U.S. Army Replaces Sniper Rifle with H&K G28

The Heckler & Koch G28 designated marksman rifle.

The U.S. Army is on a mission to modernize its arsenal of small arms. We've reported on its ongoing search for a new service pistol (including a recent suggestion by the Army chief of staff to buy Glocks).

Now, it’s been announced the Army has purchased a new semi-automatic sniper rifle to serve as a designated marksman rifle for its troops.

According to this story on tactical-life.com, the Army has selected the HK G28 7.62mm NATO rifle to replace the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System made by Knights's Armament Company.

The Army had been looking for a shorter, lighter, more accurate and ergonomic gun to serve as a designated marksman rifle, according to this story from armytimes.com.

The FedBizOpps.gov award notice says Heckler & Koch will produce a maximum of 3,643 rifles over a 24-month period, along with spare parts and depot support, at a maximum contract value of $44.5 million.

The G28 may look like an AR-pattern rifle, and it is, but inside it has more in common with the company’s HK417, which has been often used as a designated marksman rifle by militaries around the world, and G36, with a 7-lug rotating bolt and a short-stroke piston.

In fact, the HK 416 and HK417 assault rifles (.223 and .308, respectively) were introduced in a semi-automatic versions for civilian sale as the MR223 and MR308. In the U.S. they were introduced in 2009 as the MR556 and MR762.

The G28 designated marksman rifle was born from the MR308 and developed for the German Army’s deployment in Afghanistan. The rifle is chambered for 7.62x51mm NATO with a factory warranted accuracy of 1.5 MOA. The upper receiver is made of steel instead of HK’s typical aluminum alloy and about three-quarters of its parts are interchangeable with the HK417.

In July 2012, the Army requested sources to remanufacture the current M110 rifle in the Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) which was to be a lighter, shorter version of the M110, with a collapsible stock and removable flash suppressor with an overall length of 36 inches and a weight of 9 pounds. However, the Army announced this week that it had awarded the contract to H&K to replace the M110.

The M110 itself fully replaced the bolt-action M24 Sniper Weapon System (the military version of the Remington 700) in 2010.