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The U.S. Special Operations Command notified FN that the MK 20 MOD 0 Sniper Support Rifle (SSR)—a variant of the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) family of weapons, MK 17 (7.62mm)—was granted Milestone C and approved for full-rate production. The Full-Rate Production Decision Review by the Milestone Decision Authority occurred on October 28, 2010. The MK 16, MK 17, and MK 13 weapons received Full-Rate Production approval in July of this year and fielding of the MK17 and MK13 variants to SOF operational units is underway. The MK 20 is expected to start being fielded in mid -May, 2011.

FN Herstal, a worldwide recognized firearms supplier to generations of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines since 1897, has ramped up production and assembly at its manufacturing facilities to meet the delivery orders placed by USSOCOM.

Following a worldwide solicitation to the firearms industry in 2004, FNH was awarded the contract by USSOCOM for its SCAR submission after passing all of the Go/No-Go criteria required by the solicitation and being selected by a source selection board composed of senior operators from every SOF component.

The MK 20 was originally designated as the Sniper Variant of the SCAR Heavy now known as the MK17. Upon the MK 17 reaching the status of Operationally Effective / Operationally Suitable and Sustainable, the sniper community within SOF focused on refining the Sniper Variant to more suit the needs of long range, precision shooting. With the revisions, the Sniper Variant weapon was military-type designated as the MK 20.

The MK 20 features an extended receiver which provides the additional rail space required for mounting in-line night vision and thermal devices with standard/sniper day optics, a non-folding precision stock with an adjustable cheek piece and length of pull that provides adjustability and a more rigid firing position for making long range target engagements, a beefed up barrel extension and barrel profile to reduce whip and improve accuracy, and an enhanced modular trigger that can be configured for single-stage or two-stage operation, requires no adjustments, and is ruggedized for field use. As a part of the SCAR Family of Weapons, the MK 20 shares a high percentage of parts commonality (over 60%) with the MK 17, maintains the enhanced ergonomics and improves accuracy.

The MK 20 SSR is built with an eye to careful economic stewardship and the small logistical footprint required of today’s highly mobile military. Overall life cycle costs are reduced by features such as a chrome-lined, hammer forged steel barrel with a service life of far more than 15,000+ rounds. Each component of the MK 20 SSR is built for years of dependable service while minimizing maintenance downtime.

Engineered for uncompromising accuracy, the MK 20 SSR’s free floated, chrome-lined, cold hammer-forged barrel is tightly attached to the monolithic receiver by a specially designed barrel extension, which along with a massive recoil lug, provides consistent shot-to-shot performance. And like its MK 17 counterparts, the MK 20 SSR’s barrel can be easily removed by the operator within minutes for detailed cleaning or maintenance.

Source: FNH USA

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