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US Army To Begin Fielding Squad Designated Marksman Rifle In September

WASHINGTON — The new Squad Designated Marksman Rifle, or SDM-R, is scheduled to be fielded at the brigade level starting in September, according to the Program Executive Office Soldier.

The new SDM-R is based on the Heckler and Koch G28E-110 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System, or CSASS, and will provide infantry, scout, and engineer squads the capability to engage with accurate rifle fire at longer ranges, said Capt. Weston Goodrich, assistant program manager for Soldier Weapons, PEO Soldier.

The SDM-R improves lethality by increasing the effective range a force can engage with an enemy. The new rifle was on display in the Pentagon courtyard May 24-25, along with 50 other technologies designed to increase infantry squad lethality.

“The Army’s current rifle technology is most effective below the 300-meter range; however, Soldiers are fully capable of fighting beyond that threshold,” Goodrich said. Comparatively, snipers are typically used at 600 meters and beyond.

“The new rifle addresses the 300 to 600 meters range gap outlined in the 2015 U.S. Army Small Arms Capabilities-Based Assessment,” Goodrich said.

“The Army is working to equip each squad with a predetermined amount of marksman rifles,” he added. The rifle is capable of firing either M80A1 Enhanced Performance Rounds or XM1158 Advanced Armor Piercing Rounds.

The new rifle will be equipped with a different buttstock and barrel twist than the CSASS model and carries a base weight of about 9.9 pounds. The rifle will also be outfitted with the SIG Tango 6 variable 1×6 power scope.


In addition to the new squad rifle, the CSASS is slated to undergo production qualification testing and should be approved for limited user testing sometime in early 2019.

“The CSASS is smaller, lighter, and more ergonomic, as the majority of the changes were requested by the Soldiers themselves,” said Victor Yarosh, who works on the program at Soldier Weapons. “The rifle is easier to shoot and has less recoil, all while shooting the same round as the M110. [Additionally,] the CSASS has increased accuracy, which equates to higher hit percentages at longer ranges.”

As a replacement for the M110 — which is a longer, heavier, less ergonomic semi-automatic sniper rifle — the CSASS was developed to support snipers as they execute a broad spectrum of missions.

“An Army sniper is a kind of force enhancer because they execute a number of missions,” Yarosh said. “They provide a surveillance mission where they use their high-powered scope to observe activity downrange. A sniper can pin down an enemy force through sniper concealment and engagement to provide the right shots at the right time. They can also prevent an enemy force from moving out of cover, which allows our maneuver forces to exploit the enemy by moving into a better position and engage.”

The CSASS will feature a new suppressor and muzzle brake that allows for rapid successive follow-on shots with a reduced chance of detection. Furthermore, the new rifle will have higher power daytime optics, which will enhance a sniper’s surveillance capability and positive hostile identification at longer ranges.


The Army is also working on a replacement for conventional brass ammunition casings to help reduce the load on personnel and weapon platforms and improve mobility, according to Todd Townsend with PEO Ammunition.

“We’re currently working on drop-in replacement ammunition for the existing 7.62 family of weapons optimizing for the M240 family of machine guns,” Townsend said. “Ounces are pounds. So if we can take a pound out of a Soldier’s weight load, a Soldier could be more effective by carrying other important things.”

Currently, the program is evaluating three casing concepts and comparing them to the weight of brass ammunition. The first one is a stainless steel metal injection molded case. The second is a brass case with a polymer body. And the last is stainless steel with a polymer body, Townsend said.

PEO Ammunition is slated to launch into the testing phase sometime in the coming months. Portions of the test data from the new rounds will be sent back to the developers to help improve the product.

“We’re looking at doing a full-up qualification by fiscal year 2021. We are aiming for a fielding by FY22,” he said.

Program managers responsible for the new 7.62 ammunition program have partnered with the other services, including U.S. Special Operations Command, and forces in the United Kingdom.

“We’re looking at other calibers as well. One of them is 50-caliber round,” Townsend said. “We will continue to coordinate within all test areas to make sure that we don’t do redundant or unnecessary testing.

“The Joint Light Weight Integrated Product Team ensures that all the services are all working toward one common goal of lightening a load.”

By Devon L. Suits, US Army


71 Responses to “US Army To Begin Fielding Squad Designated Marksman Rifle In September”

  1. RFfromNOVA says:

    “So if we can take a pound out of a Soldier’s weight load, a Soldier could be more effective by carrying other important things.”
    Some men never learn. HAHAHAHAHA. Never mind, it’s just sad.

    • Joglee says:

      Yep, not reducing the soldiers load, just adding it to other things.

    • Gerard says:

      Saving weight is important if enough is saved the unit can carry a JAG officer, to protect them from legal mistakes in the field.

      • Kirk says:

        No, no, no… The JAG will never leave the wire. That weight will, instead, be used to provide real-time video and comms gear to the line infantry so that the JAG can look over their shoulders and gather evidence against them of misconduct. Were the JAG ever to leave the wire on combat missions with real soldiers, then that might lead to them [delicate shudder, here] actually identifying with those American soldiers, and then taking their side…

        Separation of the JAG from the reality of combat is essential to their being able to maintain objectivity. Put their asses on the line, and they might make rational decisions based on upping their own survival odds…

        • Gerard says:

          Thats pretty funny Kirk

          • Kirk says:

            Tell me it ain’t got more than a grain of truth to it, though…

            I used to work in close proximity to the JAG section at 101st ABN HQ in Tikrit, back in the day. Crap I witnessed and overheard…? Most of those characters were in dire need of a “meeting with reality” in the form of being strapped to the front of an RG-31 out doing IED patrols, sans body armor…

          • EricJ says:

            It’s funny because it is true. JAG and reality of combat? Are you kidding me? JAG and common sense are not comparable.

  2. Jeff G says:

    This shows the confusion the Army has in regards to research and development. So here we have a new rifle to address a gap that has already been filled since 2010 with the SCAR heavy. In a caliber that is becoming out dated (by 6.5) And now they want to pour money into a new case for 7.62 to make lighter? When 6.5 is lighter and performs better. Good Grief

    • SSD says:

      You aren’t seeing confusion. You are witnessing rice bowls in action.

      • Kirk says:

        US small arms procurement is a morass of parochial rice-bowl mentalities, which wind up costing us billions in wasted procurement dollars, and entirely unknowable effects downrange with the troops.

        I suspect, but can obviously not prove, that some unknown number of our troops are dead due to matters directly related to our small arms procurement idiocies.

        We’d be a lot better off if we fired the vast majority of the people working in this field, and put procurement decisions into the hands of a random sampling of SF weapons sergeants…

        They sure as hell couldn’t do any worse than we are already.

    • Alpha2 says:

      Damn, thinking the same exact thing. Our wonderful Gov’t at it’s absolute finest, spinning the wheels and going nowhere at the same time.

      • Chicago Steve says:

        As far as the CSASS is concerned, I’m still very confused as to why we couldn’t rebarrel the existing M110s and throw on a different stock. Not trying to be a penny pincher, but that just seems to make sense.

        I also don’t know how the less recoil/greater accuracy is going to happen in real life. All things being equal, a lighter rifle = more recoil. If it’s a better suppressor that is contributing, again, something they didn’t need a whole new system for.

        • Kyle Kata says:

          I have my doubts the OSS can in the picture is a better suppressor at all. Still suspect it won’t field with an OSS can.

        • Chris says:

          Because the old M110 is overweight POS that was 16 pounds compared to the 10 pounds of the new rifle.

  3. Joe says:

    SCAR or M110K in 6.5/.260. But nope, we want more rice bowl!

    • Mac679 says:

      SPR would have been a better choice all around.

      • EricJ says:

        A good chunk of MK12s are retired. USASOC 14.5 upper should be in the system before the end of the month. 14.5 416s uppers are already in use as a reconnaissance platform. A 16in M110K supressed in 308 is only good for 650 meters. Same 16in upper but .260 is good for about 780 meters.

        • Mac679 says:

          It’s not about range, it’s about the fact that an SDM’s sole purpose is to support the Squad with accurate fires to 600m. They are not snipers. I’ve worked both sides of the equation and there is still ZERO doctrine covering employment or training of SDMs—even though we brought the M14 out of mothballs in 03 or earlier.
          If an SDM is doing what he’s supposed to be doing, he’s maneuvering with his squad. If he’s running a 7.62 and runs out of ammo, the nearest resupply best case is with the Weapons Squad SBF-and that’s likely a different type of ammo (not a huge deal IF he’s had the opportunity for learning the different POIs for the two different rounds). Worst case is say someone is following mech infantry doctrine and dropped the dismounts 1 terrain feature back from the objective–so now that resupply may be a km away. If the SDM goes black on ammo, you know have a weapon system in the squad that’s down and it’s operator can do little more offensively than spot targets.
          At least with a 5.56 SPR type rifle he could do what every other rifleman does in a squad if he runs out of ammo-grab a mag off his buddy and continue to do work.

          260Rem, 6.5C, etc., DMRs only make the situation even worse in an Infantry Platoon.

          Snipers are another beast entirely.

          • EricJ says:

            Zero doctrine on the white side, I don’t disagree with that. On the other side there are is a non official doctrine. I get what you are saying but with 6.5 at least you can grantee first round hits. The only guys that I have seen seen who can make first rounds hits at 600 with MK262 are usually senior guys. How many dudes have you seen drop after a single 77gr impact? If your guys can remember the different POIs that is great. Most cant, don’t ask me, how I know that. .260 will never make to the white side or I will be forced to eat crow. So you don’t need to be worried about that.

            Regarding snipers, don’t get me started. It might turn into a therapy session at range 37.

            PS regarding working both sides of the equation. You are not the only one.

          • Dave says:

            The SDM isnt an assaulter, his job is to provide accurate fires out to 600 meters. He’s far better suited and used adding to an isolation cordon or security element.

            If a mech infantry platoon is dropping dudes a km from the objective that platoon is about to spend the next hour getting told to mount back up by whichever commander is pissed his plan is out of sync. He would be much more useful in an OP providing security and observation for a Javelin team in the mech world.

            The ammo is irrelevant on the though, if it’s different from his squad by bein 7.62 or 6.5 then if he’s black that weapon is black until resupply. Maybe just have the entire squad running 6.5, then the entire squad is more effective to 600 but when they gotta stack they can still do it

            • Mac679 says:

              “The SDM isnt an assaulter, his job is to provide accurate fires out to 600 meters.”
              His job is also to support the rifle squard and move as a member of said rifle squad, which means being able to do things like Battle Drill 6 & 7. Things like Local SBF, Defense, etc., are times when he can focus on getting those longer ranges.

              “If a mech infantry platoon is dropping dudes a km from the objective that platoon is about to spend the next hour getting told to mount back up by whichever commander is pissed his plan is out of sync.”
              One terrain feature back is actual doctrine, and just rolling up on the OBJ is a luxury that has only be feasible with this war. The roll up on the OBJ mentality is part of the reason why mech units have had issues with things like patrol bases and why, from my experiences, most of the training revolves around the crews and the dismounts have been an afterthought. Regardless, the SDM is not a sniper. The SDMs job is to move as a member of a rifle squad and provide accurate fires out to 600m. Yep, the OP with a Javelin team would be a great place–but again, an SDM is not a sniper. Another great position for him is on the OBJ, with his squad, that his platoon just assaulted, preparing for counterattack and engaging priority targets of opportunity. Much better place for him than being misused by leadership that doesn’t understand the difference between SDM and sniper.

      • DSM says:

        This is where the LMT MWS in the UK form of its L129 Sharpshooters Rifle would actually shine. Shoot your 7.62 for now while we have copious stocks, re-learn your SDM doctrine and by the time those barrels start gauging no-go the transition to the bigger, better deal cartridge (6.5CM most likely as it flows down from SOCOM) will be coming on line. Rebarrel? It’s at the unit armorer level. Done. And it’s out of standard maintenance funds scheduling. It’s not as if rebarreling the HK is a showstopper but the LMT keeps more system simplicity. The Brits and the New Zealanders went with it, can’t be terrible.

        As for the SPRs, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for the Mk12, but putting a larger caliber into the hands of the SDM isn’t such a bad thing. I wouldn’t have chosen the HK for more reasons than the above but that’s not for me to say either.

        • EricJ says:

          Calling the HK a showstopper is a bit of stretch. I think the title of a somewhat accurate boat anchor is more proper. L129 is a step into right direction, unlike the L119A2 that ended up being a leap.There is no 6.5 in SOCOM. Couple of elements that run .260 in JSOC but that is it. The rest of the peasants run the wonderful and well loved M118LR, Including a few MG gunners. Linked M11LR in a MK48 is a lot fun, or so I’ve been told.

          • DSM says:

            Who said the HK was a showstopper? I said rebarreling one isn’t but never said the rifle as a whole was. And 6.5CM was formalized for SOCOM (the announcement was posted on these very pages) but if there are any in inventory outside of notional testing articles wouldn’t be a bit surprising. Either way, my point being rebarreling to the next big thing isn’t an issue.

            The problem with anything “interim” is that interim soon becomes “standard” as priorities and budgets shift. 7.62 may very well be a stopgap in this instance but time will tell if it sticks around. The M24 was an interim solution and it took how long to rebarrel to a cartridge that was already in existence at its adoption?

            • EricJ says:

              First of all it was sarcasm. Regarding the 6.5 going to SOCOM, it is going to the white side the house. That was known way before it became an official announcement on Soldier Systems. Rebarreling is not an issue, only when there is real full time support. With HK it wont happen. Same shit since 04, guys burn through parts faster than HK can supply them. Plus the reliability is simply not there. That’s why the 417 was mothballed. The only inventory of 6.5 is at Picatinny and CRANE.

              7.62 is not a stopgap, it will most likely stay with MGs. Unless the big army retards would want to push it on the MG platforms. The barrel life on .260/6.5 sucks on anything but precision work.

              Regarding the M24, don’t get me started. They have been fucking around since the early 90s.The 300 winmag did not improve much. It did improve on the range but barrel life of 2200 on MK 248 MOD 0 or 1500 and under on the MK 248 MOD 1.

              • DSM says:

                Ah, I see. My apologies.

                Yes, 300WM is horrible on barrels and even more so during the chase for 338 comparable ballistics so many years back that still came up short. In a precision rig barrel life can be somewhat forgiven whereas you’d reach no-go limits in an MG during one training evolution.

                Your comment of linked M118LR is intriguing because I said something similar to increase effective range of the existing MGs in service. Heavier bullet will retain more velocity at distance. Its not a earth shattering expansion in capability by any definition but it does wring out more use of an already existing platform. From there develop your training and doctrine and field better equipment for the gun teams to actually see targets that far.

                • EricJ says:

                  Don’t apologize.

                  The only way to get .338 ballistics is to run .338. Problem 338 is not cheap. That’s why 300 Norma is about to get adapted. Funny thing is the 300 Norma is a newer cartridge than . 338 Norma. Our guys did most of the leg work on developing .338 Norma as a long range replacement for the Barrett’s. Now if Nammo would stop dragging their feet on the AP and Raufoss variants of the cartridge. It would make a lot of people happy. 338 Norma has been used operationally. It be only a fully fledged system one that POS Remminghton MSR will be retired. That would happen after the adoption of the ASR, the optic for it is nearly ready, the gun not so much.

                  The linked M118LR is commonly used on our side of the house. So is the linked 300blk. 300blk is special purpose ammo used in a re barreled MK46 and only been used in training. The end users love both options. Heavy weapons is not my side of the house. I’m the precision weapons guy.

                  I know the white side gets screwed on the ammo types but there is nothing I can do about it.

    • EricJ says:

      6.5 is generally a better option than your M118LR. .260 is currently in use with only two elements. The whole 417/G28 things is a bad idea. The accuracy on them sucks, that is why the element that ran them ended up mothballing them and going back to a DI platform. Is a SCAR better? LOL

      • Joglee says:

        Would have made more sense to go M110A1 in 6.5. KAC has the K kits available and have offered them before to the Army according to their reps.

        • EricJ says:

          The 6.5 is not in the system yet. KAC made the .260 k uppers at a request of those two units. DI just works better a precision setup. AMU built a 417 upper in .260 a while back. The accuracy is not much better that the original x51 configuration. First the USMC with the M27 now this. FYI most guys who are forced to run HK 416/417 are not a fans of the platform.

          • Joglee says:

            I can’t remember which one mentioned it before, but someone from KAC mentioned they offered the Army the K kit to upgrade the M110 long before the CSASS competition was a thing and they were told no, we don’t want that.

            • EricJ says:

              Probably Jack, our procurement guys liked his sales pitch on the m110 integrally suppressed upper. When the K came out there were some issues with the barrels early on. KAC fixed those issues, maybe that what scared the big army or maybe they were unhappy with the price. Were about to get a M110 evolution from a third party. Really improves the m110 design and cheaper too.

          • Ton E says:

            But but Muh No Compromise!!!

  4. G says:

    G28 is based on the 416 right, as is the Marines’ M27. Let’s just go whole hog and give everyone a 416. It’s time…

  5. Kirk says:

    Is it just me, or are we kinda missing the entire doctrinal framework from within which these tools are going to be used…?

    I mean, seriously… The DMR: What the hell is the doctrinal role this thing is supposed to be filling? Are we going to start defining and training that, down to the point where we’re actually using these guys and the guns effectively? Are we finally going to get smart about resourcing and training these things?

    It seems to me as if we’re procuring capabilities just because they seem “cool”, and not because we have a plan to actually, y’know… Use them effectively.

    It strikes me that the way we’ve taught and used the MG within the squad has a bunch of parallels, here: For most of the low-level guys, they see the MG, whether we’re talking the old-school M60-centric squad, the sorta-newer M249 fire team, or the M240-equipped outfits of today, as being portable firepower supplements that we use more to “shoot the grunts into the objective”. We don’t use the guns, a la the Germanic technique of WWII, as elements to base our maneuver and tactics around. We’re still in the mindset of “rifleman first, MG in support…”.

    So… If we’re gonna do this DMR thing, whole-hog, shouldn’t there be a new set of tactical principles and techniques integrated in with the idea? Or, is this just some sort of “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool, if…” kind of deal? I mean, seriously… Shouldn’t the tactics be driving this train, and if we’re going to have a DMR down in the fire team, doesn’t that sort of, y’know… Require different tactics and operational techniques…? Not to mention, severe mods to the ROE for things like PID and the like?

    • Mac679 says:

      They haven’t really bothered with developing doctrinal employment for SDMs within the last 15 years, why start now?

    • Chris says:

      It exists because 5.56 can’t do the job and the M14 and M110 weren’t up to the task.

      • Kirk says:

        And… The “job” is defined where? What is it? How does that “job” interact with the rest of the weapons suite, and what effect are we creating by putting these things down in the squads willy-nilly?

        I mean, it’s cool and all, but where’s the framework of tactics and operational intent these weapons are gonna operate within? Pretty obviously, you’re not going to get much out of them just by substituting one-for-one with an M4, because of weight/length and the increased load on the individual carrying it, so… Where’s the change in tactics, operational intent, and all the rest?

        Surely, we’re not just doing this for the “looks cool to me…” factor… Are we?

        • Chris420 says:

          5.56 can’t do the job because unlike what fanboys wish to believe how all powerful it is. It doesn’t have the knockdown power, piercing or range of 7.62 NATO. But you wouldn’t be asking stupid questions if you know the basic laws of physics.
          The Designated Marksmen role has has been part of squads since the 90s for our allies. We just adopted it during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars when it was obvious our infantry was a drag on our allies

          • Joglee says:

            Anyone who says knockdown power is someone you can immediately discount.

            • Jester says:

              It’s the same guy that thinks the only decent handgun is a .45acp 1911.

  6. Joglee says:

    Also what happened to the NGSAR? Why bother with new 7.62 case technologies when their supposedly superior 6.8 round can defeat body armor beyond the ranges of 5.56 and 7.62?

    What changed? Seems odd to chase both when their 6.8 is supposed to surpass 7.62?

    • EricJ says:

      NGSAR only exist in a few prototypes. The AP variant of 6.8 is having issues and it is not ready for mass production. 7.62 is in the system and it works relatively well, for now.

      • SSD says:

        NGSAR exists only in white paper form. No one, not even Textron, Gss built what the current PON.

        • EricJ says:

          It does not, but you don’t need to believe me. Or do you expect an official announcement, when there is T/E of prototypes.

        • Joglee says:

          SSD, what’s your take on the TFB leak stating that NGSAR is full steam ahead and still going strong?

          • SSD says:

            My take is that someone’s ass is in a sling for sharing source selection data with that website.

            It was very wreckless of TFB to post that article when no contracts have been awarded yet and puts the program at risk.

            Additionally, it is packed with incorrect information

      • Joglee says:

        I would be interested to see if that new case technology worked in 5.56. could be really interesting if it does. Lighter weight 5.56 than it already is could get a loaded mag to sub 1lb.

  7. Chris says:

    Nobody noticed the KeyMod rail is installed backwards?

    • Joglee says:

      It’s HKeymod.

    • SVGC says:

      It’s HK Mod and it’s designed that way. This is just an old stock image, the current variant has an MLOK rail and a different optic/mount, buttstock etc.

  8. Poop says:

    “The CSASS is smaller, lighter, and more ergonomic, as the majority of the changes were requested by the Soldiers themselves,” said Victor Yarosh, who works on the program at Soldier Weapons. “The rifle is easier to shoot and has less recoil, all while shooting the same round as the M110. [Additionally,] the CSASS has increased accuracy, which equates to higher hit percentages at longer ranges.”


  9. Chris420 says:

    All the HK haters/KAC/DI snake oil salesmen sure come out in force when their crappy products are supplanted by superior European engineering.

    • EricJ says:

      You do realize that there is nothing superior about HK. I wish I was wrong, but most of the end users ended up being proven right since 04. Oh wait a minute, you have zero time on the platform.

      • Ton E says:

        Muh No Compromise!

      • Chris420 says:

        Nope all gas piston weapons run better than what the used car salesmen and fat guys who treats DI as my first blow job says it does. Any weapon that needs to be babied with “optimized ammo” and shoots when you don’t push the trigger isn’t front line materiel.
        Your just trying to force inferior weapons on our infantry so that we lose to the Chinese and Russians.

        • Joglee says:

          But muh stopping power and knock down power! It’s clear you have no idea what your talking about given your usage of the prior terms in earlier posts.

        • EricJ says:

          I’m an end user, genius. 416 when suppressed trashes receiver worse than a MK18. What optimized ammo are you talking about? Brown tip or the 77gr OTM? That rule applies to all M16 pattern guns that are under 14 inches.

  10. Chris420 says:

    All the HK haters/KAC/DI snake oil salesmen sure come out in force when their inferior products are supplanted by superior European engineering.

    • Joglee says:

      Must be why LMT is winning every competition they enter against HK.

    • Joglee says:

      Also the gun hasn’t supplanted anything. It still has to pass field trials, plenty of rifles have failed at this stage.

      • EricJ says:

        10.4s suppressed trashes the receivers just as bad as MK18. Its not the 416 sucks. Its the 416 is outperformed by cheaper and better options. Its quicker to do a functional clean on a M4A1 than 416. There is a huge difference between inspection cleans, and cleaning for function.The issues being that the 416 and M27 cost more, weigh more, have a worse recoil impulse, and worse reliability than the M4A1 or a MK18(for the 10inch range). And this isn’t even comparing it to a mid length gas,system.

        This isn’t saying the 416 isn’t a serviceable rifle. It’s just performs worse than plenty of options.

        I wish I was wrong but sadly I speak for experience.

    • Mac679 says:

      KAC? You mean the company who’s 5.56 DI rifle was shown independently to go +20k rounds without a weapon related failure (one round had the rim of the case rip off)?
      Check Ballistic Radio if you don’t believe me.

    • EricJ says:

      Why does SAS/SBS still run colt canada guns? 416 failed the trials twice. Once with the 10.4 and 16in guns and once with 416c.