The Marine Corps has started to rollout suppressors for the M4, M27 and M4A1 rifles to infantry, reconnaissance and special operations Marines, according to a press release.
“We’ve never fielded suppressors at this scale,” Maj. Mike Brisker, weapons product manager in Marine Corps Systems Command, said in the release. “This fielding is a big moment for the Marine Corps.”
In 2015 the Corps kicked off a two-year study into broadening the use for suppressors, hoping the device that reduces the noise of a rifle going off will increase Marines’ ability to stay concealed from the enemy while making it easier for fire teams to communicate.
In the span of an enlistment, the Marine infantryman has seen weapons changes that previously took decades.
“I would say the most important thing the suppressor does is allow for better inter-squad, inter-platoon communication,” Chief Warrant Officer David Tomlinson, Marine Corps Systems Command infantry weapons officer, said in the release. “It allows the operators to communicate laterally up and down the line during a fire fight.”
The widespread use of suppressors also will have the added benefit of lowering hearing loss claims by veterans, Brisker said.
“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.”
A 2016 experiment cemented the Corps desire to hand suppressors to all grunts in the fleet.
“The positive feedback from that experiment was the primary driving force behind procuring suppressors,” Brisker said. “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.”
Brisker said the goal is to field roughly 30,000 detachable suppressors by 2023.
The Corps also is interested in developing suppressors already integrated into their rifles, reducing the length of the barrel, Marine Corps Times previously reported.