It's official: a few lucky Marines can finally count the Mk 13 Mod 7 — the Corps' first new sniper system since the adoption of the M40 during the Vietnam War — among their arsenals, Marine Corps Times reported on Thursday.
- Marine Corps Systems Command spokeswoman Barbara Hamby told Marine Corps Times that a handful of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force units, including "infantry and reconnaissance battalions and scout sniper schoolhouses," received the Mk 13 this week, and there are plans to field the rifle to II MEF and II MEF units through 2019.
- Chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum, the Mk 13 is effective at well over 1,000 yards, far outstripping the range of the Vietnam-era M40 that service members have long complained was lacking for combat troops engaging militants across the sprawling mountain ranges and deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq.
- "The .300 Winchester Magnum round will perform better than the current 7.62 NATO ammo in flight, increasing the Marine Sniper's first-round probability of hit,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Tony Palzkill, Battalion Gunner for Infantry Training Battalion in a press release. “This upgrade is an incredible win and will allow snipers to engage targets at greater distances."
Sgt. Randy Robles, Quantico Scout Sniper School instructor and Marine Corps Systems Command liaison, explains the features of the Mk13 Mod 7 Sniper Rifle during training aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. MCSC will field the Mk13 in late 2018 and throughout 2019 to increase the lethality and combat effectiveness of scout snipers on the battlefield.U.S. Marine Corps/Kristen Murphy
- Already the sniper system of choice for MARSOC Raiders, the Corps first announced the adoption of the Mk 13 in April amid a major makeover for the Corps’ precision weapon capabilities, including ongoing testing and evaluation of the M38 variant of the beloved M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle for squad designated marksmen.
- The Corps' $40.8 billion proposed fiscal 2019 budget also included plans for the service to procure 116 7.62mm M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper Systems (CSASS) to replace the M110 currently wielded by squad designated marksmen and “improve the sniper’s ability to rapidly engage multiple, moving targets."
- The MK 13 proved a big hit with Marines tasked with testing the system, who called it an "incredible win," Business Insider reported back in May. As one project officer put it: “After the first day on the range, they were sold."