The 82nd Airborne has been conducting jump testing of the Army’s new Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper (CSASS) rifle. In June, the 82nd’s snipers were issued the new sniper rifle and conducted operational testing during training exercises. The aim of the testing was to check that the rifle’s optic was retaining zero after parachute jumps. The test team used a mobile weapons boresight collimator to check for shift in zero.
This follows testing in March at Fort Bliss and Fort Carson with elements of the 1st Stryker Brigade and 4th Infantry Division. The testing put the Squad Designated Marksman Rifle (SDM-R) variant of the rifle in the hands of troops.
“Operational Testing is about Soldiers. It is about making sure that the systems developed are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight,” said Col. Brad Mock, Director of U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD).
While the SDM-R is equipped with a SIG Sauer TANGO6 1-6×24 optic, from the photos of the testing it appears the CSASS is running a Schmidt & Bender scope, probably a 3-20×50 PM II – though it is difficult to identify it precisely from the photos available, on a Geissele mount. It remains to be seen if this is the final optic which the Army have chosen for the CSASS, but it has been seen paired with the rifle as early as ASUA 2017.
Spec. Nicholas Farmer of Orlando, Florida, a Sniper in C Troop, 1st Battalion, 73rd Cavalry Regiment said that “the CSASS is much shorter and lighter than our current system which will make long dismounted movements and reaction to contact more efficient.” While Spc. William Holland, a sniper with 2nd Battalion 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment also noted that “lightweight and compact [weapons like the CSASS] makes for a more manageable load during post drop operations.”
The Army’s testing of the CSASS is nearing completion with operational deployment and a roll out of the new system set for 2020. Check out our earlier coverage of the CSASS here.