enhancement Kit provides versatile capabilities to Marine units trained to engage on breaching missions. The kit builds upon the Mossberg M500A2, but gives Marines a shorter, vented breaching barrel and three interchangeable buttstock attachments pictured here. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Alan Matthews)

“By using the MEK with currently-fielded M500A2 shotguns, the Marine Corps only had to buy the kits,” said Maj. Paul Gillikin, Special Purpose Weapons team lead in MCSC’s Infantry Weapons Systems. “Also, modifying the shotgun in local armories will save time and shipping costs, and units will retain their shotguns on-hand, as opposed to sending them in to a depot for maintenance.”

As part of IWS’s evaluation process, Gillikin and his team turned the kit over to Marines at the Methods of Entry School, located aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. MOES instructors teach breaching methodology to Marines assigned to Reconnaissance and Force Reconnaissance units, Security Forces Regiment Recapture Tactics teams, Military Police Special Reaction teams, Explosive Ordnance Disposal units and Marine Special Operations Command units. Marines who undergo training at MOES will be the primary users of the kit.

“We reached out early to MOES, and the feedback we received from experts like Gunnery Sgt. Flor and Master Sgt. Bryan Maass was key to helping us get the MEK to Marines,” said Gillikin. “They were able to articulate a capability and requirement, and assist us in test design and execution. Infantry Weapons Systems-South logistics personnel took it the rest of the way by completing the cataloging process, which will allow units to sustain the kit through normal supply requisitioning.”

The MEK is currently being fielded to select units across the Marine Corps, and is one of the many capabilities offered to Marines by MCSC’s Infantry Weapons Systems. IWS strives to ensure that Marines are equipped and ready for their next challenge, whether that means introducing new weapons systems or, in the case of the MEK, enhancing current ones.

BREAKING: USMC Begins Process To Issue M27 IAR to Every Rifleman; Issues RFI To Industry

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Earlier today MARCORSYSCOM issued “Request for Information (RFI) M67854-17-I-1218 For Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM), Quantico, VA Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR)”. They are very clear at this point that is solely an initiation of market research under Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 10 and is NOT a Request for Proposal (RFP). To be clear, issuing an RFI is a natural step in the acquisition process.

This action comes after a short duration experiment last Fall during which, an entire Marine Infantry Battalion was equipped with the IAR instead of their issue M4s. The experiment was obviously a success.  At the time there was still no requirement but apparently, they’ve worked that out and lined up funding to make this happen.

As the RFI only calls for the production of an additional 11,000 rifles, this means that only additional select Infantrymen will be issued the M27. Conversely, the Marines purchased over 45,000 M4 carbines. When the M27 IAR was initially selected, the Marines had undertaken a study to determine what it would cost and how quickly the manufacturer H&K, could build the rifles in order to pure fleet the service. At the time, H&K did not have the production capacity to meet the Marine Corps’ fielding timeline so the plan was scrapped. This new move may very well be incremental in nature, with further fielding taking a longer timeline and encompassing a larger portion of the Marines.

The 5.56mm M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle is manufactured by Heckler & Koch. It is based on their HK416 carbine and was fielded to the Marines to supplant beltfed the M249 SAW in the Rifle Squad. This RFI will assuredly be used by SYSCOM to create a a sole-source “Justification and Approval” in order to purchase the rifles directly from manufacturer H&K without going for an open solicitation. While the RFI describes the M27’s salient characteristics to a “T”, what may throw a monkey wrench in this plan is if another manufacturer or two claim they can build the weapons as well with a model based on a 416 clone.

We will watch this procurement closely and keep you updated on its progress. Offerers have until March 17th at 3:00 PM to respond.

SHOT Show 17 – First Article : Magpul USMC PMAG

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

“Boom!” goes the dynamite. Hot off the presses, this is the very first PMAG 30 GEN M3 in MCT for the Marine Corps contract.

It even has the NSN!

Get yours soon from

USMC Authorizes GEN M3 PMAG

Monday, December 19th, 2016

Earlier today, at 191737Z, the USMC issued a message entitled, “M4/M16 SERIES/M27 MAGAZINE GUIDANCE UPDATE”, directing which magazines will be used by Marines with the M4/M16, M27 and M249.

In addition to the Army’s new Enhanced Performance Magazines (NSN 1005-01- 630-9508) which will replace the legacy magazine in the stock system, PM Individual Weapon Systems also authorizes the GEN M3 PMAG in Black (NSN 1005-01-615-5169) and the new Medium Coyote Tan (NSN 1005-01-659-7086). Of note, the Army’s EPM is authorized for training use only!

This is huge news for Magpul because this is the first service-wide adoption of their magazine. Not only that, it’s the only magazine authorized for use in combat.

Here is the meat of the message:


Mission Ready’s Protect The Force Develops the US Marines Next Generation Ballistic Base Layer

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

VANCOUVER, B.C. – November 22, 2016 – Mission Ready Services Inc. (“Mission Ready” or the “Company”) (TSX-V : MRS) is pleased to announce the successful completion of the Marines Next Generation Body Armor development project (the “Project”) for the United States Marine Corps (“USMC”). Following a contract award by the Marine Corps Systems Command (“MARSYSCOM”), the Project was completed on schedule and under budget.

Managed by Francisco Martinez, Chief Technical Officer of Protect The Force (“PTF”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, the two year Project was funded through the Department of the Navy (“DoN”) Office of Naval Research (“ONR”) Rapid Innovation Fund (“RIF”), the revolutionary combat shirt, the Ballistic Base Layer (“BBL”), is now being readied for field deployment in keeping with the RIF objective to accelerate fielding of innovative technologies into military systems.

Mr. Martinez states, “The Marines Next Generation Body Armor is a Marine-unique development that integrates a number of life saving features. The BBL is a First-of-a-Kind protective combat shirt, specifically tailored to the Marine Corps equipment requirements, that addresses deficiencies identified by injuries recorded through Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. PTF is honored to have been selected by ONR and MARCORSYSCOM to develop the Ballistic Base Layer.”

The BBL is a revolutionary armored shirt worn under the Marines Body Armor Vest that integrates modular deltoid, yoke and collar protection into an athletic flame resistant combat shirt. Newly developed breathable fragment protective knits were integrated into the sleeves and lower torso for additional protection against fragments resulting from Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonations.

The Marines Product Manager Clothing Infantry Equipment (“PdM ICE”) was the recipient of 100+ prototypes of the BBL and 6 additional prototypes with integrated micro climate cooling tubes.

Mr. Martinez further states, “The PM-ICE technical staff and all the contracting groups supporting the effort were a delight to work with and we are honored to have received their input and support. We look forward to working with the Marines PdM ICE as the requirements for the BBL are finalized and the item is fielded. Additionally, we wish to thank all of our employees, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers for their support in successfully developing the Marines Next Generation Ballistic Base Layer and look forward to continue working with them.”

U.S. Marine Corps Orders 144 Diesel MRZRs from Polaris Defense

Friday, November 11th, 2016

In late September, I met with Polaris Defense and learned that the Marine Corps had evaluated at the Diesel MRZR during the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL) MAGTF Integrated Experiment at Camp Pendleton in California which was a component of exercise RIMPAC 16. The Marines even displayed the MRZR at Modern Day Marine to showcase its capabilities. They didn’t waste any time deciding that it was what they wanted to adopt for their Utility Task Vehicle program.

MINNEAPOLIS (November 10, 2016) — Polaris Defense, a division of Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII), has received an order from the United States Marine Corps to deliver 144 four-seat diesel MRZR™ vehicles as part of the utility task vehicle (UTV) program, which will provide MRZR-D4s to each of the Marine Corps’ active-component infantry regiments. The contract also includes spare parts blocks in support of the vehicles.

This vehicle procurement follows successful testing and integration exercises, such as the recent RIMPAC 2016 where the Marine Corps experimented with new technologies, tactics and operational concepts during force-on-force training.

“We introduced the diesel MRZR earlier this year and the Marines were among the first to purchase vehicles for test and evaluation,” said Joaquin Salas, business development manager, Polaris Defense. “The MRZRs off-road mobility, heavy fuel compatibility and internal transport certifications on vertical-lift aircraft make it a force multiplier for Marine infantry units.”

The UTV program is designed to provide company-level operations with logistics support, filling a critical capability gap at the tactical level. The MRZR-D4 delivers a proven solution that is cost-effective, reliable, easily maintained, and certified for internal transport in MV-22 and CH-53 aircraft.

MRZRs have redefined ultralight, off-road mobility for military vehicles and are mission critical for expeditionary forces in the U.S. and more than 20 allied countries to meet mission demands and threats. The flexible vehicle platform can be configured a number of ways to fulfill rapid personnel deployment, casualty evacuation and supply transport missions.

Polaris Defense vehicles deliver a coveted combination of deployability, versatility and off-road mobility, forged from more than 60 years of off-road vehicle experience that is simply unmatched. Vehicles include the rugged Sportsman MV 850, the modular and nimble MRZR, and the DAGOR, which expands upon the range, payload and off-road mobility of any previous tactical off-road vehicle. The enhanced tactical mobility provided by Polaris Defense gives an advantage back to dismounted troops, allowing formations to move faster, carry more and significantly reduce combat fatigue. Polaris FSR support is scalable worldwide and includes military vehicle training, service and maintenance. It also can be supplemented internationally through the Polaris network of distributors. And because Polaris vehicles are in service throughout the world, there is a high degree of interoperability and commonality among U.S. and allied forces.

Collaborative Acquisition Equips Soldiers and Marines to Fight and Win

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

This is a joint release from Marine Corps Systems Command and the US Army’s Program Executive Officer Soldier. and is a good update to show you what is going on.

MARINE CORPS SYSTEMS COMMAND, QUANTICO, Virginia – In a series of ongoing efforts, Marine Corps Systems Command and the Army’s Program Executive Office – Soldier are collaborating to develop, test and deliver ever-better capabilities for Marines and Soldiers. These acquisition professionals are also closely aligned to ensure uniforms and personal protective equipment properly fit female and male service members in order to accommodate every individual Marine and Soldier.

The Cross-Service Warfighter Equipment Board and Improved Personal Protective Equipment System Integrated Product Team are just two of six established forums that give the services an opportunity to share technologies and develop service-specific and cooperative solutions to continuously improve equipment and uniforms for service members across all occupational specialties. In addition to these formal venues, the Corps and Army are also constantly collaborating behind the scenes.

“While the Marine Corps and Army collaborate formally within CS-WEB and IPPES IPT, we continuously participate in each other’s equipment testing exercises to collect and share research data.” said Army Lt. Col. Kathy M. Brown, product manager for Soldier Protective Equipment at PEO-Soldier. “Through these formal and informal methods we’re able to share new technology and ideas to keep our service members equipped with the best gear.”

Outcomes from Army/Marine Corps collaborative efforts span a spectrum of actions, including improvements for PPE, weight reduction, customization of uniforms and equipment to accommodate individual and unit missions, and organizational clothing and individual equipment development for extreme weather conditions.

One example of joint program success is the Enhanced Combat Helmet, fielded to both deploying Marines and Soldiers. Manufactured with the latest lightweight material technology, the helmet provides improved ballistic protection against specific small arms and fragmentation.

“Providing effective equipment that meets the needs of our service members is our highest goal,” said Charles Bell, a retired Marine and acting product manager for MCSC’s Infantry Combat Equipment. “There is a genuine, concerted effort to collaborate and to partner in development, acquisition and sustainment whenever we can.”

Cold weather clothing and equipment is another common cause. Developed by the Marine Corps and adopted by the Army, the Three Season Sleep System is designed for use in temperatures down to -13 degrees Fahrenheit in conjunction with designated cold weather clothing layers. Weighing less than two pounds, the sleeping gear is easy to pack, which allows service members to respond rapidly to changing field conditions.

“Adopting equipment between services is done frequently as we are constantly looking for ways to satisfy Soldiers’ and Marines’ needs,” said Army Lt. Col John Bryan, product manager for Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment at PEO-Soldier. “The Three Season Sleep System is just one example.”

Lighten the Load
Together, the Army and the Marine Corps continue to focus on lightening the load for Soldiers and Marines, particularly when it comes to personal protective equipment. In 2010 the Marine Corps conducted a survey of Marines in conjunction with the Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center to assess sizing and weight of body armor and load bearing equipment. As a result, the services are partnering to develop the Plate Carrier Generation III (PC Gen III), a service-common vest that will provide better fit, comfort and mobility to Marines and Soldiers. The new prototype reduces the length of the protective vest by 1.25 inches; provides sports-graded shoulder straps to improve fit; and is 25 percent lighter than previous models.

“Both the Army and the Marine Corps are actively engaged in researching and developing a next-generation personal protective equipment solution that reduces overall weight; and optimizes the elements of size, bulk, fit and comfort to maximize mobility,” said Nick Pierce, the MCSC Team Leader for PPE, Load Bearing and Pack Systems. “The outcome will accommodate the comprehensive anthropometric differences between small and large-statured Marines and Soldiers – male and female – so that both services provide properly fitting PPE for the entire force.”

The PC Gen III is scheduled for multiple Limited User Evaluations during fiscal year 2017. Results will inform the requirements for the next-generation system.

Tropical Environs
The services are working hand-in-hand to develop uniforms and boots for tropical environments. The result of that partnership was put to the test during August as the Marine Corps tests the prototypes during a LUE at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Japan. The uniforms are made of lighter fabric and treated with permethrin to help repel insects. The boots were tested for improved moisture management and reduced drying time, without loss of durability or protection for the wearer.

The Army is also conducting user evaluations on its version of tropical weight materials and boots made for tropical environments.

“After each phase of tropical uniform evaluations with our Soldiers we send over our reports to the Marine acquisition team,” said Bryan. “If in the end the Army and the Marine Corps decide on the same items, great, but if information helps Marines find a better solution for their needs that works too.”

Collaborative initiatives like this aim to ensure Soldiers and Marines have the best products and capabilities to accomplish the mission. By engaging in a continuous free-flow of ideas, approaches and materiel improvements the services ensure they are aligned to streamline the acquisition process, reduce costs and provide common sustainment benefits.

Ongoing pursuits and success stories of the Army and Marine Corps individual equipment partnership:
– Flame Resistant Uniforms & Materials
– Spectral Mitigation and susceptibility reduction of PPE and uniforms
– Arctic Overwhites
– Protective Undergarments
– Enhanced Combat Vehicle Crewman’s Helmet
– Ballistic Base Layer/Combat Shirt
– Protective Eyewear
– ESAPI Ballistic Plates
– Extreme Cold Wx Boots
– Lightweight Exposure Suit
– Extreme Cold Wx Parka
– Windpro Fleece Jacket

“Anything we develop that the services are able to share has a ripple effect in terms of efficiency and cost. If the Army and Marine Corps can be sustained by the Defense Logistics Agency for the same systems—with the same National Stock Numbers—the result is an economy of scale that both services can leverage to reduce costs and simplify the acquisition and sustainment of multi-service common clothing and equipment,” said Bell.

MARCORSYSCOM – Infantry Equipping Challenge Industry Day

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Sorry for the short suspense on this but MARCORSYSCOM is holding an Infantry Equipping Challenge Industry Day on September 26th.

According to SYSCOM, the event is intended to inform Industry (to include Small Business) of the IEC objectives, planned events, schedules, processes, desired outcomes and to solicit Industry feedback. During this Industry Day event currently fielded Infantry equipment will be displayed and its’ requirements, capabilities, operation and areas for possible improvement will be discussed. Presentations on current and future operating environments, potential engineering assessment criteria, and current requirements will also be presented. The IEC is a series of associated events, with both engineering assessments and limited operational evaluations, the overarching schedule of these events will also be presented at the IEC Industry Day. At the conclusion of the open forum, Industry Day general session time will be made available to meet with those vendors desiring individual meetings with MCSC Program Managers and/or subject matter experts. Industry Day will be conducted on MCB Quantico, VA and the general session will occur 0830 – 1430 Eastern Daylight Time.

IEC is MCSC’s innovative process to identify and evaluate the best & most relevant equipment for Infantry Marines and then expedite transition of the associated capabilities as requirements and funding permit. The Challenge will look at equipping opportunities of both the overall Infantry Marine and more specifically, by primary MOS, including the 0311 MOS Riflemen, the 0313 MOS Light Armor Vehicle Marine, the 0331 MOS Machine Gunner, the 0341 MOS Mortarman and the 0351 MOS Infantry Assault Marine. IEC brings together stakeholders from across the Marine Corps requirements, acquisition, and technology development communities in a dynamic process to quickly evaluate and accelerate fielding of technologies that decrease the Infantry’s load, increase operational reach and reduce the reliance on the logistical train. MCSC’s metric of success for IEC is the accelerated fielding of material solutions for Infantry Marines.

Focus areas for each individual IEC event will be identified in the respective RFI for that event. General focus areas to be considered for IEC events include the following:
• Opportunities for equipment that is lighter, more capable, less burdensome, reduced logistical needs, reduced complexity/maintenance, or better tailored for the Infantry’s tasks
• Power management, generation, storage, harvesting and scavenging
• Infantry food; weight/bulk repackaging
• Individual and squad level water filtration systems
• Innerwear and outerwear clothing and other worn garments
• Medical and casualty gear
• Lightweight ammo

Certain systems and equipment are already the subject of concerted Marine Corps focus and hence will not be included in the initial IEC focus areas or are found in other RFI’s. (they may, however, be included in later IEC focused events). These areas include:
• Small arms
• Weapons, optics and sensors, including combined optics
• Drones
• Night vision goggles
• Radios
• Body armor

Interested parties must register by 14 September.

For more information, visit