The Marine Corps Is Finally Getting The Sniper Rifle It Deserves

Military Tech

The Marine Corps plans on adopting the Mk 13 Mod 7 sniper rifle for Marine scout snipers, officials confirmed to Marine Corps Times on April 2, a much-needed and long-overdue replacement for the M40 system that Marines have wielded since the Vietnam War.


Since the start of the Global War on Terror in 2001, the M40’s 1000-yard range has proved limiting for U.S. combat troops engaging militants in sprawling fightings in the mountains and desert of Afghanistan and Iraq. But according to Marine Corps Times, the Mk 13 “pushes beyond 1,000 yards” offered with a .300 Winchester Magnum round.

That range is nowhere near that of the Army’s 1,300-yard M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle and U.S. Special Operations Command’s 1,600-yard Precision Sniper Rifle. But it’s a major boost to both range and lethality over the M40, improvements that infantry weapons planners have sought for years.

A U.S. Marine Corps sniper with Task Force Southwest (TFSW) sights in with a M107 .50-caliber Special Applications Scoped Rifle during a security post for an advising mission with 1st Brigade, Afghan National Army (ANA) 215th Corps as they conduct Operation Maiwand 12 at Camp Shorserack, Afghanistan, March 13, 2018.Jared Keller

The announcement comes amid a major makeover for the Corps’ precision weapon capabilities. In January, the Corps was testing the M38 variant of the beloved M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle for potential fielding in a squad designated marksman role.

And as Task & Purpose reported in February, the branch’s $40.8 billion proposed fiscal 2019 budget includes just under $1 million for the service to procure 116 7.62mm M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper Systems (CSASS) to replace the M110 to “improve the sniper’s ability to rapidly engage multiple, moving targets.”

At the time, the Corps emphasized that the CSASS, favored by the Army for a squad designated marksman role, would not dislodge the M40 as the service’s program of record. And with good reason: With a maximum effective range of just 875 yards, the rifle doesn’t offer the extended range Marines have been kvetching about for years.

Related: The Marine Corps Is Eyeing The Army's New Compact Sniper System »

“Should leadership decide to conduct a one-for-one replacement or just buy them to replace M110s for sniper billets,” Marine Corps Systems Command told Task & Purpose at the time, “the quantity would be greater than 116.”  

Indeed, the Mk 13 appears to be the Corps’ final choice for that one-to-one replacement: While there’s no new explicit funding for the Mk 13 in the services’ fiscal 2019 budget request, the service asked for nearly $4.3 million in 2018 to purchase the new system, a quantity Marine Corps Times suggests is suitable to outfit the branch’s sniper teams with the new rifle. Indeed, the Corps noted that $5.3 million of its $40 million request for weapons and combat vehicles under $5 million “supports the MK 13 Rifle with associated optic … as well as continuing product improvement and modernization of sniper and special purpose weapons.”

How and when the service plans on fielding its new suite of precision weapons, like every other new piece of gear in the U.S. armed forces, remains to be seen. But no matter when it reaches Marine scout snipers, the new rifle represents a major, long-awaited breakthrough for the Corps — and certain doom for their adversaries downrange.

WATCH NEXT:

FILE PHOTO: The Carl Vinson VA Medical Center iin Dublin, Georgia

RIVIERA BEACH — When a distraught patient opened fire at the VA Medical Center in February, Albert Gaines' long ago military training kicked into gear.

"When I saw the arm come up, I knew what was next, pow, pow, pow," said Gaines, who was doing his job, cleaning patient rooms, when gunfire erupted. "I hit the deck to minimize the target."

Now, three months after what his bosses at the hospital call "the active shooter incident," the 65-year-old Riviera Beach man still feels like a target is on him.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump could issue a pardon on Memorial Day for Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher, former Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, and Marine Scout Snipers accused of urinating on Taliban corpses, the New York Times is reporting.

The White House is working with the Justice Department and military services to get the paperwork necessary for the pardons in order, according to the Times.

Read More Show Less

If the Pentagon had to take Consumer Math class in high school, they'd flunk.

The U.S. military—correction, the U.S. taxpayer—is spending more money to buy fewer weapons. The reason? Poor acquisition practices, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

"DOD's 2018 portfolio of major weapon programs has grown in cost by $8 billion, but contains four fewer systems than last year," GAO found.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on RFE/RL: Afghanistan.

KABUL -- An air strike has mistakenly killed at least nine Afghan police officers, including a commander, during a battle with the Taliban in the southern province of Helmand, local officials say.

They said that 14 officers were also wounded in the May 16 strike in the Nahr-e Saraj district , which is located outside the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Army photo)

Chuck Norris contains multitudes.

He's an Oklahoman and an Air Force vet, an actor and martial artist. The intensity of his badassery formed the basis of one of the earliest and most ubiquitous internet memes. He's a fictional member of Delta Force and a Texas Ranger, his beard a source of such virile endurance and strength that it makes Samson's biblical mane look like a bouquet of hobo pubes.

Now, Norris will live forever as the ultimate instrument of righteousness: an M1 Abrams tank.

Read More Show Less