Sunday, June 14, 2015

Why the Marines have failed to adopt a new sniper rifle in the past 14 years

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff June 13 at 9:03 PM, WashPost

It was the summer of 2011 in southern Helmand province, Afghanistan, and mission after mission, Sgt. Ben McCullar of Third Battalion, Second Marines, would insert with his eight-man sniper team into the berms and dunes north of the volatile town of Musa Qala.

Sometimes they would fire at a group of enemy fighters, sometimes the enemy would fire at them first, but almost immediately, McCullar explained, their team would be pinned down by machine guns that outranged almost all of their sniper rifles.

“They’d set up at the max range of their [machine guns] and start firing at us,” McCullar said. “We’d take it until we could call in [close air support] or artillery.”

The story of McCullar and his snipers is not an isolated one. For 14 years, Marine snipers have suffered setbacks in combat that, they say, have been caused by outdated equipment and the inability of the Marine Corps to provide a sniper rifle that can perform at the needed range.

(More here.)

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