Marines use new Sharpshooter rifle in Afghanistan


Royal Marines in Afghanistan have begun using a new long-range rifle in their fight against the Taliban.

Members of 40 Commando have deployed the Sharpshooter on the front line in Helmand province for about a fortnight now, the Ministry of Defence said.

The semi-automatic weapon - the first new infantry combat rifle in more than 20 years - is more accurate over long distances with higher calibre rounds.

More than 400 were bought in January as a £1.5m urgent operational requirement.

'It's hoofing'

The Sharpshooter will be used alongside the Army's standard issue SA80 A2 assault rifle, and each weapon shared amongst three or four soldiers.

Sgt Baz Evans of 40 Commando said: "I have fired over 1,000 rounds on the rifle in training; accurately hitting targets over 800m (2,625ft) away.

"The new Sharpshooter rifle provides quick and accurate fire, with the flexibility of using it in the assault rifle role as well. It's hoofing."

Members of 40 Commando have begun using the Sharpshooter rifle in battles with the Taliban in dangerous Sangin in Helmand province.

The new semi-automatic weapon fires a 7.62mm round, larger than the SA80's 5.56mm bullet.

Col Peter Warden, from Defence, Equipment and Support, said: "It is a versatile weapon which will give our units a new dimension to their armoury."