The US Marine Corps has been chronically underfunded since 1775. They’ve made a virtue out of necessity, using skill, discipline, and ferocious violence to make up for any deficiencies of obsolete armaments. It’s fair to say that if the Leathernecks are voluntarily buying some new piece of kit and handing it out to everyone, it’s both cost-effective and adds something of real value on the battlefield.
Last year, the Marines equipped an entire battalion of riflemen with silencers. It’s bee. three months since the riflemen of 1st Bn/2nd Marines fitted all their individual small arms with silencers. Ba-a-da-da-daaa. They’re loving it.
Three months into using suppressed weapons in every exercise and live-fire training event, Marines who spoke with Military.com say they never want to go back….
“It used to be a squad would be dispersed out over maybe 100 yards, so the squad leader couldn’t really communicate with the members at the far end because of all the noise of the weapons,” [said Maj. Gen. John Love]. “Now they can actually just communicate, and be able to command and control, and effectively direct those fires….”
After using suppressed rifles while training in Norway and Romania, Marines in the field agreed.
For Staff Sgt. Troy Hauck, a platoon sergeant with Bravo Company’s Weapons Platoon, not having to worry about ear protection when firing his rifle is a nice bonus. But a potentially bigger boon is the element of surprise that comes with a suppressed weapon.
“Just doing some of the training attacks that we’ve done on this deployment has been good,” he said. “I’m on one side of the hill and [part of the company is] on the other side of the hill, and I can’t hear them firing their weapons. It’s pretty nice, real stealthy.”
One Marine said silencers allowed them to limit use of radios in the field for intra-squad communications. Although it wasn’t mentioned in the article, the benefit of reduced hearing injuries should also present a huge advantage in the long run.
The Marines did have a few complaints about their SureFire Suppressors: they get very hot and can cause burns and add a bit of weight. These sound like the normal sorts of teething problems when any new bit of equipment is issued.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes the rest of the service branches to follow suit. Not to mention the effect of a silencer-equipped U.S. military on the chances of the Hearing Protection Act, if any.