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US SOCOM is looking for new large-caliber sniper rifles

The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) announced a tender for the successor of the 12.7 mm Barrett M107 and Mk 15 (TAC-50) large-caliber sniper rifles.

On Wednesday, January 3rd, the United States Special Operations Command (US SOCOM) thorough the Special Operations Forces Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Center (SOF AT&L), published information on the System for Award Management (SAM) procurement platform about a tender procedure for the successor of the 12.7mm large-caliber Barrett M107 and Mk 15 (McMillan TAC-50) sniper rifles.

Barrett M107 / Photo: AF SOC (Air Force Special Operations Command)

The information about the Extreme Long Range Sniper Rifle (ELR-SR) program was originally published on December 19, 2023, but was updated in January this year. As stated, the new sniper rifle is intended for engaging lightly armored targets and personnel at an effective range of at least 2500 meters.

It is intended to be a rotating bolt action rifle, with a maximum overall length not exceeding 56 inches (1422 mm). The weapon’s weight, without ammunition, should not exceed the range of 18-22 pounds (8.16-9.97 kg). Therefore, it will be a more compact firearm than the currently used ones. The recoil force should not exceed 25 pounds.

Other tactical and technical requirements:

Picture: US SOCOM

The new weapon is to be supplied with a sound suppressor, ballistic computer, user manual, cleaning kit, toolset, bipod, and a lockable transport case approved by Transport Security Administration (TSA). The firearm must be equipped with a Picatinny accessory rail and a handguard with M-LOK slots. Interestingly, the caliber remains an open question because the weapon is also supposed to feature a modular design, with capacity for quick conversion to .300 Norma Magnum caliber.

The semi-automatic rifles of the Barrett M107 family, produced by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing (now part of the Australian NIOA Group), are used in variants such as the M107 LRSR (Long Range Sniper Rifle), M82A1M, and M107A1 by special units of the US Army and USAF. Another batch of those weapons was ordered last year.

On the other hand, the Mk 15 Mod 1 bolt-action rifles, which are modified versions of TAC-50 produced by McMillan Firearms, are used by sniper teams of the US Navy SEALs, a special unit of the U.S. Navy. Until recently, this type of weapon held the world record for the longest confirmed kill shot. In May 2017, a sniper from the Canadian special unit Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) fired a shot from the C15 Long Range Sniper Weapon (Canadian designation for TAC-50) against a combatant of Islamic State in Iraq, at a distance of 3450 meters (the flight time of the projectile was nearly 10 seconds). However, this record was surpassed, as reported on November 18, 2023, by a sniper from the Alpha Special Operations Center of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), who hit a Russian soldier from a distance of 3800 meters with a multi-caliber sniper rifle, the Volodar Obriju (Horizon’s Lord) MCR-HL.


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