The value of a suppressor on a sniper rifle has been subject to much debate. When suppressors were heavy, short-lived, cumbersome and affected accuracy, there was a basis for argument. However, modern suppressors help most shooters shoot more accurately. Improvements in materials, technology and design have made them virtually maintenance-free, lighter and more compact.

deserttacMany operators are now seeing the value of a suppressor for their sniper rifle. At a recent sniper school, about a third of the rifles were suppressed. Years ago, I was the only one with a suppressed rifle and many asked, “Aren’t those illegal?” Suppressors are now seen at training, operations and competitions. Well-made suppressors are beginning to show up at police departments and military units, especially Spec Ops units.

Although the .308 rifle is still prevalent for law enforcement and military sniping, .338s are becoming more popular. Although partially driven by a .338 caliber sniper rifle contract currently in process with the Army, it is also driven by the need to reach out to longer distances.

The .30 caliber cartridges even in magnum form are still pretty much limited to 1000 yards or so. If you want to get to 1500 yards and beyond you need more. There are certainly bigger guns and cartridges that will do that but they often bring their own issues: cost, weight and/or overall dimension.

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The value of a suppressor on a sniper rifle has been subject to much…