US special operators and airborne soldiers put the new MK-22 sniper rifle to the test recently.
They jumped out of airplanes with the rifle and then had the weapons checked to make sure they still worked.
The testing is the “final hurdle” before fielding, the Army said in a statement.
US Army snipers from the special operations community and the 82nd Airborne Division put the military’s newest sniper rifle of choice to the test at Fort Bragg, North Carolina recently.
The MK-22 sniper rifle, Barrett Firearms’ Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) rifle, is a three-in-one sniper rifle that soldiers, Marines, and special operators all want, and the testing at Fort Bragg is the “final hurdle” before fielding starts.
Special Operations Command was the first to choose the new rifle, which can be chambered in 7.62 by 51 mm NATO, .300 Norma Magnum, and .338 Norma Magnum ammunition, giving shooters greater flexibility with a single weapon.
The Marines and the Army did the same, with the latter selecting the MRAD rifle for its Precision Sniper Rifle program. The rifle will replace all bolt-action rifles for the Corps and the Army’s M2010 and M107 rifles.
The sniper rifle “can be configured for multi-calibers by the sniper in the field and requires no higher level maintenance to reconfigure,” US Army Operational Test Command’s Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate said in a press statement. “It will also extend engagement ranges for both anti-material and anti-personnel target engagements.”
“The increased engagement range will keep snipers safer and increase the options for the local commander employing these combat multipliers,” Sgt. Austin Stevens, an 82nd Airborne Division sniper, said.
Weapon testing at Fort Bragg, which was preceded by the extensive training on the new equipment, involved vertical wind tunnel testing, as well as snipers airdropping from a C-27 military transport aircraft carrying the MK-22 rifles.
The rifles were then evaluated afterwards to make sure that the pre-mission zero set by the snipers had not been thrown off by the jump.
The modular aspect of the MK-22 rifle removes the need for troops to deploy with less weaponry, and the foldable stock and removable suppression systems mean a more compact load for paratroopers.
With weapons that will be used by airborne troops, though, it is essential that the weapon be tested to ensure that any shock from an airdrop does not impact a shooter’s ability to shoot straight and hit an intended target. That was carefully evaluated during recent testing.
The MRAD rifles have generated a lot of excitement among members of the US military sniper community.
“It’s an awesome gun,” an experienced Army sniper previously told Insider. “I can tell you I never saw anything on that gun that I didn’t like. It shoots phenomenally well. What it does, as far as barrel changes and things like that go, is pretty exceptional.”
The MK-22 is a “good gun coming at a good time that is going to increase efficiency and capabilities,” he said. “We’re excited about it.”
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