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  • Will Marines Soon Be Allowed To Paint Rifles And Use Suppressors?

    The Marine Corps’ small arms modernization plan hopes to introduce futuristic weapons systems by the 2020s and increase flexibility for Marines by potentially allowing customized camouflage-painted rifles and suppressors.

    Called the Small Arms Modernization Strategy, the proposal is an attempt to handle the reality of an ever-increasing number of missions that don’t have the luxury of major logistic supply chains, James Sanborn of the Marine Corps Times reports.

    The problem now is that Marines keep having to carry more gear, which results in a higher injury rate and also functions as an impediment to mobility.

    “We want improved capability with no impact on mobility, with improved mobility as a goal,” Chris Woodburn, a retired colonel involved in the project, told Marine Corps Times.

    But officials don’t just want mobility. They’re also looking at allowing Marines new gear to increase stealth presence. Even though Marines have expensive camouflage gear, they still have to make to do black rifles. Updating the regulations would allow rifles to be camouflaged, as well, which is already a common practice in the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. The Army has permitted this since 2010, but instead of relying on spray paints, the Marine Corps wants to develop a new product to withstand high temperatures.

    Aside from painting a different coat, officials are also examining the possibility of a futuristic rifle which has accuracy at over 650 yards. But because of complications, namely that the heavy battery makes the rifle somewhat awkward to handle, specialists are trying to relocate the rifle’s power source.

    The power source allows accessories to compensate for some amount of shooter inaccuracy, but as Woodburn noted, “We are not looking to make an untrained shooter capable. We are looking to make a well-trained shooter more deadly. Even a well-trained shooter makes some errors, and then you add the stress of combat.”

    This means that development will still take a while.

    There is also a series of upgrades planned for the M4 and M16 rifles. One recommendation on the table is for infantry to move from the M16A4 rifle to the M4 carbine, mostly because the M4 is smaller and weighs less. Marines also may receive plastic-cased ammunition for the M2 machine gun, meaning that troops could take on 40 percent more ammunition at the same weight as their current ammunition gear.

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