Kit Up! received a question on our tip line from a reader who wondered whether the Marine Corps is looking at or would purchase the M240L medium machine gun.

The FN Herstal-made M240L is a lightened version of the M240B, with a titanium receiver, front sight post and carry handle and other enhancements that shave 5-7 pounds off the nearly 30 pound lead spitter. The Army had done an initial UNS fielding of the Spec Ops Mk-48, which is essentially a 7.62 SAW, but developed the 240L to retain the 240′s reliability and toughness with less weight.

The service has purchased about 4,500 of the weapons and plans to buy around 12,000 in all.

But not the Marine Corps, says the service’s top weapons developer.

As expected, the Marine Corps is keeping an eye on the Army’s progress with the 240 “Lima” but as of now, the service sees the program as a bit pricey for modest weight savings.


Instead, our tapped in source tells us, the Corps is exploring technologies in various states of maturity to lighten and strengthen the barrel. There are carbon fiber coatings, new alloys and ceramic liners — some of which are available now — that could keep the barrel the same weight, but decrease heat retention, guard against warp and eliminate cook offs.

“We are able to imagine an M240B with a barrel that you never have to change in the middle of a fight,” our source tells us.

But more than that, the Corps is also interested in new barrels that incorporate suppressors. We’re not talking suppressors that attach to the barrel, we’re talking suppressors that are built into the barrel.

Our source tells us Marines have realized in Afghanistan that supressed weapons dole out a great psychological effect.

“We’ve found the bad guys don’t like not being able to hear where the round is coming from,” our Marine source tells us.

A supressor on a medium machine gun? Seriously?…

Dead serious our source tells us. It’s not just science fiction and if the science matures to field testing, the Corps will be all over it.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff the Baptist January 10, 2011 at 6:45 am

So they're going to throw all this heat mitigation tech on the barrel, then put a suppressor on it that will make it heat up faster?


Tom January 10, 2011 at 8:07 am

Let's wait and see, it's the USMC running this not the Army.


Tim January 10, 2011 at 8:18 am

Pretty sure the heat mitigation materials that work on the barrel would work on the suppressor as well. I would guess it's the reason they're now able to realistically look into suppressing a medium machine gun.


Tim January 10, 2011 at 8:16 am

I've often wondered why the military hasn't put more suppressed weapons out there. The explanation I often encountered was that it's more intimidating to the enemy if they can hear all of your weapons systems bearing down on them. Wouldn't it be more intimidating if the enemy had no clue where the heavy fire was coming from, not to mention the flanking fire?


crackedlenses January 10, 2011 at 9:52 am

If the MC pulls this off and it works, all power to them. There can be nothing fun about being pinned down by 30 cal. MGs you can't hear……


Andrew January 10, 2011 at 11:06 am

You might want to edit the title. It says M204L instead of M240L.


Lance January 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm

The army too is looking into M-240Ls and and a short barreled M-240 version. The Mk-48 has it problem issues and I think fall short of the newer lighter M-240s.


Thunder350 January 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Yea good luck with that, we saw how the EFV and F-35B turned out.


clowe January 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm

duh…thanks Andrew…


Wake January 10, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Well I've seen a suppressor, SureFire I think, on a SAW so it can't be that far off.


Giao Nguyễn January 10, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Advanced Armament have a suppressor for the M240 also. I haven't played with it yet so I can't tell if it'll adequately handle the fire rate.


Austin January 10, 2011 at 5:48 pm

This would be excellent. Technology is evolving so fast that I don't doubt there is already something that would work on the 240. It probably won't suppress it as much as a suppressor on a M4 but it would help save soldiers hearing as well confuse the enemy. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.


Eric January 10, 2011 at 7:57 pm
theCelt January 10, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Sorry Taliban, that picture of yours is about to be outdated.

We realize you worked very hard to secure your M240 and that you were completely confident it was the coolest thing out there, but welcome to the American way of life. That pic is so 2010.


theCelt January 10, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Anyways I think it is a great idea and I have wondered if they would ever consider doing something like this. I'd like to know what the boots on the ground think of this.

I'm sure it would damage enemy morale and really tick you off during a firefight.


Stefan S. January 11, 2011 at 12:51 am

They won't be using subsonic ammo, and a can doesn't me total elimination of sound. A 240 with a can will still be heard but not as far. jeez!


howard January 11, 2011 at 4:07 am

talking about suppressed machineguns, isn't the you didn't hear it
part of a Hellfire attack part of the charm?
i guess the bad guys have to duck AFTER they're dead.


defensor fortissimo January 11, 2011 at 4:19 am

One obvious question no one seems to be asking is how will this affect barrel length? A 240 bravo is not by anyone's standards petite, how is adding at least 2-3 inches to the barrel going to affect mobility, assuming that's the actual aim of these upgrades?


Nance, E January 11, 2011 at 6:44 am

The main reasons are that weapons with suppressors don't run as well, they are less reliable, the bullets are slower which means they are weaker and slower. So not a good idea for standard issue in most cases.


texasread January 11, 2011 at 9:07 am

How they will achieve this baffles me.


Hammer January 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm

No pun intended?


Mike January 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Seriously a suppressor on 240 Bravo? Next they are gonna want a suppressed Abrams…


Matt Woodbury January 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm

just got the new M240L! I was amazed at the weight difference. I am a weapons squad leader and this will be a force multiplier.


Michael Torres January 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm

From Call of Duty to real world. Amazing.


recon marine January 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I love it, I carried a M-60 several times in the nam, it was a heavy hitter but too heavy for humping. Wish we had silenced weapons in our recon unit…..What you can't hear is a boost to to any unit


Archie January 12, 2011 at 10:51 pm

There is no such thing as a "silencer."

In the case of the 240, I don't see how this would be viable unless it offers a significant reduction in recoil.


Frank January 15, 2011 at 8:00 am

I amEntIer text righIt here!


nfalawyer January 16, 2011 at 10:39 pm

LOL! Classify your comment as "canned humor."


Syke July 25, 2011 at 9:43 am

I believe what the Marine corps is asking for, which is still a pretty lofty goal, is an internal suppressor, which of course wouldnt add much in barrel length.

Maybe not what the Corps is looking for, but it can be done…but on an MG…cant say.


PMI July 28, 2011 at 8:29 am

How exactly did the F-25B 'turn out'?


PMI July 28, 2011 at 8:29 am

Ignore the obvious typo. :p


oscar March 21, 2012 at 8:30 pm

didn't barrett develop a lightweight 240? it doesn't use titanium so the cost shouldn't be too much, (compared to a 240 with a titanium reciever). wouldn't this make more sense?


Tyler May 4, 2012 at 7:08 am

Very slow, low maneuverability, not stealthy, high wing loading, OVER BUDGET, over complicated, late by 5+ years, not survivable, (I could go on for hours).

I'd rather direct you to this website though.


Remember that those are fairly old arguments, and the aircraft has only gotten MORE expensive, and heavier, with a ZERO increase in capability.


TDE March 21, 2013 at 2:50 am

A little belated, but, yeah, that's not true at all. Only ultra old school silencers with wipes decelerate the projectile and only a gun ill-suited for a can will be less reliable.

Source: Me, I run all my weapons with cans.


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