C19s Making it Out to the Great North

Rangers and their Enfields, circa 2016 Small Arms Concentration. (Photos: Corporal Doug Burke/Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Center)

The Canadian Rangers date from 1942 when the government was facing Germans landing in the East to set up weather stations and potential Japanese raids in the West. With huge tracts of ice and virgin forests open to invasion, the Rangers were recruited from loggers, miners, and trappers who lived in the wilderness.

Now, 5,000 strong and located in 200 often remote communities the Rangers are paid for up to 12 days of service per year as they keep up their patrols. However, these volunteers are still in large part armed with the same rifle they carried just after Pearl Harbor– the British-designed Short Magazine Lee-Enfield in .303. The guns currently in use are Canadian-made Long Branch Arsenal No. 4 MK. I* and EAL models.

(Photos: Corporal Doug Burke/Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Center)

Now, as part of a slow-moving program that was first debuted five years ago, the Rangers are finally getting their new rifles out to the patrol level.

Based on the Finnish Sako T3 CTR (Compact Tactical Rifle), the rifles have tweaks for the Rangers as they have to use their guns in whiteout conditions at -51 C weather.

Meant primarily for emergency hunting and fending off polar bears rather than parting the hair of a Russian submariner, the Colt Canada-made C19 rifle is definitely unique to the needs of those that use it.

Plus, it is chambered in 7.62 NATO/.308, which is much easier to source than .303 British these days.

Although long in the tooth, the Rangers have used their Enfields effectively in service competitions and in ceremonial duty. As a bonus, the vintage .303s that are being replaced will not be destroyed but rather passed on to museums, cadets for use in training, and then offered to serving Rangers as a donation/gift to preserve their heritage.


  • just sayin' Ma

    It’s the Canadian Rangers Mad Minute Drill! The upper photo showing the Lee-Enfield SMLE was two years before the LE SMLE was phased out of service in 2018, being replaced with the Colt Canada C19 chambered in 7.62×51 NATO…

  • It is a very interesting rifle. Looking at the photos though it is shame they didn’t go for full length woodwork. I like the laminate, but I am surprised it was the best choice.

    • just sayin' Ma...

      Given the temperatures in Nunavut, NWT year round where the Canadian Rangers perform their Mad Minute drills year round, must have played havoc trying to keep the SMLE’s wooden stocks from eventually breaking! And how plentiful and/or cost is .303 ammunition, in comparison to 7.62×51 NATO…

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