Enjoy the day but never forget
More good reading from Cal Zant, Precision Rifle Blog
Newest sniper rifle for soldiers, Marines takes on ‘final hurdle’ before fielding
By Todd South Sep 23, 09:27 AM
A Sniper conducts post-drop live-fire test trials of the MK-22 Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) at Range 61, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. (James Finney/Army)
A folding stock, removable suppression system, three caliber options and that sweet, sweet smell of spent rounds — special operators and 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers are testing the Army’s newest sniper rifle.
It also replaces all bolt-action sniper rifles for the Marines.
The MK-22 replaces the Army’s existing M107 sniper rifle and the M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle. Army Times first reported on U.S. Special Operations Command’s decision to go with the weapon in 2019.
The new rifle can be converted to three different calibers.
By Todd South
Army and Marine snipers followed suit. The recent tests are the “final hurdle” before fielding, the Army release stated.
The rifle can be changed out to fire the standard 7.62mm or .300 Norma Magnum and .338 Norma Magnum.
“The modular nature of the PSR allows it to be tailored to meet mission requirements and is appealing to airborne Snipers who are typically armed with long-barreled precision rifles of a single caliber offering,” Sgt. 1st Class Marcus Love said in the release.
Love works as a test NCO with the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate under the Army’s Operational Test Command.
“With a folding stock and removable suppression system, the PSR will provide airborne Snipers a more compact load during airborne infiltration operations without reducing their lethality while providing a precision rifle platform more conducive to their combat environment,” said MK-22 project NCO Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Copley.
The test team used the mobile weapons boresight collimator after an airborne jump to ensure that the weapon’s zero had not degraded.
That way a sniper can put rounds on target with the first trigger squeeze after hitting the ground from high above.
“The increased engagement range will keep Snipers safer and increase the options for the local commander employing these combat multipliers,” said Sgt. Austin Stevens, a sniper assigned to the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
The rifle is made by the Barrett Firearms Manufacturing company, which calls their weapon the Multi-Role Adaptive Design rifle, or MRAD.
SOCOM has called the PSR the “Advanced Sniper Rifle” in the past.
The search for a new sniper rifle began in 2016 following a SOCOM request, Army Times previously reported.
Originally, the Army was going to buy 536 MRAD rifles.
New plans call for 2,800 rifles for the service over the next five years.About Todd South
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.
By Mark V. Lonsdale, STTU
“No matter how long it takes, no matter where we have to look, our United States military will patiently and surely hunt down the murderers and killers and terrorists, and bring them, one by one, to justice.” President George W. Bush – Commander in Chief
Monday, September 10, 2001 had been a crisp, clear day at the USMC Mountain Warfare Training Center (MWTC). It was sunset as I watched 5th Platoon, 1st Force Recon Marines, their faces ominously obscured under layers of green camouflage paint, go through last minute equipment checks, preparing to be inserted into the mountains for a five-day recon-patrol exercise. MBITRs (multi-band inter/intra-team radios) frequencies had been set and tested; sat-com radios were safely stowed in already bulging rucksacks; PVS-17 night sights were clamped to M-4 carbines and SAWS (squad automatic weapons); and all loose straps were neatly taped and stowed.
Captain Fiscus and Gunny Blakey moved amongst the group checking equipment, quietly asking questions and giving encouragement. It was essential that every man understood the mission and knew his specific tasks.
The planned airborne parachute insertion had been aborted an hour earlier when the CH-53 troop-carrying helicopters could not make the pre-sunset time-line. With the flexibility typical of any spec-ops unit, the platoon commander opted for a vehicle insertion to the pre-planned DZ at 7,500 feet elevation.
As the Sierra Nevadas turned purple and faded into total darkness, and before the moon could break through, the Gunny signaled the teams to saddle up and silently move out. It was impressive to see and yet not hear twenty Marines, each burdened with a hundred pounds of weapons, radios and equipment, move off into the inky blackness without so much as a single sound.
So by midnight I found myself with two choices. The first was to link up with the “opposition force” and try to find these phantoms – but since they had already proven themselves adept at night movement and had the advantage of Gen III night vision devices, there was little to no hope of finding them that night. So I opted for the second choice – to drive back to Los Angeles with the plan of returning to MWTC for their extract in five days.
Arriving home at five-thirty in the morning, and after two days without sleep, I showered and hit the rack. Sleep came quickly but not for long. Sometime before zero seven the phone began an incessant ringing. It was my neighbor babbling something about watching my place while I was away. “While I’m a way?” I asked groggily, “I just got home!”
She then blurted out that terrorists had attacked New York and the Pentagon and I needed to turn on the television. Flipping to CNN I was just in time to see a passenger airliner hit the World Trade Center. Then there was footage from the Pentagon; then back to New York as the second tower was hit. Confused and half asleep I felt like I was watching a Schwarznegger movie. Was this really the news? I quickly flipped through the local morning news line up – ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox – but all coverage was focused on New York and the Pentagon.
By mid-morning I had a passing thought about the Marine Force Recon platoon that had just disappeared into the mountains the night before and would be emerging in five days to a very different United States. Having worked in counter terrorism and training for over 20 years, I knew that what we were seeing was a whole new level of terrorist violence and destruction. The news media was already speculating on the potential casualties in New York and it was in the thousands, many times more than Pearl Harbor.
But now the proverbial “gloves were coming off.” The US military was going to be given the teeth to hunt and kill those who meant us harm. Little did I know at that time, that I would be in and out of Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa a dozen times over the next 10 years.
Never Forget 9-11
By Mark V. Lonsdale
While the purpose of sport and athletic activity is to make better people, not just champions, there have been many greats in shooting. As with any endeavor, there is a simple but difficult road to greatness in shooting sports. Simple because there are only a few things the athlete needs to know, but difficult because of the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to truly master these simple truths.
So here is the easy part:
- Find inspiration in the achievements of those who have gone before you
- Make the commitment to your chosen activity or sport
- Set goals that are a series of attainable steps
- Study the skill sets required for any given activity
- Become brilliant at the basics and work to master the fundamentals
- Enjoy your achievements but, more importantly, learn from your losses and mistakes
- Work every day to improve your performance, fitness, stamina, and strength
Now the difficult part: Follow the above plan four to six days a week for at least two to four years to enter the world of the elite athlete and the elite shooter.
Well worth reading and major thanks to Cal for all his work on this.
By Mark V. Lonsdale, Training Director
“To compete or not to compete, that is the question…,” to paraphrase Will Shakespeare. But then he wasn’t a competitive shooter.
I can state categorically that competition shooting will make you an all-round better shooter, whether your skills are required for military, law enforcement, or just hunting. But in reality, it’s the preparation for competition where the real heavy lifting takes place.
Once you make the decision to try your hand (and eye) at competition shooting, you will be at the beginning of a long and very satisfying journey. Emerging from the humble beginnings of a recreational plinker, you will rise to the level of “competitor” beginning with quantifying your skills through a series of metrics.
To aid in this journey, the following is a road map to competition success:
- Decide which form of competition you want to shoot. This will often be driven by the types of rifles or pistols that you like shooting, or by the availability of local matches.
- Check your budget because competitive shooting is not cheap. First there is the cost of a $2,000 to $6,000 rifle and scope. Then there is the added cost of shooting more than you have ever done before. PRS shooters, for example, shoot 200-300 rounds in every major match. (As a competitive pistol shooter I shot 50,000 rounds of 45 ACP every year. As an ELR rifle competitor, my rounds could cost as much as $10 each.)
- Apart from equipment costs, there are also the time and costs involved in traveling to out-of-state matches. Driving 1,000 miles to a match, laying down a $200 entry fee, and spending 4-5 nights in a hotel gets expensive, plus the time away from work.
- Do some research on what the top ranked competitors are using in the way of rifles, scopes, ammunition, and related accessories. Take the time to reach out to some of these folks for sage advice. My personal mantra is, “Buy the best and you will seldom be disappointed.”
- Study the match format and learn the rules. For example, if the match specifies a weight limit on rifles, you don’t want to turn up with one that’s 2 pounds over.
- Practice the match format, including positions, distances, and time limits on your local or home range. You need to become comfortable with the format to shoot well.
- If you have the opportunity, go and observe a match without actually shooting so as to become familiar with the format, range commands, and procedures. This will also be an opportunity to talk to top ranked competitors and collect info on their weapons platforms.
- Jump in, but don’t expect to do well in the first match or even first few matches. It usually takes about a year to become a seasoned competitor, so set your sights on doing well the second year.
Now, as Nike says, Just Do It!!
By Mark V. Lonsdale, STTU
As you all know, 2020 was a bust for Ko2M ELR shooting so a quick look back at 2019
Well worth reading from Cal at Precision Rifle Blog