The commandant of the Marine Corps wants to vastly expand the fielding of infantry automatic rifles by putting them in the hands of nearly every “0311” rifleman.
The Corps’ IAR — currently the M27 made by Heckler & Koch — could replace the standard-issue M4 carbine for thousands of Marines.
“Most Marines like it, and so do I,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told Marine Corps Times. Neller has not made a decision as to whether he will put any additional IARs in infantry squads.
“Everything I have seen suggests that the M27s we have been using for some time have been the most reliable, durable, and accurate weapons in our rifle squads,” Neller said in a statement.
The Marine Corps started fielding more than 4,000 M27 IARs back in 2010, initially thinking they would replace the M249 squad automatic weapons. But ultimately the Corps decided it needed both weapons, and the IARs use among grunts has been limited.
Now Neller is looking at the IAR as a high-performance service weapon for all riflemen in the infantry.
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Photo courtesy of Lance Cpl. Danny Gonzalez