US Army Begins Fielding New M110A1 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle

    Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, take aim at the Fort Stewart, Ga., sniper range while fielding the U.S. Army’s new M110A1 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle, June 5th, 2020. 1ABCT was the first unit in the U.S. Army to field this rifle. The SDMR was designed to fill the capability gap between the standard issue rifle, and a sniper rifle. (US Army Sgt. Daniel Guerrero)

    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.

    Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, conduct weapons maintenance at the Fort Stewart, Ga., sniper range while fielding the U.S. Army’s new M110A1 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle, June 5th, 2020. 1ABCT was the first unit in the U.S. Army to field this rifle. The SDMR was designed to fill the capability gap between the standard issue rifle, and a sniper rifle. (US Army Sgt. Daniel Guerrero)

    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.”

    Sgt. Zachery Goin and Staff Sgt. Eric Cortez, from the 10th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, conduct a field expedient bore sight at the Fort Stewart, Ga., sniper range while fielding the U.S. Army’s new M110A1 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle, June 5th, 2020. This method is a quick, effective way to check the optical alignment of the barrel and the scope. (US Army Sgt. Daniel Guerrero)

    “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.

    Matthew Moss

    Matthew Moss – Assistant Editor.

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written for a variety of publications in both the US and UK he also runs www.historicalfirearms.info, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of www.armourersbench.com, a new video series on historically significant small arms.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]


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