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A United States Marine adjusting the scope on a Mk 12 SPR
A G28 of the German Army

A designated marksman rifle (DMR) is the scoped high-precision weapon system used by modern infantries in the designated marksman (DM) role. Although the "sniper" and the "designated marksman" are distinguished by mission and deployment role, rather than by operational range, the DM's role generally fills the engagement range gap (300–600 m or 1,000–2,000 ft) between a regular infantryman and a dedicated sniper. DMRs are developed with the mindset to fulfil this middle ground in tactical role.

DMRs, unlike the often bolt-action sniper rifles, are almost always semi-automatic rifles as these have higher rates of fire than bolt-action rifles, and typically have larger magazine capacities (10, 20, or 30 rounds depending on the firearm and operational requirements) to allow rapid engagement of multiple targets. These rifles have to be effective, in terms of hit rates and terminal ballistics, at ranges exceeding those of ordinary assault rifles and battle rifles, but do not require the extended-range performance of a dedicated sniper rifle. DMRs often share some basic characteristics with sniper rifles when compared to the weapons carried by others in the DM's platoon. DMRs may have an attached telescopic sight, quickly deployed stabilizing bipod to allow optimized accuracy and low-recoil in temporarily fixed situations or an adjustable stock. The designated marksman's rifle needs to function as part of squad (and possibly at close quarters).

Contents

Comparison to sniper rifles, battle rifles, and assault riflesEdit

 
Designated marksman with an SR-25

Most designated marksman rifles are based on an assault rifle that is currently issued by a nation's military, or on a battle rifle that was formerly issued. A battle rifle is a semi-automatic or full-automatic rifle that fires 7.62 mm NATO or similar full-power rounds. Classic examples include the M14, FN FAL, AR-10 and Heckler & Koch G3. These rifles were largely replaced by assault rifles firing the 5.56 mm NATO cartridge during the 1980s and 1990s, but many were accurized and retained as DMRs.

Conversely, some nations have also built rifles that were designed for the designated marksman from the ground up. Examples include the Soviet SVD and Chinese QBU-88.

SightsEdit

Some designated marksman rifles will have some type of optical sight with a higher magnification level than the standard issue rifle. For example, the SDM-R issued to the United States Army is fitted with a Trijicon 4× ACOG, while the standard-issue M4 carbine is equipped with an unmagnified Aimpoint CompM2 or CompM4. Commonly, the sighting system will be the only difference between the standard rifle and the designated marksman rifle, as is the case with the F88S DMR issued to the Australian Army.

Sniper rifles often have even greater magnification than designated marksman rifles outfitted with magnification, for example, the M110 SASS used by the United States Army, is equipped with a Leupold 3.5-10× variable-power scope. However, some designated marksman rifles, such as the Mk 12 Special Purpose Rifle or the USMC Squad Advanced Marksman Rifle are fitted with scopes with similar magnification.

BarrelsEdit

In some cases, the designated marksman rifle will have a longer barrel than the standard issued rifle, however, this is not universally true. For example, until October 2015, when the M4 carbine was approved as the new standard issue rifle, the M16A4 rifle was still standard issue throughout the United States Marine Corps. The barrel on the Mk 12 Special Purpose Rifle, the current rifle used by the squad designated marksman in the USMC, is only 500 mm (18 in) long - 50 mm (2 in) shorter than the barrel on the standard rifle. This no longer the case, however, as the M4 carbine has a barrel length of only 370 mm (14.5 in). Also, some rifles, such as the F88S Austeyr, have a barrel that is the same length as the standard service rifle. The FD-200 has an accurized barrel, also found on designated marksman rifles.

Most sniper rifles, such as the Accuracy International Arctic Warfare have a barrel with a length of 610 mm (24 in) or greater. Only the SVD and similar designated marksman rifles have a barrel of this length. The designated marksman rifles based on the M14 have barrels 460 - 560 mm (18 - 22 in) long.

AmmunitionEdit

In most cases, a designated marksman rifle will share the caliber and possibly even the ammunition type used by standard issue rifles. DM rifles may be issued with standard ball ammunition, or special match-grade loads, such as 7.62 mm NATO 'M118LR' sniper round. Sniper rifles are (almost exclusively) deployed with match grade ammunition in order to take advantage of their full effective range and accuracy potential.

In the U.S. military, designated marksman rifles chambered for 5.56 mm NATO have available the 5 g (77 grain) match-grade Mk 262 Mod 0/1 [note 1] cartridge that enhances the effective range to roughly 600–800 m (2,000–2,600 ft).

ActionEdit

All designated marksman rifles in use today are semi-automatic, some are select fire. Sniper rifles are generally bolt action rifles, but can also be semi-automatic.

Designated marksman rifles in service by nationEdit

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ In the U.S. military, 7.62×51 mm (.308 rounds) are most commonly used for marksmen, as they are cheaper.

ReferencesEdit

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