The Marine Corps’ much-hyped M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle may have picked up a much-needed cost reduction , but the rifle’s troubles are still on full display.
Just days after the Marine Corps announced its intent to buy 15,000 M27 IARs from Heckler and Koch at around $1,300 per weapon — down from the eye-popping $3,000 price tag that rankled lawmakers in March — The Firearm Blog published a leaked copy of a 2016 report on M27 testing that raises questions about whether the new rifle is ready to field. A Marine expert, however, told Task & Purpose the Corps has already addressed the issues that emerged in this troubling report.
The test, conducted by Marine Corps Systems Command’s Infantry Weapons Product Management Office at with 9 IARs outfitted with suppressors and firing some 2,700 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, appears troubling on its face. The platform reportedly experienced frequent bolt-over-brass malfunctions associated with a high cyclic rate, resulting in frequent stoppages from the weapon’s failure to fully feed each round from its magazine. That high cyclic rate, The Firearm Blog argues, will pose serious issues for the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round that, officially adopted by the Marine Corps last year, has faced problems with the M27 in the past.
When reached for comment by Task & Purpose, however, MARSYSCOM declined to comment on both the authenticity and contents of the M27 report. So Task & Purpose called up recently retired 2nd Marine Division Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christian Wade, who oversaw infantry modernization efforts that included the IAR and authored a strong defense of the platform in March — and according to Wade, the issues detailed in the 2016 report weren’t about the platform itself but the magazine and rounds used.
U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment fire the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle during a live-fire weapons exercise at range F-18 on Camp Lejeune, N.C., Dec. 8, 2017.