FN’s entry into the U.S. Special Operations Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) competition

TFB contributor Miles Vining visited the FNH USA headquarters and had the opportunity to exaimine FN’s entry into the U.S. Special Operations Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) competition.

Miles writes …

By switching out the bolt head, barrel and magazine, a shooter can have a .308, .300
Win Mag, or a .338 Lapua rifle within minutes. This particular rifle has a U.S. Optics
scope mounted. The suppressor is wrapped in a rubber coating to reduce the heat
signature and the mirage effect from the heat of the suppressor when fired. The plastic
enclosure below the chamber is a storage space for the powered rail system that will
be added later. The stock can be folded onto the receiver and the rifle has 3 safeties;
bolt safety, firing pin block and a grip safety. Stock is adjustable for length of pull, cheek
piece raise, and has a short rail on the lower side to mount a monopod. This rifle will be available to the civilian sector as the “Ballista”.

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.


  • spawnofbill

    I’m not an expert, but why does a sniper rifle need a grip safety? Also holy crap that optic is huge, there’s almost no room to mount an NVD in front of it!

    • Chase

      If you think that one’s big, just wait, they’re going to make scope rings for mounting the Hubble Space Telescope to this rifle.

    • إبليس

      It’s quieter than a traditional safety I’d imagine.

      • JMD

        It also forces the operator to use a grip where their thumb wraps completely around the back of the grip. I know many extremely skilled and experienced long range shooters who do not grip a rifle like that. Beyond that, it’s simply unnecessary and an extra point of failure.

    • Nmate

      No gun needs a grip safety.

  • Ben H

    Looks really expensive! What is this “powered rail system” you speak of?

  • Marc

    It’s actually a Unique Alpine.

  • Other Steve

    That scope objective without a doubt will contact that rail during firing between it’s own wiggle and receiver flex. A sort of silly example setup. Well, the ballista cost is going to be anything but practical so I’ll just rank this with Remington’s overpriced MSR, nice to look at I guess, but heavy and not for me.

  • Farm.Dad

    Really ? a grip safety ?? REALLY?

  • Lance

    Overall looks like a copy of the M-2010 and I doubt SOCOM will go everything none infantry spec Think Remington’s M-2010 will win.

    • G

      M2010 isn’t a contender in the PSR competition.

    • Marc

      Remington was the last to introduce a modern, modular precision rifle. The system this gun is based on Unique TGC) is decades old and variants of it have been in military service of several countries for many years. If you think Remington is original or innovative in any way think again. They’re only very successful at marketing their flawed el cheapo hunting rifle.

  • bbmg

    Insulating the exterior of the suppressor doesn’t sound like a terribly good idea, though in practice one would think this sort of rifle wouldn’t be fired more than a couple of times in an average combat mission where a suppressor is required.

    • 6677

      I can’t find it now but I have seen pictures of british army snipers using L115 rifles in afghanistan with large fabric wraps around the suppressor to reduce signature and mirage, doesn’t seem to do any harm.

      • Rob

        My guess is that it does in fact reduce service life, however I’m guessing that the snipers think being less visible is a worthwhile tradeoff.

      • 6677

        Snipers are meant to get the best kit (“in theory”). I think the army would probably be willing to replace the suppressors more often than a civilian would consider buying one. At the end of the day a civvy can probably mount their suppressor of choice on this if they want.

    • G

      The alternative to the sound suppressor is the muzzle brake. (Because most shooters can’t cope with the recoil of the 338 Lapua magnum withot a recoil reducing device)

      A muzzle brake increases the sound pressure by (about) 4 times at the shooter’s ears. A sound suppressor decreases the sound pressure by (about) 90% at shooter’s ears.

      I use a suppressor whenever it is possible because it is so much easier, on the hearing, than shooting unsuppressed with or without a muzzle brake.

      • bbmg

        A suppressor will actually act as a muzzle brake, as it slows down the propelling gasses.

        Barrett didn’t think it did so enough, so they combined the two 😀


      • Mike Knox

        Actually, a Suppressor does the opposite. It retains gasses until the bullet clears the muzzle, after that, there’s an over pressure at the muzzle lip but at a slower velocity..

      • EzGoingKev

        The suppressor also reduces muzzle flash/heat signature.

        Not a big deal when at the range but if you are hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan…..

      • bbmg


        A well designed suppressor has significant internal baffling and volume. This creates turbulence in the propelling gasses while allowing them to expand and cool down, all of which means that they lose pressure and velocity – exactly what you want to achieve, because that’s what makes the noise.

        This means that you get less recoil than if the gasses exited the muzzle unopposed.

        To a much lesser degree, the added weight of the suppressor also reduces the felt recoil.

      • Mike Knox

        Have you actually tried using a supressor? Inside the cylinders, each baffles are muzzle boosters angled behind each other, no matter what design, brand or model. the increased recoil is more felt with wet suppressors..

    • We’re the manufacturer of the Griptastic(tm)/Supcov(tm) high temp silicone suppressor covers being discussed. We’re also suppressor manufacturers.

      The utility for suppressor covers in use on precision rifles lies primarily in mirage and IR signature reduction. As the topic is the use of our cover on a suppressed precision rifle, I’ll be limiting this comment to points specific to that topic.

      Suppressors, by their nature, get really hot quickly. If a shooter needs to fire much at all, mirage will quickly reduce effectiveness. Not long after that point is reached, mirage will become so severe that a qualified shooter will be unable to effectively engage the target.

      Military shooters, FN (and a lot of other suppressed precision rifle shooters) recognize the necessity of keeping the system in a functional, usable condition. Their independent testing has demonstrated what we advertise; significant mirage and IR reduction and a means to keep from burning yourself and your gear.

      A cover won’t decrease the life of a suppressor. If sufficient heat is introduced to a suppressor to cause it to fail, one has to consider that the heat is generated by the weapon/firing schedule, not the cover. If the firing schedule is that extreme, a little bit of heat retention from any type cover isn’t going to make any noticeable difference. If you’re running it that hard, it’s going to be toast without a cover.

      That said, our covers only have 50% contact with the underlying tube, specifically to allow the suppressor to cool significantly faster than if it had full contact.

  • JDub

    Let me guess…it costs as much as a car.

    • FourString

      So do a lot of camera lenses lol

  • Canthros

    It *does* look a lot like the Remington MSR and XM2010.

    • Mat

      People at Remington were still playing with outclassed 700model and shiting their pants over anything with more than 2 lug bolt, when this thing was already in use FN is a PGM Ultima ratio in slightly updated new clothes ,it not Unique alpine but all are derived from an even older Unique range of rifles ,action is virtualy the same ,aluminum switch barrel action with 3 lug bolt .

    • Mat

      yes remington msr has 3 lugs, but this reciever and bolt combination is at least 15 if not 20 years old

  • dayledabomb

    Looks pretty stylish and heck, cobined with a leveraction, mmhmm!! amazing!

    • 6677

      But its not lever action….

  • Esh325

    I assume a bolt safety is a manual safety? They should just settle on one caliber, they don’t need all 3.

    • vecdran

      There actually is a very specific reason for the three calibers, as explained to me by the FNH rep when I shot it at SHOT show. The .338 Lapua and .300 WinMag chamberings are for shooting people, the .308 Win is for cheap practicing. This way, units can spend less money when training by mostly using .308, which they have tons of, and then quickly re-barrel the gun when they go out in the field to the more effective calibers.

      • bbmg

        Wouldn’t you want to train with the calibre you would use in the field?

    • Sid

      The concept of multi-caliber is BS in practice. It does not work like that.

  • David Cook

    All of these gun manufactures are really coming out with some great firearms. I’m just wondering what marketplace they plan to sell all of these high end firearms to. The Military can only purchase from a few in any ammount of quantity. Law Enforcement Departments are on such a tight budget that they could never afford to purchase even one of these rifles. That leaves the Civilian Population. The Government will most likely ban this type of a rifle for civillian use and even if they will allow such a firearm, only the very rich will be able to own one. I don’t think I would take a chance in purchasing a rifle like this even though I would love to have one but not if our Government is going to come along and rip the darn thing right out of my hands. We all know that they don’t really even need a reason to take it, if they want it, it’s gone along with your bank account. They need to concentrate on firearms that are as nice as they can make them but within a price range that people can afford. I don’t want a firearm that I can’t afford to shoot either. If Obama gets reelected God forbid, you won’t be able to purchase ammunition or a rifle such as that. It’s scary because the laws keep changing from day to day and what is legal today may not be legal tomorrow.

    • Jefe

      What changing laws are you talking about? You make it sound like BATFE ninjas come around in the middle of the night to steal your guns and furniture and shit. Stop spreading misinformation about gun laws. There are plenty of civilian-legal rifles capable of reaching out further than this one. If it was such a problem, youtube wouldn’t be full of civvies shooting Noreens and Barretts. And keep politics out of the conversation.

      • sdog

        +1 jefe

    • JMD

      That makes perfect sense. Live your life based around fear of what the government “might” do.

  • Mike Knox

    I thought this cpm[etition was over, like, months ago..

    • Mike Knox


  • bbmg

    I wonder why the DSR-1 wasn’t a contender, still no love for bullpups?


  • Anonymoose

    They should have made it so the 7.62 NATO version takes SR-25/M110 mags, but then again, they should have had the SCAR-H use them from the get-go too…oh, well.

    • Marc

      If you find a way to make SR-25 magazines work in a .338 LM magwell give them a call. Until then I think a common magwell is more important than magazine compatability with an unrelated rifle.

      • Anonymoose

        I see your point.

      • Anonymoose

        You seem to be forgetting, however, that snipers do not work alone, and spotters generally don’t use the same rifles as spotters, even if they’re using the same caliber, so the PSR, SCAR-H, and M110 are less “unrelated” than you would think. However, the US military is now fielding no less than 3 different types of 7.62 NATO magazines, and now the PSR will be adding a fourth no matter which contender wins. It seems that not having to have a SP901/CM901-style magwell insert to convert from larger caliber to smaller caliber mags was part of the solicitation for the PSR.

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