Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Firefights of the future involving U.S. Special Ops forces and Marines will be far quieter but more lethal. The reason: both fighting units have decided to equip their automatic rifles and machine guns with special silencers or sound supressors that don’t loudly announce that Death is on its way.
Grunts and operators of the United States Special Operations Forces (SOF) will enter future combat against China and Russia armed with automatic rifles and machine guns whose silencers will make their lethal weapons quieter and virtually undetectable.
United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) recently awarded a five-year, $48 million contract to Sig Sauer, Inc, U.S, subsidiary of the famous German gunmaker Sig Sauer, to provide SOF with “Suppressed Upper Receiver Groups” for its Colt M4A1 carbines.
The contract is the end result of a long-running effort to boost the lethality of SOF by giving them weapons that hardly make audible sounds when fired, even on full auto. The U.S. Marines, on the other hand, have been field testing silenced automatic weapons for the past few years.
In 2017, a U.S. Marine company deployed to Norway became the first infantry unit in either the Marines or the U.S. Army to have all its Colt M4 carbines equipped with “SureFire” silencers. Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division arrived in Norway in January with their silenced M4 carbines.
The men of Bravo Company, who tested the silencers in field exercises in Arctic conditions for three months, are unanimous in their liking for the silencers. The Marines will eventually equip every weapon in an infantry battalion with silencers.
These weapons are M4 carbines; M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles; M249 light machine guns; M240G medium machine guns and M2A1 .50 caliber heavy machine guns.
Maj. Gen. John Love, Commanding General, 2nd Marine Division, said the silencers changed the way Marines fought during testing and evaluation. “It used to be a squad would be dispersed out over maybe 100 yards, so the squad leader couldn’t really communicate with the members at the far end because of all the noise of the weapons,” said Gen. Love.
“Now they can actually just communicate, and be able to command and control, and effectively direct those fires.”
Silencers also make Marines more “invisible” to the enemy by suppressing weapon flash and sound. They allow team leaders to stop carrying radios and extra radio batteries, lightening their load.
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