The U.S. Army may be getting a new Squad Designated Marksman Rifle as early as next year. Excerpt:
Heckler & Koch Defense Inc. will soon begin delivering thousands of 7.62mm squad-designated marksman rifles to the Army to give infantry and other close-combat units a better chance of penetrating enemy body armor.
H&K will deliver “between 5,000 and 6,000” variants of the G28 rifle, which the Army plans to issue as its new squad designated marksman rifle (SDMR), according to a July 12 H&K news release.
Under the agreement, the rifles will be manufactured by H&K in Oberndorf, Germany, and will begin to arrive in the H&K-USA facility in Columbus, Georgia, early next year, according to the release. Once there, H&K-USA workers will install scopes and mounts purchased by the Army under a separate agreement.
“This is a significant achievement for Heckler & Koch,” H&K-USA’s chief operating officer, Michael Holley, said in the release. “The HK SDMR system will add much-needed capabilities to virtually every squad in the Army. We are honored by this opportunity.”
An alternative to the old M16 platform, firing the 7.62mm NATO cartridge, is a great idea. The Army hasn’t fielded an effective Main Battle Rifle since the less-than-perfectly acceptable M-14. The H&K rifle should be a great selection; that Oberndorf-based company (I’ve actually visited the site myself) has a great reputation for quality firearms.
But here’s the passage that I find concerning:
In the long term, the Army is working with gunmakers to develop the new Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) that is slated to fire a special, government-produced 6.8mm projectile that promises higher velocities at greater ranges, service officials say.
I don’t see the value in messing about with a new cartridge. The 5.56mm is a NATO standard round and works well enough in an assault rifle/carbine combination. The 7.62mm NATO is a well-regarded round with a long and successful design history. Both are NATO standard rounds, which would greatly simplify logistics. Both already have large infrastructures in place to produce these rounds.
But, in my own experience with that institution, I know that there are three ways to do anything – the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way. That would seem to apply to personal weapon selection as well.