Marines Begin Mass Fielding of Suppressors (Silencers) at end of 2020


Image from Marine.mil Knight Armaments Company Suppressor on M38 cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- The Marine Corps is well on its way to procuring suppressors (silencers) for all small arms in its arsenal.

In 2020, the Marines have procured 6,700 suppressors for M4, M4A1, and M27 rifles. Suppressors are in common use with the M38 squad designated marksman rifle.

Another 7,000 suppressors are in the pipeline. The goal is to have about 30,000 suppressors by the fiscal year 2023. From Defense Visual Information Service:

In 2020, PM IW procured about 6,700 small arms suppressors through Defense Logistics Agency’s Tailored Logistic Program, and acquired more than 7,000 additional units on the first delivery order upon the contract award. Brisker said the goal is to field approximately 30,000 suppressors by fiscal year 2023.

There are about 184,000 active-duty Marines. Not all of them are going to be using or issued suppressors at the same time. Perhaps the Marines only need 120,000 suppressors for all their rifles. At the current rate of procurement, the Corps would meet their goal by about 2030.

Four years ago, in 2016, the Marines fielded a battalion equipped with suppressors.   From military.com:

In a series of experiments this year, units from 2nd Marine Division will be silencing every element of an infantry battalion — from M4 rifles to .50 caliber machine guns.

It was a tremendous success. In 2019, the intent to suppress every rifle was made.

From nationaldefensemag.com in 2019:

Another area of interest is a new suppressor for rifles. The Marine Corps is planning to release a request for proposals to industry, Hough added.

“The intent is to suppress every M4, M4A1 and M27 in the infantry community,” he said. “Our intent there is to move quickly and find the best possible suppressor we can that is good enough in order to move out in a quick enough fashion.”

The Marine Corps plans to award a contract for a suppressor by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020, he noted.

Alert readers will notice the lack of suppressors for .50 caliber machine guns. .50 caliber machine guns require very large suppressors. Perhaps they will be added in the future. No suppressors were mentioned for squad automatic weapons.

The suppressor procured by the Marines is the Knight Armaments Company NT-4, National Stock Number (NSN) 1005-01-437-0324. It can be seen on page  19 of knightarmco.com military catalog. It is an older, but well-proven design, first assigned an NSN in 1998. The design is over 20 years old.

Suppressor experimentation by the Corps has shown them to be very popular with the troops on the ground. They make communication easier, and make it harder for the enemy to locate and return fire. In the 2016 article, a Marine said suppressors were already common in many other militaries, including those of Russia and China.

Hearing loss is one of the most common disabilities affecting veterans.

From the DVIS article:

“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.”

Tomlinson mentioned how the news of the fielding of additional suppressors has created a groundswell of excitement among the units receiving them. He believes the myriad advantages suppressors provide will benefit the Marine Corps for years to come.

The ability of suppressors to prevent and reduce hearing loss is an excellent reason to remove them from the intrusive and irrational regulatory environment of the National Firearms Act.  All citizens should have easy access to this safety equipment.

It seems unlikely to happen during a Biden administration.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten



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