Canadian Rangers Get a New Rifle

If you had not heard of the Canadian Rangers, it’s OK, neither had I. There are about 5,000 of them, living in 200 communities in the less inhabited parts of their country, and they serve as the eyes and ears of the Canadian Army. Many of the Rangers are Inuit or Native American, and they speak 26 dialects and languages. These are the guys who know what is going on locally, and know the country. They’re roughly analogous to the scouts employed by the U.S. Cavalry during the Plains Indian Wars.

This article by Al Voth in North American Hunter explains very well the whys and wherefores of the new rifle. What I thought of upon reading it, was that Jeff Cooper's shade is smiling. The Scout Rifle concept has caught on very slowly, but it seems to have caught on with a vengeance.

“One of the most unusual military forces in the world is the Canadian Rangers. They are a sub- component of the Canadian military's reserve forces, with a mandate to patrol Canada's arctic regions.

"They are a part-time force made up of volunteers and tasked with conducting surveillance and sovereignty patrols in some of the most inhospitable parts of the world. Many of the members are native people who have an intimate knowledge of the land they live on and how to survive on it. This gives them an ability to act as guides and instructors for regular and special forces working in the far north.

“While there are a lot of fascinating facts about the Rangers, of particular interest is a recent announcement that the unit is being equipped with new rifles, specifically suited to their needs.

“The issue rifle of the Canadian Forces is a version of the AR design similar to what American soldiers use. But the Rangers, until now, have been issued with Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifles, chambered in .303 British—and you thought they were obsolete 50 years ago! As you can imagine, those rifles are nearing the end of their service life, so the military held a competition to select a new rifle.

“And the winner is … Sako/Tikka. Specifically, a modified version of the Tikka T3 Compact Tactical Rifle. The rifle will be built in Canada under license, with an original issue of about 6,500 units. The selected rifle still needs to undergo some field testing and there might be minor changes, but the rifle you see pictured should be very close to the finished product.”