Category Archives: sniper

Old School M110s Back on the Menu

The Pentagon announced this week that Charles Reed Knight Jr’s Florida-based Knight’s Armament Company has picked up an eight-figure contract modification for assorted M110s.

The U.S. Army Contracting Command in Newark, New Jersey, awarded KAC a three-year $14,998,849 modification to an existing contract to supply the service with the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System and various M110 configurations.

The M110 SASS is a semi-automatic sniper rifle/designated marksman rifle chambered in 7.62 NATO and was developed by KAC from the company’s SR-25 platform. It is typically seen with a huge 14-inch over-barrel suppressor.

However, as HK has been delivering Georgia-completed M110A1s to the Army on a steady schedule since 2020, ostensibly to replace the KAC-made M110 SASS, this week’s contract announcement is curious.

The HK G28 variant used as the Army’s Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System, or M110A1. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

More in my column at Guns.com.

Army Inks Deal with Sig for .300/.338 Norma Mag

New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer recently picked up a nine-figure award from the U.S. Army Contracting Command for .300 and .338 Norma Magnum ammunition.

Announced by the Pentagon on June 7, the $157.3 million firm-fixed-price contract covers the production of .300 Norma Magnum 215-grain M1163 ball ammunition and .338 NM 300-grain armor-piercing M1162 cartridges for the Army. Although not a standard round for most U.S. military small arms – that’s reserved for 5.56 and 7.62 NATO along with the new 6.8 NGSW Common Cartridge – the Army and Marines are both using .300 NM and .338 NM in the MK22 Advanced Sniper Rifle program.

The MK22, a variant of the Barrett MRAD, is a modular system that will be fielded with three separate calibers, .338 Norma Magnum, .300 Norma Magnum, and 7.62 NATO, with the user able to swap calibers through barrel changes based on mission operating environments. Above is the Mk22 Mod 0 ASR including a Precision Day Optic. It is fed from a 10-round detachable magazine. (Photo: Tonya Smith/Marine Corps Systems Command).

More in my column at Guns.com.

The C20, sure you’ve seen it Before (Probably not)

From the Great North this week comes images of a rarely-seen designated marksman rifle, frolicking in the snow.

The C20 DMR was made in low numbers by Colt Canada of Kitchener, Ontario. Using an 18-inch chrome-lined barrel with a 1:10 RH twist, the 7.62 NATO semi-auto is outfitted with an LMT adjustable stock, a free-floating M-LOK handguard with a full-length top Pic rail, and a Geissele SSA two-stage trigger.

Probably less than 500 of these have been made, all for service in the Canadian and Danish military. (Photo: Colt Canada)

The funny thing is, the gun actually owes its lineage to the equally elusive Colt Modular Carbine of more American extraction.

This thing.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Army & Air Force Sniper Rifle Updates

The Army’s Picatinny Arsenal earlier this month announced it has ordered an additional 485 of the service’s newest bolt-action sniper rifles, the MK22, from Barrett Firearms in Tennessee. Also known as the Advanced Sniper Rifle and the Precision Sniper Rifle, the MK22 is based on Barrett’s Multi-role Adaptive Design, or MRAD, platform. It is part of a program to replace the service’s existing Remington-made M2010 bolt guns, as well as the M107 .50 cal.

The MK22 is a version of Barrett’s popular MRAD bolt gun, which can be swapped between three different calibers on the fly, hence the “Multi Role Adaptive Rifle” abbreviation. The MK22 is part of the Army’s Precision Sniper Rifle Program, which also includes the Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56 optic – complete with a flat dark earth coating and the Army’s patented Mil-Grid reticle – on a Badger Ordnance mount, along with a suppressor and a sniper accessory kit. (Photo: U.S. Army)

Meanwhile, the Air Force is almost done fielding 1,500 new M110A1 Squad Designated Marksman Rifles. The SDMR is a variant of HK’s 7.62 NATO G28/HK417 rifle that includes offset backup sights, a Geissele mount, OSS suppressor, Harris bipod, and Sig Sauer’s 1-6x24mm Tango6 optic.

A sergeant with the 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team fires the M110A1 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle (SDMR) at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (Photo: Spc. Michael Schwenk/New Jersey National Guard)

Why does the Air Force need 1,500 SDMRs?

More in my column at Guns.com.

A Gentlemanly Guards Sniper

Terry Wieland over at American Rifleman has a great article on a “Gentleman’s Trench Rifle,” specifically, a Royal Grade H&H single-shot, complete with scope, that went to war against The Huns with an officer of the Irish Guards.

This .303 British Royal Grade Holland & Holland single-shot, serial No. 26069, was used by the Irish Guards as a sniping rifle during World War I. It is shown here with period trench maps, a German stick grenade, British binoculars and some German 8 mm Mauser cartridges. Photo by Jonathan Green

The story of how H&H rifle No. 26069 journeyed from the Bruton Street showroom to the Guards Museum is really one of convergence of the great names in pre-war England, in the military, in literature and in gunmaking. It involves Harold Alexander, Britain’s greatest soldier of the 20th century, and Field Marshall Lord Roberts, one of its greatest of the 19th; it involves Rudyard Kipling, Poet Laureate of the Empire and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature; and of course Holland & Holland, England’s greatest riflemaker.

The story begins with Lord Roberts in South Africa, fighting the Afrikaners in Britain’s first, and one of its bloodiest, military campaigns of the 20th century. There, Roberts renewed his acquaintance with Rudyard Kipling, an old friend from India.

More here. 

IWI Intros a Sniper Rifle Variant of the Galil Ace

Israel’s IWI has had a bunch of success marketing their Galil Ace model rifles around the world with at least a dozen countries having adopted them for military use in the past decade. They even signed lucrative licensing deals with countries as diverse as Chile, Ukraine, and Vietnam to make them locally. AK-based with better quality control and offered in both Western (5.56 and 7.62 NATO) and Eastern (7.62×39 and 5.45x39mm) flavors, the Galil Ace just has a lot to offer.

This is no doubt why the Israelis this week announced a new 7.62 NATO precision rifle variant, the IWI Ace Sniper.

Semi-auto with a 23-inch barrel, it takes SR-25 AR10 style mags and comes fairly tricked out with a side-folding adjustable stock and built-in bipod.

In typical IWI fashion, the company says they are “already in use by clients around the world and has already successfully completed missions in the field.”

More in my column at Guns.com. 

ROK Marine Mystery Glass

Official caption: “A sniper of the 5th Battalion, 2nd Marine Brigade (ROK) uses a scope to draw a bead on a Viet Cong during Operation Dragon Five, Oct. 22, 1967. The operation is taking place on the Batangan Peninsula, South of the Chu Lai Marine Air Base.”

Marine Corps Photo A421954 by SSGT Gary Thomas/1st MAW. Via NARA 127-GVB-320-A421954 

Of interest in the above photo, besides the fact that he has a horrible cheek weld and the dust cover is closed, is the ROK Marine’s early M16, equipped with a non-standard low-powered optic.

While Colt marketed the Dutch 3x25mm Delft scope on 601 model AR-15s in the 1960s– before they marketed their own 4×24 optic, the above is neither of those. The ROK’s optic looks sort of like a basic Weaver commercial scope of the time. 

Compare:

1960s Pasadena California Police Dept. Colt AR-15 Model 601 Automatic Rifle with a Dutch 3x Delft scope

The Delft 3x had a G3 Hensoldt-style reticle, and the Dutch State Arsenal (Artillerie Inrichtingen) marketed it with the license-produced ArmaLite AR-10 before the M16 was even a thing.

Ad from 1969, showing the Colt 4×24

I’ve also seen another non-standard optic, possibly a Redfield, in at least anecdotal use with an M-16 in Vietnam: 

K co 75 Rangers Larry Flanigan 1st Bgde 4th Div LRRP 1968

If anyone knows more, drop me a comment or email and I’ll be most appreciative. Watch this space for updates.

Meet the MK22, the Neapolitan Ice Cream of Precision Rifles

Murfreesboro, Tennessee-based Barrett Firearms this week announced that the United States Special Operations Command has placed an initial production order for their new MK22 rifle.

The MK22 set for delivery to the military is based on Barrett’s MRAD bolt-action precision rifle in .338 Norma Mag, .300 Norma Mag, and 7.62 NATO. The MRAD uses a monolithic upper receiver with caliber conversion kits utilizing a separate barrel assembly and bolt that can be changed on the fly in minutes by the user.

More in my column at Guns.com

Point Stay Back

Canadian Army Sniper Arthur Godin of Le Régiment de la Chaudière (Mitrailleuses) taking aim from his hide in the interior of a building in Zutphen, Netherlands, on 7 April 1945, during the two-week fight for that city that only concluded on 12 April.

Godin is using an Enfield No. 4 Mk. I (T) sniper rifle with what looks to be a No. 32 3.5x scope, a combo that remained standard for marksmen in the British and Commonwealth forces into the 1960s when it was replaced by the L42A1, a rifle that was essentially the same thing but in 7.62 NATO rather than .303 and with better glass.

He is also using a tactic that was as valid in 1945 as it is today– keeping well away from an opening or loophole to hide his shape, muzzle flash, shadow, and optic reflection from enemy eyes.

Of course, Hollywood always wants to show the sniper hanging out of a window, framing themselves as an excellent target for counter-fire, because Hollywood. It is a sign of a rookie or someone playing at war.

For reference, see the famous video of the YPJ Syrian sniper, who learned that fire goes both ways if you are easily spotted.

As for the Régiment de la Chaudière, they trace their origins to 1812 and the defense of Canada against the invading Americans to the South. The only French-Canadian unit to hit the beach at Normandy on D-Day, they fought from Caen to Calais then across Holland and the Rhineland. Since 1946, they have been a reserve unit based in Quebec but have seen extensive service in Afghanistan. Their motto is Ære perennius (Stronger than bronze).

You know the C20, eh?

The Colt Canada-produced C20 semi-automatic Intermediate Sniper Weapon is being acquired for the Canadian Army in small numbers.

Produced domestically by Colt Canada in Kitchener, Ontario, the semi-automatic C20 has an 18-inch barrel with a 1-in-10 twist and is reportedly pretty friggen accurate. Testing showed the rifle to fire 8,000 rounds with no stopping and deliver an average of .66 MOA over 144 five-round groups using 175-grain Federal Gold Medal Match.

The overall length on the C20 is 38-inches while weight is 9.1-pounds. It has a 46-slot continuous MIL-STD-1913 top rail and a handguard with M-LOK accessory slots in the 3-, 6-, and 9-o’clock positions. (Photo: Colt Canada)

More in my column at Guns.com. 

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