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:

US Marine Corps

The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.

"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'

"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"

Read More Show Less

At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.

A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.

Read More Show Less

In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."

A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.

In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.

In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.

A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.

The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.

Read More Show Less