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New sniper philosophy after Iraq/Afghanistan?

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  • #16
    For mostly "logistics" reasons, and what I presume is the ease in training, the military has always been of the mind to adopt "one" weapon for a particular function. The troops were given that "one" tool and told to make do. In my years as a police sniper, I have had many conversations with military snipers that were envious of the fact that we could use whatever rifle best suited our environment. They have to use what they are given, and are given nothing else. Some departments do the same thing to this day. In many instances these individuals are punished for working outside that very tight box.

    These are certainly valid reasons, having had to teach sniper schools where there were as many weapons as students. We all maintain and work with "our" weapons, but the military has to service, maintain, train on, provide parts for, and train an operator to use hundreds maybe thousands of "sniper" weapons. It is an age old argument, and both sides have valid points. I am beginning to think this philosophy is slowly changing though.

    What I get from this thread is that there are different tools, that do different jobs, some better than others. I know that many in Iraq are clamoring for M1A or AR10 rifles, that is why I sent four of them over there. When I was first asked, I recommended the AW or similarly equipped magazine fed sniper rifle. They insisted on semi-auto rifles, that were reliable, and precise, but not so precise as they did not work. Now you have a real look by the powers that be at many AR10 type rifles, Smith Enterprise is sending their specially built M14's over ther by the hundreds, and you don't think Badger came out with an AICS magazine bottom metal for us do you? Big organizations are slow to change, but it seems the US Military is slowly changing.

    No one was saying the M40A3 was / is not a good rifle, it just was / is not suited to the job THEY were / are doing in some instances. It is not to say it is not perfectly suited to other jobs. This particular sergeant provided several previous incidents where he needed the semi-auto capability, and was at the time using the m40A3, so it was not like he had not tried. He had to have VERY FAST repeat shots, and the ergonomics of the AR platform. Those who want the M14 are most impressed with its reliability in all situations.

    I think the bottom line here is that there is more than one "sniper rifle" that is suited to military use now. Our troops are called upon to do jobs they have never done. To "change" to a different "one" is foolish, and to just do nothing more than repeat history. In this particular instance the military is learning from our mistakes (LEO) and our ability to change as needed to fit the ACTUAL needs of the operator. I am sure the military is going to try and settle on one of each so to speak, as again, the logistics issues are valid ones. As is almost always the case in this country, the need for the military to settle on "one" semi, and "one" bolt gun will drive the industry to continue to improve both. It is what makes this country great, and is the reason (I think at least) we seldom lose!

    Dave
    Dave Bahde

    Training is the key to survival, the harder you train, the more likely you are to survive!

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    • #17
      During Vietnam the spotter carried the M14 and the sniper the M40 or M70. It was a great team. Any enemy close enough got nailed with the M14. So now switch to today. The spotter could still use a AR10 or other semi-auto except the M16, while the sniper could still use the M40A3 and both use the same ammo. It seems to me that this would be a good combination for our military snipers. Remember, the snipers work in teams.

      Tom
      T.Bruner

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      • #18
        What I have read and even seen in pictures is that in combat the bolt action guy acquires pretty fast some kind of CQB weapon like M4,a SMG or similar. More weight to carry for sure but in MOUT the bolt-action will get you killed if anybody confronts him less than 100m away. A 7.62 Nato selfloader may work too as a compromise.

        Anyway German Bundeswehr is equipping their snipers (and machnine gunners with HK MP7 which is one of those new PDW:s so much in fashion. Better than a 9mm pistol for sure.

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        • #19
          Traditional doctrine for sniper employment has been pretty much thrown out the window . . . then again so has most of traditional doctrine. As we adjust to their tactics, they change them. Seen numerous reports of on the fly tactical employment so much the West Point has reinstated their Guerrilla Warfare class (was discontinued after Vietnam).
          Read the Marines are using sniper teams forward deployed only a short distance (<300m) with a support squad near by if things get hairy.
          Have not heard much about an auto-loader use as a sniper weapon system. But, as with most every piece of equipment, they want it lighter, and hold more rounds.
          My 2 cents, keep the bolt gun (read: Murphy is lurking and KISS), make it lighter, more rounds or a DBM.
          v/r

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          • #20
            Times change, for sure. The next war may just bring us all back to longer range bolt rifles, like 300wm's, 338 Lapua or even 408's.
            From what I've read the shots in Iraq average 600 meters or less. No wonder the M-14, has made sure a come back. Ar-10's are suited for this kind of range and need for fast follow up shots.
            But when we have the need for that one shot accuracy at 800 to 1000 yds, or even beyond, you will see them drag the bolt rifles back out and they will be the big dog again.

            You can bit your butt at my age I'll never leave the bolt rifle behind. I've never liked the AR-15's or M-16's. When I have to shot a target three, or four times to make him die it's a waist. For up close fighting sure, LOL, that is if I can't find a 12 gauge, with 00 buckshot.
            As for the weight "get stronger".

            flea
            "with the patience of an oyster....I watch and wait"

            Training the US, one shooter at a time.






            http://www.centralvirginiatactical.com

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            • #21
              Hi Gentlemen,

              This has been very interesting topic, I have enjoyed reading it very much indeed. Excellent points brought out.

              Tom wrote:

              During Vietnam the spotter carried the M14 and the sniper the M40 or M70. It was a great team. Any enemy close enough got nailed with the M14. So now switch to today. The spotter could still use a AR10 or other semi-auto except the M16, while the sniper could still use the M40A3 and both use the same ammo. It seems to me that this would be a good combination for our military snipers. Remember, the snipers work in teams.[/b]
              I'll agree with Tom's point of view; a spotter(sniper) with semi-auto AR-10 based 7.62mm NATO rifle and sniper(spotter) with 7.62mm NATO M40 -series or M24 bolt gun and maybe in the future with e.g. .338LM bolt gun (e.g. Remington produces .338LM bolt gun - pretty much alike M24, but in bigger caliber) form a great team indeed!

              Dave (Juroku) pointed well out the military way of thinking and realities - well said, Dave.

              On the other thread, Tactical brought out this same issue and I'll agreed with him too. I'm quite sure that in the near future US Armed Forces will have two SWS systems:

              1. Semi-auto SWS in 7.62mm NATO caliber (quite likely based on AR-10 platform, some SR-25s and AR-10 are already in use). Furthermore, SASS project has been officially lauched already in 2003.

              2. Bolt gun SWS probably in .338LM caliber (.338LM is better caliber than any .30 caliber Magnums, which are all in fact a compromise btw 7.62mm NATO and .338LM. If any organization chooses to go any bigger caliber than 7.62mm NATO, there isn't any point to choose a compromise caliber. Dutch, Finns and Canadians and many other nations have already realized that).

              Now, teaming a sniper team with semi-auto 7.62mm NATO caliber SWS and bolt gun .338LM caliber SWS would be a truly great and powerful sniper team in the future. I hope that we'll end to the same solution here up North.

              Just my 2 cents.

              Shoot well !

              Cheers,

              Mace

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              • #22
                Can someone explain why there is a flashlight on the New Rem rifle? Has there been a change in tactics requiring a bolt-action man storming a building?

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                • #23
                  The idea of a dedicated platoon sniper using a gas operated weapon system is right out of Soviet Doctrine. For supporting main line infantry with precise fire out to 600 meters it is an asset that cannot be beat.

                  However, US snipers work in pairs, one acting as sniper the other as spotter. If both have a job shooting, on at greater than 600, one at less, then who is the spotter? It means we have to add a third man to the team to spot for both rifles if things get hairy.

                  As we know, three man sniper teams have worked out well for the MOUT situations.

                  However, how the Army is going to train and keep three snipers per platoon is anyones guess. It's not lack of suitable cadre or ranges, it's lack of funding and support from the brass. So I think we'll see an increase of sniper slots on the MTOE, but not three per platoon (which I think is ideal), however I am not a sniper, just a guy who would like more snipers watching over my buddies.

                  What we might see is more DM slots and schools to fill the gap between 300m and 600m for the Army. The Marine corps doesn't have that problem, and the Army is trying to follow suit and increase the range at which soldiers are trained to engage. However, the 5.56 Nato loses a lot of energy at those ranges, and I don't trust it to have suitable stopping power for one shot kills, which means that unless rifles are upgraded Army wide to a better caliber, we will still need a 308 rifle for those critical shots.

                  Anyway you look at it it is a logistical nightmare.

                  Jimro
                  "How you train is EXACTLY how you fight" Col (Ret) Robert B. Nett, awarded Medal of Honor

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                  • #24
                    hi Gary;

                    Actually I've used a "leopard Light" for certain applications. The set up is from SureFire and is a set of rings and a M4 "Devastator" combat light. Works like a charm with a "bite" switch, sort of like 'jack lighting" deer.

                    Take care...Jim
                    "A FAMILY THAT STANDS TOGETHER AND FIGHTS TOGETHER STAYS TOGETHER" The combined Dutch Family...


                    "But I've a rendezvous with Death, at midnight in some flaming town, when spring trips north again this year, and I to my pledge word am true, I shall not fail that rendezvous"

                    Alan Seeger, KIA Belloy-en-Santerre 4 July 1916, Legion Entrangere, American poet.


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                    • #25
                      We regularly use surefire lights for lighting up threats in training. If you are unable for some reason to provide light from another source you can have your partner light up the threat just prior to the engagement. It works great. If you are alone, mounting the light on your rifle, and having a means to activate it is the only way to get that done.

                      Dave
                      Dave Bahde

                      Training is the key to survival, the harder you train, the more likely you are to survive!

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        The IDF use spot lights on APCs and tanks to illuminate EP in buildings for snipers to engage them. Usually they use the lights from side windows off axis with the shooter, this gives depth and limits back splash, where direct high power white light will make a scene appear flat and washed out due to light back splash. I've seen it work and it works well. High power lights definately have their uses in counter terror and urban settings when used by snipers.

                        The use of weapons lights mounted on individual sniper weapons are another very useful tool not utilized in the past. In built up areas it cuts into the darkened rooms and through any screening the EP sniper may have erected to conceal his position. The benefits are two fold, one, it illuminates the interior of the room and the shooter, two, it will dazzle the enemy impairing his aim and movement.

                        With the tactical advantage being seen with the weapons lights mounted on the M4 carbine and M16A4 the use on SWS is beginning to be appreaciated. I've found that a M951C or the new X200 mounted on the M4 with an ACOG 4x32mm optic is a good combination for block clearing and general city fighting. remove the ACOG and substitute the EoTech and building take downs and room clearing using the lights is superior to most other combinations. And of course the original use on pistols for building search and clearing, combine a powerful light with tritium sights on a 1911 or M9 and you dominate.

                        Take care...Jim
                        "A FAMILY THAT STANDS TOGETHER AND FIGHTS TOGETHER STAYS TOGETHER" The combined Dutch Family...


                        "But I've a rendezvous with Death, at midnight in some flaming town, when spring trips north again this year, and I to my pledge word am true, I shall not fail that rendezvous"

                        Alan Seeger, KIA Belloy-en-Santerre 4 July 1916, Legion Entrangere, American poet.


                        Comment

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