The US Army has begun fielding their new M110A1 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle or SDMR. The latest familiarisation initiative began at Fort Stewart, Georgia, earlier this month. Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (the Raiders) began familiarisation with the new rifles at Fort Stewart’s sniper range on 5th June, 2020.
The team that took part in the training consisted of non-commissioned officers from across 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team. The Raiders will be the first formation to field the M110A1 SDMR. The familiarisation course began with a classroom component before moving out to the range.
The 7.62x51mm chambered M110A1 is produced by Heckler & Koch and also provides the base for the M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System. Heckler & Koch began shipping the first large shipments of the new rifles earlier this year, sharing the first photos of them before shipping back in April. Heckler & Koch will eventually ship between 5,000 and 6,000 complete weapon systems consisting of a variant of their G28/HK417 rifle, a SIG Sauer Tango6 1-6×24 scope and an OSS Helix HX-QD 762 suppressor.
Initial training covered the assembly and disassembly, functionality, operation and maintenance of the new rifles. Soldiers then hit the range for zeroing and confirming with a civilian team from the Tank-automotive and Armament Command out of Detroit.
During the familiarisation course David Parris, a former infantry soldier, and one of the civilian experts from TACOM explained that “we have given them a rifle that is precise and capable of closing the capability gap of 300-600 meters, which means it fills the maximum firing distance gap between the standard issue rifle and the sniper rifle.”
“This weapon is an upgrade to the whole squad layout, and you can even work it into combined arms warfare.” said Sgt. Patrick Nissen, a scout from the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1ABCT, 3ID. “I shoot long range, both in the Army and recreationally, and I really like getting down behind this weapon, it is very comfortable, it is a great rifle, and I really do enjoy it”.
The soldiers attending the first familiarisation course were mostly NCOs who will go back to their units and help with training as the SDMR is fielded.