Here's another good write up by Mike Perry. I encourage you guys to submit your opinion pieces via the Fireteam page. Me and the KU Team pick the best submission, and so far, MP has been kicking a** with his submissions.
By: Kit Up Reader Mike Perry
Wave Of The Future Or Back To The Past?
The recent decision to issue all 13 man U.S.M.C Infantry and Light Reconnaissance fire teams the magazine fed M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, replacing belt fed M249 Squad Automatic Weapons, represents a paradigm shift in how the Corps views individual firepower on battlefields of the present and future. It has also touched off a decades old debate about whether magazine fed weapons can supplant the suppressive fire and quick change barrel options only a belt fed weapon can deliver.
Made by Heckler and Koch, the first of 4,476 M27’s are already seeing combat, with its main selling points being lighter weight (7.9lbs unloaded vs. 17lbs) for the SAW, better accuracy and less bulk. As for any claimed deficiencies in firepower, supporters contend that the suppressive fire argument is baseless because tests revealed the IAR hitting targets consistently with less ammunition than the SAW, and that, for the most part, SAW’s were being used as IAR’s anyway, using short bursts per minute at 85 rpm or less, which negated barrel changes.
A Lance Corporal, who’s carried a SAW for 3 years commented: “That’s why I have to work out all the time, so I can lift it.” Weight aside, however, he added: “It’s my best friend, I like having more firepower.”
He’s yet to fire an IAR, though he has held one, and indicated, “It felt like a toy,” compared to the M249, but stated he’d like to try it, because the M249 was a beast to lug around and could be cumbersome in tight spots.
Views such as these drove the policy change.
Ammunition requirements are that 22 30 round magazines be issued for each IAR, though it is unlikely they will all be carried by one man. This roughly equates to the load out of a SAW gunner with 600 rounds usually carried in 200 round boxes by one man.
With M249’s being relegated to the company level, only time will tell whether the decision to adopt the IAR proves to be a wise one. So far, only the U.S.M.C is implementing the idea.
|Weight||7.9 lb (3.6 kg) empty|
|Length||36.9 to 33 in (94 to 84 cm) w/ adjustable stock|
|Barrel length||16.5 in (42 cm)|
|Width||3.1 in (7.9 cm)|
|Height||9.4 in (24 cm)|