The Marine Corps May Finally Get a New Sniper Rifle—Just Not the One They Need

    Task and Purpose, Jared Keller

    Security, North America

    And that could be a big problem. 

    The Marine Corps is throwing down cash to test-drive the same compact sniper rifle the Army has pursued in recent months. But while its 7.62mm rounds pack the punch required by scout snipers facing increasingly protected enemies downrange, its effective range falls well short of the sniper systems used by both foreign militaries and militants — a limitation that makes it unclear just what the Corps could do with this new weapon.

    The Army’s proposed fiscal 2019 budget includes $ 46.2 million to field 5,180 M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) rifles for infantry, scout, and engineer squads, with the goal of eventually buying as many as 8,711 of the lightweight 7.62mm arms. PEO Soldier told Task & Purpose in January 2018 that the Marine Corps also was “committed” to adopting the CSASS.

    And lo and behold: The Marine Corps’ $ 40.8 billion proposed fiscal 2019 budget includes just under $ 1 million for the service to procure just 116 CSASS rifles. The Marines’ line item says the CSASS, based on the Heckler & Koch G28E sniper rifle with a baffle-less OSS suppressor, could replace the venerable M110 with “enhanced shooter ergonomics and increased operational availability time” and “improve the sniper’s ability to rapidly engage multiple, moving targets.”

    Don’t get too excited just yet, though. The Corps isn’t fully sold on the CSASS, Marine Corps Systems Command spokeswoman Barbara Hamby told Task & Purpose in an email. “Should leadership decide to conduct a one-for-one replacement or just buy them to replace M110s for sniper billets, the quantity would be greater than 116.”

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