Key point: A good weapon for engineers and fire-support teams as well as to Marine infantry.
The U.S. Marine Corps has picked the Heckler & Koch M27 as its new infantry rifle. Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller confirmed the selection in an interview with Military.com.
The new rifle is part of a wider overhaul of the Marines’ infantry gear. They are also getting new communications equipment, body armor, suppressors and night-vision optics.
The Corps began running unit-level trials with the M27 in late 2016. In February 2017, the branch released a Request for Information asking various manufacturers about their capacity to produce 11,000 M27s. In August 2017 the Corps announced its interest in buying more than 50,000 of the new weapons from Heckler & Koch as part of a sole-source deal.
A few Marines received M27s starting in 2011. The weapon has already seen action in Afghanistan.
While Neller admitted that the 17-inch M27 might not be ideal for mortar crews or Javelin missile operators, it could be issued to engineers and fire-support teams as well as to Marine infantry.
It’s unclear how fast the Corps will field the M27 or what the total cost might be. “Wait and see,” Neller said. “It’s not that much [money].”
“I could kit out every grunt in the Marine Corps with the coolest sh*t head-to-toe for $100 million,” Neller said. “And I intend to do that.”
The 5.56-millimeter M27 is based on Heckler & Koch’s HK416. It’s piston-driven and sports a free-floating barrel. Marines reportedly like the M27 for its reliability and accuracy. A marksman’s variant called the M38 boasts a Leupold TS-30A2 Mark 4 MR/T variable-power scope in place of the Marines’ standard ACOG sights.
An M27 reportedly costs around $3,000. “The price for that rifle is comparable to what we paid for the M4s the riflemen currently have,” Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christian P. Wade, 2nd Marine Division Gunner, told Military.com.
This article first appeared last year.