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Top 13 Army Picks for Subcompact Weapons Testing

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The U.S. Army had awarded contracts under the Sub Compact Weapon (SCW) program, worth approximately $200,000, to ten companies to submit submachine guns for the service branch to evaluate.

Then a few weeks later, the service branch expanded the scope of the test and  added three more submachine guns to the mix: the Angstadt Arms’ UDP-9, the Heckler & Koch UMP9, and the Noveske Sub Compact Weapon.

The Army is reportedly considering them for units tasked with protecting senior Army leaders.

The list of sole-source contracts for the subcompact weapons, in alphabetical order, are:

Angstadt Arms for UDP-9

Beretta USA Corporation for PMX subcompact weapon

Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC for CM9MM-9H-M5A, Colt Modular 9mm subcompact weapon

CMMG Inc. for Ultra PDW subcompact weapon

CZ-USA for Scorpion EVO 3 A1 submachine gun

Heckler & Koch for UMP9

Lewis Machine & Tool Company for MARS-L9 compact suppressed weapon

Noveske for Sub Compact Weapon

PTR Industries Inc. for PTR 9CS subcompact weapon

Quarter Circle 10 LLC 5.5 CLT and 5.5 QV5 subcompact weapons

Sig Sauer Inc. for MPX subcompact weapon

Trident Rifles LLC for B&T MP9 machine gun

Zenith Firearms for Z-5RS, Z-5P and Z-5K subcompact weapons

The contracts come on the heels of a Request for Information issued last May for a SCW that will fire 9×19-millimeter (9mm Luger) ammunition, fire full automatic, and have a Picatinny rail for attaching lights and optics.

The ten companies awarded contracts are from the U.S. and Europe. Gunmaker Colt is the first on the list, with what is described as the Colt Modular 9mm Sub Compact Weapon.

Some of the weapons, such as the Colt, CMMG, LMT, and Quarter Circle offerings are likely based on so-called short barrel AR15 “pistols” using the AR15/M16/M4 operating system.

Other guns are based on the famous Heckler and Koch MP-5 submachine gun.

The U.S. Army has not fielded a new submachine gun since World War II.

Marines Award M27 IAR Contract

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By Debbie Gregory.

The Marine Corps has awarded a five-year, firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract with a maximum ceiling of $29.4 million for the procurement of up to 15,000 M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles (IAR) and spare parts. The contract reflects a savings of more than 50 percent compared with what it has paid in the past for the weapon.

The contract was awarded to Heckler & Koch (H&K) in Ashburn, Virginia. For more than 50 years, H&K has been a leading designer and manufacturer of small arms and light weapons for law enforcement and military forces worldwide. In addition to operations in the U.S., H&K has operations in Germany, the United Kingdom and France

The price tag for the first 5,650 units is $7.4 million, which works out to $1,309 each. Given that the service branch previous paid approximately $3,000/unit, these rifles are a substantially better buy.

The additional M27’s will replace the M4 carbine. Unlike the M4, the M27 IAR is fully automatic to provide a higher volume of fire. It also features a free-floating barrel design for better accuracy.

“Since the M27 has been fielded, it has proven to be extremely reliable, durable, and accurate,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Joel Schwendinger, Combat Development and Integration Gunner.

The Marine Corps Operating Concept identifies the need for “increased lethality in Marine rifle platoons and squads,” he said.

“The M27 provides the Corps with the necessary increase in lethality,” Schwendinger said. “Unlike other infantry specialties that primarily fight with crew-served weapons, such as mortars and machine guns, rifle platoons primarily fight with rifles, and the M27 has proven to be the best overall fighting rifle.”

Although the infantry is fully enamored with the IAR, Marine special operators don’t want it because it isn’t compatible with SOCOM’s low receivers. Adopting the rifle would mean Marine operators would lose the flexibility of changing out various rifle barrels and configurations for a multitude of diverse mission sets carried out by the elite commando force.

The Marine Corps will field the additional M27 rifles to active and reserve infantry platoons beginning in early 2019.

Forward Movement on the Heckler & Koch Contract?

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By Debbie Gregory.

In 2016, the U.S. Army awarded Heckler & Koch a $44.5 million contract to build a variant of the G28 7.63mm as their new Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS). Now the service branch may actually be able to pay for it via a fiscal 2019 budget request.

The contract will buy up to 3,643 rifles.

Army leaders are also looking to upgrade infantry squads with a new 7.62mm Squad Designated Marksman rifle this year.

Last year, Gen. Mark Milley testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee that the service’s current M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round will not defeat enemy body armor plates used by countries such as Russia and China.

For several years the Army has had to choose to prioritize funding to meet its force readiness requirements over funding the development of capabilities needed to build a future force. The situation will only get worse from here, said Lt. Gen. John Murray at a February 7th  Senate Armed Services Airland Subcommittee hearing on Army modernization.

“The Army has reached an inflection point,” Murray, Army G-8, told senators at the hearing. “It is the same thing I told you last year, we can no longer afford to choose between near-term readiness and modernization. Specific to modernization, we can no longer afford to choose between incremental upgrades of existing equipment and developing new capabilities, we have definitely reached a point where we’ve got to be able to do both.”

Gen. Murray also said that the Army has accelerated efforts to start fielding the new 7.62mm SDM to squads this year.

By Debbie Gregory.

On August 11th , the U.S. Marine Corps issued a Notice of Intent to Sole Source for more than 50,000 new M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles from German gun-maker Heckler & Koch. The notice was posted on the website Federal Business Opportunities.

This has raised speculation that some within the service branch want to replace the M4 with the M27.

With the M27 costing upwards of $3,000 a rifle, this is a sizable purchase. And the Marine Corp has already bought thousands of the rifles earlier this year.

While weapon vendors were invited to pitch their latest weapons technologies, including new suppressors, optics, etc., Heckler & Koch apparently remained the best option for the Corps.

Based on the HK416, the M27 is chambered for a 5.56mm round and carried by Marine automatic riflemen, though officials have discussed the possibility of fielding the weapon as the new service rifle for all or most infantrymen rather than the M4. The HK416 was recently adopted by the French army.

Faced with fulfilling three major contracts (the U.S. Army’s possible purchase of 7.62mm Interim Combat Service Rifle, the French Army’s contract, and the Marine’s contract) Heckler & Koch’s manufacturing capacity has been questioned.

While a contract for 50,000 rifles would not be enough to equip every Marine with an M27, but it would be a start.

This summer, the Corps began a 20-month-long experiment involving an “Uber Squad” at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, to test out gear including suppressors, polymer drum mags and special operations-issue hearing protection, as well as the M27.

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