HK Shows Off the US Army's M110A1 CSASS Compact Sniper Rifle | SHOT 17

Nathaniel F
by Nathaniel F

At the 2017 SHOT Show, Heckler & Koch was proudly displaying their victorious CSASS entrant, now designated the M110A1 by the US Army. The Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System competition was created to find a lighter weight, more compact sniper weapon system to replace the Knight’s Armament M110 SASS. The H&K rifle that reportedly won the contract was slightly different than the rifle on display at the show, the latter sporting the new Geissele M-LOK handguard which replaced HK’s proprietary “backwards Keymod” negative attachment handguard.

The M110A1 is based on H&K’s G28 rifle, which in turn is a derivative of the HK417 7.62mm counterpart to the company’s successful 5.56mm HK416 rifles. Unlike the steel-receiver G28, the M110A1 uses an aluminum upper receiver to save weight and meet the US Army’s requirement of 9.0lbs or less without optics and accessories. Without magazine or accessories, the M110A1 is listed at about 8.4 pounds unloaded, a much more competitive weight than any of HK’s previous AR-pattern 7.62mm rifles.

Interestingly, this specific example is marked "MR 762 A1", which suggests it might not be an original CSASS rifle.

The M110A1 is advertised in H&K’s literature as coming fully equipped with a Schmidt & Bender 3-20×50 PMII Ultra Short optic, Geissele optic mount, OSS SRM6 suppressor, and 6-9 Harris bipod and mount. A little math on that setup gives us a weight of about 6.8kg for the fully loaded and equipped M110A1, which in Armstrong units is about 15 pounds. Whew! Not light, but then that’s the reason for the Army’s strict baseline weight requirement!

Nathaniel F
Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.

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  • Henry Servatt Henry Servatt on Feb 11, 2017

    Wow! looks pretty "compact" to me...

  • Tom Lester Tom Lester on Feb 16, 2017

    I'm probably going to be excoriated for saying this but, with all due respect, do we really need ANOTHER newest/latest/coolest - and expensive - small arms system for the US fighting forces? Don't get me wrong, I love new and cool stuff just like the next guy but can the government please start acting like we're $20 trillion in debt and making decisions with that fact even slightly considered? From a historical standpoint, there was a time when the US military came up with a solid design and didn't allow itself to be swayed into shelling out big bucks only a few years later for something that basically does the same thing. Sure, this rifle may be a bit lighter than the M110 but only marginally so and at what extra cost? If it's a question of the Knights Armament option not working out, can someone ask what went wrong during the original testing period of that rifle or, perhaps, can we the US taxpayer have a reasonable expectation that Knights would address any problems, rather like any other piece of machinery purchased by a government agency that doesn't perform to spec.

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    • Tom Lester Tom Lester on Feb 17, 2017

      @Guy Slack Those first 30 rifles are supposed to be for testing purposes before an official adoption, at which point I've heard as many as 3-4,000. At $10K per example, that translates into $300K for just the test examples alone and upwards of approximately $40 million to make the aforementioned full buy. Granted, that's a small portion of the overall fed budget but how many "small portions" are out there that, if addressed realistically, we can start down the road to some level of fiscal sanity?

      Not to sound too simplistic but this reaks of a great sales team @ H&K contacting the right people at the right time and putting a bug in their ear. "Hey, I heard that M110 just isn't quite what you were hoping for. How about I show you a little something we've been working on?"

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