MARSOC NOT Interested in the M27… But the M38 Looks Promising

    A recently released Marine Corps Times article covers a discussion with a MARSOC spokesman who confirmed in no uncertain terms that the command was not interested in an M27 IAR procurement program. The reasons stated involved the Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) of MARSOC, working in confined quarters and requiring not only a shorter barrel for these types of operations but also a weapon in which adding a suppressor to won’t make it even longer. Also mentioned was a statement about the lack of compatibility with the SOCOM upper receiver group to be mounted on an M27’s lower receiver. On top of both of these concerns is that MARSOC appears to be quite content with having a belt-fed light machine gun integral to the small teams in which they operate from. Previously this has been the M249 SAW, but currently, MARSOC is fielding the FN Herstal 7.62x51mm NATO Mk.48.

    USMC M38 DMR (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Michaela R. Gregory)

    However, there is an interest in the M38 for a long-range capability, which is essentially a standard M27 outfitted with a precision optic (most likely an M8541Schmidt & Bender 3-12×50) and a Knight’s Armament QDSS-NT4 suppressor. The M38 is currently seeing fielding within the Infantry battalions of the Fleet Marine Force at the squad level as a Designated Marksman billet. If I were to guess, this is possibly because, procurement wise, it is much easier for MARSOC to field M38s than to purchase a new system. Although the command does receive SOCOM funding, the curse of being a part of the cash-strapped Marine Corps appears to still be upon them.

    Once again this topic is igniting the age-old M27 debate over accuracy versus base of fire, to which MARSOC has blatantly stated that the beltfed base of fire trumps the accuracy of the M27. This further goes along the lines of the Marine Corps’ move to adopt the M27 as a backdoor way into upgrading the M16A4s and M4s currently in service, under the “guise” of adopting a magazine-fed light machine gun.

    Marine Raiders Don’t Want Any M27s

    Shawn Snow –


    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 [email protected]