LAS VEGAS -- Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller has promised to outfit his infantry with "the coolest sh-t" as the service prepares for future conflict.
Suppressor manufacturer OSS hopes its new Helix makes it onto the gear list.
OSS is one of the companies that has responded to a September solicitation published by the Marine Corps for suppressors that can work with the service's M4, M4A1 and M27 rifles and withstand the rigors of combat without altering the performance of the weapons.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christian Wade, the gunner for 2nd Marine Division and one of the Corps' pre-eminent weapons experts, has said he is particularly interested in baffleless flow-through technology, which uses deflectors and coils to reduce the weapon's signature.
- MHS-Inspired 509 Is FN's Pistol 'for Foreseeable Future'
- Glock Touts New Pistol Born Out of Army Sidearm Competition
- Check Out Military.com's SHOT Show 2018 Coverage
More traditional designs, such as the Corps' legacy SureFire suppressors, use a chamber to block gas, creating pressure that can affect the gun's performance and blow back into the operator's face.
"The suppressors we have are really old technology," Wade told Military.com in November.
OSS has a patent on its baffleless flow-through technology. And it has just come out with a new one-piece Helix-QD suppressor that it says will significantly reduce unit cost while improving performance.
"These guys, we're able to make more affordable, and lighter, and a little bit quieter and a little bit stronger," OSS marketing manager Randy Carothers told Military.com during SHOT Show's annual industry day at the range.
Refining the design from multiple pieces to one makes the suppressors cheaper to manufacture without sacrificing performance, Carothers said.
The design also features a torque-lock system to hold the suppressor in place while the rifle is being fired.
While previous cans retailed for around $1,390 for a 5.56 model, the Helix retails at $899. The 7.62 model is $999.
If the Marine Corps does move to pursue OSS suppressors for infantrymen, it's not clear whether the new Helix line or the Elite line, specially designed to meet government requirements, would best suit the service's needs.
While the request for information does not specify when the Corps intends to move forward with purchasing suppressors, staff with OSS mentioned 2020 as the service's target date.
Traditionally, suppressors have been a piece of gear reserved for special operations forces or specialized troops.
But over the last year, the Marine Corps has experimented with giving some of this "elite" gear to rank-and-file infantry forces. In early 2017, a 300-Marine infantry element deployed to Norway as part of a new rotational force with suppressed rifles.
Marines from the unit told Military.com the suppressors helped units communicate better and heightened the element of surprise over the enemy.
Now, it's up to the service to make a decision about whether and how to equip more grunts with suppressors.
"We gave them our response," Carothers said. "We know they're interested in the technology, and we'll move forward showing them that we can deliver."
-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.