Marine Air Wing using Leupold HAMR

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Apparently the Marine Air Wing, America’s Navy’s Army’s Air Force, are using the new Leupold HAMR scope. Its combination of long eye relief and compact size make it a good choice for aerial overwatch. The Marine Air Wingers also appear to be Magpul fans, using Magpul stocks and magazines.

The Leupold HAMR is said to be part of the SOPMOD Block II kit which is currently under development.

[ Many thanks to Timothy Yan for the photos and infomation. ]

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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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  • Andrew

    I don’t know what to think about the Magpul MOE stock.

    I’ve heard mixed opinions about it and its VLTOR counterpart, the I/Emod stocks.

    Any thoughts?

    • Nater

      I have a MOE on a recently purchased Daniel Defense M4V5. It’s a decent stock if it comes on your rifle, but it’s not something I would go out an buy. I really don’t see what it offers over the traditional M4 stock. The CTR offers a QD socket and a more robust locking mechnism. Now the STR, that may be the one to get from Magpul.

      The EMOD and IMOD are great stocks as long as you don’t have facial hair. If you do, they’re not so much fun. The Crane/SOPMOD stock is still the one to beat in my opinion.

    • W

      i like the MOE and Vltor Emod stocks, they are comfortable to use and pretty rued. its a matter of personal preference however. I know many people that like the regular M4 stock.

  • Cameron

    This guy is wearing a MICH helmet, a set of “FROG,” and has what I am almost certain is a Knight’s suppressor. These, along with the HAMR’s inclusion in the SOPMOD block II, strongly suggest this Marine is in MARSOC, Force Recon, or a some other unit which is definitely not part of an Air-wing.

    • Joe

      Strongly agreed. If he were an air crewman he’d be in a flight suit. The gear you listed plus the fact that he’s using an old-school ALICE pack strongly suggests Recon. It’s almost definitely a guy who went out and bought his own weapons accessories – not an indication of an institutional or unit purchase.

      • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.t.yan Timothy Yan

        Not everyone in the Air Wing are pilot, crew chief or mechanic. In fact, probably 90% of the Air Wing Marines don’t wear flight suit.

        Air Wings also have combat arm elements. Just that they have less of them and at a small ratio than the Marine Divisions. Those Air Wingers are usually trained and equipped like the infantry units and have bigger budgets for specialized gears.

      • Ron

        Tim

        That is not really the case, in the Wings Support Squadron of each Marine Air Wing there are engineers and MPs; they however are not combat arms troops. They are not trained, manned or equipped to conduct infantry or offensive combat operations. They exist to provide support and security to the aircraft and their associated crews. Your contention of having a “bigger budgets for specialized gear,” Is an indicator that you don’t know how the Unit Table of Authorized Equipment (UTR) for the various units are built, what procurement priorities are or what is actually fielded.

      • STAMarine

        Thank you Ron. I almost just had an aneurism.

  • Al

    I don’t know who put that in the Wikipedia article but I have not heard a single peep about the HAMR being chosen as a SOPMOD Block II optic…

    • Nater

      Same here. The only optics I was aware of that were definite for Block II were the EOTech 553 and the Elcan SpecterDR 1x/4x.

    • http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html Daniel E. Watters

      FYI: Anyone can edit a Wiki article, and nothing posted there should be trusted without a suitable citation. (Wiki mirror sites don’t count as a proper reference source.)

  • Voxel

    “America’s Navy’s Army’s Air Force” Ha!

    I’ve never heard of this before. These guys are sniping from helicopters (or ospreys)? That’s confusing and awesome.
    If they’re flying high enough not to get shot, wouldn’t they need to be superhumanly good shots themselves (or put out a lot more lead)?

    • Mike

      I believe that America’s Navy’s Army’s Air Force is getting their own Coast Guard next fiscal year.

    • Burst

      If you fire enough into a densely populated enough area, you’ll surely hit something.

      It’s like napalm, but shootier.

  • Lance

    Might just be a few Marines who got some HAMR scopes for themselves. TA-21 RCO ACOG is still standard issue for Marines and now Army troops.

    • Ron

      Lance the TA31RCOM4 or TA31RCOA4 in Trijicon’s naming convention goes by the military nomenclature AN/PVQ-31A for the A4 and AN/PVQ-31B for the M4. Although in use with the US Army is not the same as the US Army’s M150 Rifle Combat Optic. The M150 is the TA31RCO-M150CP; instead of having 1/3 minute turrets of the PVQ the M150 has 1/2 minute turrets and instead of having a reticle matched to either the M16A4 or M4s muzzle velocity the M150 has a blended reticle that used an average that allows it to be used on either weapon.

  • Mike

    Sniping with a non-free-floated 14.5 inch Supressed M-4 with Leupold HAMR and a wiggly MAGPUL MOE buttstock? Really?

    • Nadnerbus

      I don’t think they are going for head shots from helicopters. High magnification and super accurate rifles don’t seem like they would do much good from a moving, shaking, pitching and yawing helicopter (or Osprey, whatever).

      I would think a reasonably accurate rifle with an easily used, lower magnification optic would be most useful in that application. But then the most I’ve ever done is shoot out a car window, and I managed to blow out the side mirror, so take that as you wish.

      • Justin

        I think I would want an m14 in this situation. Wouldn’t 7.62 NATO fair better in these conditions better than 5.56?

    • Mike

      It’s a photo-op of a door gunner, not a sniper.

  • Aurelien

    If memory serves me right, the USMC replaced the gen2 AR mag with PMags a few years ago.

    • Lance

      No the USMC uses both Gen 2 and Gen 3 mags. Pmags are allowed to be used on deployment. They are popular that’s why you see alot of them used.

    • W

      i though pmags were allowed in the marine corps, primarily because they are not compatible with the M27?

  • CA

    Arial = Little Mermaid
    Aerial = Occurring in the air

    • Alex-mac

      The little mermaid is actually Ariel.

      • CA

        As is the use in the post. Perhaps I should take more care to make sure I spell something properly when I am pointing out that someone else didn’t do the same.

    • mat

      Arial Is a font

  • Max

    did the guy on the Leupold homepage really put it on the wrong way?
    http://www.leupold.com/hunting-and-shooting/products/scopes/mark-4-hamr/mark-4-4x24mm-hamr/

    Seems to me as if the delta point should be close to the face?!

    • 18D

      Nope, it’s mounted correctly. Red dots should be placed as far from the eye as possible while still keeping everything balanced on the rifle.

      • jdun1911

        It’s not a red dot. It is a magnification (4x) scope with an eye relief of 2.71.

      • Nadnerbus

        jdun, the red dot is on top of the scope as backup. I think Max was questioning whether the scope was mounted backwards based on the location of the backup red dot at the front.

  • Ron

    He is not an Air Winger, as to whether PMAGs to used by the Marines. They have been purchased by individuals and units, but the official policy on them is
    ” It was found that the PMAG failed to meet DoD specifications: rough handling at -60F causes damage/cracks in feed lip; immersion in MIL-L-46000 Lubricant Semi-Fluid Automatic Weapons – LAW and 804-01-284-3982; DEET Insect Repellant causes stress crazing/cracking; and it is not fully compatible with current standard issue MOLLE magazine pouches”

    And

    ” The PMAG has not been formally qualified for use in any DoD 5.56 weapon system. PMAG is not listed in the SL-3 of any USMC rifle system.”

    • jdun1911

      I remember a heated debate between Magpul Rep and a Marine on magazine pouch not taking PMAG.

      IIRC the Magpul rep suggested that the Marine replace their magazine pouch to fit PMAG which really pissed off the Marine. The Marine replied that Magpul should replace the floor plate which is what is causing the incompatibility.

      Sometime the arrogance of Magpul reps amaze me beyond belief.

      • charles222

        Never had a problem with them fitting the regular, issued 2-magazine Molle Pouch. Or the regular, issued triple-mag Molle panel. BTW, I carry nothing but Pmags on my rack at work. The USGIs I have stay in a box. That Marine sounds like a) a retard or b) a troll.

      • Andrew

        Not trolling or looking for a debate. I just happen to read the comment and thought I remember seeing something about that issue. The Rep was just defending his product really and the marine may not have broken in his pouches enough for the PMAGs to fit in without added effort. But one nice thing is that Magpul does seem to listen to the consumer about the end product. Though it is ‘another’ cost, it may be the fix (cant verify because I didnt buy them, my PMAGs are fine as is) that some are looking for.

        http://store.magpul.com/product/MAG559/101

      • W

        the marine corps amazes me even more (and not in a good way). First they adopt the M27, which is a seperate proprietary weapon system, then they only allow the US GI magazine to be used; no EMAGs or even the f–king magazine that the HK 416 kit comes with, the steel HK mags. Utter stupidity.

        Then MARSOC still clings to the tempermental, expensive, and maintenance intensive 1911. Ill give Delta Force credit with the Glock 22 and DEVGRU the Mk 24 mod 0. Both aforementioned weapons will shoot a 1911 into the dirt.

        Oh and serpa holsters. the marine corps adopted them. need we go into serpas?

        dare I say it? if anybody is guilty of arrogance, it is the marine corps (don’t worry army, you’re not off the hook either). People seem to think that if you imprint a eagle and globe on it, it is the end all of everything.

      • http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html Daniel E. Watters

        You do realize that Magpul founder Rich Fitzpatrick was a Force Recon Marine?

      • W

        yes and that matters why? Nowhere was i implying that marines were terrible, stupid people. I said their guilty of arrogance, just like many army units.

      • Nater

        How could you go off on the USMC without a mention of the EEV? The multi-billion dollar boondoggle designed for a mission that no longer exists. Forgetting that the US hasn’t undertaken an opposed, amphibious landing in nearly 70 years…the existance of highly lethal anti-ship missiles makes the likelyhood of one happening in the future slim.

        Of course, you could hammer the shore with precision guided munitions to attrite or completely destroy the enemies defenses…but then why do you need a 2,300hp sea worthy tank (I know it’s not actually a tank) to drop Marines off in JDAM craters? You don’t.

        Oh, and the Osprey. Can’t forget that one.

      • Ron

        Nater

        EFV and the Osprey was not really meant for forcible entry over an opposed beach, but instead by using the sea as an operational maneuver space extend the area a sea base force could threaten

      • Lance

        Its not just the USMC its the whole DoD. FCS GCV AH-66 all all BIG army boondoggles the whole service has there faults. And yes the IAR is not a SAW but it works and has good reviews from Marines.

      • jdun1911

        You don’t defend your product by telling the Marine Corp to change their entire gears so they could used Magpul PMAG. You change your product to fit the customer needs not the other way around. That’s extreme arrogance.

        Another thing about Magpul floorplate is that they don’t have a drain hole. It is not an issue in the civilian community but it is a big deal for people that gets really dirty in the field.

        IIRC a big organization that put an order for PMAG. They requested that the floor plate need to have drain hole. Magpul redid their floor plate with the drain hole for the order.

        Magpul now sell the floor plate with drain hole for $4. Almost every magazine comes with drain hole. Magul charge $4 for something that should have come with the PMAG. Nickel and dimming their costumers to death.

        http://www.weaponoutfitters.com/magpul-pmag-maritime-floor-plate.html

      • Nater

        The problem with that argument? The Army needs a new scout/light attack helicopter. The Army needs lighter, more deployable armored vehicles for low intensity conflict. Both of those systems would be immediately useful now or would have been useful within the last ten years. They’re designed for current, applicable missions.

        The EEV would have perhaps been useful in Iraq, but only for it’s increased firepower and armor protection compared to the AAV. The M2 would fill that roll without any issues and it’s paid for.

      • W

        “How could you go off on the USMC without a mention of the EEV? The multi-billion dollar boondoggle designed for a mission that no longer exists. Forgetting that the US hasn’t undertaken an opposed, amphibious landing in nearly 70 years…the existance of highly lethal anti-ship missiles makes the likelyhood of one happening in the future slim.”

        haha, if course ;) in the EEV’s defense, i could understand why it was pursued. Amphibious landing capability is a mission the marines are trained and best suited to do. Perhaps the project was too ambitious, aiming to have the EEV fulfill tasks a amphibious armored personnel carrier was never meant, or should be meant to fulfill. It should have focused on enhancing the lethality and protection of the AAV7′s niche.

        “Of course, you could hammer the shore with precision guided munitions to attrite or completely destroy the enemies defenses…but then why do you need a 2,300hp sea worthy tank (I know it’s not actually a tank) to drop Marines off in JDAM craters? You don’t.”

        I would have to respectfully disagree. Since the marine corps’ amphibious landing capability is a essential part for our force projection capabilities, it is important if they can provide a more heavily armed and armored replacement for the aging AAV7. Or you could upgrade its weaponry…

        “Oh, and the Osprey. Can’t forget that one.”

        oh dear. I forgot about that goat f–k ;)

        “EFV and the Osprey was not really meant for forcible entry over an opposed beach, but instead by using the sea as an operational maneuver space extend the area a sea base force could threaten”

        This is a overly ambitious mistake on the DOD’s part. Those weapon systems should be focused on amphibious landings for force projection. There are plenty of adequate vehicles/weaponry available for protecting the operational maneuver space of the sea.

        “Its not just the USMC its the whole DoD. FCS GCV AH-66 all all BIG army boondoggles the whole service has there faults. And yes the IAR is not a SAW but it works and has good reviews from Marines.”

        Lance, for once I vehemently agree with you ;) LOL. Ill use the stryker platform as a example. The army chose to waste tens of billions on reinventing the wheel (no pun intended) in creating a WHEELED vehicle instead of a improved M113 that would serve as a better interim solution until the GCV could be adopted. The GCV program was a DOD wet dream that is not realistically attainable anyway. Now the military is stuck with a vehicle that is thinly armored, wheeled (thus reducing off road capability), cannot fire on the move, and is woefully under-gunned (with only a remote-operated 50!? WTF?).

        The AH66 was intended as a scout to facilitate operations for the AH64, though, as demonstrated by even a low-tech foe like Iraq, helicopters were surprisingly vulnerable to ground fire. Given the accuracy of GPS, other fixed wing reconnaissance aircraft, pinpoint bomb precision, and UAVs, the AH66 was perhaps obsolete by the time its project was undertaken. That is my 2 cents.

        “You don’t defend your product by telling the Marine Corp to change their entire gears so they could used Magpul PMAG. You change your product to fit the customer needs not the other way around. That’s extreme arrogance.”

        i wouldn’t market my product this way either. Its nice to see something good that resulted from lessons learned from improved magazines, such as the fielding of the improved M4 magazine with a tan follower.

        And im not sure if the M3 magpul pmag incorporates a drain hole or not. I know they have separate “slim profile” floor plates, which is disingenuous in my opinion. why didnt they just use a slim floor plate with a drain hole as part of the complete M3 magazine???

        “The Army needs lighter, more deployable armored vehicles for low intensity conflict. Both of those systems would be immediately useful now or would have been useful within the last ten years. They’re designed for current, applicable missions.”

        What is absolutely stupid is that the army shelved the M8 Airborne tank, which fills in a niche that was left unfilled to this day by taking the sheridan out of service. Augmenting up-armored humvees without any air droppable armor (like a M113 and M8) is severely handicapping the effectiveness of our airborne strategic response forces. Like it or not, but for 21st century warfare, airborne is a ESSENTIAL force projection tool that cannot be adequately replaced by heavy brigade combat teams (which have slow expeditionary deployment capabilities). Utter stupidity. Now the army is stuck with the heavy (not air droppable) Stryker and only heavy armor capability. Flexibility has certainly been compromised.

        Nater, Ron, Lance, and Jdun, excellent posts. :)

    • Lance

      I don’t know the fuss Ive shoot GI metal mags for years and carry them on the job there is not problem with them. Never had issue with Green followers and only had one worn out mag with issues.

      Pmags are good but not my cup of tea. Overall leave it to the men carrying the rifles and mags to chose what they want Pmags OK if they want GI mags ok.

      This is a none issue.

  • Lance

    Overall most new weapons the DoD needs isn’t for ground warfare the Navy and Coast Guard need new ships most where built in the 60s and 70s and some are worn out. The Army and Marines can use the HUMVEE and M-2 and M-113 for years more but the Navy is in bad shape in its none carrier surface fleet and should get most funds for now. Especially in the Pacific where Army is a none issue compared to sea and air power.

    • W

      it is a clear case of conflict of interest. The navy is still more numerous and technologically advanced than any other competing nation in the world. The stealth Zumwalt destroyer was largely cut down in numbers since there is no threat existing naval vessels cannot defeat.

      The Army’s airborne strategic response forces, however, are severely compromised: they lack a air droppable armored personnel carrier and tank, which are essential for the aforementioned unit’s firepower; up armored HMMWVs are less than ideal. This is a glaring deficiency since such units will be deployed most likely in 4th generation warfare.

  • Mahler

    I’m guessing that guy isn’t in the wing but a Recon/MARSOC unit judging by his gear. PMAGs were regularly carried by many Marines. However if memory serves me right (which I’m going to say it’s 50/50 at best) PMAGs became restricted with the adoption of the IAR because PMAGs didn’t properly seat in the weapon. Also I believe the newest generation of PMAGs has fixed this problem.
    I like PMAGs, I had numerous problems with my issued mags but most of the time the issued ones worked fine.