Estonia Begins Trials for New Army Sniper Rifles

The Estonian Defence Forces has begun testing four competing proposals for its 8.6-millimeter sniper rifle project.

Arms manufacturers Sako, Haenel, Unique Alpine, and Desert Tech showcased their pitches ahead of a final selection later this spring.

During the trial, the tenderers assessed the technical suitability of the competing rifles by integrating various accessories.

The test firing also determined the accuracy and reliability of the weapons and their optical sights.

Once the results have been evaluated, a contract is expected to be awarded to the winning vendor by the second quarter of 2023.

Deliveries are also reportedly set to begin in 2024.


According to chief weapons officer Risto Pärtel, the weapons must be robust, compact, and as light as possible for improved mobility.

They must also possess high precision at up to 1,500 meters (4,921 feet).

“Using the new rifles, [sniper missions] can be done at any time of the day, as the weapons are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment like silencers and thermal weapon sights,” he said, as quoted by Shepard Media.

The winning sniper rifle will replace the Sako TRG-42 currently in service.

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