Marines Looking to Order for 50,000 More H&K IAR Support Rifles

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The U.S. Marine Corps wants to order 50,000 additional Heckler & Koch M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles, or IARs. The Marines adopted the M27 to replace light machine guns starting in 2010. The IAR can also be fielded as a designated marksman’s rifle as necessary.

While this notice is focused on Heckler & Koch, the contract is available to any source that believes they can deliver suitable support rifles that meet or exceed the current M27’s functionality.

“Any responsible source who believes it is capable of meeting the requirement may submit a capability statement, proposal, or quotation, [shall] be considered by the agency,” reads the notice.

This is still good news for Heckler & Koch since the company has newer, improved versions of the rifle the M27 is based on. The current M27 has a proprietary lower receiver that limits magazine interchangeability with M4 and M16 rifles. The updated design has a standard lower.

Companies don’t have a lot of time to respond. Responses must be submitted by August 28, 2017.

The decision to use a heavy carbine to replace select light machine guns was controversial at the time of adoption. Today it’s clear that the Marine Corps is happy with the decision as they steadily increase the number of IARs in service.

While an M27 weighs more than an M4 or even an M16 rifle, it weighs almost half of what an M249 does. While the M27 doesn’t have the same sustained fire capacity, the lighter gun gives Marines a lot more flexibility and mobility.

See Also: Army Considering Interim 7.62 NATO Combat Service Rifle

The M27 and the HK416 it’s based on are part of the AR family of rifles. They share some parts compatibility which is always a good thing from a logistics perspective.

They feature a heavy barrel and gas piston system, which runs cooler and more reliably than direct impingement rifle, particularly when used as a light machine gun providing sustained fire.

Because the M27 outperforms current rifles in use by the Marines there are rumors that the Corps is looking to switch entirely over to the IAR as its standard issue rifle.

Another advantage of the IAR is its adjustable gas system. This lets users increase the amount of gas used to cycle the action if the gun is fouled as well as decrease the amount of gas when running guns suppressed.

The only major trade-off is the weight difference. An M4 has a dry weight of 6.5 pounds, compared to just under 8 pounds for an unloaded M27. By comparison, M16 rifles weight 7.2 pounds and M4A1 carbines weigh 7.5 pounds.

It sounds like the Corps is willing to add a little more weight to increase their effective infantry range.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Auggie Will August 20, 2017, 12:16 am

    The DOD just put out a proposal a few months ago for a rifle that is already in production to be issued to Army & Marine Infantry units which must be chambered for 7.62 NATO.
    I agree its time to get rid of the 5.56 and let our grunts get back to a real world battle rifle!

  • Steven Hayden August 19, 2017, 11:13 am

    The M249 is weapon is a heavier weapon with long history of service. The Marines may anticipate future battlefield better armed adversaries with abundant shoulder fired missiles and range farther than 2000 meters . Iran now makes abundant fire and forget shoulder fired missiles. Currently in Syria portable missiles against personnel are growing trend. The production costs of man portable missiles is falling . Iran already has fire and forget missiles for air targets . Have a fixed defensive position with a machine gun will become more difficult with arrival of these missiles. The Marines hope for mobile fire suppression are moving away from fixed machine gun positions. The arrival of widespread accurate man portable missiles is a game changer against fixed machine gun positions . Iran and North Korea and Russia all have made great strides in home produced man portable missiles. As technology improves man portable missiles will take on more close combat anti-personnel as well as anti-aircraft role. In the Siege of Sloviansk a few hundred rebels with hundreds of man portable missiles held off tens of thousands of regular poorly armed and motivated soldiers of Ukraine army. Currently Yemen Houthi resistance are popping the Saudi fixed machine gun positions with man portable missiles. Best to stay out of view of potential man portable missile . Missiles are essential in urban combat . Mao said power comes out of barrel of a gun. But today military power comes on a missile warhead. . Look for bombs from drones and man portable anti tank antipersonnel missiles to dominate local battlefield. Long range war will be dominated by nuclear and conventional missile proliferation .

  • Andy Blevins August 18, 2017, 6:33 pm

    Wrong, piston AR’s shine every time you use one. They run so much cleaner that after using one you will wonder why you spent all that time trying to clean a DGI. Scrape, clean, use bore solvent and the patches still come out dirty long after the piston guy finished.

  • Mrninjatoes August 16, 2017, 12:18 am

    The M27 will “run cleaner”, but the bolt and bolt carrier groups do not last as long as a traditional M4A1. The Corps should take an M4A1, add a better trigger, barrel and handguard. Piston Ar-15’s only shine in full auto/short barrel capacity.

    • Mauser6863 August 18, 2017, 9:25 am

      What they need to do is buy new M249 or better still, Mk 46 Mod O belt fed machine guns to replace the worn out ones, instead of buying this silly gun that can’t do the job of fire suppression.

      Most experienced gunners used a non-magnified Aimpoint red dot sight, for better field of view. gunners simply zeroed the gun to 300 meters and left it alone. This is simpler to use and turns the gun in to a easily used “point and shoot”, fire suppression weapon, which is what is needed, not a DMR rifle pretending to be a smaller version of the 1918 BAR.

      This all smells like a USMC and H&K plot to get HK416 rifles issued to all Marines through the procurement “Back-Door”

      Heck what do I know, I’d choose to hump the M240 over both these weapons.

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