Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Army Sniper rifle, It Is About Time...

Yes, it is past time for a new Army (or other services) sniper rifle. I can understand that there were accuracy and support problems for the M-21 system but to go back to a bolt action was sort of short sighted. The thing isn't accuracy, bolt guns and some semi-auto guns can be tuned to equal levels of accuracy. More importantly, there is a usable level of accuracy that is fully attainable by several semi-auto designs. Cost might have been an issue but I don't see how. Availability was an issue as no one was making the AR-10 copies when the current M-24 system was selected/approved. Now, everything has come together and the new XM-25 (hopefully the M-25 soon) has been approved for procurement. From Soldier of Fortune, "The Army's New Sniper Rifle" by Gary Paul Johnston (August 21, 2007) lays out the specifics on the system.
Based on Eugene Stoner's original AR-10 design, the XM110 is the latest word in the SR-25 and Mk 11, which evolved from that 60-year old design. However, the original wellproven design is only refined and is not really changed.
Using the finest materials available, more than thirty of the most modern CNC machines produce the components of the XM110 and other rifles, as well as the KAC XM110 Sound Suppressor and other KAC products, such as the company's family of night-vision optics. All components are accordingly heat treated and finished in-house in order to maintain 100% quality control. The finish on the XM110 is the Army's new Flat Dark Earth (FDE).
but the most interesting thing to me is that they are finally including a sound suppressor in the system.
A key component of the XM110 package is the quick-attachable Knight Armament suppressor designed for it. Locating on the flash hider, this suppressor extends back to the gas block where its yoke-like locking device is pressed down to secure the suppressor to the gas block. Once mounted, the suppressor is sealed and provides a sound reduction of 30 decibels.
Knight Armament Corporation seems to have produced a winner. This rifle should be very effective in dealing with concentrations of enemy fighters in the urban (heavily populated) environment.

As Mr. Johnston points out in his article, the XM110 is a development of the Knights Armament Corporation M11 used by certain special ops forces. That gun was a development from the AR-10 which was also developed into the M-16 series rifles. This will give a commonality of operation which should be beneficial.

A side benefit is that this adoption might make the SR-25 a more desirable gun and spawn some copies such as exist for the M-16/AR-15 guns and improve availability.

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