The FN SCAR Heavy MK 17 rifle gives U.S. Border Patrol Air Crews more options in choosing the right firepower to fit the target situation.

When Tactical Weapons’ articles stem from the very epicenters of current military and law enforcement operations, the pages of the magazine seem to vibrate with compelling interest. Call it “Reader Reward,” the goal your writers, photographers and editors strive toward fulfilling every issue. In the pages ahead, we think you’ll find we’ve hit that mark with a bang.

For openers, check out our report directly from the hot zones of the battles to protect our borders, especially those facing Mexico. In “Border Defender,” writer Nick Jacobellis test fires the new FN SCAR Heavy MK 17, a select-fire Air Crew rifle for elite customs and border protectors. In single-shot or full-auto modes, the rifle is lightweight (despite the name) and delivers accurate fire while absorbing recoil like a sponge.

In a machinegun test fire, Cameron Hopkins shows why the German Armed Forces have adopted the new HK 5.56mm MG4 Squad Automatic: Here’s Full-Auto-Only firepower from a lightweight, heavy-duty MG delivering 850 RPM.

Another heavy-duty test fire with a foreign accent is our wring-out of the Steyr HS-50M1, the Austrian .50 BMG sniper rifle, known for its superb single-shot accuracy and now with a side-loading, five-shot magazine that makes it a repeater. We saw dead-on accuracy at 990 yards.

In high-tech combat rifles, Beretta is in the spotlight with its battle-bred ARX160 and GLX160 weapons systems tested in Afghanistan and now being used by Italy’s paratroopers. The ARX auto rifle delivers 700 RPM, and its GLX brother-in-arms is a grenade launcher.

Our commitment to timely, detailed coverage of sniper rifles and training continues in this issue with an inside look at the USMC M.O.U.T. Snipers, warriors trained to fight in urban jungles. We profile three rifles used by the M.O.U.T. (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) marksmen and the special training to hone their fieldcraft. Our sniper rifle test fire is with the Knight’s Armament SR-25, a U.S. Spec Ops sureshot with cold-bore accuracy. The traditional rifle’s bolt delivery is now backed up by semi-auto firepower when needed for defense, and immediate follow-up shots. We test the rifle with the iPhone app BulletFlight shot calculator.

Ever think of converting your perfect sidearm into a lightweight, accurate carbine? We’ll show you how to do it in our tactical handguns feature on Stocked Glocks, featuring three rigs that do the job—Bubits, HERA and RONI.

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The FN SCAR Heavy MK 17 rifle gives U.S. Border Patrol Air Crews more…