The Marine Corps is considering suppressing all small arms. Military organizations have historically been slow to adopt new technologies. They’ve were slow to adopt optical sights, which were overwhelmingly adopted by sportsmen long before they become commonly used by ordinary soldiers. In the U.S. that was during the first Gulf War.
Suppressors have been regularly used by sportsmen around the world for decades long before widespread adoption by any military units. The United States has been the exception, due to irrational regulation. But now the Marine Corps is in the process of equipping an entire battalion with suppressed small arms.
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.
The commanding general of 2nd Marine Division, Maj. Gen. John Love, described these plans during a speech to Marines at the Marine Corps Association Ground Dinner this month near Washington, D.C.
The proof-of-concept tests, he said, included Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, which began an Integrated Training Exercise pre-deployment last month at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.
“What we’ve found so far is it revolutionizes the way we fight,” Love told Military.com. “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. Now they can actually just communicate, and be able to command and control and effectively direct those fires.”
I’ve often thought there’s little downside to suppressing military small arms. Suppressors are reported to be commonly used in the Chinese and Russian militaries. I believe they are particularly well suited to insurgencies and low level warfare.
The silencers/suppressors or gun mufflers to be installed were first used by the Marine Corps Special Operations Group. SOF operators have long used silenced weapons. The cost is expected to be $700,000 for an infantry battalion. A fully staffed infantry battalion is close to 1,000 people.
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