“Marines with Force Recon Company and Charlie Company, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division as well as the Stone Bay Marksmanship Training Unit were introduced to the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle aboard Stone Bay Rifle Range, Sept. 5. Soundbite from Sgt. Alonzo Blockett.”
Made by Heckler & Koch, the M27 is essentially a (very) heavy-duty Heckler & Koch HK416; it features a free-floating heavy barrel and a quad-rail forearm, and ditches the direct-impingement gas system for a short stroke piston system.
It’s capable of sustained fire just as much as the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, but it looks, handles, and carries like an M4, and takes M4/STANAG magazines. Being able to put thirty rounds down precisely outweighs being able to loose a hundred all over the place (and clear a jam or two in the process). On top of that, the Marines are asking for someone to make them a high-capacity quad-stack stick magazine a la Surefire hundred-rounder. Once that’s done then there won’t be much of a case for the M249.
Not only that, but they’re cheaper, by about a thousand dollars: M249s cost about $4,000, M27s, $3,000.
One drawback of the platform is that early versions of the IAR are incompatible with some non-USGI magazines, which has lead to the ban of PMAGs and all non-standard magazines, even though newer IARs have a standard magwell and all Gen M3 PMAGs and several other aftermarket USGI alternatives have been designed to function with the first generation of M27 rifles.