The MK 20 MOD 0 Sniper Support Rifle (SSR)

FNH’s Sniper Support Rifle has been approved for production by USSOCOM and will be fielded in May 2011. It has been given the designation MK 20 MOD 0 SSR. FN SCAR fans will be happy at this announcement.

From the press release …

The MK 20 was originally designated as the Sniper Variant of the SCAR Heavy now known as the MK17. Upon the MK 17 reaching the status of Operationally Effective / Operationally Suitable and Sustainable, the sniper community within SOF focused on refining the Sniper Variant to more suit the needs of long range, precision shooting. With the revisions, the Sniper Variant weapon was military-type designated as the MK 20.

The MK 20 features an extended receiver which provides the additional rail space required for mounting in-line night vision and thermal devices with standard/sniper day optics, a non-folding precision stock with an adjustable cheek piece and length of pull that provides adjustability and a more rigid firing position for making long range target engagements, a beefed up barrel extension and barrel profile to reduce whip and improve accuracy, and an enhanced modular trigger that can be configured for single-stage or two-stage operation, requires no adjustments, and is ruggedized for field use. As a part of the SCAR Family of Weapons, the MK 20 shares a high percentage of parts commonality (over 60%) with the MK 17, maintains the enhanced ergonomics and improves accuracy.

I wonder what has happened to the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System. The Army seems to be sticking with the Remington 700 bolt action rifle (M24 and new XM2010) and USSOCOM is going with the SSR.

[Hat Tip: No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • As far as I know the M110 SASS is very much alive; the M24 in .300 Win Mag is a more specialised long-range beast.

  • zincorium

    That is pretty cool looking. Wonder how accurate it is compared to the M110- obviously reliability isn’t as much of an issue when you’re using a high powered round and only firing aimed shots, so it doesn’t make sense to use something *less* accurate for this purpose.

    Also, hopefully this will eventually filter down to the civilian market somehow.

  • Ryan Warner

    in regards to the question: “What happened to the M110?” According to my brother who had to deal with the M110’s on deployment. They were rushed into service without much testing. From that you could concluded that they were meant to be a “band-aid” not a full replacement. The M110 was two long and due to this created issues when Fast-Roping. The barrel would often end up rammed into the dirt. No forward assist meant that you had to manually try and force the bolt forward by pushing on it through the open ejection port.

    I can not provide hard proof to back any of the above claims, because they are just snippets from many conversations I’ve had with my brother who is serving in the US Army.

  • charles222

    Gotta bear in mind that the M110 isn’t really ‘new’…the SR25 that it’s based on is at least 15 or 16 years old. Plus it’s been in direct competition with the EBR conversion of the M14 since the war began almost, and simply buying EBR stocks for M14s is probably a whole lot cheaper than buying brand-new M-110s, and EBRs already had a spare-parts logistics chain in place..I’d say the EBR killed it, more or less. I only saw an M110 get issued to my platoon once (in 2005) and we also got an EBR around the same time, and the next deployment (2007) we got two EBRs and no M110s (and a Barrett, for some reason, but we never found a role in the light-infantry platoon for that thing besides looking cool.)

  • Vitor

    The MK17 already has a good reputation accuracy wise and for have a quite low recoil for .308. I gues the MK20 will please the troops.

    The advantage I see it having over the M110 is a more adjustable stock, since it is a buffer-free design.

  • Lance

    Ive been with many Oregon national Guard men when im shooting matches. they said the M-110 has issues with weight and some accuracy issues.The main reason why older M-14s are still widely used in regular army units. With the war in Iraq mostly over (were leaving no matter what happens) and urban fighting is over and open space combat in Afghanistan where even the famed ACU is going bye bye. M-24s are more popular in long distance fighting and the M-14 fills the gap between there. The M-110 isn’t gong away but is on the sidelines in this open area combat.

  • Interesting responses re the M110. The last official word I heard from the army, a few months back, is that it was still being issued as well as the M14EBR (Enhanced Battle Rifle), but as a DMR while the M14EBR was less specialised, more of a general rifle when more range and punch were needed. Kind of a subtle difference, though, I suppose! I had the impression that they were getting both weapons into the hands of the troops as fast as they could because of the great demand for 7.62mm rifles.

  • Some Guy

    Uh, this is more of a “Designated Marksmen” weapon when compared to the M110 as a “Sniper” weapon.

    Plus, this probably is more reliable and can be fired in full auto rather than just semi auto, and is also probably better at CQC, being lighter weight and shorter, making it a somewhat more (if not extremely more) effective close range combat weapon.

    Also considering that it’s probably a lot cheaper (less than 2000 dollars compare to over 4000 for an SR-25/M110) it might make it easier to field to a large amount of troops.

    I think the majority of people who might inclined to use an M110 would most likely go with a standard SR-25 anyways, which is somewhat better in terms of accuracy and weight, although a lot louder.

    So, this is more or less a replacement to the old M14 and 5.56mm “Special Purpose” ‘Sniper’ Rifles, which is basically a more lethal combat system than the 5.56mm weapons while being lighter weight, shorter, more reliable and having less recoil than a standard M14.

  • Lance

    @Some Guy

    The M-14 isnt getting replaced. Only SOCOM is buying this weapon to replace M-110 in service. The reguar armry and USMC will not use this weapon. The USMC disliked the SCAR enough dureing the IAR trils it finished last. No the M-14 is going away. The SCAR H has about the same recoil as a M-14 Ive shoot on alot and the recoil isnt that bad on a M-14.

  • Did you mean that the M14EBR can fire full-auto? Not as far as I’m aware – the M14 was originally introduced with an auto switch but this was rapidly disabled when it was realised that the gun was only controllable on semi-auto.

  • charles222

    No, EBRs don’t have a full-auto feature. Plus they look way more badass than the M110 does. :p

  • James

    A buddy of mine just deployed to Trashcanistan with a regular infantry unit, their designated marksmen have M14 EBR’s and their sniper has an M110. The SF guys with them have regular Mk 17’s with either ACOG’s or higher magnification scopes.

  • Some Guy

    I meant that it wouldn’t be intended to replace the M110 as a SNIPER rifle, but more of the M14 as a Designated Marksmen Rifle among Special forces units.

    It’s obvious that M14’s will still be in use; Even the M24, which has been “Replaced” still has orders.

    Point being it’s cheap, people are already trained with it, there is a lot of info on it, and it’s worked well in the past.

  • subase

    It makes sense, special forces are being used more and more often in newer conflicts, so that means they need far more versatile weaponry. The scar heavy and this make a nice complement and upgrade to the M14 EBR and M110.

    The advantages are barrel selection versatility, longer barrel life and lighter weight. As well as same manual of arms the scar heavy.

    I think with the short duration, high danger and very close combat role of special forces, the .308 caliber weapon will be seeing wider use. The new socom round in 5.56 is a direct criticism of the rounds stopping power.

  • Mike M.

    Sounds like the M-14 is still the rifle to beat.

  • D

    looks like a viable replacement for the M14. Since the M14 is becoming aged, with most rifles in Iraq and Afghanistan formerly mothballed, it makes sense to replace them with a more accurate and modular system. Similar with the M1 garand, the M14 is an excellent weapon but is also obsolete.

  • Lance

    @ D
    Not happening D the Mk-20 is to replace the M-110 in SOCOM service not the M-14 DMR. And the M-14 isnt obsolete in the EBR form it has done better than some AR-10 modles. Thefragile MK-20 ive yet to be sold on. Sheap parts.

  • D

    I think you are mistaken. The M14 will eventually be phased out as a DMR (who knows what will replace it in the active duty army and marines) as it is being phased out by the SCAR 17 in USSOCOM. The SCAR 17 as a DMR and Mk-20 as a sniper variant to replace the M110.

    The EBR M14 is an outstanding rifle, though, yes, the design is aging and many rifles pressed into service are not EBR and are rapidly wearing out.

    Ill believe the Mk 20 being fragile when it is actually being used in combat. I take hearsay with a grain of salt.

  • Lance

    The M-14 isnt being replaceing in the regular army. And the Mk-17 is only supplamenting the M-14 in SOCOM use. Yes in SOCOM there multible 7.62 NATO rilfe in service and probly in service for a while to come. The Mk-17 was adopted for a CQB battle rilfe. WHile the M-14 was retained for open country warfair. The M-21s sniper in service where replaced in SOCOM in 2000 with Mod 0 AR-10 riles which the Mk-20 was ment to replace. M-14s are in more regular army service now then SOCOM is. The SEALs will use both guns for years to come but in Artic warfair they still uses regular M-14s. Anyway both guns will be used for sometime.

    Iam also mean that the regular USMC and Army will use M-14s will be for years to come.

  • @Lance:

    “The Mk-17 was adopted for a CQB battle rilfe. WHile the M-14 was retained for open country warfair.”

    I find it hard to believe that’s true, as it would be bordering on insanity. It’s bad enough having to have two families of weapons (because the 5.56mm is no good at long range and the 7.62mm is too heavy and kicks too hard for short-range use), but to compound the problem by having multiple types of 7.62mm rifle for different purposes would be crazy.

    The FN SCAR, like any modern military rifle, is modular so it can be adapted for different purposes. Give it a long barrel for long-range precision use, a short one for close-in work, and something in between for, well, in-between ranges, if you must (although you could avoid all that hassle by going to a bullpup). But I can only see one reason for having two different types of 7.62mm rifle (specialist weapons like sniper rifles aside), and that is that there isn’t the money to make a complete replacement immediately – but that would only be a short-term problem.

    There’s much talk of the “golf bag” approach to small arms – having a huge variety of types available from which to choose according to the tactical circumstances – but that just makes me think that each soldier will be accompanied by a caddy carrying a large bag of weapons, ready to hand him the right one for each shot!

    The problem with having a range of weapons, each carefully optimised for a particular scenario, is that each of them will be, by definition, not well suited to all the other scenarios. If a patrol is doing a house-to-house search in a village one moment, then comes under long-range fire as they leave, they need weapons which can cover both scenarios.

  • Lance

    @ TONY Williams

    Sorry but the Military not just the US but Russia UK and even South Korea uses alot of differnt fire arms per military its can be hard on logistics but not one rile can fill every job any more. If yuo want a one rilfe for all approch demand the Colt CM901.

  • Rohan Wilson

    The “golf bag” approach to small arms is because of the failure to issue a good general purpose rifle and ammunition.

    In Australia we have a term for a person expected to do a broad range of tasks, their called “jack-a-roos”. What does that mean? Jack of all trades , master of none (crap at all skills, can do none of them well).

    The more weapons you give a soldier, the less time to train, less time to shoot and less time to master tactically the weapon.

  • Some Guy

    Allow me to repeat.

    This is more or less a marksmen rifle. Why you would think this is replacing the M110/SR-25 when their already bought and in service is beyond me.

    Snipers will continue to use the SR-25 and whatnot.

    But squad duty “Snipers”, I.E. marksmen, will be using this.

    Special forces units that need both “sniper” work, marksmen work, and rifleman work done will probably be using this rifle.