Marines Set to Field New Designated Marksman Rifle

Marines Set to Field New Designated Marksman Rifle: Among the many new pieces of equipment coming down the pipeline for the U.S. Marines is a newly designated sniper rifle.

The M38 scoped rifle is designed to give Marine infantry squads the ability to engage individual targets out to 600 meters with greater accuracy than Marines equipped with standard M4 carbines. According to Marine Corps Times, the rifle will be fully released by September 2018.

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After 9/11, the U.S. Army and Marines needed a rifle that could reach and hit targets at greater distances than the typical M4 carbine or M16A2/A4 rifle. Typically, such a rifle is equipped with a bipod with a long-range telescopic sight, and some work is done, ideally by military armorers, to increase accuracy. The US Marines created a special marksman position to carry the rifle and use a number of designated marksman rifles (DMRs), including the M39 Enhanced Marksman Rifle and the Mark 12 Special Purpose Rifle.

Soldiers and Marines are called designated marksmen, usually earning the distinction of being the best shots in their squad or platoon. Designated marksmen were instructed to shoot farther than the average rifleman, specifically as a means to negate the effects of gravity and wind on the 5.56mm bullet. Nevertheless, designated marksmen are still riflemen at heart and train to shoot at shorter ranges than snipers. Leopold TS-30A2 Mark 4 MR/T scope on the M38 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle.

Now the Marines are preparing to field a new DMR, the M38 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle. The M38 is essentially an M27 infantry automatic rifle with a Leopold TS-30A2 Mark 4 MR/T scope. The M38 shoots 5.56 rounds, similar to the Marines’ M16A4, M4, M249, and M27 rifles, and takes a similar thirty-round magazine. It can technically shoot fully automatic but as an SDMR rifle, it will primarily shoot semi-auto. It is based on the Heckler & Koch 416 assault rifle and is equipped with a 16.5-inch barrel.

The TS-30A2 Mark 4 MR/T scope was previously on the Mk. 12 Special Purpose Rifle. It has a magnification range of 2.5 to 8 powers and a field of view of 13.6 feet at full magnification. It is waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. The TS-30A2 is a second focal plane optic, which means the scope reticle will appear the same size no matter what power the scope is dialed.

Marine Corps Times says the M38 SDMR has been issued to all three Marine Expeditionary Forces. The M38 will be issued at the rate of one per thirteen-man Marine infantry squad. In addition to the M38, the Marines are getting a new sniper rifle and plan to equip regular infantry with 15,000 M27 automatic rifles.


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