Military.com contributor Matt Cox wrote a story for us about how the Army and Marine Corps are working on ways to reduce muzzle flash and even suppress the sound of carbines, rifles and machine guns in the field.

Late last year, overall Afghanistan commander Gen. David Petraeus became concerned that the muzzle flash from weapons such as the M4 carbine was too easy for the enemy to spot.

As a result, the Army began equipping troops with special muzzle flash hiders that significantly reduce the visual powder flare during night firing.

“He wanted an immediate fix,” said Col. Doug Tamilio, the Army’s top weapons buyer, at a Feb. 2 Pentagon round table with reporters.

The Blackout flash hiders, made by Advanced Armament Corp., replace the M4’s closed flash hider with an open-prong device. The Army’s Rapid Equipping Force shipped about 10,000 of these flash hiders to Afghanistan for use on the M4 carbine and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and about 1,000 flash hiders made by Surefire, for the 7.62mm M240 machine gun.

You’ll remember that we noticed the Army’s new carbine RFPincluded a requirement for “signature suppression” which can include flash hiders and “silencers.” Tamilio added that a lot of R&D work has to be done on a flash hider to make it universal so that it can allow the Army bayonet to be attached and also a suppressor if needed. Cox found the AWG is intensively looking for a solution.

The Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group recently conducted an evaluation on what it calls the Signature Reduction System. The SRS consists of a “Signature Reduction Device,” or flash hider, and a “Signature Reduction Component,” or sound suppressor…

During the SRS assessment, AWG testers evaluated about a dozen commercially available suppressor systems, shooting about 30,000 rounds in tests. Army weapons officials are aware of the effort and are interested in using some of the AWG’s lessons learned in the service’s suppressor effort, Tamilio said.

It looks like the Army is moving slowly toward a solution that gives every Soldier a suppressor. It dovetails with what the Corps officials told us about the service’s effort to develop suppressors for machine guns, saying they’ve found the enemy in Afghanistan gets pretty freaked out when they don’t know where the fire at them is coming from.

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