Marines have used M40 sniper rifles and .308 Winchester cartridges for 14 years. Is it time for an upgrade?
The Washington Post investigated this question and created this infographic comparing the rifle used by Marine snipers to models used around the world.
The problem is that the .308 cartridge prevents snipers from firing at out-of-range targets, even if they are visible through the rifle’s scope. The Marine Corps Times explained that this Achilles heel is well known throughout the world, to the detriment of Marines in the field.
In Afghanistan, Taliban gun teams, aware of the M40’s reach, would set up their gun teams just outside the rifle’s range. They’d rain fire on Marines, knowing they weren’t likely to be hit back. Marines were forced to relay their location to close air support or artillery teams, hunker down and await help.
Meanwhile, the Chinese M99 far outpaces standard Marine equipment.
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