Courtesy of Tactical Life

The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA)’s 2017 Armament Systems Forum, which just wrapped yesterday in Fredericksburg, Va., contained a number of juicy tidbits regarding the weapons used by our armed forces. The first revelation was that the US Army had selected soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division to be the first to field the new Sig Sauer M17 service pistol. Now we’re seeing that the NDIA forum also included a discussion on an expanded role for the USMC’s M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR).

According to Soldier Systems, the Corps wants to capitalize on the long range of the M27 — adopted in 2011 and based on the Heckler & Koch HK 416 5.56mm — by equipping an as-yet undetermined amount of M27s with 3-9x optics for use as a Squad Designated Marksman Rifle (SDM-R) beginning in Fiscal Year 2018, with fielding expected to be completed by Fiscal Year 2019. Chris Woodbury, Deputy for the Maneuver Branch of the Marine Corps Capabilities Development Directorate, dropped that particular nugget of information.

The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory is also continuing to evaluate squads that are equipped solely with the M27, but as Soldier Systems notes, fielding the M27 to all Infantry seems more likely, as that’s been Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller’s priority in terms of modernization.

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Photo courtesy of Lance Cpl. Jon Sosner