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US National Guard Soldiers Train With New Compact Sniper Rifle

A group of Virginia and Kentucky Army National Guard soldiers recently trained with their new M110A1 Squad Designated Marksman Rifles (SDMR) at Fort Pickett, Virginia.

The 7.62mm Heckler & Koch rifle provides greater range and accuracy than the standard M4 rifle, a Virginia guard statement said, adding that its advanced targeting system and sound suppression “fills a distance gap between the M4 and larger-caliber sniper rifles.”

According to Task and Purpose, the M110A1 fills “the 300-600 meter (984-1968 feet) capability gap between the standard-issue rifle and a sniper rifle.”

Replacement for M110 Sniper Rifle

The weapon, also known as the G28/HK417, was selected by the army in 2016 to replace the M110 Semi-automatic Sniper System to provide soldiers with an alternative in situations where a smaller sniper rifle is more effective. “The M110 is 46.5 inches (118 centimeters) with a suppressor, more than 13 inches (33 centimeters) longer than the M4.”

However, 1st. Lt. Matthew Arnold, the NET/NEF ( New Equipment Training/Fielding) state coordinator, says that the rifle might not only be used as a sniper rifle.

Virginia and Kentucky National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct a live-fire range with the M110A1 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle during a new equipment training and fielding July 14, 2021, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. Image: Mike Vrabel/ US National Guard

Wider Uses

“The main point is that this weapon, which was previously used as a sniper rifle, is now going to be in widespread use across our formation and the ways we use it will change depending on the situation,” said Arnold. 

He added that with a range of 800 meters (2,625 feet) and beyond, depending on the soldier’s skill level, the rifle “will make infantry soldiers more lethal and allow them to engage the enemy at a greater distance.”

“This basically allows the standard infantry squad to have more standoff between them and their target as well as increased time and space for maneuver as a result.”

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