1/6 Uber Squad Hits Local Range at Camp Lejeune with Updated M27s,Comms, HK M320s, and Suppressors

The 1/6 “Hard” Über Squad that Marine Infantry Gunner (WO5) Wade put into motion some months ago has taken on Golf Six, a live fire range in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. 1/6 is trialing several new pieces of kit, most importantly M27 IARs as a standard squad issued rifle, in addition to suppressors mounted to an entire squad’s weapons. Not discussed earlier but seen here is the addition of new ballistic helmets, squad level communications with every Infantryman, and a new plate carrier separate from currently issued ones. Alongside this Über squad were photographs of other squads that weren’t as lucky to receive all the latest in gadgets and gear.

Golf Six is a relatively simple range compared to some of the other live fire ranges available at Lejeune such as Fox Two Five, or Lima Five which are much more complex in their length and safety aspects. This leads me to believe that 1/6 chose Golf Six in particular because it wanted to start with basic fire team rushes and simple coordination of the new equipment before moving on to more complex live fire ranges and situations.

M27 Armament and Magazines

Although the squad isn’t completely armed with M27s, it does have more than the standard one automatic rifle per fire team that a typical Infantry squad would be used to. The M27s it does have are outfitted with Surefire SOCOM suppressors, although not all members are actively using the suppressors during the live fire attack. The rest of the squad does have M4s outfitted with suppressors, but we don’t know if these are M4 or M4A1 variants. Despite promises that Marines might be getting Magpul PMAGs, the hard chargers of 1/6 are still stuck with STANGs, unlike their colleagues in 3/5 that are entirely outfitted with them, currently in Australia on the 31st MEU.

Having a squad entirely composed of M27s will lead to an interesting change in tactics. Instead of having a dedicated gunner per fire team, the squad can actually depend on any member of that team to lay down suppressive fire while another team is assaulting an objective.

Headsets for the entire squad

Instead of wearing the standard ACH helmet not issued among Marines, this squad has a new ballistic helmet outfitted with Hi-Threat Tier 1 headsets and mics. This allows every member of the squad to communicate on multiple channels. Unlike previously where at most just the fire team leaders would have communications abilities, now the squad can operate with more fluidity and purpose because every Infantryman has the ability to be on the same page. With this concept brings new issues such as deconfliction. The headsets also bring in noise canceling abilities which are an awesome capability when dealing with small arms and vehicles that produce high amounts of noise.

At least some of the squad members have the Invisio V60 multi-communication control unit, a very small, lightweight gear mounted system that can allow a single user to broadcast on four communications devices, either individually or simultaneously. The unit is actually very interesting and is covered by PEO Soldier as part of their Tactical Communication and Protective System (TCAPS) program.

The product itself-

In this photograph, the squad leader is using a black PRC-153 to communicate to others (most likely support elements that he is waiting on to start the attack), instead of a green PRC-152. This means that the helmet comm set up is either using green PRC-152s that every squad member has (or a substitute radio system), or his headset is down for some reason.

New Plate Carrier

Also present in the Uber squad was a new plate carrier, different from the currently issued KDH Defense Systems design, and the KDH Defense Systems Modular Tactical Vest (IMTV) that are in active use throughout the Fleet and Reserves. You can tell by the design of a zipper section on the back, and the front chest panel that is entirely taken up by Velcro sections instead of the single deployment patch section common on currently issued plate carriers. The carrier design is actually a Crye Precision Adaptive Vest System (AVS), availible in numerous formats and configurations, this one in Coyote Brown. These vests are routinely used by MARSOC. In addition, the helmets in use by the squad are Ops Core FAST Ballistic helmets.

This is the currently fielded version on a separate squad, from the same company-

Development is currently taking place on a Plate Carrier Generation III, the prototype has an entirely different cumberbund attachment system, different polymer clips, and doesn’t have the MOLLE interweave made out of canvas.

H&K M320 Grenade Launchers

Also seen in this live fire attack was the use of Heckler & Koch 40x46mm low-velocity M320s that recently have found acceptance by the Marine Corps to replace the aging M203s in service. In this particular attack, Infantrymen are using them as a standalone system as compared to being mounted on the Picatinny rail of an M4 or M27 IAR. Carrying it standalone makes it slightly easier to manipulate in a firing position, but it makes running from positions harder, in addition to engaging point targets with the primary M4 or M27 and then switching to area targets with the M320.

TFB reader John S. helped make this article possible with his knowledge of communications and armor systems. 





Miles

Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


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  • Petto

    “The M27s it does have are outfitted with Surefire SOCOM suppressors”
    I am pretty sure those are the old KAC NT4’s

    • mig1nc

      At 2:00 you can clearly see the Knight’s can.

  • Jarrad

    That looks like a First Spear Plate Carrier not a Crye

    • Bill

      FS Tubes

    • Mac0321/0317

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f4ce0f3284af3afa1a83ee0c2269c55a4554348621046aa7b14d917f1ec396db.jpg

      I think the most important aspect of the whole suite is the tactical headset and the capacity for effective intra-team/company comm (finally), and yet I can’t help but notice that the only good place on the new carrier to put a radio has a big buckle there.

      Enhanced situational awareness through seamless communication while simultaneously reducing the ear-numbing chaos of combat is more important to me than, say, cans or optics if we’re discussing what enhances a squad the most (they’ve even begun to issue PVS-31s to these test squads). I hope they make the most of it. I sincerely hope they aren’t just putting lipstick on a pig here.

      • Ευστάθιος Παλαιολόγος

        Didn’t the Marines use the PRR for inter Squad communications during the early years of OIF?

        • Mac0321/0317

          Yeah, they were great, albeit short range. PRRs were VERY simple, and the best part was EVERYBODY had one. They didn’t offer the noise reduction and hearing protection of the Peltor/Sordin-style systems nowadays, but for everyone on the patrol/in the hide to be able to talk to each other via PTT was great. Not everyone transmitted, and most junior guys never said anything, but for everyone to be able to HEAR and TRACK what’s going on was great). However, I’m sure those little things were probably pretty jammable and could probably be intercepted easily, although I’m not a comm guy so I couldn’t really speak to that.

      • noob

        is huge green plastic thing that the quick release buckle for medical treatment? it looks like you have to pull the tab and then slide it up or down, so it probably is more like the ordinary don or doff fastener.

        if you aren’t married to being able to dump the plate carrier in an emergency, you could strap a molle panel over the top of the plate carrier, wrap it around secure it with bungees or utility straps.

        Plat-A-Tac makes the LW Chicom Lightweight Rig front panel to go over your armor carrier for just that purpose, you could put the radio on one edge of it and it would go over the quick release buckle.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ea6a6c5d1fe372f31bb044880af864250910deae6f61e28ef36e531ff3256475.jpg

    • ShootCommEverywhere

      The AVS vests are pictured earlier on with the Marines wearing the Maritime FAST helmets, the picture of the plate carrier on the mannequin is labelled as being a new development of the current issue plate carrier.

  • Alex A.

    It’s a former 0311 I’m freaking jealous of those lucky mofos.
    I’m glad to see the USMC testing out new ideas and innovations for grunts.
    Although there was a huge difference between the suppressed squad with coms & the ones without who had to scream at the top of their lungs.
    I for one would like the whole Marine Corps infantry to adopt what 1/6 is testing. Is there any cons about all this high speed gear their testing besides the obivous like cost?

    • Silencers bring gas blow back while firing particularly when full auto, they also bring more overall weight, and weight at end of the muzzle. Finally there is heat, the silencer will increase the heat retained by the barrel, and the silencer itself gets very very hot.

      Unless they’ve changed things M27 brings more weight due to the heavier barrel for the full auto suppresive fire role that these were designed for. And the M27 has decreased accuracy compared to DI weapons with a similar setup (no idea how it compares to the M16A4).

      • ShootCommEverywhere

        There’s no gas blowback to the operator with a piston system, as the gas is all handled at the front of the piston.

        I haven’t worked with the IAR, but all accounts I hear make it a 2MOA weapon. The free floated handguard also gives it a nice precision advantage over the M16.

        • Kinetics

          He’s not talking about gas blowback to the shooter but rather gas blowback into the weapon, as a result if the suppressor, that changes the ROF of the M27.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Yea…. Ok… But anyone that’s every seriously used a suppressed piston AR knows that a ton of gas still comes back to the shooter via the barrel then ejection port.

        • You know how I can tell you don’t have much experience with silencers?

          Most silencer blowback comes from down the barrel, not from the gas system. You still get quite a bit of blowback with piston guns. Not as much as DI, but still enough that it can bother you if the air is still.

          • ShootCommEverywhere

            Not on piston guns, I don’t. Was just a logical deducton.

          • Joshua

            You should learn how suppressors work before you come here and act like you know stuff.

            Suppressors send tons of fouling back down the bore when the brass case uncorks the chamber walls.

            Pistons run filthy suppressed.

          • Ευστάθιος Παλαιολόγος

            Speaking with some guys from the Dutch SF they are anxius to receive the HK416A5 witch has a gas regulator because their current 416s have lots of trouble with the suppressors, among the gaa blowback

          • jono102

            Didn’t the Norwegians have similar issues when the first adopted theirs? They seemed to sort it relatively easily.

        • CommonSense23

          It makes a 2MOA weapon when it shoots MK262.

        • ProLiberty82

          I’ve shot 416’s suppressed and can tell you that there indeed is gas being blown back into your face, it might not be as bad as some DI systems but I would strongly recommend wearing protective glasses. Also the rate of fire goes up noticeably, so I suspect it creates extra stress to the weapon.

    • Joshua

      Well the M27 is a turd of a rifle that breaks bolts like a fat kid eats candy at a candy store with M855A1.

      Luckily smarter people have stepped in to handle all this debauchery in the Marine Corps with unqualified people trying to step in and do things they’re not supposed to.

    • MeaCulpa

      Squad radios are really easy to overpower/interfere for any semi competent adversarie and makes it easier to pinpoint the location of squad members. A can makes a nice flair if the enemy has FLIR. Then you have the added weight/bulk and the cost/logistics but on a whole I does seem like steps in the right direction.

  • ShootCommEverywhere

    Marines have never issued the ACH/MICH, they have the Lightweight Helmet, which is actually a PASGT cut helmet made from different materials. The ECH with rifle protection has been making its way to infantry battalions, though, which seems to have a MICH cut but is far thicker.

    • Ron

      The Marine Corps issued limited numbers of ACH/MICH helmets to recon units and ANGLICOs. In 2010-11, bought if I remember right 8-9000 ACHs as substitutes for LWHs because of a shortage of LWHs. This helmets were used in lieu of LWHs for units going to AFG.

  • CommonSense23

    People have been running this gear setup for a while now. You think they would have gotten some tips for how to set up the rats nest of wires and how to store a standalone grenade launcher.

    • The smart ones will figure it out. On the more milcentric boards you have guys coming up with better solutions for carrying things like the LAW.

      The best solution I’ve seen for the M320 is treat it like a breaching shotgun, and have a way to hold down under the strong side arm.

      • CommonSense23

        I want to say S@S makes the picantany mount system that has been the best mounting system I have seen for the 320. And as for your comment about the LAW. One of the great things about kydex is all the custom work you can do with it.

  • William Johnson

    OK, I’m a geek. I read “1/6 squad” and immediately thought “scale” ie someone had outfitted a bunch of BBI or Ultimate Soldier with the newest kit.

    • MeaCulpa

      No the marines have started a mid… little people recruitment drive. Imagine the savings with one foot soldiers! A whole army group can be airlifted in one C5!

  • int19h

    One thing I don’t quite get, is why does USMC use plain coyote brown for vests/armor? Why not MARPAT? Why bother to adopt a camo pattern for your uniform, and then cover like 50% of said uniform? And for bonus points, it provides a nice convenient blob of solid color for the enemies to aim center mass.

    It’s not like they can’t have it done in MARPAT – there are commercial offerings that do. And surely it’s not a cost issue? I mean, compared to the cost of the plates and everything, adding the pattern is peanuts.

    • Phil Hsueh

      My understanding is that they didn’t want to spend the money on having all of those vests and their pouches printed in both woodland and desert MARPAT, so they decided that it was more economical to have made in a neutral solid color instead. The Army was able to get away with getting all of the vests and pouches printed in UCP, and later Multicam/OCP, because it’s a single pattern.

      • Ron

        Correct