Petzal: Sniping...Our New Growth Industry

Up until our excellent adventure in the Sandbox, sniping has been one of the orphan children of the services. But things have changed big-time. M-14s, which a few years ago were referred to as "rifles that were obsolete on the day they were issued," are being dug out of storage and given new, retrofitted lives as dedicated sniper rifles such as the M24, M25, and the snazziest of all, the Marine Corps' M39 EMR (Enhanced Marksman Rifle, see photo), a $3,000-plus weapon that is almost completely unrecognizable as an M-14. It seems that having one guy who can really shoot send a single bullet downrange is more efficient than expending 25,000 rounds per casualty, which is what we did in Korea and Vietnam.

The Army has just awarded Remington a contract for a new bolt-action sniper rifle to replace the M24. This one will be designated the XM2010, will be in .300 Win Mag, not 7.62 NATO, and will have a suppressor as standard equipment.

And there's more. Lockheed-Martin has been awarded a contract to develop the One-Shot System, an electro-optical system that will not only calculate everything affecting the flight of a 7.62mm bullet out to 1,200 yards but will show a sniper where to hold. By everything I mean everything--wind, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, range, gyroscopic drift, whether your spotter has just farted, you name it. It is supposed to guarantee a hit on the first shot under all conditions.

The project will cost $6.9 million, which is OK because you and I are paying, and the first 15 units for field testing are due to be delivered in October, 2011. You thought the Burris Eliminator goes too far? Wait till this works its way into the civilian market.

I am indebted to regular bloggers C. Banks and J. Blauvelt for the above intel.