US Marine Corps (USMC) units are now equipped with the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles kitted with 8x36mm variable power scope, replacing the standard ACOG, as Squad Designated Marksman Rifles, designated as the M38.

The USMC adopted the 5.56mm M27 in 2011 to replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in the infantry squad. The M27 is manufactured by Heckler & Koch and is based on the HK416.

The optic actually used has been identified as the Leupold TS-30A2 Mark 4 MR/T 2.5-8x36mm with a tuned Mk262 77gr turret. The Leupold has previously been used with the Mk 12 Special Purpose Rifle. Interestingly, the marines are supposed to transition to the M855A1 round this year.

It’s worth noting that the USMC seem to be following a naming convention that takes the unit numbers, in this case 3/8, who have been working up new small arms and naming the rifle after them. This was also the case with the Infantry Automatic Rifle as the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines trialled the IAR concept. The 3/8 is also one of the units currently trailing general issue of suppressors, and the M38 pictured appears to be suppressed with a Surefire SOCOM.

The use of the M27 as a DMR rifle is not new, with Marines using it to qualify as Designated Marksman since at least 2016. Similarly, the Norwegian Army, which currently uses the HK416N as its standard-issue infantry rifle, also fields the rifle in a DMR configuration.



US Marines with 3rd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment fire the M38 Squad Designated Marksmanship Rifle during a live-fire weapons exercise at range F-18 on Camp Lejeune, NC, 8 December 2017. (Photos: USMC/LCpl Michaela R. Gregory)

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