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Finland Buys Sako M23 Rifles to Replace Soviet-Era Snipers

Finland has authorized the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command to sign a contract for procuring a new rifle system in a bid to increase the precision and range of its infantry.

With the new acquisition, the country will replace its Soviet-designed Dragunov and Tkiv 85 sniper rifles.

“The procurement contract for the rifle system includes the procurement of a semi-automatic sniper rifle for sniper use and a designated marksman rifle for use as an infantry section support weapon by designated marksmen,” a statement of the Finnish Defence Forces said.

Finland will start receiving the snipers at the end of the year while training for the system is set to begin in 2023. The contract also includes spare parts, maintenance, training, and accessories to be provided by the manufacturer.

The procurement is estimated to cost over 10 million euros  ($11.29 million) and includes an option of additional procurement at a cost of over €525 million ($592.85 million)

The rifle system was developed by the Finnish Defence Forces along with Sako Ltd, which will produce the weapons in Finland.

“This project improves our security of supply and promotes retaining skills and technology in Finland, as well as the ability to manufacture and repair weapon systems here,” the statement quoted Colonel Rainer Peltoniemi as saying.

M23 Rifle’s Two Configurations

Finland’s rifle system is based on the American AR-10 and AR-15 models of a semi-automatic rifle designed by Eugene Stoner. However, the M23 features additional benefits compared to the American rifle like improved accuracy, integrated weapon-mounting, tactical night sights, suppressors, and lightweight design.

The Finish Defence Forces will receive the rifle in two configurations: a Rifle variant and a designated Marksman Rifle variant, which will enter into service from 2023.

The semi-automatic Sniper Rifle 23 is equipped with a high-quality optical sight and precision ammunition, which is suitable for distant targets. It enables the snipers to have precision against targets at a distance of up to 800 meters (2,625 feet).

The designated Marksman Rifle 23 is more simplified weapon equipment, which is designed for use by jaeger and infantry sections. The rifle can aim at targets up to a range of 600 meters (1,970 feet).

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