For the last 25 years, the United States Marine Corps has equipped its snipers with a fixed-power Marineheader 10X scope made by Unertl Optical Company. But no more. While roaming the aisles at the SHOT Show in February, I saw the Unertl’s successor, which is the Schmidt & Bender PM II LP, and is a 3X-12X variable with S&B’s Gen II mil-dot reticle.

This scope is so big and so complicated that I could not comprehend the thing if I studied it for a month. It was the winner in a competition in which 25 optics companies submitted entries, and it was the only one to meet the Corps’ specifications.

If you would like to get your hands on one, you can join the Corps, go through boot camp where you must qualify as expert with the M-16, and then get into scout-sniper school, which is tough, and graduate, which is even tougher. The Corps will then give you a M40A3 sniper rifle, all 19 pounds of it, lots of match ammo, and a chance to use it where it will do the most good.

Or you can simply pony up $2,849, which is the MSRP for the civilian version of the Marine scope. It doesn’t have USMC on it, and the adjustment turrets revolve in a different direction, but those are the only differences. If any of you buy one, or become a Marine sniper and shoot one, let me know.