In its recent budget documents, the Marine Corps has asked to purchase 116 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper Systems or CSASS.
The CSASS “will replace the M110 with enhanced shooter ergonomics and increased operational availability time,” according to the documents. “The lighter, more capable rifle will improve the sniper’s ability to rapidly engage multiple, moving targets.”
This comes at about the same time the Corps decided to replace its venerable and long-serving main sniper rifle the M40. The new main sniper rifle will be the Mk 13 Mod 7 sniper rifle, Capt. Christopher Harrison previously told Marine Corps Times.
The Mk 13 fires the .300 Winchester Magnum rounds with a range beyond 1,000 yards.
The CSASS is a Heckler & Koch-made rifle chambered in 7.62 mm, same as the M110. It appears it will support the Mk 13 and be used in different sniper roles.
That’s because the Marines have also recently tested the 5.56 mm M38, an accurized version of the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle for use as the weapon of the squad designated marksman.
The M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System has been in service since 2008. It is a Knight’s Armament Company rifle.
The Army ordered the smaller, more ergonomic CSASS in 2016, and H&K at that time was set to manufacture more than 3,600 such rifles.
The CSASS is nearly 3 inches shorter and 3 pounds lighter than its predecessor. This allows snipers to more effectively move in confined spaces and to better conceal their weapon type, to hopefully avoid being targeted by enemies.
The nearly $1 million order of 116 CSASS rifles puts the individual cost at about $8,594.83 per rifle.
Contracts were scheduled to be awarded in February with the first deliveries hitting the fleet by May 19, according to the documents.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.