New rifles give Army snipers in Afghanistan needed range.

Image: U.S. Army The Army is shipping powerful new rifles…

Image: U.S. Army

The Army is shipping powerful new rifles to its snipers in Afghanistan to kill insurgents who are firing from greater distances and shooting at troops more frequently than in the early years of the war.

The XM2010 sniper rifle can hit a target 3,937 feet away, which is a quarter-mile farther than the current Army sniper rifle shoots.

The added distance is important because insurgents have been shooting down from ridges and mountaintops where gravity helps their bullets travel farther and beyond the range of Army snipers.

“They’re not outgunning us, but they are putting our soldiers in a predicament where 800 meters (2,625 feet) may not be enough,” said Col. Douglas Tamilio, referring to the maximum range of the current M24 sniper rifle.

“Because of the expanse, you can see so far and you can engage so far,” Tamilio said. “You want to give guys the capability to do those things they need to do at those ranges.”

Afghan insurgents appear more willing to shoot at U.S. troops than in the past, according to Pentagon data. Gunfire attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan have spiked over the past year and in July 2009 topped 1,000 for the first time in the war. That mark has been topped several times since.

Afghanistan is full of craggy mountains, broad valleys and desert where insurgents can hide and shoot from long distances.

“There’s an enormous amount of terrain there that favors snipers,” said John Pike, a military analyst and director of Globalsecurity.org, a website dealing with defense matters.

Source: Tom Vanden Brook for USA Today.

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  • Lorddunsmore

    Caliber? I assume either 300 WM or 338LM.

  • AngryWhiteMale

    I admire snipers for the same reason I admire gymnasts,pro motocross racers,concert pianists and guitar players better than me. They are operating at a level that less than 1% of the general population can even comprehend. The dedication,work ethic and sacrifice needed to function in the upper tiers are foreign to the vast morass of humanity watching american idol.

    A sniper used to be considered “less honorable” than a line trooper because he “killed from afar”, and was percieved as facing less threat than the dirtfoots. Not true, as snipers used to have to function behind enemy lines without the coverage and backup of having ground troops near.Now we are fighting an enemy that targets innocents, woman and children, medics and basically anybody that isn’t standing next to them when they push the button. Combat with Honor is gone, just KILL the bastards as fast as you can,whatever it takes. I’m tired of Americans dying for some politicos idea of “right”.

    And evict the U.N and seal the border and deport the illegals and make oboyo show a birth cert and so on, you get my drift….

  • General Jim M

    PS: at one time the sniper was considered the most hated person on the battlefield.Why is that job so glorified now? It is a person who hides and shoots in a way that is more an execution than a battlefield exchange of fire of soldiers.I know they have their function,their worth,but they should have no more honor than the infantryman.I feel the same about SWAT and militarized civilian police,they are no more deserving of admiration than a patrol officer.The trend in our country for cops to be soldiers and for soldiers to be cops is disturbing.Cops should not have thousand yard sniper rifles,nor armored cars or machineguns.I guess i’m just from another time.When American soldiers fought for America,not UN resolutions and when cops were peace officers not stormtroopers.

  • General Jim M

    Are we in Afghanistan just to give the taliban opportunities to kill US soldiers? It seems to me that there is nothing to fight for over there.it’s a wasteland full of fanatical jihadists and their civilian muslim supporters.What is the goal? what defines victory? How does it benefit America? If i were a muslim president, i’d put my infidel forces in bad terrain to be sniped on and ambushed too.I’d put them close to Pakistani nukes too.I’d surround them with Islamic nations too.I’d put them in a position where it would be hard to resupply them if the countries around them denied the US access to their airspace.Of course we don’t have a muslim president who cares more about the Islamic world than he does America.So why are we there? Oil lines,poppy fields,schooling for afghani girls?If we are not allowed to win and if we do not name our enemy then all troops should be withdrawn.Just leave a few surprises there when we leave.Our soldiers would be put to better use to evict the UN from NY and to close up the border with Mexico.Too bad our generals are all PC politicians without honor,nor loyalty to country.What we need is a George Patton.