Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Designated Marksman And Black Hills Mk262, Mod 1

By Patrice McCoy

Black Hills Mk262, Mod 1, is a modification of the 5.56x45mm NATO ammo (usually abbreviated to 5.56 NATO). It is a standard ammunition cartridge for both NATO and many Non-NATO forces. Initially used in the M16 rifle during the Vietnam War, when it fired steel core bullets weighing 62 grains. The approved abbreviation for these bullets is either US M855 or NATO SS109.

The M855 was heavily criticized for its poor first-shot kill rate and unreliable fragmentation. Complaints were made in Somalia and in the first Gulf War and as recently as in Afghanistan and Iraq. Black Hills Mk262, a 5.56 NATO cartridge designed for use in the M12 Special Purpose Rifle (SPR), is a welcome improvement on account of its more reliable fragmentation at short range. It also has a longer fragmentation range.

The bullets fired from the improved 5.56 NATO are heavier than the M855, 77 grains, and more lightly constructed. In addition to the M12, special forces marksmen find it effective for use in their M4A1 carbines. Currently, all four branches of the US Armed Forces and most law enforcement agencies insist on the Black Hills Mk262, Mod 1, for use by their long-range precision shooters.

The Special Purposes Rifle is a lighter variant of the M16 and designed with the designated marksman in mind. It has a longer effective range than an M4 carbine and a shorter barrel than an M16. The benefit to a company of infantrymen of having a designated marksman is that he extends the units effective range.

A designated marksman rifle (DMR) such as the Mk12 SPR differs from a typical sniper rifle. A designated marksman is a marksman in the infantry. The role of a designated marksman falls somewhere in between that of an infantryman and a sniper.

According to army recruitment posters, an infantryman gets to travel all over the world, form lifelong relationships with his comrades and enjoy extreme sports. According to infantrymen themselves, they also train harder, are more disciplined and get killed more often. The infantryman is a weapon in his or her own right.

Snipers work in pairs, with the senior marksman observing and feeding critical information to the marksman, the junior of the two. The training of a sniper is considerably more complicated than simple marksmanship. They need to learn things like infiltration, camouflage, field craft and reconnaissance. They are often deployed in urban conditions or in jungle warfare.

The terms 'dedicated marksman' and 'dedicated sniper load' may be easily confused. Designated sniper load refers to the ammunition component of a suite of parts assembled to perform a specified task or to obtain the most accurate arrangement to strike a specific target. The role of the dedicated marksman is specifically to place accurate, rapid fire on enemy targets as far away as 1,000 meters or 1090 yards. Contrast this with the assault marksman, whose job it is to fire on targets 500 meters/550 yards away. Another distinction is that the assault rifle is capable of being used in either fully automatic or semi-automatic mode, while the SPR is a semi-automatic rifle.

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