Weapons of the Brazilian Marines

    Having previously shown some of the items that the Força Aérea Brasileira (Brazilian Air Force) ground elements currently pack for their ground work (https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2017/06/23/brazilian-air-force-infantry-weapons/), it’s time, now, to see what their Marinha do Brasil (Brazilian Navy) counterparts employ. Most of the firearms, as expected, will be found in Navy-subordinated Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais (Marine Corps) hands, and these will be briefly covered here.

    Like it happens worldwide, older rifles are also commonly found in ceremonial duties in Brazil. These SPs of the Marine Corps’ Batalhão Naval (Naval Battalion) at ease in the foreground are with a 7x57mm Mauser M1908 bolt-action rifle (right) and with a .30-06 FN SAFN-49 semi-auto rifle, the latter being the standard issue in the 1957-1978 period.

    The SAFN-49 was generally called simply the “FS” (Fuzil Semiautomático, Semi-auto Rifle) by the local marines, the ceremonial examples in use being nickel-plated. The white Prussian-type helmet was used in the 1930s and 1940s, while being re-introduced in the 1990s for festivities, only. The same goes for the red coat/blue pants gala uniform, white spats on shoes.

    The 7.62x51mm FAL was introduced into service by the Navy and its Marine Corps in 1978, remaining in full-scale use until the mid-1990s. However, it still lasts in the hands of second-line units, such as the Escolas de Aprendizes-Marinheiros (Learning Sailors Schools) for men and women 18-21 years of age, as shown in this recent parade photo.

    But the Brazilian Navy has found another practical destination for hundreds of “retired” FALs by donating them to Secretarias de Segurança Pública (Public Security Agencies) for use by Civil and Military Police forces of some states, as in the case of Bahia, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Rio de Janeiro. One of the ex-Navy rifles is seen here in street use by a CIPE – Companhia Independente de Policiamento Especializado (Specialized Police Independent Company) of Polícia Militar da Bahia. (Image credit: PMBA)

    These marines inside an M113 armored personnel carrier are holding their standard 5.56x45mm Colt M16A2 rifles, in service since 1996. Note BFAs (Blank Firing Attachments) on two of the gun muzzles, indicating they’re in an exercise.

    Colt M16A2s and Brazilian marines in training using Swedish-made SAAB firing simulation gear. Note laser transmitter units above guns’ muzzles and receivers on heads, shoulders and upper bodies (front and back) of soldiers, since they record how serious a shot received would be in the specific area. The attached BFAs allow firing blank rounds for greater realism.

    BANG! I Just couldn’t help using this photo of a very enthusiastic marine being “shot”, Hollywood-style, in a training exercise. Oh, yes, we’re still talking about the M16A2 rifle, here…

    Although the M16A2 is the general issue rifle for the Marine infantry units, the Tonelero Battalion (the SpecOps outfit) basically employs the M4 carbine, one seen here in the hands of a COMANF (Amphibious Commando) soldier.

    Members of the Brazilian Marine Corps’ GERR (Special Rescue and Recovery Group) training with M4s fitted with Trijicon sights. Another sight model also in use is the MARS (Multi-purpose Aiming Reflex Sight).

    Photographed in the very same training scenario, these GERR operatives about to make a dynamic entry are carrying 9x19mm Heckler & Koch MP5SD sound-suppressed submachine guns, while the lead man behind the shield is armed with a Taurus PT92 AF pistol in similar chambering.

    Armed with a 12-ga Mossberg Model 590 shotgun, a member of the GERR kicks open a door for his team to enter.

    Another 12-ga shotgun in use is the locally-made CBC Model 586 Pump with a 483mm (19in) barrel. One is seen here providing armed security for a CiaPol (Companhia de Polícia, Police Company) team in an anti-riot exercise.

    For less-than-lethal encounters, the Brazilian Marines also count on different stun guns, such as this Taser M26C. A closer examination of the photo will show that the actual cartridge that houses the two charge electrodes is not fitted for the simulated action.

    Seen here in the hands of COMANFs (Amphibious Commandos), the 5.56x45mm FN Minimi PARA provides automatic fire support. This compact model features a retractable buttstock, a 349mm barrel, and is usually fitted with a 200-round magazine for the belted ammo.

    The standard (465mm barrel), fixed-stock 5.56x45mm FN Minimi is in general use by the infantry battalions, the example seen here being fitted with a BFA and what appears to be a makeshift sling. Note bipod extended to an elevated position.

    Just for comparative purposes, the PARA and Standard models of the 5.56x45mm Minimi light machine gun are shown side by side.

    Also from the FN Herstal stable comes the omnipresent 7.62x51mm MAG general purpose machine gun, seen here mounted on a tripod. Its integral bipod is folded back under the barrel.

    The 9x19mm Taurus MT12A submachine gun can still be found in guards, SP (Shore Patrol), and ceremonial use.

    The small 9x19mm IMI Mini-Uzi subgun has been in the Marines’ inventory for quite a long time, more specifically, in the hands of the elite COMANFs. The weapon is said to possess good functioning performance when used after being underwater for long periods.

    Having been the basic sniping rifle for many years, the 7.62x51mm Parker-Hale M85 has been relegated to the training role by the Tonelero Battalion, although it may be still found in operational use in some other units.

    The current weapon of Marine snipers is the 7.62x51mm PGM Ultima Ratio. Scope fitted is a Schmidt & Bender 3-12×50 PMII.

    The anti-materiel role is performed with the .50 BMG PGM Hécate II rifle, when necessary, fitted with a sound suppressor as in photo. The same Schmidt & Bender scope is used.

    Short-range (up to 6 km) air defense is provided by heat-seeking MDBA (formerly Matra BAe) Mistral missiles fired from small, mobile platforms. These may also be mounted on troop-transport ships while on route to landing beaches for additional close-in defense.

    Well, sometimes “Politics, not Firearms” may be the best choice to dispatch a sentinel. This stealthily-approaching COMANF is about to use his machete to do that…

    Ronaldo Olive

    Ronaldo is a long-time (starting in the 1960s) Brazilian writer on aviation, military, LE, and gun subjects, with articles published in local and international (UK, Switzerland, and U.S.) periodicals. His vast experience has made him a frequent guest lecturer and instructor in Brazil’s armed and police forces.