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Endangered Marine XM-3s being preserved via CMP

In 2004, the Marine snipers deployed in the sandbox needed a rifle that was shorter and lighter as well as quieter, than their standard M40s.

This led a small group of sniper wonks including Steve Reichert (then SNCOIC of the 2nd Marine Division’s Pre-Sniper course) and others to hammer out what was known as the DARPA XM-3 rifle, using an 18.5″ Hart 416R Stainless Steel (Mil-Gauged) barrel that was suppressor ready.

That's a full length rifle

That’s a fully asssembled sniper rifle…

What was so special about them?

From Steve Reichert:

-The receivers were clip slotted to accept the reverse-engineered titianium picatinny rail (IBA Design) to fit firmly.
-The receivers’ internal threads were opened up to 1.070” to allow a perfectly true alignment with the bolt face and chamber/bore dimension. The chamber was cut to accept M118LR ammo.
-The titanium recoil lug was built with the 1.070” diameter opening for the larger-barrel threads and surface ground true.
-The stainless steel magazine box was hand fitted and welded to eliminate movement when assembled.
-The stocks were custom made for the project.
-The barreled actions were bedded in titanium Devcon and Marine Tex to allow for decades of hard use without losing torque or consistency.
-Nightforce made a full 1 MOA elevation adjustment on their NXS 3.5-15X50’s to allow for faster dope changes at distance. These scopes had 1/4 MOA windage.

While successful and a hit with the Devils who got to use them, the 56 or so XM3’s were all pulled from service by 2014.

Thankfully, some have made thier way to the CMP and, as surplus bolt-action rifles, can be sold to the public.

They just auctioned off XM-3 rifle, serial number S6534025 with a factory green stock finish, built at Iron Brigade Armory by D. Briggs, USMC (Ret), 2112.

The rifle included the scope, sniper data book with some firing information; PVS22 Night Vision Device and other goodies.

xm-3-rifle-serial-number-s6534025-has-a-factory-green-stock-finish-and-shows-signs-of-use-but-was-well-maintained-and-cared-for-was-built-at-iba-by-d-briggs-usmc-ret-2112 pvs-22

Talk about functional history…

Magpul, USMC


It looks like Wyoming-based Magpul will be providing the mags for the Marines moving forward, with their PMAG being the only authorized mag for field use while the USGI EPM will be relegated to training.

In government administered tests, the Gen M3 PMAG ran through 20,400 rounds of M855A1 ammo without any magazine-related stoppages, so there is that. The mags will be in two types, GEN M3 PMAG in Black (NSN 1005-01-615-5169) and the new Medium Coyote Tan (NSN 1005-01-659-7086).

“In light of the results from an enormous body of reliability and durability testing and 4 years of combat use, today it was announced that the PMAG 30 AR/M4 GEN M3 Window, in Black and Medium Coyote Tan (MCT), would be the official magazine of the entire United States Marine Corps,” noted the company in a statement on social media.

The company says the MCT mags with the NSN will be available around SHOT show for commercial sale and were designed with the HK416/M27 in mind, which is a big plus.

And it also means their will probably be about 2 million old metal body GI M16/M4 mags hit the surplus pipeline in the coming year or three.

Sometimes copper is your best friend

Marine Special Operations Team (MSOT) 8222 was deployed to Bala Murghab in 2009-10. The team was tasked with partnering with national Afghan forces to train them to stabilize a remote valley in northwestern Afghanistan.

This specialized beryllium copper knife was used by the team breacher to cut plastic explosives.


Currently on exhibit at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

This knife cut every charge used by MSOT-8222 during this deployment.

It’s a Strider BD Beryllium Copper (CuBe). These knives, made in St. Paul, MN, have a 6.5-inch blade, paracord wrapped handle, and go an impressive 0.25-inches wide. They run four-figures but are guaranteed non-sparking & non-magnetic.

They are extremely corrosion resistant and doesn’t spark like a steel blade would. Precisely the type of knife you’d want if your job involved cutting through hundreds of blocks of high explosives.

SECDEF, arriving


And I heard, as it were, the voice of thunder. A voice spake, saying, “Come and see.” And I saw. And a thousand PT belts were rent, and blood spilt upon the earth, wherefore the grass did grow. -1St Fallujans, Chapter 17, verse 75.

Of course, Mattis is something of a modern day Patton. A warrior monk with gregarious and outspoken nature.Let’s just hope there is a modern day Ike, Bradley, and Beetle in place to provide mid-course input as needed.

The Jacob Double Rifle

Brig. Gen. John Jacob (CB) was an officer of the British East India Company born in 1812. Reared at the Addiscombe Military Seminary, he completed his formal education at age 16 when he was commissioned in the Bombay Artillery on his 16th birthday, subsequently sailing for India within the same week.

As a young subaltern of artillery he saw steady service on the Afghan frontier, covering himself in glory at the Battle of Meanee in 1843 which resulted in a Brevet Captain honor and his CB.

Sir John then went on to form an irregular cavalry unit which endured under his name as the 36th Jacob’s Horse (which, amalgamated in 1922 to become the 14th Prince of Wales’s Own Scinde Horse, remained until 1947 when it was allotted to the new Indian Army). He also went on to raise both the  130th Baluchis and 26th Jacob’s Mountain Battery.

He also crafted a very interesting rifle.

National Firearms Museum photo

National Firearms Museum photo

Jacob decided that a double barreled rifle with an elaborate sabre bayonet was just the ticket for his troops in India’s Northwest Frontier. His design fired a .52 caliber conical projectile with winged studs that could be modified for explosive impact against ammunition wagons at extreme distances (keep in mind the dum-dum round was born in the same place and time). The folding rear sight leaf was marked to an optimistic 2000 yards.


Some 900 were made by Swinburn & Son in England around 1860, though apparently few were ever issued. You see, the man who had ordered them had already expired of exhuastion. They circled the glob as military surplus for a few generations with the 1907 Bannermans’ catalog listing them as “double barrel elephant rifles.”

Jacob, known locally as Jekum Sahib Bahadur, never returned to England, fought in Perisa, and, buried in what is today Pakistan at Jacobabad (guess who it is named after), is well-remembered and even to a degree, liked.

They fought the LAW but the law won, or, Is that a LAW in your closet or are you happy to see me?

You know you laughed...

You know you laughed…

The last of three Washington State National Guard soldiers who swapped a live M72A5 LAW rocket and launcher among themselves after returning from Afghanistan has been hit with probation last week.

According to court documents, it all started in September 2011 when a woman, Sabrina Hale met with Pierce County Sheriff’s Department detectives in a park in Puyallup, Washington and handed over the anti-tank weapon. Hale told authorities it came from Victor Naranjo, a National Guard soldier. After the LAW was handed over to the feds, it was disarmed and found to be a Norwegian-made device manufactured by Nammo Raufoss in 2007 for the Canadian military.

How it came to be in a Puyallup park was the interesting part.

More in my column at

A British Apache in California

Star trails over an Apache AH Mk 1 of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps (4 Regt AAC) sitting in the Mojave Desert during a Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) training exercise, working alongside Dutch, US and Singapore troops as part of Ex Black Alligator currently taking place in California. MoD photo.

Star trails over an Apache AH Mk 1 of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps (4 Regt AAC) sitting in the Mojave Desert during a Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) training exercise, working alongside Dutch, US and Singapore troops as part of Ex Black Alligator currently taking place in California. MoD photo.

Starting in 1998, the Brits arranged for AgustaWestland Apache to produce 67 license-built versions of the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter for the British Army’s Army Air Corps to replace 1980s-era Westland Lynx AH7s. Since being delivered they have done yeoman work around the world seeing particularly heavy service in Afghanistan (with Prince Harry at the throtle of one) as well as operating from HMS Ocean off Libya in 2011–engaging targets there at least 39 times.

The Brits still have 50 aircraft in active service in seven squadrons of the 3 and 4 Regt AAC out of 66 airframes (one was written off in 2008 after cracking up shortly after takeoff in Helmand province, no loss of life occurred) and are expected to be replaced around 2024 by 50 Boeing AH-64Es bought direct via US Foreign Military Sales (FMS).

Western Rifle Shooters Association

Good luck, Mr. President.

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