Sound suppressors for rifles could give US troops a tactical advantage in firefight

Military Times:
Two squads of infantryman approach an enemy position, one from each side. The commander orders the squad on the enemy’s right flank to attack.

Rifles and machine guns open fire.

The cacophony of the firefight pulls the enemy in that direction as they return fire.

Meanwhile, the second squad charges the opposite flank, sound suppressors ­attached to their rifles and machine guns. They begin shooting.

The enemy commander has no idea he’s taking casualties on that side until it’s too late. His position is overrun. His unit is wiped out.

It is a potential scenario and capability in the not-too-distant future that seasoned Marine and Army infantry experts are working toward as they gather data, test new technology and experiment with innovative tactics.

The Army and Marine Corps are both interested in expanding the use of suppressors, possibly even beyond semi-automatic rifles to include machine guns — even .50-cals. Some have called it the “stealth technology” for infantry.

Experts from both services say suppressors offer numerous advantages in a firefight. They suppress muzzle flash and make troops harder to see at night. They can help troops avoid hearing loss and the lifelong effects of hearing damage. But suppressors also come at a cost. They require more maintenance and money, and there are serious questions about their service life.

For now, the Marines are more enthusiastic and are testing suppressors more aggressively, while the Army is a bit more skeptical.
There is more.

The suppressors do enhance communication among the troops.  What is still to be determined is if they will have the same shock effect on enemy troops.  Navy SEALs have been using them for some time with great success.  They would add an element of stealth of a firefight that could confuse the enemy.


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