SIG wasn’t the only company to submit a design for the SURG RFP, however. At least two other companies delivered specialized, functional SURG designs that were inched out by SIG’s modified, piston-driven MCX upper.
The first was from long-time sound suppressor manufacturer, GemTech. Founded in the 1970s, GemTech has been producing military and civilian suppressors for decades. With their massive breath of experience, the engineers at GemTech submitted their Integra Upper to the SURG RFP.
As its name suggests, the Integra features a sound suppressor integrated into the barrel itself. In fact, only the first 10.5 inches of the barrel are rifled, and the remaining 5.5 inches are simply a sound suppressor — though this is mostly in line with the SURG requirements set forth by SOCOM (GemTech’s submission actually offers 1.7 additional inches of rifled barrel)
Interestingly enough, the GemTech Integra was the first SURG program submission to be sold to civilians. While I’ve personally never had the pleasure of firing the Integra, I have been in close proximity to one while it was fired.
Performance is exactly what anyone familiar with suppressing 5.56mm carbines would expect: less loud, but still not Hollywood quiet. Afterall, the 5.56x45mm round derives the majority of its ballistic power from velocity, not weight. So by nature, the round is going to be supersonic.
This means even if a new suppressor design were to emerge capable of totally silencing the muzzle blast, there would still be a supersonic crack of it breaking the sound barrier.
Unlike SIG’s SURG entry, the Integra uses a standard, direct impingement system. This is ideal for saving weight, but can make the carbine overgassed when running a suppressor. Though this should be a non-issue, given that the Integra was designed from inception to always run with a suppressor.
LaRue Tactical SUURG
Another submission to the SURG program came from a high end gunmaker out of Texas - Mark LaRue of LaRue Tactical. This Armadillo-clad SURG entry takes a traditional approach to the core upper design much like GemTech’s Integra but differs in a few important aspects.
The upper is a modified version of LaRue’s Ultimate Upper Kit called the SUURG. It utilizes the same high-end monolithic rail as the standard LaRue carbines, but incorporates a proprietary suppressor and a new head shield design.
This honeycomb-pattern heat shield helps reduce the overall gun’s weight, while still providing ample protection from the skin-searing heat of a suppressor during hard use.
What really sets LaRue’s design apart from competitors, is its monolithic baffle design. The baffles of the SUURG double as a massive, five-inch muzzle brake. This brake extends beyond the suppressor itself, protruding enough to completely eliminate the chance of a baffle strike.
Additionally, the suppressor body ratchets onto this brake, ensuring the suppressor won’t come loose during automatic fire.
I personally had a chance to run the LaRue SUURG less than a year ago, and can attest that its much quieter than most suppressed 5.56mm carbines. And despite its relatively short barrel, I was able to effectively engage targets out to 500m with a simple reflex sight.
With the quality of the late-round submissions to the SURG program, it’s evident that the DoD had its work cut out for it deciding on the perfect candidate. Out of the three SURG designs that I’ve had some experience with none of them suffered any reliability, accuracy or sound performance issues. Ultimately, these are all fine weapon systems.