Rifles & Optics of the European Best Sniper Squad Competition 2016

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TFB’s Pete recently wrote about the European Sniper Competition, hosted by the U.S. Army in Germany.

The competition included competitors from Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The squads were tested during four days, with 30 different “stations” from sniping, navigation and medical.

Out of curiosity me and a few friends started scrolling through all the pictures, looking at the videos, trying our best to identify which rifles, optics and other equipment the snipers were using. The result can be found below in pictures and writing.

Did we get all of the rifles and nationalities right? No, certainly not. Some are quite difficult and there are many, many better experts out there than us. Please help in the comments section below if you spot mistakes.

Conclusions:

Accuracy International is clearly over-represented in these pictures, in 7,62×51 mm NATO.

There are a few Berret MRADs, in .338 Lapua Magnum, and SAKO TRG-42s, most likely also in .338 Lapua Magnum.

The US Team seems to be using a variation of M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle, possibly SR-25, M110s and Remington Modular Sniper Rifle. But we could be wrong, some look very similar when picutres don’t give everything away (for an untrained eye).

In terms of optics, it seems “everyone” was using Schmidt & Bender, except USA with Leupolds.

You will also find a few G36s, Ak4s (G3), SCAR-H and HK 416 and 417.

There are a few EOTechs, Elcans and Hensholdt sights on various rifles.


Let the show begin:

Below: An U.S. Soldier, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, plotting a map during the land navigation exercise. Is that an SR-25 with Magpul PRS stock, or M110?

US- 1st Battalion-4th Infantry Regiment

Below: Looks like Heckler & Koch G36s with EOTechs and magnifiers. The least accurate combination of all times? (sorry I had to)

Lithuania-G36

Below: Thumbs down from the spotter. I guess that would indicate a mike. M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle with Leupold?

USmarines-thumbsdown

It’s pretty bad ass to shoot from a boat. Accuracy International on a tripod.

Badass

Shooting from a boat. In IPSC Shotgun World Shoot we shot buckshots from a boat in one stage. This looks a lot more challenging, and I guess the crew has to be very still in the boat. Note the empty shell that breaks the water from the M110.

US-soldier

One soldier commented: “It was very hard because we never do training on the boat or helicopter” – well maybe you should.

US-sniper

Below: SCAR-H in 7,62. Looks absolutely massive. This is a Lithuanian soldier. Note the muzzle protection.

Latvia3

Looks like a quick attach mount.

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Lithuania Adopts FN SCAR-H Precision Rifle (7.62mm)

Lithuania

Latvian soldier making his rifle look like grass. He’s pretty successful at it, but I guess it’s an AI based on the grip.

Latvia2

Below: A British sniper preparing for the stalking event. Possibly a L115 A3 Accuracy International AWM?

Brittish-stalking

Below: A Danish sniper. Looks like a Spuhr mount with an Aimpoint Micro on the side. H&K 417 ‘Sniper’ with a   20″ accurized barrel.

Danish

Below: I hope this Italian sniper is not shooting with a barrel support. I would be scared to death in a helicopter with an open door. SAKO TRG-42  in .300 Winchester Magnum or most likely .338 Lapua Magnum. The TRG-42 is used by the 9th Parachute Assault Regiment and the Gruppo di Intervento Speciale.

Italian

Swedish Coastal Ranger, with a PSG-90 (Sniper Rifle 1990).  Note the Trident patch to the left, similar to the US Navy SEALs.

The PSG-90 is essentialy an Accuracy International L96A1 AW. (Arctic Warfare). Atlas bipod to be noted.

Swedish-high angle shot

Below: Latvian snipers, with Accuracy Intl. rifle and mount.

Latvia

Another Spuhr mount, on Accuracy International.

Dutch

Below: Belgian team with an Accuracy International. I would love to see the FN Ballista more, but not here.

FRANCE-or-BEL-AR15-8

Below: M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System. Winners of the longest sound suppressor.

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The M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle in action.

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.300 Winchester Magnum about to go down range. Unfortunately for the US team, the spotters called out a lot of mikes (misses) here, but they weren’t alone.

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Surefire SOCOM Muzzle Brake? Probably a safe bet to say they’re using Surefire suppressors?

M40A6

Most likely the Swedish Team with the PSG-90, Accuracy International AW.

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SAKO TRG-42 with a massive muzzle brake. .338 LM I presume. S&B optics.

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Most likely an English sniper with Accuracy International AWM, L115 A3.

In the .338 Lapua Magnum version, this rifle has the record for the longest recorded sniper kill, at 2 475 meters.

UK-or-USAAR15-6

AI AW most likely in .338 LM, AI mount and S&B optics.

Badass2

Below: I think this is Norway, the winners. Barret MRAD in .338 Lapua Magnum and Schmidt & Bender PM 2 5-25×56 optics. Lasers and stuff going on on the Picatinny. Looks like an Atlas bipod, at least on the second rifle.

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Below: Swedish Team, with PSG-90 and Ak4 (Heckler & Koch G3) and – most likely – Hensholdt.

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Below, a better picture of the latest edition of the Swedish AK4, upgraded with Spuhr’s hand guard and stock. This rifle was not in the competition, but will soon find its way out to selected units. Due to budget cuts, the old Hensholdt was considered “good enough” in a benchmarks.

Spuhr

Someone taped his Ak4 (HK G3) real good with camouflage. The Hensholdt is well protected.

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Notice the Swedish Pistol 88, or Glock 17 in 9×19 mm. No magazines inserted.

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Couldn’t find any pictures of other units with visible handguns.

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Norwegian soldier from the Telemark battalion, with Heckler & Koch 416N and Elcan Spectre 1-4.

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Another angle, the laser clearly visible.

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Swedish soldiers with PSG-90B on tripod.

Swe-2

Below Swedish Ranger with PSG-90.

snipe

I think that’s a Remington Modular Sniper Rifle (MSR).

US-marines2

 

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Another Remington Modular Sniper Rifle? I would advice against using dark sunshades in these conditions, but it looks cool.

US-marines

The teams one the Podium?

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Thanks to Mattias. I hope we got most of them right, but please comment below.



Eric B

Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with an European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatic firearms, optics and sound suppressors.


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  • BattleshipGrey

    Thanks for posting this. I used to catch pics of these types of events on militaryphotos(dot)net forum, but I haven’t seen much of this type of photo coverage since they pulled the plug on the site. Keep up the good work!

    • Sarig

      Man, I miss that site. Athmosphere was pretty toxic at times, but they lived up to the name when it came to photos.

      • BattleshipGrey

        I rarely had time for the actual discussion, so I mainly just enjoyed the photos. I was always blown away by people’s knowledge of technical names and info on various military hardware. I miss it too.

  • Alvar

    The USMC team (pic 3 and a few other pics below) is using the upgraded M40A6, with the new Remington Arms Chassis System (RACS) in 7.62×51. S&B/Premier Reticles optics.

    On pic 17 is the Spanish team with a AI AW S&B combo, not the Belgian team, although the Belgians use the new AI AX in 338LM (the FN Ballista being a re-branded Unique Alpine TPG-3 A4 sniper rifle, which is a German, not a Belgian company).

    • Kitten

      Right. It’s the Spanish team.
      That same rifle can be seen in the fourth image.

      The mount of the eight image is a era-tac.

    • GD Ajax

      Their going to get creamed without a proper Winmag or .338. Sorry Marines, we can’t give you a decent gun.

  • Joe

    Nearly every “Xm2010” is actually an M40A6

  • Rjcz

    “Well maybe you should.”

    Training to fire from helicopters is probably not prioritized because the odds of doing it in combat are particularly slim, especially when the US has a fairly unconstrained defense budget and fills the skies with aircraft carrying precision guided missiles and bombs. Doubly especially since helicopters are loud and obvious and require nice clear weather.

    It’s cool, sure, but not a particularly useful tool. You’d be hard-pressed to justify it to the S3 when he started realizing how much it would cost to put a bird up so your sniper can practice something he’s nit going to use outside of a competition cooked up by a CSM somewhere.

    As for firing from a boat, that seems like a more reasonable thing to train.

    • J. Murphy

      And the helicopter would have to stay in a stationary hover in view of the target, a hovering Heli is a huge target for RPG’s and small arms fire.

      • CommonSense23

        No they don’t. The helos can be quite mobile. Sniper overwatch from a helo can be a very effective tactic. But it requires regular training of both flight crews and snipers. Which is a issue with both time and money and probably most importantly ranges that will allow live 360 live fire from a helo. And then the fact that most commanders are afraid of the concept due to Operation Gothic Serpent.

    • FarmerB

      Send them to Australia – and practice on feral pest culling programs paid for by the Australian taxpayer (no hovering).

  • Participant

    About Lithuanian G36. Don’t underestimate it. We nailed a head size baloon at 400 m.
    Participant

    • xebat

      Hey there, i gotta ask why didn’t a German team participate this year ?

      • Participant

        Ask them.

    • Alvar

      Youl’ll be able to reach head size baloon’s at 1500m next year, i read that Lithuanian army just ordered AI AXMC sniper rifles.

  • CommonSense23

    Where there any photos of the SCARs with suppressor that anyone saw? And when did the MK20s/SSRs start getting called SCAR Hs?

    • Ευστάθιος Παλαιολόγος

      Mk-20/SSR is FN Herstal USA. Europe and FN propper calls them (they are slightly different though) SCAR-H PR and SCAR-H TPR

      • CommonSense23

        Good to know. Do you know if the Europe countries are using the same suppressor as the MK20s? And if they are, are they having the same issues as the MK20.

        • Ευστάθιος Παλαιολόγος

          AFAIK, FN Herstal usually offers Suppressors made by Brugger and Thomet, which are considered to be good quality I would say. What are the issues with the Mk-20?

          • CommonSense23

            The MK20 suppressors have a incredibly large acceptable POI shift when putting on and off. Something like 7 minutes. Which as much as I want to complain about FN on that, Socom wrote the requirements.

          • Ευστάθιος Παλαιολόγος

            7 MOA?!?! Wow! I actually find that hard to believe!

  • claymore

    Sun glasses or any other type of glasses are necessary due to the windblast when riding in open door choppers.

    “I would advice against using dark sunshades in these conditions, but it looks cool”

    • Erik B

      But of course, I always use glasses when shooting. But not the darkest sunglasses.

      • CruisingTroll

        Yes, but we don’t know where the sun was relative to his position. If it was low on the horizon in the direction he was facing….

    • iksnilol

      “but it looks cool”

      All the reason to do it 🙂

  • Ambassador Vader

    M110, SR-25 doesn’t have ambi-safety.

  • Iggy

    Due to the unfortunate pattern of his camo, that first pic of the Swedish team looks like the guy in the background is a wearing a grey thong over green pants.

    I can’t unsee it and want you to share my pain.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    If all you need is 1 MOA for sniping (which is what I heard from a former Navy SEAL sniper), then I don’t understand why people are still using bolt action rifles.

    • Mattias

      1 MOA will cover most situations, bit the more accurate your rifle and ammo is, the more you tend to be lucky with hits.. btw. 1 MOA is roughly 7.1 meters on the distance that has the longest kill on record.

      • Ευστάθιος Παλαιολόγος

        please correct me where I’m wrong. 1 MOA is one inch at 100 yards. Lets round it up to 3cm at 100 meters for easier calculations.
        So, that makes us 30cm at 1 kilometer and 90cm at 3 kilometers.
        Longest kill was just below 3km IIRC so by any means 1MOA is 7.1 meters at that distance.
        Please correct me where wrong
        flanker7

        • kyphe

          1 moa at 100 yards is 1 inch and at 900 yards is 9 inch

          3km is 3280 yards so 1 moa is 32.8 inches or 83cm shift from point of aim.

          I have seen people get 8.3m as they mistook 3280 yards to be 328 inches, which is a simple mistake with a decimal place.

    • CommonSense23

      When you start going past a 1000 yards is when you really want better than 1MOA. Couple that with the fact that the rifles that are chambered for that are going to require you to carry a M4 anyway, a precision bolt action is going to be cheaper and lighter than a precision semi with those calibers.

    • iksnilol

      Well… sometimes you need to go waaay out there.

    • Bierstadt54

      My understanding is that a bolt gun is more reliable, slightly more accurate, and that the recoil characteristics of a semi-auto gun make it harder to spot bullet impacts. While none of these things rule out using a semi-auto sniper rifle, they more than balance out the semi-auto’s rate of fire advantage for most sniper rifle applications.

    • Taki

      You can use bigger cartridges in bolt actions.

  • GD Ajax

    They better bring as many .300 Win Mags and .338 as possible. Our guys got trounced last year.

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    Very cool read. I know hardly anything about “sniping” or long range shooting, but there were a bunch of cool pictures to look at.

  • Mr Mxyzptlk

    Couple of additions/corrections, the British AIs are AWSMs (L115A3), and the rifle next to it is an L129A1 (LMT 308). The rifle with the caption “Most likely an English sniper with Accuracy International AWM, L115 A3.” is not an L115A3 as it has a fixed stock and the muzzle brake is the wrong kind so I think it is the older L115A1 model, assuming he is British and it isn’t someone from another country that uses stock AWSMs. The helicopter sniper also looks like a Brit based on the camo and the L115A3 spec rifle.

    Not so sure about this one, but a lot of the Swedish rifles are not actually PSG90s, they appear to be the newer AI AT308. kind of surprised they chose this, as this is a simpler rifle designed more for law enforcement and civillians whilst the AX308 is what they intend as a military weapon. Also, the PSG90 isn’t the same as an L96A1. The L96A1 is the earlier PM (Precision Marksman) rifle, whereas as it the AW that Sweden adopted. The British army subsequently adopted this version as well as the L118A1. For some reason a lot of people call the L118A1 the L96A1, I think it is mainly because they consistently get it wrong in computer games.

    On a more general note, surprised to see so many .308 AI AWs, I would have guessed that most people used AWMs or AWSMs these days.

    • Ευστάθιος Παλαιολόγος

      That L129A1 has one bipod too many… 🙂
      Correct me if wrong, but don’t the L129 in the SSR role have the Scopes from retired L96 whereas the L129 in the DMR role have some Trijicon ACOG X6?

      • Mr Mxyzptlk

        The SSW variant has the same scope that was used on the l118a1 (the l96a1 had a 6x scope rather than a 3-12x), but not sure if they are actually taken off of the l118a1. Wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case, as don’t think anyone actually uses the l118a1 anymore. The mounts are different, with it having a rail on top of the front ring with a mini red dot on.

        This particular rifle is using the DMR variant’s ACOG though rather than a S&B.

    • Andreas Norstedt

      As far as the PSG 90 goes Sweden have not adopted another rifle AFAIK, however, the rifles have been/are being refurbished with a different stock, getting rid of the old Hensholdt sights etc. etc.

  • Joe

    SureFire brake shown is not SOCOM series. It’s the prior generation. Only reason you’d put in lathe time on the barrel to accommodate that brake is for the suppressor.

  • KentTell

    Not bad finishing second with a 7.62×51 rifle

  • iksnilol

    That’s the longest suppressor you’ve seen? Have you ever seen a double Hausken?

  • .45

    Never really put much thought into it before, but how exactly does one to about putting grass and weeds onto their rifle? Looks like twine in the pictures to me, but I also notice it on there without anything else, so is that really what it is for?

    • jono102

      A few methods,
      Small loops of tire tube or rubber bands looped over the barrel and optic,
      A sleeve over the rifle with loops/elastic to thread it through,
      Thin elastic or shock cord zig zag along the barrel and optic, to name a couple.

      It not uncommon to see extra rubber bands or tire tube looped on to the barrel, optic, hand guard or cocking handle for this or any other needs, especially when you need to “manufacture” concealment

  • nathan

    To bad that the belgian armed forces are secretive. I looked on the website and there were only 2 pictures of them and none of them showed there faces or weaponry. They probably used the ax338 and the fn scar pr