Silenced entry rifles are becoming much more prevalent these days, especially in the military realm. For our most elite units, suppressors are becoming the norm, especially on 7.62x51mm rifles. The round has proven effective. Enemy threats are often motivated, armored and hardened, making the 5.56mm problematic at times—sometimes you just need a more powerful cartridge.
The larger 7.62x51mm round works, but it’s loud. It is also problematic in short-barreled guns. Anything much shorter than 16 inches and you might experience difficulties—the gun can become ammunition finicky, if not downright unreliable. It’s a very precise balancing act. For the most part, a 12- to 13-inch barrel is about as short as it gets with an unsuppressed rifle. Add a suppressor to that barrel length and most simply will not work. The added backpressure just makes things unreliable, especially in a combat environment. As the weapon gets dirty, the equation changes yet again. You see how difficult it is to weigh all these variables, and companies have been and still are trying to make this system work.
A typical short-barreled .308 rifle in the AR platform will be about 32 inches long overall. That setup makes a pretty handy entry rifle in a really powerful cartridge. Most operators needing the firepower are willing to give up the added length compared to a 5.56mm for the knockdown capability. It just needs to be reliable. Rifles in this configuration are becoming more prevalent. The FN SCAR 17 is a perfect example and is in service right now. Many AR companies provide similar gas piston or gas impingement guns. If you want the rifle to be truly quiet, adding a suppressor generally between 6 and 8 inches long will get you out to 40 inches in overall length. Most save the cash and stick with a flash hider. The real solution: a rifle that you can suppress and keep closer to 32 inches long. It would also be nice if it were reliable, proven and already supported in the inventory.