Marines’ Small Arms Modernization Strategy

Monday, September 21st, 2015

The Marine Corps’ Small Arms Modernization Strategy includes some long-overdue elements:

The Corps is considering allowing camouflage painted rifles for every Marine and suppressors for rifle squads, Woodburn said. It’s part of an effort to help Marines blend into their surroundings and communicate better. The moves could also give every Marine an “operator” look, although both initiatives are just now being researched.

Driving the effort is the idea to bring rifles in line with the rest of Marine gear. While millions of dollars have been spent developing and fielding Marine Pattern digital camouflage in desert and woodland color schemes, Marines still carry black rifles with a distinctly mechanical shape.

A near-term fix could give commanders the authority to allow Marines to paint their rifles to match the environment to which they’re deploying, Woodburn said. It is something many civilian hunters and members of elite units like Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command already do. The Army has also authorized the move since 2010, when the service recognized the need for better concealment in Afghanistan.

Some achieve the effect with commercial spray paints, while taking care to properly mask optics and other sensitive parts of a rifle. However, Woodburn said the Marine Corps is working with the Office of Naval Research to develop something that can withstand high temperatures and possibly provide other benefits, like concealment in the non-visible spectrum.

The more photos of American forces I see, the more it bothers me that perfectly camouflaged troops are carrying black rifles, while wearing black sunglasses, with black night-vision goggles mounted on their helmets.


  1. Ivvenalis says:

    1) Federal laws on suppressors — which aren’t even particularly abusive — are hampering the development of better, cheaper suppressors. The civilian gear-queer market revolutionized magazines once left to its own devices. They will do the same for suppressors once USG cuts the red tape for civilians to get their hands on them, and it won’t cost the DoD a dime.

    2) Anything that provides “concealment in the non-visible spectrum” is going to by definition decrease heat dissipation.

  2. William Newman says:

    “2) Anything that provides ‘concealment in the non-visible spectrum’ is going to by definition decrease heat dissipation.”

    Not necessarily in any significant way. The frequencies most useful for non-visible imaging aren’t necessarily in the sweet spot for radiation of heat for any given piece of equipment, and radiation of heat isn’t necessarily a large effect compared to conduction and convection, and important issues in concealment can include not just reducing gross brightness (or related gross standout issues like color saturation) but subtler things like breaking up geometric relationships that tend to stand out from the background.

  3. Phil B says:

    Suppressors are cheap and readily available here in New Zealand. The technology is already well tested and tried and “off the shelf”.

    However that would mean (GASP!) that America might have to buy something that wasn’t developed and made in America.

    Still, it’s only tax payers money and there is plenty more where that came from, eh>

    Links to two here:

    Gunworks is especially good at both manufacturing ND DELIVERY.

  4. Mark Minter says:

    Soon in Pink!!!

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