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USMC Fields M38 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle


Back in May we told you that the US Marine Corps planned to field M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles Equipped with 3-9x scopes as Squad Designated Marksman Rifles. Apparently, work began not long after and units are now equipped with the rifle, designated as the M38. The Marines adopted the 5.56mm M27 in 2011 to replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in the infantry squad. The M27 is manufactured by Heckler & Koch and is based on the HK416.


The optic actually used has been identified as the Leupold TS-30A2 Mark 4 MR/T 2.5-8x36mm with a tuned Mk262 77gr turret. Interestingly, the Marines are supposed to transition to the M855A1 round this year.


In these photos, Marines with 3rd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment fire the M38 Squad Designated Marksmanship Rifle during a live-fire weapons exercise at range F-18 on Camp Lejeune, NC, Dec. 8, 2017. Photos by LCpl Michaela R. Gregory.


29 Responses to “USMC Fields M38 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle”

  1. SVGC says:

    I’m glad to see them moving this direction with the weapon system, but I’m really hoping these are just legacy TS30s from the mk12 program that they’re planning to use in the interim.

  2. Roy Woodall says:

    I hope they shoot a lot of ass-holes with those.

  3. JSGlock34 says:

    Changing the optic on the M27 results in a different type designation? Or does the M38 differ in other ways from the M27?

  4. Cuvie says:

    It seems they’re following a similar path that the British did with the L86

  5. Joe says:

    I hope they have fixed some of the issues with the M27’s gas system when fired suppressed, as well as the cycling issues with M855A1 and the IAR’s tendency to break bolts, also here’s hoping the Marine Corps will see the light and adopt an MLOK version of the Geissle free float rail.

  6. Kaos-1 says:

    Love the pictures. Soaked marines .

    If it ain’t raining, we ain’t training…..

  7. Martin says:

    They use Pmags? How that?

  8. Martin says:

    Sorry don‘t saw it‘s .223

  9. Matt says:

    USMC adopted the Gen 3 PMAG service wide. Article is here on SSD. So has the Airforce. I imagine eventually TACOM will come around and the Army will adopt it at some point.

    • Ken says:

      TACOM authorized use of PMags Army wide in Sept 2017 in MAINTENANCE
      INFORMATION MESSAGE 17-045, same Gen 3 PMags that the USMC & everyone else is using.

  10. lucio says:

    3×9 ummmm

    • Mac says:

      It’s just the old scope from the SAMR. Didn’t buy new ones, just kinda using the same ones from around circa 2004. They had it on those, then put them on the Mk.12 uppers, and now they have a new home on this thing.

      I know, I know…

  11. chad says:

    I wonder why they didn’t choose a 10 power with a first focal plane reticle

  12. Joglee says:

    Make more sense to upgrade the M4, then you end up with a better rifle for 1/3 the cost.

  13. Will Rodriguez says:

    5.56 for a DMR? Seems 7.62 would be a better choice to give the DM a round that could reach out further taking advantage of the DM’s better skills.

    • Ed says:

      The MK12 could reach out with the 77 SMK/BlackHills in excess of 700yds. The Teams started fielding the FF 14.5″ coupled w/ MK6 Leupolds shooting same round and getting damn near same range. I get it, it doesn’t have weight to energy ratio of .30 cal bullet but that’s still impressive for a 5.56!

    • Joe says:

      Yes, the DM should have totally different ammunition and magazines than the rest of his squad, have more weight, less ammunition, more recoil, and just a *little* more practical range.

      • Ed says:

        Be careful using words like “should”, “could”, “would”. That is a dangerous rabbit hole to go down with out way out!

  14. Jester says:

    This is all well and good, a new rifle to kill bad guys, but when are they going to tackle the tough issues like designing a new dress uniform?

  15. ODG says:

    I love seeing Marines get their hands on good kit, However, there is a part of me that is like.. “where the fuck was this shit when I was in the Corps!??” Oh the damage I could have wrought with an M32 and an M38 when I was up to my eyeballs in bad guys and stacking bodies every week. Did someone give the corps a period of instruction on wiring the old knights can on….LOL???