First M27 IAR Afganistan Photos

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The Marine Corps times have published the first photos of the M27 IAR in Afganistan.

I like to give credit where credit is due: the Marine Corp Times was the first publication to originally state that the Marines were dropping the M249. The rest of us all dismissed the idea, but they were right! Military.com confirmed it last week.




Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Lance

    They look awesome.

  • Paul Clavet

    This marine has so little faith in his M27 IAR that he carries this stick for backup.

  • Zach

    Not having had to schlep any of this stuff nor shoot or be shot at in anger, it seems like giving up a real squad level machine gun for something that sounds like a modern BAR… Will this be a significant decrease in firepower of a marine squad? Is something like a Bren a better analogy? Will the squad carry the same amount of ammunition just in magazines instead of linked ammo? I may be totally off base given my history buff analogy and M4/16s being a significantly different individual weapon than say a garland or smle….

  • Jeff

    Is it just me, or does it seem like the IAR look like a DMR? Bipod, low magnification optic, heavy profile barrel…

  • SpudGun

    Hmm, with the Acog and the bipod, I’m not really getting that ‘SAW’ vibe. I know the M27 has had a lot of criticism, but leading the military as I do (from my armchair), my ill informed and baseless guess is this –

    The M27 is being utilized as a multi-purpose weapon – part SAW, part DMR and part infantry rifle but without the weight penalties. I personally don’t think it’s that useful as a light machine gun, but when everything else at squad level has seized, jammed or melted due to sand or heat, at least you have one weapon still functioning.

    No matter how you slice it, magazine protected ammo plus piston plus heavy barrel certainly negates a lot of problems.

  • Big Daddy

    And now I read they cannot be used with PMAGs. So all Marines have to turn in their PMAGs?????? I thought the PMAG can be used in all weapons that use the M16 type magazine like the HK products.

    I always thought the Marines were smart about getting the right weapons to their foot soldiers. I guess they just followed the leader at the DOD and went stupid on us.

    Are these guys playing corporate games with our soldiers lives? I guess so, they always do.

  • charles222

    USGI magazines, the new tan ones to be specific, clear up the usual PR bullshit about “OMG USGI MAGAZINES WILL FAIL!!!111!!!”

    Anyway, if anything the Marines played the idiot card by ordering a million Pmags at the same time they were planning to adopt a new kind of infantry rifle that isn’t compatible with it.

    And yes, the Marines will take a firepower hit, but again, they only have themselves to blame. If everyone remembers their Vietnam history, the Army & Marine infantry MTOE consisted of nothing but full-automatic M16A1s at the squad level, with M60s as platoon support weapons. That is a metric asston of firepower and there are loads of Marine & Army AARs describing this, and it was also the setup the Army went along with until…..

    The Marines, if everyone also remembers, demanded the useless 3RB feature for the M16A2. This sent squad firepower into the toilet. Now the Army and the Marines had literally one weapon at squad level capable of full-automatic firepower (3RB is useful against point targets, it certainly is not against area targets), and that was a single M16A1. This forced the adoption of the SAW and resulted in the current situation we have today, with the squad’s firepower concentrated on a single weapons platform that is slow to reload and overly bulky and heavy.

    Countries that have “IAR” equivalents (aka the Russians) also have the entire squad armed with weapons capable of full-automatic fire. It may not be the default firing mode, but it is available if necessary. This is also why SF ODAs don’t bother with the SAW-because every man in a 12-soldier team has a weapon capable of automatic fire.

    The Marines are trading firepower for maneuver and (probably) a greater emphasis on platoon and above supporting arms (M240s, mortars, etc.) Personally it wouldn’t surprise me if every soldier winds up with an M4A1/IAR in the Corps; it would only help squad firepower at this point.

  • armed_partisan

    They’ve already issued them? That was quick! The M-16A4 was adopted in 1998, and not issued until mid-2003!

    @ Paul Clavet: ROFLMAO!

  • xVIPERxAP

    @Big dady: I believe the HKs magazine-well is more flat compared to the M-4s more curved one. The EMAG(export version-it fits the L-86 416s and G-36) fits fine though. The corps should have thought of this when buying a 7 year old weapon after buying the newer PMAGs instead of EMAGS

  • SouthpawByNW

    @Big Daddy – It will not accept the PMAG, but the more expensive and more difficult to obtain EMAG will work. It was designed to function with the European based 5.56mm platforms.

  • Misinformation

    PMAGs can be used with the M27, but do not eject properly and must be pulled out by hand due to the design around a M4/AR15 platform. The EMAG addresses this problem so its really not a big deal.

  • Anonymous

    @Jeff

    Funny you say that. The British created the L86 Light Support Weapon version of their L85 rifle. It had a heavy barrel, bipod, and low magnification optic. However, they found it was unsuitable for the fire support role, and instead replaced it with the FN Minimi. The LSW is now used in a DMR role. Funny how we’re pretty much doing the opposite.

  • KP

    I do like the concept of the M27 if it could be paired with the quad stack mags.

    The H&K’s problem with M4/M16 mags is that the former’s magwell sports a shallower angle. Pmags start curving right out of an AR’s magwell which are typically cut more steep which, in my academic opinion, gives some more reliability, so they are squished up against H&K’s magwell. This means that they will not drop free. If needbe, they will feed though.

    The STANAG part has more to do with how the mags are retained, rather than complete compatibility among “STANAG” weapons. If you notice, USGI mags will work perfectly fine in an M27 because they come out of the magwell straight, and then start curving. This straight section allows it to clear the extra material in the H&K’s magwell.

    Whatever happens, I just want our Marines to not have to haul those damned H&K mags around. Steel clunkers that weigh more than they are strong.

    I just want to state as well that I would have preferred the LWRCi version. If you pair it with a quad stack mag, the open bolt feature for full auto fire would make a hell of a lot more sense than the H&K IAR which only fires from a closed bolt (unlike the LWRCi and the Colt IAR and the FN IAR) and lacks any kind of a heat sink (unlike the Colt IAR) which might mitigate the lack of open bolt mode. In my opinion, they should give every Marine an M27, and then give the automatic rifleman the LWRCi IAR with some 60 rounders.

  • http://disabledshooting.blogspot.com/ Aaron

    If this wasn’t an obvious ploy to replace the M16 family in a round about manner, I would be annoyed. There was a reason why we ditched the FN C2 for the C9 and why you Yanks got rid of the BAR.

  • Vitor

    Basically the IAR is a heavier M4 with improved reliability and accuracy (even more accurate than the 20″ M16A4). Marines are known to put accuracy above all and an automatic rifle that can delivers 2MOA or less with standard ammo and without a long-ass barrel fits their needs quite well.

    From all reports I’ve seen, the HK clearly outperformed the Colt and the LWRC. Colt was very stupid by sticking to a DI system for such gun, since, no matter how “soft and light” their pistonsless weapons are, DI easily overheats with sustained fire due to obvious reasons and no heat sink could make up for that.

  • 7.62×25

    Based on all the your comments it’s obvious none of you have significant military experience or an Infantry type MOS to really understand the advantages of switching to a light weight support weapon compered to dragging around M249 belt fed, drum falling out, maintenance heavy slow to reload (when it counts) machine gun in Afghan or Iraq humidity/heat with dust and sand not making any things easier never mind carrying the SAW and it various accessories (barrels, spare parts etc.) up and down in mountainous terrain with heavy belts of ammo. No wonder most leathernecks or grunts avoid commenting on blogs. I should too because y’all sound like a bunch of mall ninjas.

  • Big Daddy

    Oh sorry 7.62, is that the size of your weapon. Does a 19 Delta Cav scout mean I don’t know jack about weapons and the military?

    I didn’t see any post that went into detail about anything you mention. I wonder who is the real mall ninja here.

    The fact is I have carried the M60 and although heavy I would not trade that firepower for anything at that time. I have never been in combat but I have enough military experience and have spoken to enough combat vets from WWII to the latest wars to know you must send a lot of rounds down range.

    There are different tactical situations that require different approaches but the main issue is getting rounds down range fast when the sheet hits the fan. Whether it’s cover fire for assault or retreat does not matter.

    You need volume from at least one person in your squad. The M27 cannot do that with 30 round magazines and without a quick change barrel. The same issues with the BAR, a 20 round magazine and no quick change barrel. That’s why they started issuing the M1919A6 with a bipod and lighter barrel in WWII.

    If you have something to add 7.62×25 then do so. But to put down others without even knowing them personally and their military experience is typical of a person who is a bit of a internet clown. I don’t care what a person’s military experience is, logic and reason outweigh experience.

    Many combat vets don’t know jack about what they did, they just did it. They can’t even explain what they did when asked they say I did what the Sarge told me. So much for experience.

    If you are a so called expert 7.62×25 then enlighten us as to exactly what the issues are instead of putting people down.

  • Big Daddy

    Ya know that clown 7.62×25 really got to me. I have to add that if you study any history of warfare or talk to any combat veteran who knew what he was doing the first thing he’ll tell you is how good it felt to hear the thump, thump, thump of a large caliber automatic weapon coming from your side.

    When the shooting begins and you’re getting heavy fire from weapons like RPGs, AKs and PKs you want something that’s going to make those guys keep their heads down or even scatter. A M27 is not going to do that, a M240 will, even the problematic M249 will. Nothing better than a 50 cal though.

    Yes some of those weapons are a bit heavy but you must give up something to get something, like your lives. Knowing there is firepower in your squad and platoon gives a soldier much more confidence on the battle field that’s a FACT.

    I have read of a lot of accounts from all wars. The most scary sound for American troops in WWII was the sound of those MG42s that fired 1000rpm. Yet one of the scariest sounds for the Germans was the Thompson SMG. These are documented facts taken from soldiers accounts. You knew what was firing at you from the sound they made. I’ll never forget what an M16, M3, M60, 50 cal sounds like or the AK and G3s I heard or fired.

    If I were an enemy of American forces and I did not hear the sound of anything more than a 5.56mm round I would know I had a tactical advantage and be more inclined to press the attack. Add to that not even the continuous fire of the M249 and I would know I was facing Marines and NOT an Army unit. That would also change my tactics, they would be giving themselves away, who they are and how they fight, a professionally trained or experienced combat soldier would know these things and make adjustments in their attack. That’s common sense.

  • charles222

    To 7.62×25: What’s your rank/MOS? I’m an 11-B E5 with 4 deployments (just got home from number 4 a few days ago).

  • subase

    Seems to me the only real complaint of the new M27 is it’s magazine size, this makes me think that apart from a trojan horse for an upgraded M16, the M27 will spur the development of a reliable higher capacity AR compatible magazine. And that magazine once available to other AR users will be an incredible boon to its versatility and firepower.

    The lack of barrel swap is a good sacrifice nowadays. Barrels can now be optimized for tolerating alot of heat and more importantly I’ve heard in combat nowadays it’s very rare to need to change a barrel.

  • Rijoenpial

    Subase,

    The barrels longevity is not the issue… The fact is that the brass INTENTIONALLY stated that the rate of fire would need to be 65 rpms! THAT is not the rate of fire for an automatic weapon like the Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR)! The fact you cannot swap barrels means that, God forbid, should the squad get into a heavy, intense and prolonged firefight, the IAR cyclic rate will be the same of a M4 on automatic! with the spare magazines dropping like crazy! The mere fact that you NEED to keep the CRF down to 65 rpms in order not to have a cook-off or worse, it matters not if they have a High-capacity Mag or a USGI! Because you cannot use the additional firepower because of the weapon’s limitations anyway!

    And knowing that the LWRC and the FN version clearly enabled their rifles to cool off the barrel by swapping between closed-bolt and open-bolt either manually or, in FN’s case, automatically, without the intervention of the operator, it makes me scratch my head the REAL reason why this closed-bolt, no barrel-swappable, low CRF, replacement for the open-bolt barrel-swappable, high CRF SAW was chosen!

    Of course, we suspect the reasons, but still just suspicions! Only time will tell!

    Cheers!

    • H

      You wont have cookofs, as the IAR in full auto shoots from open bolt. That and the piston instead of DI are the main differences from m16

  • Rijoenpial

    Hi guys!

    AND sorry, guys, I made a mistake:
    where I said ‘the IAR cyclic rate will be the same of a M4 on automatic’, of course, I was meaning ‘the same of an M4 on SEMI-automatic’!

    An M4 on automatic mode would fire a lot more rounds per second than this M27!

    Sorry about that, guys!

    Cheers!

    • macabre12345 .

      M4A1’s fire about the same 900rpm at 15 rounds a second.

  • Rawr

    The M27 IAR revolves around the same concept of the BAR, or a very mobile guy running around at the fire team level able to provide covering fire and squad support.

    While not belt fed (although it easily could be, IMO) the weapon is a lot more reliable than the average M4 Carbine, as it’s made of higher grade materials and uses a short stroke gas piston.

    Not all guns are created equal, and in a standard “dust test” a basic HK416 could expend around 257 rounds between each jam while the M4 could only expend 68 in between each jam.

    The M27 IAR is supposed to bigger and somewhat more reliable, so I imagine it is even better than a standard HK416, and loads better than an M4 carbine, so it’s reliability is through the roof, especially in fully automatic fire (of which the M4 is notorious for overheating and jamming.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckler_%26_Koch_HK416

  • Shane

    What ever happened to a good FAL STG 58 type rifle with Beta Mags…?
    Or even a 16 w/ Beta’s in the right hands.

    • macabre12345 .

      The beta mags use to be issued and had a NSN. I was told some rangers were killed with beta mags that didn’t work and the army dumped them. I have never had a problem with them, you see beta mags once in a while but they aren’t an authorized mag.

  • prettypete

    Heck, thank the powers that be they listened to the footsloggers’ complaints and went out of their way to find a new iar for the guys. good luck with it and i hope you find a suitable higher cap mag for it. Here’s to the Corps: every marine a marksman! God bless our guys in the field.

  • Buck Adams

    I agree with the people who think that the M27 is just the Corp’s way of getting away from the M4. The M4 is greatly underrated by those who have not used it for work or fun but still a piston system is better suited for full auto than DI. Also, I read that piston systems are better for suppressors but I have 0 experience with suppressors so I’ll have to take the written word for it.

    • Yale

      The specific advantage that most piston systems have, relevant to the gun in question being suppressed, is an adjustable gas system. Adjustable gas blocks are available for DI gas systems as well, and are advised for a suppressed gun, as a can increases back pressure, which increases the cycling forces acting on the bolt carrier group, sometimes too much.

    • macabre12345 .

      I prefer DI because the back pressure from suppressors increases rate of fire. The only issue is that heavier buffers may need to be used in full auto. The bolt may bounce back and the gun stops with the hammer down. Test fire and replace as necessary.

  • That guy

    I am not trying to troll. I am certified m16/ar-15 armorer. But…that gun is going to fail. Fail. Fail. Carrier tilt is going to destroy the threads that hold the receiver extension. That piston is going to destroy the hammer/hammer springs and disconnector. HK guarantees that their bolts will last around 10-15k rounds…Funny that a standard M4 bolt without a retarded piston will last ALOT longer.

    I guarantee you will start to see shooters posting pics of broken HK parts. If not then they are too embarrassed to admit that piston m4 forgeries are garbage.
    Hanz and fritz are probably laughing their asses off. I can’t wait for all the piston BS to simply go away…

    • BadDog

      So, two years later, BARFCOM troll, it would appear the Marines are quite happy. So much for your internet knowledge.

    • macabre12345 .

      Open bolt m16’s have existed for a long time including the Colt LMG, and the M231 port firing. None have had any issue either in the marines or army.