The US Marines have given the go-ahead for the acquisition of a new light automatic rifle for use by infantry in urban combat. This is the M-27 IAR Assault rifle (Infantry Automatic Rifle). The M-27 Assault rifle is a version of the HK-416 which will replace the M-249 in some roles, and it is essentially a heavy-barreled version of the HK-416. There has been considerable skepticism about the necessity of the M-27, as it is in fact little more than a heavy-barreled, piston-driven M-16 with a different buttstock and standard four-point MIL STD 1913 rails. It still fires from a closed bolt, and is thus still subject to same chamber and barrel heating as the M-16.
There were better entries into the IAR competition from both Colt and FN, and it appears that the M-27 was basically the best political choice, rather than the best tactical choice; some have said that the M-27 Assault rifle was the easiest way to get an improvement over their M-16s and M-4s, and the real intent of the M-27 is to eventually replace all of their M-16s and M-4s. The biggest difference between the M-27 Assault rifle and the M-16/M-4 series is the buttstock, which is essentially an M-4-type stock with a ventilated rubber recoil pad, ambidextrous controls, and the heavy 16.5-inch barrel. Of course, being a variant of the HK-416, it also uses a piston-driven gas system rather than the Stoner direct gas impingement system.
|M27 Assault Rifle|
The Marines intend the M-27 Assault rifle to be used with a standard foregrip, ACOG or reflex-type sight, and sling swivels. In addition to 90-round MWG drums and 100-round Beta C-Mags, the Marines have also procured a number of 150 round Armtac SAW-MAGs (sort of an enlarged C-Mag).
Civilian versions of these rifles also exist. The MR-556 is chambered for 5.56mm NATO and limited to 16.5” and 20” barrels, and the MR-308 is chambered for 7.62mm NATO and also limited to 16.5” and 20” barrels. Both are semiautomatic-only rifles, and design differences have made it virtually impossible to convert them to automatic fire. They are identical to their military counterparts for game purposes except for their lack of automatic fire capability.