FNH Ballista Precision Sniper Rifle
Remington has long owned the military sniper market, but FNH has set its sights on the becoming the precision rifle of choice. The Ballista is a multi-caliber and modular behemoth that combines state-of-the-art technology with strategic form and function. It's a suppressed .338 system that is also .300 and .308 compatible. In an era of diminishing defense dollars, the ability to train with the .308 for almost pennies on the round will be a must for any competitor.
The Ballista allows the operator to switch the barrel and the bolt face with relative ease. The first time, it may take you two or three minutes. After that, a 90-second switch is not out of the question. The head space is off the bolt, so once the barrel is changed, the operator merely has to close the bolt on an empty chamber then tighten the barrel to set the head space. Four screws hold the barrel on the left side, and a forcing screw on the right spreads and loosens the barrel head. The screws are captive, so they won't fall out and get lost.
While no company will share proprietary data, FNH did confirm that many components are made with advanced polymers that are lighter than plastic but stronger than steel. A special coating reduces thermal signature and corrosion.
Snipers will like the ease with which the bolt opens. Operators also will notice the eight locations to place rails on the circumference of the barrel. The Ballista weighs in at just under 17 pounds, spans 49 inches (40 inches folded) and can put a serious dent in your medical record from 1,500 meters.
Available: To be determined
Heckler & Koch short-barreled HK416
Heckler & Koch's 5.56mm HK416 is beginning to show up in more and more places, including foreign militaries and the Marine Corps, where a variation known as the M27 infantry automatic rifle could eventually replace many M249 squad automatic weapons downrange.
It should come as no surprise, then, that HK would try to capitalize on the gas-piston weapon's increasing popularity. The HK416C, a compact variant of the weapon with a 9-inch barrel, is about 7½ inches shorter than a standard HK416. It's envisioned as a personal defense weapon with a lot of punch, the kind of firearm that would be helpful in providing personal security.
Of note: With buttstock retracted, its just 22 inches long — in the same neighborhood as HK's MP5, a 9mm sub-machine gun used by special operators, Force Reconnaissance Marines and other hard-chargers. It doesn't have it in the photograph above, but it will also be equipped with a larger MP5-style buttstock.