MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The mission of the Marine Corps rifle squad is to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, or repel the enemy assault by fire and close combat. By the end of 2013, the Corps will replace the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon with the M-27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, enabling Marines to engage the enemy faster and more effectively.
More than 30 Marines from Weapons Training Battalion and 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion spent the week learning, shooting and evaluating the IAR at Stone Bay Rifle Range, Sept. 2-6.
The IAR is a mere 8 pounds compared to the SAW’s 22 pounds, enabling Marines to engage the enemy quicker and because of its accuracy Marines will require less rounds. Since 1984, the M-249 has been the Corps’ automatic rifle standard.
More than 30 Marines spent the week shooting the M-27, which introduced them to a magazine-fed assault rifle that can still make sustained suppressive fire. Even though the weapon has been slowly distributed to infantry units, it has not been introduced to every unit.
“I’ve never worked with this weapon system before,” said Sgt. Alonzo Blockett, a marksmanship instructor with Weapons Training Battalion. “It’s the fastest firing automatic weapon I’ve ever shot, and it’s awesome.”
“During the courses, we put a lot of emphasis on the history and role of the automatic rifle,” said Peterson. “That explained in detail the intent and purpose of having the M-27 fielded. Now the Marines are aware of its purpose and capabilities.”
Before shooting the weapon, the Marines learned the differences between the M-27 and M-249, along with its capabilities.
“We’ve used the classroom curriculum to introduce them to the characteristics, safety and operations procedures,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Darryl Peterson, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion Gunner. “The Marines have completed practical application and went through several courses of fire on the ranges. The end-state of the training is the Marines are not only familiar with the weapon system, but they understand its capabilities.”
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