M-27 IAR

Incoming Marine Corps Commandant Jim Amos said during a “Town Hall” meeting at Quantico that he was so impressed with the M-27 Infantry Automatic Rifle that the highly accurate machine carbine could mean the demise of the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

I went out to Weapons and Training Battalion and I fired the [IAR] … and this thing could — notice I didn’t say ‘would’ — could replace the SAW. And it weighs half as much.

The commandant, an F-18 pilot who is the first aviator to become the top general of the Marine Corps, is on a crusade to lighten the load, joking in an earlier comment that the Army asked him to demo a piece of gear he wouldn’t name that gave him “complete situational awareness” but weighed 13.5 pounds.

Marines already wear 65 pounds worth of gear, Amos said, “and I’m going to give them this cosmic little doo da  that will give me complete situational awareness…we’re not going to do it.”

(Nett Warrior, methinks?)

So Amos is bullish on weight and impressed with the IAR, but he clearly recognizes the internal debate within the Corps over the IAR’s utility (the Gunners are very into it) when he says “could” instead of “would” but also realizes that the kind of accuracy gained from the H&K-built M-27 could be a tactical game changer on more than one level.

Any of you grunts in here who have not fired that weapon, you need to fire that weapon. Because fighter pilot old man here fired it and I put it in about [six inches] at 500 yards. It’s an incredible weapon.

The IAR is not yet in the combat zone, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on reports back to CONUS on its performance when it finally makes it battlefield debut.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim November 9, 2010 at 12:11 pm

As long as it comes with 50 or 100 rd mags, I'm on board.
0311 Lcpl

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M.G.Halvorsen November 9, 2010 at 4:40 pm

50 round mags would be a bit tough to reload in a firefight…better have about 20 or so mags packed for social purposes. There are precedents, though. The BAR and the BREN come immediately to mind (although the BAR's 20 round mag was a problem throughout its service life). And, if the Commandant is telling the straight goods (and I have no good reason to doubt his word) then putting rounds into 6 inches at 500 meters is a REALLY good reason to go with it.

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nraddin November 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm

They say putting actuate fire into a position is more important than the number of rounds. So a 30mag as rapid aimed fire will do as much good as 100 rounds in burst machine gun fire. Having a weapon that can open up full auto, but can switch to single shot fire gives a great advantage especially if coupled with extended magazines. I have heard that some of the newer drums work better, and that there are some new triple/quad stack designs that hold much more ammo without extending the magazines length, either of those would solve most of the Magazine size issues.

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Andrew November 9, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I'm with Tim on this one. Although I can't wait to use the IAR, there is quite a bit to be said for the suppressive fire laid down by a fully loaded M249. I don't see why we can't have the best of both worlds: Accuracy, and capacity.

0311 PFC

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Kayaker November 9, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Waste of money. Reissue M-16A2's for everyone and bring back the M-60 as well. The rest of the money can be used for spare parts for critical equipment.

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Stefan S. November 9, 2010 at 9:52 pm

NOTHING wrong with the SAW! Can't stand as a 20+ AD ARSOF NCO here, the armchair commando "clingers" of the Stoner designed dinosaur. Stop wasting time and funds because they can't see better options out there. And don't start with that AK argument. AK is a brute but good luck trying to hit somone out past 100 m. Hello, loose tolerances= increased ammo expendatures. Answer? MK-48. Nuff said. Been there, done that. Lastly love my M-14 EBR. Yeah she's heavy but she gives Haji a one way ticket to allah!

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Chris November 10, 2010 at 3:25 am

I have heard this is "an impressive weapon, but tend to agree with posibly 30 round mags. I used 30 round mages on my Aussie FN-SLR 7-62mm,
We could use on semi or full auto, a savage weapon it turned out to be, sounded like a -50 cal going of!.
Load bearing aside, you do need a larger round despite new advances in bullet technology/powder tech etc, {the old story of the SS-109 round for the M-4 .M16A-2 which was potent at distance}
The A-2 was not bad, the SLR with 30 round mag, fantastic. And it was 7-62…must remember the weight of extra rounds to re-load you may have to carry!!

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Ryan November 10, 2010 at 4:41 am

I'm not too keen on reverting back to a Magazine fed suppressive fire weapon! We should look back to why we did away with them in the first place. I know high cap. mags are more reliable now, but a 100 round Bata-C mag takes up as much if not more space than 200 rounds of 5.56 linked. If you want a weapon that is adaptable and can be set up as belt fed or mag fed bring back the Stoner 63A or check out the Shrike by Ares.
http://www.dndguns.com/shrike.htm

much better alternatives than a Mag only suppressive fire weapon.

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gabe November 10, 2010 at 5:28 am

It might sound good and even look good from a Public Relations perspective and might even improve recruiting numbers. But in the field under fire when guys need good cover fire a thirty or even a sixty round mag will only result in less actual rounds down range and more time spent changing mags. Keep the saw that uses the belts, even linked together, but have someone properly trained in how to effectively engage/lay cover fire, and make sure he isn't a cry baby about humping some weight. 65 lbs was nothing for us Army Grunts. I was an old school 60 gunner and loved it. Otherwise, every body who is still operating, watch your six so you can make it back to the world.

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NeoConVet November 10, 2010 at 7:20 am

Well shucks just bring back the BAR for a magazine fed weapon… at least it has round that keeps someone down for good….and can reach out and touch someone at a distance.

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Mike November 10, 2010 at 8:03 am

US military base strategy is overwhelming firepower. The Marine Corps strategy is OVVVEEERRRWHHEEELLLMMIIINNGGGG firepower, and then fire and maneuver. to keep the enemies heads down, sometimes taking well aimed shots, or even paired shots dont work. even with the burst the m-4/m-16 have. you need to have a weapon that can lay 200 rounds down range. and if its 50, that magazine better not jam, and better be easy as hell to use.

LCpl. 0311, LAR

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Sev November 10, 2010 at 9:12 am

Why not just make it a standard issue carbine? Thats basically what it is. A fully automatic rifle with a big magazine and heavy barrel. We have beltfed SAWs for a reason. Again thats just my two cents. I wanna hear what veterans have to say

Oh and Happy early Veterans Day btw

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mike November 10, 2010 at 9:13 am

If they had entered a plain old standard M4 into the IAR competition it would have killed all the contestants with the way the testing has been performed.

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Kenneth November 10, 2010 at 9:52 am

Bring back the German MG42, possibly the most effective machine gun ever fielded. It chopped up a goodly portion of our 1st and 29th Divisions on Omaha Beach.

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Ryan November 12, 2010 at 6:05 am

Its called the MG3 now and some contries still use it chambered in .308 (7.62X51)

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Colby November 10, 2010 at 10:58 am

I saw somewhere that H&K was working on an IAR version of the 417 along with a 50 round magazine to use with it. I've never had the honor of serving so I don't have first hand experience to go along with my opinion, but it sounds like a better fit to me.

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Lance November 10, 2010 at 11:58 am

It would be way too heavy in .308!

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Lance November 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

Amen to that!

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Fitz November 11, 2010 at 5:54 am

I loved my M-1 Garand and had to turn it in for an M-14, I was not happy but life goes on just do it.

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Riceball November 11, 2010 at 7:28 am

Somebody has already done that: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2010/10/25/val

The only problem with a belt fed rifle is the lack of a quick change barrel, the barrel of most rifles aren't designed to take the heat from near continuous automatic and the lack of a quick change barrel will possibly result in destroying your rifle (at least the barrel) during a long and heavy firefight.

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Ryan November 12, 2010 at 6:06 am

Check out the Shrike, Belt fed upper for the M16, will also accept M16 mags.

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JoeLiberst November 12, 2010 at 12:47 pm

No quick change barrel…. I think this is a problem waiting to happen.

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Alan Hodges November 12, 2010 at 1:57 pm

There is already a belt fed M16 upper out there.
http://www.dndguns.com/shrike.htm

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Cy X November 13, 2010 at 7:29 am

As long as you don't mind the weight of the Magazines, it shouldn't be an issue. Having Humped a SAW 20+ miles, I'd like a lighter weapon. In a live fire exercise once, my peers didn't like cleaning weps, so they gave me extra ammo for my m16a2 (couple dozen extra magazines) and one of the evaluators thought we had 2 saws in our fire team. That said, I do like belt fed weapons…

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Charlie November 13, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Not impressed. H&K makes a good product, but it's a standard 5.56 round. Why send anybody into COMBAT with a round that u can't go DEER HUNTING with in most states. See how many Generals will be making money off of it.
I think the best thing to do is buy new upper receivers for the current piece of **** our guy's are using like a 6.8 mm or 300 Olympic (new round by Olympic Arms) with the gas piston impingement system and upgrade them. It would save a ton of money!
Since Vietnam no self respecting MERC uses an M-16. S O F Mag has published several articles on this. Our guy's have been begging for M-14's in the desert.
For years our Generals have fought to keep the 223 round, because it caused a wound and didn't kill the enemy, hopeing it would take 2 or 3 of the enemy to remove the enjored to the rear. Someone please tell them PIN HEADS our current enemy doesn't play by the same rules we do!
USMC Retired
Disabled Vet

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Marsh-n November 14, 2010 at 6:52 am

ok….. i get the rifles are lighter, but the SAW puts more round out there. IT IS THE PERFECT GUN THAT IS GOING TO BE PUT IN THE TRASH! I mean ya the rifles are more portable and more accurute but atleast keep some around.

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Marsh-n November 14, 2010 at 6:56 am

50 round mags would be nice. Just something where your not reloading every 2 minutes.

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Dan November 14, 2010 at 10:59 am

Needs a bigger magazine but the 5.56 is a perfect round for SF..

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howard November 15, 2010 at 4:23 am

i agree with Sev… make it the basic issue.
longer range better accuracy and don't run out
of ammo. i didn't see on a few of the webpages
i checked what grenade options it has.
bullets are fine as long as you can
throw a big dude out there at max range
close to what incoming RPG fire you might
expect. i'm constitutionally against fighting
RPG vs bullets myself.

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larry24416 February 22, 2011 at 9:52 am

in vn we were (close). in tight the m60 was a relief and a good sound and highy effective.

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Joe LittleBear February 23, 2011 at 5:41 am

I felt the same way when I was forced to give up my M-14 in the field for the M-16…The M-1 was a great weapon on the target range,…but, I experienced the following problems with it …….. (1) the "M -1 thumb " ( to lose a nail in the middle of a firefight doesn't improve your accuracy…) (2) only had 8 rounds, and then that damned sheet metal clip went out with a distinctive " ka-ching " to announce to the enemy that your weapon was empty… The M-14 corrected those faults by using a bolt release lever which did not require sticking your thumb into the "bear trap " and the internal box magazine was replaced by an external box mag which held 20 rounds…also some of the weight was trimmed off… also, the shortened bolt travel of the .308 cartridge improved over the longer 30-06 cartridge…..( The Germans knew this back in WW-2 )…. I grew up in the country and was familiar with the "pistol grip stock " from the age of 6 yrs…. the separate pistol grip of the M-16 was awkward to me… The .223 was a glorified version of the old .222 varmit cartridge…. One of the guys sung out,…" It's SWELL kids,,,it's made by MATTEL…." Sure enough…there was the Mattel logo molded into the stock… The flash hider became known as "the daisy picker " as it latched onto every weed, flower and branch it came in reach of….. Cross a river and the barrel plugged up with water…due to the small bore,…and something called "capillary action" so we had to carry CONDOMS and rubber bands to keep the water out… I am persuaded that more emphasis needs to be put on marksmanship during training rather than the "spray and pray " fully auto scenario….this not only conserves ammo,…but greatly increases the life and accuracy of the weapon…. If any of you think that sheet metal receivers and fully auto is the answer…..the old .45 cal "grease gun" of WW-2 could be produced for about $ 11.00 each…

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Joe LittleBear February 23, 2011 at 6:25 am

Surely this must be a typo and you refer to the 7.62 mm The 7.65 has been defunct since WW-2

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Joe LittleBear February 23, 2011 at 6:29 am

The MG-42 probably scared more soldiers than it killed…due to it's high rate of fire…The MG -38 was almost identical but fired slower….didn't burn up the barrels quite so fast.. probably an upgraded version would be ideal..

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alexandriacarpetone February 23, 2011 at 7:47 am

Heck, I still can't believe the M60 is gone… brings a tear to my eye.
Semper Fi http://dcmarines.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/nmcbn-q

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Bman March 21, 2011 at 11:08 am

This guy is a fighter jock that doesnt know squat about infantry weapon. The barrel cannot sustain the rate of fire a 249 can nor can a magazine fed rifle. How about getting rid of the M-4 and giving every marine one of these rifles.

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David D. Rowley April 11, 2011 at 10:26 am

Although, when I carried a SAW in 1993, the damn thing was more likely to jam than to fire…maybe it got better over the years?!__

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William C. April 11, 2011 at 11:18 am

From what I've read, the military had been doing a poor job at replacing old, worn out SAWs that saw a lot of use. As a result they behaved like unreliable pieces of junk.

In more recent years the Army and USMC have stepped up their purchases of new M249s so I'd imagine they are now functioning as they are supposed to. They do have a pretty good reputation among European forces so I don't think the design was at fault.

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Johnny Quest May 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm

MG-38?

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Joe LittleBear May 26, 2011 at 2:55 am

Beg your pardon….it was the MG 34 ( good catch there….shows you were paying attention )….. They were almolst identical but the MG 42 had a higher rate of fire and thus burned the barrels up faster……this has been the curse of single-barreled weapons since the old "Coffee Mill" of the Civil War days…. they don't have enough cooling time between rounds….this was the roblem addressed by Richard Gatlin when he invented the multi-barreled weapon…to allow the barrel to cool before it fired again… This concept is still used today in the Vulcan cannon and Mini-guns…

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Johnny Quest May 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm

General Dynamics MK43 Mod 1 is what the M60 should have always been and is a lighter, handier package than any form of the M240 including the new "light weight' version. All I can say is better late than never.

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Johnny Quest May 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm

HK's rifle is an overweight and bloated piece of kit.

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GREENJACKET NCO January 10, 2012 at 7:04 am

The Britsh Army has just done this exercise in reverse. When we moved from the 7.62 FN BREN/ GPMG and SLR combo to the 5.56 SA-80 weapon system we did away with belt-fed squad weapons in favour a Light Support Weapon which was basically the standard rifle but with a longer barrel and a bipod.

We took the new combination to Gulf War 1 and suddenly all the infantry units were getting hold of as many GPMG (M240 to you) as they could because the SA80 and LSW combo just wasn't provding enough Dakka-Dakka when it counted.

By the time we went to back to Iraq for round two there was a purchase programme for Minimi (M-249 a-likes from Belgium) which was rushed to completion as an Urgent Operational Requirement in order to prop-up the insufficient firepower of our squads, along with underslung grenade launchers and helmet mounted night vision.

Personal view – you need both.

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Billywhat? January 15, 2014 at 5:24 am

Give everybody an M-27 to increase capability above the M4 and give the saw gunners the new negev 7.62 light machine gun. Weighs much less than the M240 and does the same thing better.

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John D March 18, 2014 at 6:34 pm

It is not belt fed so the rate of fire is no better than an M16! This is a sneaky way for the marines to get the IAR as a replacement for their M16/M4s without going thru the jumps and hoops! The SAW is heavier has changeable barrels and belt feed. The barrel length is 16" not 20" like the M16. It really is not a comparable replacement for the SAW,just another inter service peeve like the camo. Since when is the world so different that all services need a specific camo pattern? Need some common sense here!

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Chris McG March 19, 2014 at 10:19 pm

If you remain belt fed there is the simple option of taking the Mk48 and fielding it in place of the SAW. Operation, drills and maintenance are essentially the same as the SAW but you get 7.62mm.

Australia did this and fielded them with both SF and regular forces with no implementation bumps along the way now there squads generally roll with a 5.56 and a 7.62 Minimi so they get best of both worlds.

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Buckethead Vet April 3, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Being a two Tour Vietnam Vet, (our Tours were 12 moths, the Corp was 13), I trained in Basic & Infantry AIT with an M-14. We were, due to normal stupidity from Washington, issued the M-16 when we hit Nam. We were “trained” for a few hours with the “Matty Mattel”, gee what an intense course!! We were, in 1968, issued nothing but 20 round mags for our 16s!! I understand that Special Ops got the new 30 round mags but very few made it to the normal “Grunts”. I spit some “baccy” juice near our “Butter Bar’s” feet & told him, (with a straight face), that I was a 60 Gunner & I needed to be issued my 60 ASAP, Sir!! I got it, my “A” Gunner chose to grab one of the very few 14′s around, good move, he could always barrow ammo from a 60 belt. After many, many years of weapons of training on almost every type of weapon, this is my breakdown of what should have been done waaay back in 1964; manufacture 30 round mags for the M-14s, they should be the ONLY rifle issued for a “long shot environment”, Desert, Mountains, Arctic, etc. There are a lot of mods currently available for the M14s now, get them!! Of course keep some as Sniper rifles, we called them M21s, uncertain of the newer model numbers for them?? Install the same rails as are currently used on the M4s/16s!! Purchase the new FN 16 type rifles, (I think it’s the FN?), with the rail kits & all the gear that’s hung on the M4s/16s. Make certain that our current Mags will work in this rifle!! Issue BETA Mags across the board, at least one per Troop!! The M27 IAR could really use them!! I am VERY concerned by once again issuing everyone a fully automatic rifle!! When you run the numbers for rounds used to kill an enemy, (can’t remember the numbers but these are in the ball park), WWII used @ 100 to 300 rds per kill, Korea was somewhat higher but not crazy yet, Vietnam was bat s**t crazy, by issuing fully automatic weapons to everyone when a Firefight ensued almost everyone went to full auto & “sprayed & prayed” resulting in a total waste of ammo!! Remember, all you have is what you brought with you!! Vietnam used in excess of 100,000 rds per kill!! I’m afraid this will happen again!! The fully auto rifles should be two per squad as they are now I think, the rest can go from single to 3 rd burst, works great, saves ammo, which in turn saves lives!!

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