I’ve said over and over lately that suppressors are safety devices, that they’re not something that’s particularly ideal for criminals. I stand by that completely. In fact, I suspect that’s exactly why the United States Marine Corps may be looking at integrally suppressed weapons for equipping their Marines in the near future.

The Marines will soon ask industry for proposals for new weapons suppressors.

Marine Col. Mike Manning, commander of Ground Combat Element Systems for Marine Corps Systems Command, said in a panel at the annual Modern Day Marine military expo at Quantico on Tuesday that the Corps will soon be drafting a request for industry proposals.

Manning declined to specify quantity or whether the suppressor would be for the M4 carbine or the newer M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle.

Manning hinted at some of the potential developments during his comments in the panel, noting that existing commercial suppressors were already available and being tested.

But having a built-in suppressor may be better.

“OK, there’s a couple out there right now that integrate with the weapons themselves. That’s really where we want to be at. Integrate the suppressor into the barrel,” Manning said.

Manning didn’t get into specifics, but he did indicate this would likely be across the American Armed Forces, which makes perfect sense.

Suppressed weapons reduce the need for earplugs or other forms of hearing protection to be worn by combat troops. That allows them to use their hearing to look for potential threats without risking their hearing should they find themselves under attack.

While military troops often do get to take the initiative, something we in the civilian world rarely get to do, they don’t always.

By switching to integrally suppressed weapons, the risk of hearing injuries drops while other advantages to suppressors for a wartime environment–such as making it a bit more difficult to find where a shot is coming from–would offer serious tactical advantages.

Manning indicated that the Marine Corps wanted integrally suppressed weapons to avoid the length associated with more traditional suppressors. As he told The Marine Corps Times, “Quit throwing it on the end so that now we have a 14-and-a-half inch barrel or a 16-inch barrel. We just added four or five inches to that barrel.”

And integrally suppressed weapon won’t have that handicap, which is good considering the mix of urban and wide open environments our boys have found themselves fighting in over the last 15 years or so.

Further, it seems command and control issues are one reason why the Corps is looking to adopt suppressed weapons, which makes sense. It’s a lot easier to be heard over the sounds of suppressed weapons than standard any day of the week.

Of course, should the Hearing Protection Act pass, that would also benefit the private citizen who could but a civilian version of these rifles for their own uses, such as home defense. As it stands right now, the loud report of a rifle inside the house, among other things, makes the rifle less than ideal for home defense. Get one with an integrated suppressor, though?

Might be a game changer for some.

Either way, anything that reduces injuries for our men and women in uniform is a good thing.