Marines Mk13 sniper rifle

Marines Get First New Sniper Rifle Since Vietnam: We Just Became ‘Even More Lethal at Distance’

The U.S. Marine Corps announced that it will start arming its snipers with a powerful new weapon. 

The Mk13 Mod 7 sniper rifle is fully operational and will be issued to scout snipers and recon Marines ahead of deployment, the corps said in a July 17 statement. The system will partially replace the M40, which has been in service since Vietnam and will continue to serve as a training rifle.

The Mk13 is chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum and has an effective range of well over 1,000 yards, both improvements over the M40. The system also includes the M571, an enhanced day optic with an improved reticle and improved magnification range.

“Scout snipers are now being fielded a weapon system that makes them even more lethal at distance than they were previously,” MARCORSYSCOM project officer Capt. Nick Berger said. “This weapon better prepares us to take the fight to any adversary in any clime and place.”

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“When shooting the Mk13, the bullet remains stable for much longer,” MARCORSYSCOM infantry weapons team leader Maj. Mike Brisker added. “The weapon gives you enough extra initial velocity that it stays supersonic for a much longer distance than the M40A6.”

The Mk13’s effective range is outstripped by the Army’s 1,300-yard M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle and U.S. Special Operations Command’s 1,600-yard Precision Sniper Rifle. But it has addressed Marines’ longstanding complaints that the Vietnam-era M40 lacks the range to effectively cover friendly troops in the sprawling mountain ranges of Afghanistan and the vast deserts of Iraq.

New Marine sniper rifle receiving positive feedback

The Marine Corps selected the Mk13 in March, and it proved popular with snipers during testing. According to the corps, a scout sniper platoon with the “Darkhorse” 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines has been using the Mk13 for more than a year, and users reporting improved precision firing capability compared to the M40.

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“At our new equipment trainings, the resounding feedback from the scout snipers was that this rifle is a positive step forward in the realm of precision-fire weapons,” Berger said. “Overall, there has been positive feedback from the fleet.”

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