Why the Marines have failed to adopt a new sniper rifle in the past fourteen years

Former infantry Marine Thomas Gibbons-Neff wrote a hell of a story for the Washington Post about the Marine Corps and how it’s failed to upgrade its sniper rifles:

Why the Marines have failed to adopt a new sniper rifle in the past 14 years.

Since I’m writing a book series on a former Marine sniper, this is is clearly a subject that’s near and dear to my heart, and I was a bit embarrassed to realize how outgunned Marine snipers are quickly becoming.

While I knew the range limitations of the Corps’s sniper rifle, I didn’t realize the frustration going on inside the Marine Corps sniper community about the weapons. I assumed — wrongly, it seems — that for various reasons they were pleased with the current .308 M40 variant.

Clearly, I was wrong, if the article is as dead on as it seems to be. Go take a quick read yourself, and let me know your thoughts.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps.

P.S. You should really consider buying this book: The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior’s Way. It’s absolutely changed my life for the better.


13 thoughts on “Why the Marines have failed to adopt a new sniper rifle in the past fourteen years

  1. More and more M99s (as well as other high-powered and crew operated Chinese manufactured weapon systems) are being found on the Iraqi and Syrian battlefield.


  2. .308 just isn’t an adequate round for long distance shooting. If I’m not mistaken .308 at a thousand yards hits with roughly the same force as a .38 special round at 10 yards. The light/fast bullet theory doesn’t work in long distance shooting like it does within 250 yards.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And the consensus is that nobody wants to kill off the PWS? Screw that, our Marines need a new rifle system, they should have it. I know the Corps has been getting cast off stuff from the Army since Christ was a Corporal, but come on. 300 Winchester Mag, 338 Lapua, so many proven, established calibers that are a whole lot better than 7.62×51 when you’ve got to reach way out there. Hopefully someone has brought this to the attention of the Commandant. Maybe he can get it unscrewed before he moves on to CJCOS. SF.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Stan – I must have gotten some bum scoop in my post to you a few weeks/months ago. My understanding was that the M40 could/was chambered for a variety of heavier rounds; allowing for farther distance and higher weight. I’ll try to dig into that source a little bit.
    Regardless, our guys need the best equipment available and screw a bunch of ‘personnel’ factors.
    I did not like the comment about being taken under fire by machine guns, since it implies that these “Snipers” were under observation. Being spotted by the bad guys is a total fail of field craft. I wonder if that is about “designated” snipers, as opposed to graduates of the Sniper School.
    In the old days, a whole bunch of High Expert shooters got booted from the school because they simply could not/would not learn the value of absolute concealment.
    Looking forward to learning a lot more about this whole discussion.
    Thanks for the head’s up.
    Semper Fi,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Marine Watch | Marine Corps looks to field new sniper rifle

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