British troops get new Sharpshooter rifle to blast Taliban from more than half-a-mile away

British soldiers in Afghanistan will be issued with a new infantry combat rifle for the first time in 20 years, the Ministry of Defence announced today.
More than 400 Sharpshooter rifles, which fire a 7.62mm round, are being purchased as part of a £1.5million 'urgent operational requirement'.
The first batch of the U.S.-made rifles will be used by the 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, from October.
Sharpshooter rifle
'Urgent requirement': More than 400 U.S.-made Sharpshooter rifles will be used by British soldiers in Afghanistan from October
Quentin Davies, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, said: 'Troops in Afghanistan are already bristling with a variety of weapons they can use when fighting the Taliban.
Sharpshooter rifle
Capable: The new rifle, the first to be issued to infantrymen in 20 years, fires a 7.62mm round and has a kill range of up to 900 yards
'The Sharpshooter rifle adds to this arsenal and provides them with an additional, highly-precise, long-range capability.
'This is a concrete example of where we add to our range of equipment to ensure our brave forces have the best kit available to them on the frontline.'
Sharpshooter rifles have a 'kill range' of up to 900 yards, while the Army's standard issue SA80 A2 assault rifle, which fires smaller 5.56mm bullets, is limited to around 300 yards.
Insurgents in Afghanistan are said to have learned the effective range of the current issue weapons and return fire from their AK47 rifles, which also fire 7.62mm bullets, from further away.

The MoD said the semi-automatic weapons, also known as L129A1 rifles, were the first new infantry combat rifle to be given to troops in more than two decades.
Colonel Peter Warden, Light Weapons, Photographic and Batteries team leader at Defence, Equipment and Support, said: 'The Sharpshooter rifle is very capable and has been bought to fulfill a specific role on the frontline in Afghanistan.
'It is a versatile weapon which will give our units a new dimension to their armoury.
'Initial feedback to the rifle has been very positive and the Army units deployed in Afghanistan are very keen to get their hands on it.'
Ministry of Defence

The L129A1 Sharpshooter is a gas-operated weapon that carries a 20-round magazine. It is 945mm long and weighs 5kg. It will be manufactured by Lewis Machine & Tool Company in the United States. Features include a single-piece upper receiver and free-floating, quick-change barrels available in 305mm, 406mm and 508mm. It has four Picatinny rails with a 540mm top rail for night vision, thermal and image intensifying optics.

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