Test Snipers engage targets in depth at ranges varying from 300 to 1,000 meters from a standing supported position during the Compact, Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle (CSASS) operational test at Fort Carson, Colo.(U.S. Army/Maj. Michael P. Brabner)

The Army may only have scored full approval from Congress to buy thousands of new M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper Systems (CSASS) last year, but a cadre of Army snipers are already flexing on some upgrades.

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The Marine Corps confirmed in early April that its snipers would get the Mk13 Mod 7 sniper rifle to replace the M40 rifle, versions of which the Corps' snipers have been carrying since the early days of the Vietnam War.

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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.

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Heckler & Koch

The Marine Corps may finally adopt a new sniper rifle through a stroke of luck: Army officials, continuing to develop their own brand-new sniper rifle, told Task & Purpose that both the Marines and Air Force “are committed” to purchasing the weapon once the Army signs off on the improved system.

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Heckler & Koch

Despite a brief period of ambiguity wrought by budget-jousting among lawmakers in Congress, the Army’s new and improved sniper rifle is alive and well.

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Photo via Heckler & Koch Defense

The Army’s standard-issue rifle replacement program may have died before it even really started, but the branch’s new and improved sniper rifle isn’t going anywhere.

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