Word has come down the pipeline that the US Army is now actively looking for a new Squad Designated Marksman Rifle (SDM) to be utilized on a permanent basis. This is stemming from the demand from the troops on the ground that lead to the development of the M14 base EBR. The EBR was a good stop gap product and it has been well received, but once the units returned home from deployment, the EBR’s typically would go away. The request from commanders was to have a permanent SDM rifle to allow full time training and familiarization for the troops, and it sounds as if the request has finally been heard.

In their search for a new SDM rifle, the Army does want to address a few issues with the EBR when selecting their new rifle. The EBR is big and heavy and as such they want to reduce the weight from the 14+ pounds of the EBR down to something closer to a M4. They also want the controls and operation to be the same, if possible, as the M4 to allow for much easier training of the actual Designated Marksmen. With that in mind you can pretty much assume that it will be a M16/AR based platform, much like the M110 SASS and newly adopted CSASS. Additionally, they want the optics to be low power, likely from 1-6x without the need for a range finding reticle that requires additional training. The lower powered optics is to allow the rifle to be utilized as a traditional battle rifle with the 1x and then zoomed in when needed. The simple reticle requirement is to make the system easy to employ and train with a non-specialized soldier. The primary function of the new SDM rifle is to extend the range of the infantry squad. I guess that rules out our DM/S rifle concept…

They want to have the rifles in the hands of the troops in the next few years.

Current style EBR

8 Comments

David Superstein

The British and Canadian armies have adopted the LMT Sharpshooter rifle as their DMR.

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mele-02

Yes, the UK as the L129A1, we actually have one here for review, just waiting to get the proper ACOG on top. That was the first rifle that came to mind when we learned of the search. I would think it would be toward the top of their list.

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Allard T. Canoy

I have a question sir/ma’am.., marksmen rifle is for infantry? Im a right.. I want sniper commandos. Is there any open recruitment for sniper? Im very interested to that..

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mele-02

Snipers are typically a part of the infantry. Of course, the various special operations units also have their own snipers and in the USMC the Snipers are a separate job specialty that you have to try out for and be accepted. The key here is that you have to first in list into a unit that has Snipers (Infantry, Special Operations, etc) and then you can try out for and become a sniper after you are proficient in your first job.

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Brian

Do you think this will be 7.62 or 5.56 with heavy bullets?

Could the existing Mk12 not be borrowed from the Navy or the M110 not be used? These would only need an optic swap, and maybe a lighter barrel for the M110.

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mele-02

The requirement specifically specified the 7.62 cartridge, which I suspect is to help with dealing with the wind as well as barrier penetration and lethality. The M110 certainly could be modified, but one of the specific requirements was lighter weight, which is where the M110 struggles, it is a heavy weapon system and is one of the reason the Army moved to the CSASS. I suspect the accuracy requirements will not be as rigid as for the SASS and CSASS platforms which will allow the use of a lighter barrel profile, etc. I would suspect it’ll look similar to the L129A1 that the UK uses.

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Blue 6

Well overdue to have a standing SDM in every Squad! I carried a similar rifle to the EBR (the “Precision Marksman Rifle” which was pretty much a stock M14 with a Harris bipod, raised cheekrest, and great Leupold Mk4 glass on top… used primarily to support maritime interdiction and force protection). I have mixed feelings about it. It is inherently a fairly accurate rifle and it’s heaviness is useful for quick follow up shots… but it was a beast to climb with and kind of a pain to clean. I honestly prefer the M110.

I do have some concerns about the “simple” reticle described in the article though. First, I believe the DM is also useful to the SL/PL as a passive rangefinder (MG, arty, CAS, etc.). If a soldier can’t work a Mil-Ranging Formula, then he probably can’t work dope or wind, and he’s probably not the right guy to be a DM.

Also, how do you expect him to hold for wind or movers without some reference marks? How will he rapidly engage several targets at different ranges with holdovers? Even if he is limited by training/rifle/ammo to 600m, he still needs some kind of reference mark in the scope. The only real advantage of a semi-auto precision rifle is rapid follow up. Dialing eliminates that advantage.

Just my 2.

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mele-02

The reticle requirement specified that they did not want one that required mil relation formula. I would suspect they are looking for sliding scale range finding, or a BDC style reticle that has become common on hunting rifles. Or something like the ACOG 7.62 reticle on the L129A1

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