Program Manager for Infantry Weapons has begun a large-scale modernization for USMC


Ready for some talking points and buzz words from MCSC this morning? I wonder where they think they are gonna get the money for all this upgrading. Maybe they figure since the federal gov is going into debt like it’s cool, they will be able to get in on that action.


Marine Corps Systems Command’s Program Manager for Infantry Weapons has begun a large-scale modernization project to increase the lethality of the infantry squad.

PM IW strives to equip and sustain the Marine Corps with fully-integrated infantry weapons, optics and nonlethal systems for the Ground Combat Element.

The portfolio’s modernization efforts adhere to Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger’s vision to redesign the force to meet the challenges of a new age of great power competition. Through PM IW, the Corps plans to field numerous new weapon and optic systems over the next decade.

“This is the largest modernization of the infantry squad in the last 25 years,” said Lt. Col. Tim Hough, MCSC’s program manager for Infantry Weapons.

Strengthening systems

PM IW has begun the procurement of the Modular Handgun System, which will replace all Marine Corps pistols. This striker-fired pistol includes a plastic clip-on piece, enabling Marines to change grip sizes to accommodate different hand sizes. The weapon is compatible with the pistol-aiming module used by some units.

MCSC will begin fielding the system this fiscal year.

“The MHS improves on the precision and reliability of the legacy platforms, while also bringing with it new, more effective ammunition,” said Maj. Mike Brisker, weapons product manager for PM IW.

MCSC is expanding the use of the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle. Originally fielded to infantry units as a replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in 2011, the rifle received overwhelmingly positive feedback from Marines. This feedback led to the Marine Corps’ decision to field the M27 to all rifle platoons as their primary individual weapon.

“We expect fielding of [the M27] to conclude by the end of this fiscal year,” said Brisker.

PM IW is also enhancing its optic systems. Fielded in spring 2020, the Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggle is a helmet-mounted system that offers improved depth perception, and the ability to detect and recognize targets in extreme low light, in inclement weather and in the presence of obscurants. The SBNVG provides additional capabilities that the legacy system, the AN/PVS-14, lacked.

Since awarding a contract in February 2020, PM IW plans to begin fielding the Squad Common Optic in fiscal year 2021. The SCO includes a magnified day optic, which improves situational awareness, decreases engagement times and increases probability of hit.

“The Squad Common Optic enables Marines to see farther and identify the enemy more quickly,” said Hough.

MCSC is collaborating with other services to field certain systems. For example, the Marine Corps will partner with the Army to procure the Next-Generation Squad Weapon system, intended to replace the M27 and become the primary individual weapon for infantry units.

The NGSW will provide a significant boost to the lethality of the individual soldier and Marine. The weapon includes an optic/fire control system that will incorporate a disturbed reticle to improve the shooter’s accuracy.

The Marine Corps could receive first deliveries of the NGSW as early as fiscal year 2025, said Brisker.

Additionally, PM IW and Fleet Marines are participating in the Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System and the Enhanced Night Vision-Binocular programs to help inform requirements and programmatic decisions in the future.

Enhancing performance

PM IW’s modernization efforts mirror MCSC’s mission to increase lethality among Marines. The command is continuously striving to equip Marines with the capabilities needed to successfully fulfill missions. To meet this goal, PM IW will continue to solicit feedback from Marines and industry.

“In line with the Commandant’s Planning Guidance, we’re looking to lighten the load and increase the overall lethality of Close Combat Forces—specifically infantry Marines,” said CW4 David Tomlinson, an infantry weapons officer with PM IW.

Tomlinson believes upgrading Infantry Weapon systems will ultimately enhance performance on the battlefield and increase survivability at a time when enemies are strengthening.

“These efforts show we are focused on staying abreast of advancements that are coming quickly,” said Tomlinson. “It also shows our desire to stay persistent, look toward the future, and make sure our Marines receive the best [systems] we can buy.”

Story by Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Photos by LCpl Michaela R. Gregory and Kealii De Los Santos


  1. Don’t worry about it. By the time they’re done, you’ll be looking at it all and going “Damn, I’m glad we didn’t have all that worthless crap when I was in…”.

    The Army and Marine small arms programs are beyond fucked up, and edging into territory that I thought was only occupied by the various idiots contributing to the French Lebel debacle.

    Whatever comes out of the NGSW program is going to be another massive pile of shit like the ACR or the XM-8 debacles. If anything worthwhile accidentally gets adopted, it’ll be like the ACOG–Something way out on the periphery that nobody paid real attention to.

    This shit isn’t going to stop until we start charging the various assholes responsible with treason, and hanging them. The fact that we still have the M16 family hanging around and functional is in diametric opposition to everything the procurement weenies have been doing since about 1950, and that’s sheerest accident–Nothing planned about it, at all. If it had been left up to them, we’d have had the M14 up until about 1968-ish, and then moved into their “ideal solution” of the SPIW program, firing flechettes. Without the “proof of concept” experiment represented by Vietnam, there’s no telling where we’d be.

    All this crap is just going to be the same delusional BS spread out over more money/time. Only beneficiaries, in the end? The flag-ranked dumbfucks who get themselves hired on for more bogus jobs with the defense contractors.

    God knows none of this is ever going to translate into actual fielded weapons.

    • Basically, what they’re doing here is trying to bring something over from what used to be a “big weapon” technology like an AA system into small arms:

      “”A computing sight for such a gun generally provides the gunner with two spots in the sight and is termed a “disturbed-reticle” sight. The first spot is on boresight and is used by the gunner to initially track the target, thereby providing information such as range and angular rate to a ballistic computer. After completing the computations, a second point (e.g., a reticle) is displayed to designate the bullet-impact point. The gunner then physically moves the gun and sight to place the bullet-impact point on the target and fires. “

      My suspicion is that what works relatively well for someone who’s running an AA mount somewhere behind the direct-combat lines is not going to work out so well when the guy using the system where he’s getting shot at tries it out.

      To my knowledge, none of these advanced sighting systems have been tested under actual combat conditions where the shooter is getting shot at and is under the sort of real-world stress that produces. So far, it’s been “simulated combat conditions”, and I’m here to tell you that the “simulated” bit ain’t nowhere near as stressful as trying to acquire and make that shot when someone is actually shooting back at you. I remain dubious of the entire proposition, and I question the complexity that these sights are going to be bringing to the table in terms of whether or not they’re going to be some sort of game-changing, paradigm-shifting wonder weapon.

      If it was just me doing the development? I’d be shitcanning all this stuff, and working more on sharing targeting data and intel between the fireteam members. We have more problem spotting the enemy and coordinating fires on him than we do with hitting him, and what they’re trying to address with these sights is fixing something that’s not necessarily part of the real problem-set.

      Of course, maybe you’re trying to make a joke, and I’m taking it seriously…?

  2. A little bit of both.
    The bafflegab and happy horseshit is classic, and it amuses and saddens me at the same time.
    I have been in a few very high stress situations and learned that simple tends to work, and that anything that adds to complexity is almost always bad.
    I got VERY lucky more than once, no more than a few broken bones.
    Enjoy the show, taking it too seriously is bad for your mental health.

  3. I’m just stuck on the fact that we’re still in the middle of two wars that we are politically unwilling to win. I keep coming back to Dyspeptic Gunsmith’s comment from a couple of weeks ago: you could issue 03A3 Springfields and still fix what’s broken with .mil. None of this equipment, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent is going to change the fact that what’s broken with our military is mostly broken between the ears of the folks at the Pentagon, the White House and Capitol Hill.

    I think that advanced targeting systems are cool, and I look forward to reaping the benefit of .mil R&D on the subject relatively soon. I do question how useful those things will be when fighting near-peer enemies. Tools like TrackingPoint will need to send out some kind of ranging beam, which sounds like a nice thing for your opponent to lock on to and drop artillery on. Even relatively unsophisticated enemies could probably find the beam using sensing tools like IR glasses.

    • I think that most of the problems we have are actually systemic, and spread throughout the entire structure of our military. It’s not just small arms, it’s the whole freaking cancerous structure.

      Case in point: Throughout the 1990s, there were people (I was one of them, from the low level) pointing out that IEDs and mines in the rear areas where we ran logistics were going to be an issue. Humanitarian demining was going to be an issue, too. People agitated, wrote papers, presented evidence, all of that crap.

      The institution steadily responded by not responding. We were told, flatly, that the Army was not interested in that sort of warfare because we didn’t intend to fight that way, and that if we built up a capability in those areas, we’d be expected to use it, and since there were already too many competing funding issues, well… Too bad, so sad, we’re not gonna worry about IEDS, rear-area mining, or humanitarian demining.

      Nothing we could do would convince the people in authority that they’d have to deal with those issues–They just doubled-down on the idea that we wouldn’t ever have to face the facts, and that since nobody in Congress was giving them more money to deal with it, they weren’t doing a damn thing. Ever.

      Several careers got wrecked over this issue, and I know of several company-grade officers and a couple of field-grades who ended their careers early over the whole thing. Nothing was done.

      Fuck me to tears… The Army was forced to buy a set of the IED route-clearance gear for “evaluation” back in the mid-1990s. They ran that gear through a half-ass “test phase”, and then left it to rot, sitting out in the open on Fort Leonard Wood. Came 2003, the IED campaign in Iraq starting up full-on, and what did those sorry POS time-serving hacks have us doing? Yeah; we were out walking in front of improvised sand-bag “armored” trucks, trying to do route clearance on foot, by hand.

      There was zero interest in that South African route-clearance gear. None. We couldn’t even get the fuckers to come up with legit uparmor kits for the vehicles, Kevlar blankets and the like. I spent a significant fraction of my time in Kuwait during that first tour going out and stripping every unit coming south for body armor and vehicle armor, some of which I virtually had to gather up at gunpoint, in order to send it north to the guys doing route clearance.

      Eventually, during 2004-05, some Major decided to commit career suicide and dropped a full briefing paper on his Congressional delegation, pointing out the South African gear that was already on Fort Leonard Wood and rusting, plus all the rest. From what I heard through the grapevine, that came about a week after the Engineer School had briefed Congress that they’d need several years and billions of dollars to develop the same capability that was available off the shelf from Denel in South Africa. None of that crap had ever been brought up with Congress as an option, and the Congressmen involved were a little less than pleased.

      To date, there has been exactly no punitive action, corrective action, or even an investigation into that whole sorry, sordid mess. You listen to the nasty little pricks at the Engineer School, and all you’ll hear is a grand little fairy-tale about how they “responded to crisis”, and “rapidly fielded” all of that crap, from MRAP to the route-clearance gear. You’ll see no discussion about how they ignored us for a decade-plus, or hear the name of that Major that kissed goodbye to his military career in order to get Congress to apply some pressure. That route-clearance set was refurbished and in Iraq within weeks of him doing that, after literal years of requests sent up through channels.

      The most critical part of all that is the failure to self-examine and correct obvious dysfunction. Instead, they lie to the public, Congress, other soldiers, and themselves about what a great fucking job they did. I’ve got no idea how many of my fellow Combat Engineers died on Iraqi roads before even minimal gear showed up, but I do know there were quite a few whose deaths could have been avoided, had we gone in prepared for the fight we were predicting and which we got.

      Frankly, at this point? I say this: Fuck the Army, fuck the entrenched bureaucracy, and fuck the lazy-ass motherfucking POS troop-killing bastards that run that bureaucracy. They’re all time-serving hacks, thieves, and creatures that deserve nothing but contempt and hatred. They’re the basest of traitors to their duties and the nation.

      It’s all about their precious little careers, the felching faggots.


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