Ch-ch-ch-changes…

Popular Mechanics has an interesting blurb on an improved variant of the Army’s basic M24 sniper rifle that’s being fielded soon in Afghanistan.

M24 Sniper Weapon System

While many gun enthusiasts will note that the major change in the rifles is a switch from 7.62mm x 51 NATO ammunition to .300 Winchester Magnum, for increased range, what fascinates me isn’t the mechanics of the change, but the doctrinal influences that mandate it.

Snipers and designated marksmen have been used to great effect in both the major theaters of the Global War on Terror, Afghanistan, and Iraq. When Iraq was the predominant theater, the emphasis was on firing out to about 600 meters, and the preference seemed to be on semi-automatic sniper rifles, such as modified M14s, and the M110 sniper rifle, which is an AR style action in 7.62mm.

The more open terrain in Afghanistan has seen a greater emphasis on traditional long-range “one shot-one kill” sniping by dedicated sniper teams. Examples such as the recent long-range record shot by a British sniper show just how important this capability is in Afghanistan. The close urban terrain of Iraq precluded the lines of sight needed to make such long range shots possible there.

What’s really interesting is that the Army, which in times of peace paid only the most minimal attention to relatively inexpensive programs like this, has quickly come up with the money and commitment to fund both a semi-auto weapon suitable for urban terrain, and a heavier bolt action weapon more suited to open terrain.

Via: Insty

7 thoughts on “Ch-ch-ch-changes…”

  1. I dunno how surprised I am Brad. The Big Green Machine has had a pretty consistant history of ignoring the development of new training and equipment since the previous conflict, then learning hard fought lessons and playing catchup quite well. Kasserine Pass, Chosun Resevoir… we got lucky after Vietnam that Reagan forced the massive modernation cycle through, else we’d have faced Iraq with M-60’s and AH-64A’s (if not AH-1A’s). This just looks to be more of the same.

  2. How long before someone from the Obama administration asks “Why do we have two different sniper rifles? Can’t we save some money by getting rid of one?”

    In a perfect world that person would then have the stupid beat out of them with a whiffle bat.

  3. The Obama administration is rather unconcerned with this sort of thing. Truthfully, ALL administrations are. They worry about the big ticket stuff. But Obama has shown himself to be uninterested in how the DoD works. He’s let Gates do pretty much whatever he wants.

  4. a sniper can kill a target without harming the civilians, both human shields and the unlucky.
    It’s the ROE and the civilian deaths that are driving the one shot one kill at this time.
    Kinda like the smart bombs versus the carpet bombing technique.
    More politically correct.

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