Marines getting in some live-fire training, while embarked on a Navy amphibious warfare ship, were recently spotted with some interesting new gear. 

The Marines, part of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable)’s Maritime Special Purpose Force, are currently deployed aboard the USS Bataan. An elite unit within an elite unit, the MSPF typically includes a SEAL Strike Platoon, a Force Recon Direct Action Platoon, and a platoon from the MEU(SOC)'s boat company, among others. That would explain the extensive use of M27s – itself a version of the well-liked Heckler & Koch HK 416 rifle – modified with HK's Reconnaissance Weapon Kit. 
 

26th MEU (SOC) USS Bataan 2023 HK M27
The recent photos of the 26th MEU(SOC)'s MSPF show Recon-kitted M27s complete with EoTech holographic sights and PEQ-16 flashlight/laser aiming devices. (Photo: Cpl. Kyle Jia/U.S. Marine Corps)


First spotted in use in 2021, the kit includes a 416A5 upper with an adjustable gas system and 11-inch barrel, allowing for a more compact and suppressor-friendly close-quarters weapon than the 16-inch barrel on the standard M27. 
 

26th MEU (SOC) USS Bataan 2023 HK M27
For longer range work, they have been seen with EoTech magnifiers as well. (Photo: Cpl. Kyle Jia/U.S. Marine Corps)
26th MEU (SOC) USS Bataan 2023 HK M27
(Photo: Cpl. Kyle Jia/U.S. Marine Corps)
26th MEU (SOC) USS Bataan 2023
(Photo: Cpl. Kyle Jia/U.S. Marine Corps)
26th MEU (SOC) USS Bataan 2023 HK M27
(Photo: Cpl. Kyle Jia/U.S. Marine Corps)
26th MEU (SOC) USS Bataan 2023 HK M27
(Photo: Cpl. Kyle Jia/U.S. Marine Corps)


The SIG Sauer M18, recently adopted as standard across the Marine Corps, is also present on each of the MSPF members, complete with Surefire X300 lights and lanyards. As previously reported, the Marines sought 35,000 of the smaller SIG Modular Handgun System variants to replace Beretta M9 pistols, Colt M45A1 CQB .45ACP railguns, and the M007 Glock.

The 26th MEU(SOC), embarked with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, has been deployed in European waters conducting exercises with NATO allies in the Mediterranean, but this week arrived in the Middle East to support deterrence efforts in the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran has been harassing oil tankers as of late. 

According to reports from Stars and Stripes, small detachments of Marines in the region may soon begin deploying as protective teams on merchant ships passing through the Strait in an effort to ward off Iranian attacks. 

revolver barrel loading graphic

Loading