SureFire

Marine Corps Begins Widespread Fielding of Suppressors

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

Marines risk their lives to protect others.

Many are trained to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, or repel the enemy’s assault by fire and close combat. They engage adversaries in any clime and place, no matter how arduous the conditions.

Marine Corps Systems Command is tasked not only with enhancing the lethality of warfighters. The command also strives to protect them.

MCSC has taken another step toward increasing lethality and protection for Marines. In December, the command began 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. The mass fielding of the suppressors, and their myriad benefits, represents a monumental moment for the Marine Corps.

“We’ve never fielded suppressors at this scale,” said Maj. Mike Brisker, weapons product manager in MCSC’s Program Manager for Infantry Weapons. “This fielding is a big moment for the Marine Corps.”

MCSC works with CD&I, PP&O

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 Brisker. “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.”

Before acquiring the suppressors, MCSC worked with the Marine Corps’ Combat Development and Integration; Plans, Policies and Operations; and the Fleet Marine Force to determine the optimal concept of distribution to support the close combat Marine.

“Our intent was to leverage commercially available technology to support the near-term modernization required for our close combat Marines,” said Billy Epperson, the Infantry Weapon Capabilities Integration Officer at CD&I.

Epperson added that 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.

How suppressors save lives

CWO4 David Tomlinson, MCSC’s infantry weapons officer, emphasized the importance of suppressors in exchanging information during battle. He said gun fights create a chaotic environment with intense noise levels, producing communication problems that can increase confusion.

“I would say the most important thing the suppressor does is allow for better inter-squad, inter-platoon communication,” said Tomlinson. “It allows the operators to communicate laterally up and down the line during a fire fight.”

Tomlinson said suppressors can save lives, as Marines engaged in battle can expose themselves from their firing position. The suppressor reduces their audible and visual signature, making it more difficult for the enemy to ascertain their location.

In addition to tactical advantages on the battlefield, the reduced noise of the suppressors also benefits a Marine’s long-term health, said Brisker. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, hearing problems are by far the most prevalent service-connected disability among American veterans.

“In the big picture, the VA pays out a lot in hearing loss claims,” said Brisker. “We’d like Marines to be able to continue to hear for many years even after they leave the service. These suppressors have that benefit as well.”

Tomlinson mentioned how the news of the fielding of additional suppressors has created a groundswell of excitement among the units receiving them. He believes the myriad advantages suppressors provide will benefit the Marine Corps for years to come.

“As I travel and brief units, this capability has generated the most interest—from lance corporals to colonels,” said Tomlinson. “There has been an overwhelming excitement to receiving the suppressors, which we anticipate will serve as an effective capability for the warfighter.”

Story by Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication, Marine Corps Systems Command

US Marine Corps photo by Sarah N. Petrock, 2d MARDIV Combat Camera

20 Responses to “Marine Corps Begins Widespread Fielding of Suppressors”

  1. Amer-Rican says:

    The Corps is really innovating and leading with the m27 and now cans… That they readily admit “suppressors save hearing” will be a big part of the push by civilians to treat cans like gun accessories. Much of Europe encourages or even requires suppressors!

  2. WhiskeyTango says:

    Glad to see the continued fielding of suppressors across the Marine Corps. I had asked some grunts what they thought of them when i was with 2/4 and they loved having them.

  3. lcpl0420 says:

    Cans make firing in the prone much easier in dusty environments as well.

  4. karso says:

    Way to go Marines! This is the stuff that the whole force needs to see. Next up should be all of Army special ops weapons getting the same treatment. Preemptively procure and field suppressors before the next thing makes it a reactive decision.

  5. BGW says:

    Marines have made impressive moves lately. Wonder where the Army is on this

    • SSD says:

      The army is in the midst of adopting a new rifle and machine gun. That program includes suppressors. Until Next GEN squad weapons is adopted, do not expect a force wide suppressor program.

  6. Christian Wade says:

    That was a long fight. I can remember dodging angrily-directed “tomatoes” many years ago while I attempted to sell skeptical Colonels and Generals on the concept equipping Gravel Agitators with suppressor capability. Heck, so much time has passed that I am a middle aged man staring into the abyss, as they say. That sure took a long time and the effort of many generations of Marines (they know who they are), but the Corps, to her credit, actually “pulled the trigger” on providing a sound/signature-reduction and C2-facilitation device to the poor youngster, God bless him/her, in the Marine Rifle Squad. I think about those fine Americans every day and I am very happy they are receiving their suppressors. “The older I get, the shorter my AR becomes (and then it receives a suppressor” —Marine Gunner Jeff Eby. Right, what’s next?! Perhaps the SBR URG that I wasn’t able to effect before departing.

  7. Richard Schagen says:

    An old solider here in Africa said to me once ‘he who makes the most noise wines’

  8. Dan says:

    Side note, how do you use your laser when your sling is attached to your weapon directly in front it? The sling setup in this picture appears to be an abomination… both by location and by attachment ‘bundle?’…

    Without playing with the weapon directly surely a slightly more optimal position would be to place the laser behind the leaf sight?

    Can someone educate me? Do Marines not have access to tape switches that would allow the laser to be mounted somewhere else? This setup appears useless to me… suppressor or not, he’s not hitting anything at night.

    • James says:

      ‘m sure if he had his choice it’d be different..

      • Dan says:

        Please educate me, are the Marines bound by having their rifles setup a particular way with respect to ancillaries? I appreciate they would be bound by the equipment issued to them, but specifically where the bits can go on their weapons? The way this rifle is setup for combat effectiveness is concerning to me.

        I mean another improvement for this particular setup could be to move the sling attachment point to behind the laser?

        • Ed says:

          Dan I hear you Brother! My suggestion would be one, get rid of all the carbine length uppers. Even if USMC couldn’t outfit all Marines w/ a free-float 13” rail, just do a mid length gas system with traditional FSB. Two more inches of rail and offset the sling or the IR designator to the opposite side of said sling attachment. No reason individual Devil-Dogs couldn’t buy their own TAPs switch or if issued them, use them. I just built a similar set up, 14.5” middy, FSB but it’s free-floated w/ a DD Omega MLok rail. I obviously don’t run a 40/37mm on my personal AR but if I needed a leaf sight I’d take my own advise and side mount that puppy opposite my IR.

          Always a solution for those that search!

          “Improvise, adapt, overcome!” -Gunny Highway

          • SSD says:

            That photo is several years old and from the experiments that validated the need for suppressors.

            The Marines now use the M27, which is a 416 with a 16.5” barrel. With that suppressor, on that gun, they are carting around a “carbine” that is around 40” long and about 9 and a half pounds empty with no other accessories than rifle and suppressor.

            Likewise, there aren’t any M203s mounted to M27s. They are fielding the M320 in stand alone mode.

            • Ed says:

              So the USMC does not field the M4A1 anymore? I’d prefer a shorter a rifle, 14.5” w/ a can if there was a choice.

              • SSD says:

                I’ve seen no word on an official
                Displacement plan for M4s formerly fielded to the infantry, but as of now, the only Marines using M4s are those not in the Infantry or those who closely support them. MARSOC continues to use the M4 as a SOCOM asset.