B5 Systems

Marine Corps Is Looking At Commercially Available Suppressors, Issues Sources Sought Notice To Industry

Last week, the Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) issued a Sources Sought Notice, often also referred to a Request For Information (RFI) to industry for commerically available suppressors for the 5.56mm NATO M4, M4A1, and M27. The RFI is an important step in developing a realistic requirement which leads to a solicitation and eventually, procurement.

Marine Gunner Christian Wade (seen above) has been a big advocate of suppressing Marine weapons, even producing videos to educate Marines of their true capabilities. It’s good to see the Marines catching up with his vision.

They’ve certainly done their homework and have developed quite a list of what they are looking for. Additionally, they are keeping their options open, stating that future procurement quantities of suppressors could span between 18,000 and 194,000.

According to the RFI, at a minimum, suppressors should meet the following requirements:

1. The suppressor should be capable of detachment/attachment and disassembly/ reassembly by an operator in the field without the use of special tools for normal care and cleaning.

2. Suppressor should enable a noise level of 139 decibels or lower at either of the shooters ears.

3. Suppressor should be a design that minimizes the change in the host rifle internal operating system dynamics.

4. Suppressor may be of the over the barrel, or flush mount design and should not be longer than 20″ total barrel length (threshold), 18″ (objective).

5. Suppressor should be of the quick detachable design. A special muzzle device may be attached (by a unit Armorer) to the OEM weapon in order to facilitate installation and removal by an operator.

6. Must be able to withstand the sustained rate of the M27 IAR (capable of a rate of fire of 36 rounds per minute for 16 minutes, 40 seconds with firing starting at ambient temperature for a 600 round load).

7. The entire suppressor and muzzle device should weigh no more than 18 oz.

8. The use of the suppressor should not increase the dispersion of each respective weapon. It is acceptable for the weapon to experience a repeatable shift in the zero between unsuppressed and suppressed operating modes, but that shift should not exceed 3 MOA for each respective weapon.

9. The suppressed weapon should retain its dispersion through the life of the barrel (objective of 24,000 rounds)

10. The suppressor system is not required to have an internal projectile pathway which is the usual industry standard for a 5.56mm diameter round. The internal bullet channel may be larger than is typical of current suppressor designs. In other words, the suppressor may be able to be employed on multiple calibers (i.e. A059 Ball, AB49, AC12, AB57 etc.) without any modification to the suppressor. This attribute not only facilitates future caliber/weapon capabilities, but could also mitigate baffle strikes.

11. Suppressor should function with all Department of Defense Identification Code (DODIC) 5.56 mm ammunition, including A059 Ball, A063 Tracer, A080 Blank, AA33 Ball, AA53 Ball Special Match, AA69 Armor Piercing, AB49 Ball Carbine barrier, AC12 and AB57 Enhanced Performance Round.

12. Suppressor should not require permanent configuration changes to the weapon system.

13. Suppressor should not inhibit the mounting or operation of the M203 or M320 grenade launchers (objective).

14. Suppressor should not require the addition of a gas mitigating charging handle.

15. Should be able to accept a suppressor sleeve in order to reduce thermal signatures and mitigate operator burns.

16. All suppressor external surfaces should have a dull, low-reflective finish (to include pins, bolts, lanyards, sight posts, etc.). The external color of the system should be consistent with current camouflage colors and patterns.

18. The suppressor material should be able to accept approved USMC paint (e.g. rattle-can spray paint).

19. Suppressor should be resistant to corrosion, abrasion, impacts and chemicals, including standard Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) decontaminants.

20. The suppressor should resist maritime corrosion and/or effects of carbon/copper/lead fouling.
• MIL-L-46000C – Lubricant, Semi-fluid (Automatic Weapons)
• MIL-PRF-372D – Cleaning Compound, Solvent (Bore of Small Arms and Automatic Aircraft Weapons)
• MIL-PRF-14107D – Lubricating Oil, Weapons, Low Temperature
• MIL-PRF-63460D – Lubricant, Cleaner and Preservative for Weapons and Weapons Systems

22. The suppressor should not require a more frequent cleaning schedule than the weapon system.

23. The system, with suppressor attached should continue to operate and safely function after exposure to blowing dust, mud, salt fog, rain, and icing/freezing rain environments as specified in US Army Development Test Operations Procedure (TOP) 3-2-045 (Small Arms – Hand and Shoulder Weapons and Machineguns) dated Sep 2007.

24. The system, with suppressor attached should be able to withstand the shock from a user performing individual movement techniques in combat, and the vibrations of being transported in standard military aircraft and ground vehicles as loose cargo, without degradation of performance.

25. The system, with suppressor attached should continue to safely function after being dropped in any orientation from a 1.7 meter height onto a smooth concrete or steel surface at temperatures ranging from -25º Fahrenheit (F) to 140º F. The addition of the suppressor on the weapon system should not result in a discharge when dropped from this height.

26. The system, with suppressor attached should safely function through a temperature range of -25º F to +140º F without degradation of performance.

27. In addition to the suppressor, request information on the ability of industry to provide a BFA type suppressor (that looks like, operates like and weighs the same as the live fire suppressor). This BFA type suppressor should be capable of catching a live 5.56mm round. This BFA suppressor should also be easily distinguished as a training device only.

Those interested in providing information to MARCORSYSCOM have until September 6th.  Visit www.fbo.gov for full details. 


24 Responses to “Marine Corps Is Looking At Commercially Available Suppressors, Issues Sources Sought Notice To Industry”

  1. charlie says:

    1. The suppressor should be capable of detachment/attachment and disassembly/ reassembly by an operator in the field without the use of special tools for normal care and cleaning.

    22.The suppressor should not require a more frequent cleaning schedule than the weapon system.

    I really hope they know that most competitive suppressors for centerfire rifles are sealed cans and don’t require cleaning. I really really hope that they’re actually talking about the QD mounts which can build up carbon over time.

    • BillC says:

      I’m sure they know. They included this so they wouldn’t eliminated other possible suppressors and designs inadvertently through exclusion criteria.

  2. Jack Boothe says:

    As someone closely related to an Audiologist, I am surprised that the solicitation only requires a noise reduction to the 130 dB range. That still would require hearing protection be worn, and is louder than a lawn mower (70 dB) or military jet aircraft taking off in afterburners (130 dB). So much for touting suppressors as safe hearing devices.

    • mudd says:

      At that point, 139 not 130db, the amount of noise coming out the ejection port will be the same as muzzle…

    • Ed says:

      You really thought a “suppressed” weapon/rifle, etc., was supposed to be as quite as they are in movies?? Seriously?? Having them is still better than not having them, still wear ear-pro and have the ability to communicate better w/ internal comms/Peltor-inovio type system. FYI; Recce elements don’t wear ear pro so they can actually hear the environment and get a whole sense of what is or not ahead. Even wearing Peltors can obscure and hinder hearing when turned up and miss subtle sounds/movements.

      • Jack Boothe says:

        While I fully understand that TV silencers are not the same as currently available suppressors, a reduction from 140 dB (the low end noise generated by an unsuppressed weapon) to 139 dB (the level the current solicitation is for) is not all that significant especially considering these differences are achieved through “power addition” used in calculating changes in dB. It is also disingenuous for the suppressor industry to call the act to allow their sale the SHUSH Act: Silencers Helping Us Save Hearing. First they are not silencers, and second the level to which they lower sound still require the use of hearing protection. I guess, if you have a weapon that after installing a suppressor still is as loud as a jet taking off, what have you gained? Definitely not covertness. And definitely not hearing safety?

        • James says:

          The key there is “at the shooters ear” . The M4 is a noisy bugger, and vents a lot of sound from the ejection port. 139db is a higher end suppressor number for a m4, and unsuppressed is more like 165db

    • George says:

      Try closer to 165dB for an unsuppressed M16.

    • Humps says:

      You need to keep in mind that every noise is made up of a spectrum of frequencies. Human ears are more tolerant to some frequencies than others. A sustained low frequency noise is way different than an impulse high frequency noise. Weighting scales (dBA, dBC, etc.) are used to even the playing field.

    • Kel Whelan says:

      If they set the bar so high as to exclude every available suppressor in the market, no one would participate. The size / dB reduction factors are always at odds: make it long enough and heavy enough to drop sound pressure to quieter levels, and no one will want to carry it, and it may have increased negative effect on accuracy, harmonics, system wear.

      Make it an achievable SPL number and it still protects hearing to some amount – to surrounding teammates in close proximity, at the very least, if not the person actually running the gun. Then there’s the sonic camouflage aspect and other survivability/force multiplier positive aspects to consider outside of simple ear pro for the shooter.

  3. Joe says:

    4. Suppressor may be of the over the barrel, or flush mount design and should not be longer than 20? total barrel length (threshold), 18? (objective).

    So, for an M4 that’s a 3.5″-5.5″ suppressor, and for the M27 that’s a 2″-4″ suppressor, assuming it’s not a reflex design.

    I can see why 140dB is the threshold, not a lot of room to work with.

    Also, the military generally doesn’t care about hearing damage (that’s for the VA to deal with), but does care about communication during combat.

    • BillC says:

      You’re forgetting the length that the suppressor goes over, like the muzzle device and the threads of the barrel. So the suppressor (threshold) length on a M4 could be longer than 5.5″. That’s not factoring in any possible reflex over-the-barrel possibilities.

  4. Ed says:

    FYI, The Gunny looks like a tool wearing his 8-point shooting!


    • SSD says:

      That’s Gunner there sport, as in Chief Warrant Officer. He’s a good guy who really cares about what he does.

      • Non-operator says:

        Agreed. But I can only imagine the multitude of Marines asking their squad leaders why they can’t ever shoot without gloves, Z87 rated eyepro, kevlar, and plate carrier or IMTV with groin and neck protectors.

        Not knocking the gunner, just making jest and pointing out what I KNOW my Marines would have immediately brought up to me first.

        • Rob says:

          How is Gunner Wade dressed any differently than Marines shooting at Annual Qual Table 1 Know Distance Range?

      • Ed says:

        Not knocking his knowledge or skill, just pointing out the “tool” factor. I’d hope he has thick skin unlike the several snowflakes online, ya dig?!

  5. Nick says:

    11. Suppressor should function with all Department of Defense Identification Code (DODIC) 5.56 mm ammunition, including … A080 Blank..

    Is this to mean function as a BFA (ala yellow surefire training “cans”) or what?

    • Robert says:

      What if the mounting adapter interferes with mounting a bayonet?

      The Marine Corps is still big on issuing bayonets, as far as I know.

      • Joe says:

        Not really. Most grunts will go their entire enlistment without seeing a bayonet in the fleet.

    • SSD says:

      That’s a great Q&A Submission. If you’re responding to the RFI, I suggest you submit it to the POC.