I heard that H&K won the Army compact semi-auto sniper competition. That surprised me as I thought Knights Armament Corp. would be a sure win. It will be interesting to see how the HK rifle turns out and how many actually get purchased.
I find it interesting that the Army moved away from a 20 inch barreled .308 to having a 16 inch barreled .308 carbine. That got me thinking about the other Sniper type ARs that have been used recently in our military. You see that the 18inch barreled MK12 rifles mostly phased out of service. There also is no mention about other sniper M16 variants in the military being currently used (like the SAM-R, or the SDM-R).
I know the Army and Marines have both field the MK12 sniper rifle. I also hear that very few are still in use. One main thing said is that no replacement parts or service was set aside for them, so when they were shot out, there was no replacement.
The USMC adopted a 16.5 inch barreled 5.56 HK carbine for use as an Automatic Rifle. When it was adopted I wondered if the USMC just really wanted a heavy barreled carbine but didn’t want to buy M4A1 Carbines. Almost immediately after fielding the USMC made claims that these carbines were very accurate and that they would fill the Corps requirements for a Designated Marksman rifle.
There is plenty out there saying that the USMC likes the idea of the M27 IAR as a DMR rifle, for example this article from Marines.mil.
The Corps seems feel that a 3.5X scope on a 16.5 inch automatic rifle barrel firing M855 meets their needs as a DMR. So this makes for an interesting question. Is it that the USMC doesn’t need a match rifle firing match ammo with higher magnification, or is it that the individual Marines in combat situations cannot make better use of a more precision rifle?
Most likely it is that Marine Infantry would not effectively use a sniper rifle. When people think about snipers they often think about the shooting skills and then next the stalking and hiding skills. What isn’t often though about is the different in mentality, and the much greater training in spotting targets and observation fields of fire.
The Marine Corps Times isn’t a very reliable source of information, a little less so than National Enquirer, but they had an article with an interesting comment:
“You’d be shocked at how bad Marines are at guessing, like 700 meters for a target that was at 275 meters,” she said. “Range estimation comes into everything we do, whether it’s call for fire, small-arms marksmanship or setting a cordon for an [improvised explosive device]; it can be taught, but it’s a very perishable skill.”