During the Global War on Terror, a new type of weapon system was developed. This weapon system is called the Designated Marksman Rifle or DMR. The DMR is a magazine-fed rifle that is operated in the semi-automatic mode of fire by expert marksmen, or DMs. The DM’s role within a U.S. infantry squad is to supply rapid, accurate fire on enemy targets out to 1,000 meters. The 7.62mm NATO DMR was adopted to enable military marksmen to use a more effective round to engage the enemy with precision at longer ranges, especially in difficult terrain. The DMR was also adopted to enable military marksmen to accurately deliver faster follow-up shots while engaging one or more targets on the battlefield. It should be noted that the effective range of the DMR is dependent on several factors, including the skill of the operator, the quality of the optics involved, and the ammunition used. The following are seven powerhouses that qualify as Designated Marksman Rifles.
ARMALITE AR-10 SUPERSASS
The ArmaLite AR-10 was the first modern U.S.-made, semi-automatic, magazine-fed 7.62mm NATO rifle produced after the introduction of the M14. The ArmaLite AR-10 is a direct impingement rifle that is based on the design and operating features of the M16/M4. ArmaLite manufactures several carbine- and full-length 7.62mm NATO DMR-style rifles, including the new suppressor-ready ArmaLite AR-10 SuperSASS, which utilizes a 20-inch, triple-lapped, ceramic-coated stainless barrel, a free-floating rail system for use with BUIS or optics, an adjustable gas system, a Magpul PRS stock, a National Match trigger and
SR-25-type magazine compatibility. (armalite.com; 800-336-0184)
FN MK20 SSR
In addition to the select-fire FN SCAR Heavy MK17 carbine with a 16-inch barrel, the semi-automatic FN MK20 Sniper Support Rifle (SSR) can also be used as a Designated Marksman Rifle. The MK20 includes the following features: a chrome-lined, cold-hammer-forged, 20-inch barrel, an extended, monolithic hardcoat anodized upper receiver with a Picatinny rail system that has attachments at the three, six, nine and 12 o’clock positions, a side-folding retractable stock that is equipped with an adjustable cheekpad, a pistol grip, a reciprocating, ambidextrous charging handle and an adjustable single/two-stage trigger. The MK20 upper receiver can accommodate folding iron sights, various in-line day and night sniper optics and devices, and other accessories as required. The SSR is available in Flat Dark Earth, utilizes 10- and 20-round magazines and can be easily operated with a suppressor. (fnhusa.com; 703-288-3500)
The HK417 is a semi-auto or select-fire 7.62mm NATO DMR that is operated by a proprietary gas piston system. Heckler & Koch designed the HK417 to function reliably without parts failure or stoppages for 15,000 rounds and “little or no accuracy degradation.” The HK417 uses a free-floating quad-rail system that supports back-up iron sights, optics and other accessories. The rifle features ambidextrous controls (charging handle, safety and selector), a retractable buttstock with spare battery compartment, an optional suppressor, and 10- or 20-round proprietary magazines. The HK417 can also be easily configured to operate with a 12- or 16-inch barrel. HK is also making two similar DMRs, the MR762A1 and the G28. The MR762A1 is a semi-auto version of the HK417 with a 16.5-inch match barrel. The G28 is the DMR variant of the HK417 used by the German Army. (hk-usa.com; 706-568-1906)
LEWIS MACHINE & TOOL LM308MWS
The UK Ministry of Defense (MOD) selected the semi-automatic, magazine-fed, direct impingement-operated Lewis Machine & Tool LM308MWS rifle as their new DMR because this model proved to be consistently accurate, reliable and effective while engaging targets at CQB distances and beyond to 800 meters. After being adopted by the UK MOD, the LM308MWS became officially known as the L129A1. The L129A1 has a 16-inch blackened stainless steel 5R Ultra match barrel, a proprietary monolithic rail, a detachable, adjustable front post sight, a detachable, adjustable rear sight or a carry handle, a two-stage match trigger, a proprietary LMT SOPMOD buttstock, plastic 20-round PMAGs, a hardcoat anodized finish on all metal parts,
and it is available in black or tan. (lewismachine.net; 309-732-9527)
The LWRCI REPR (Rapid Engagement Precision Rifle) is a gas
piston-operated, semi-automatic, magazine-fed 7.62mm NATO DMR rifle that has a NiCorr-treated, free-floated, 18-inch barrel with an A2 birdcage flash suppressor. Other REPR models are also available. All REPRs are manufactured with a non-reciprocating, left-side charging handle, a pistol grip and a flattop upper receiver that is equipped with folding iron sights and a contiguous rail system that has attachments at three, six, nine and 12 o’clock positions to support the use of various accessories. The REPR DMR version is also equipped with a Magpul UBR stock and a non-adjustable, two-stage Geisselle trigger and the rifle can run reliably with Magpul’s 20-round plastic PMAGs. LWRC International’s rifles and carbines can be easily used with or without a suppressor and are available in different colors. (lwrci.com; 410-901-1348)
The first DMR that was used in the Global War on Terror was the M14, a Cold War-era main battle rifle that was once carried in the rice paddies and cities of Vietnam. Tens of thousands of M14s were refitted with optics, and in some cases new stocks and bipods, before being rushed into service during GWOT combat operations. The basic M14 has a fixed front post sight with protective wings, a rear sight that is adjustable for windage and elevation and a two-stage, 5- to 6.5-pound trigger. More accurized versions of the M14 utilize a two-stage National Match trigger that has a 4.5- to 5-pound pull weight. All M14 DMR variants are traditionally operated with a 20-round metal box magazine and have proven to be accurate, reliable and effective under combat conditions. The Springfield Armory M1A1 rifle is an incredibly well-made semi-auto civilian version. It is currently available in different configurations.
The M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle (EBR) and the M39 Enhanced Marksman Rifle (EMR) are compact versions of the M14 that utilize a Sage International chassis system for a stock. The Sage chassis is manufactured in lightweight aluminum and is equipped with a telescoping stock and an adjustable cheekpad along with a two-stage trigger and rail system that accommodates various optics and accessories. By replacing a standard M14 stock with the Sage chassis system, military personnel can carry a more compact DMR that is just as capable of engaging the enemy with precision. The Navy’s M14 EBR is equipped with an 18-inch barrel, while the U.S. Marine Corps M39 EMR and the U.S. Army M14 EBR utilize a standard 22-inch barrel. The EBR and the EMR utilize M14 magazines.