Army infantry officials at Fort Benning, Ga., want to replace the M14 Enhanced Battle Rifles squad designated marksman carry with a compact version of the service’s M110 Semi Automatic Sniper System. I posted a story on Military.com about the plan this morning.

Infantrymen give the EBR high marks for its accuracy out to 800 meters, but said its 15-pound unloaded weight is a burden. There’s also a concern that the enemy can easily spot designated marksmen carrying the EBR and target them.

The M110, made by Knight’s Armament Company, is also easy to recognize since it’s 46.5-inches with suppressor, more than 13 inches longer than the M4. But Knight’s also makes a carbine version of the M110 that’s very similar to the M4 and weighs just over eight pounds.

 Issuing a collapsible-stock version of the M110 is part of a larger effort officials at the Fort Benning’s Manuever Center of Excellence have launched to make the nine-man squad more decisive and deadly. Benning officials conducted a Capabilities Based Assessment that identified 22 capability gaps that hinder the squad’s ability to gain overmatch quickly in a gunfight with a similar-size enemy force.

Army officials would not release specifics about the 22 gaps, but said they deal with issues such as force protection, load management, the network and lethality. There’s no guarantees about fielding any new weapons in this fiscal environment, but at least Benning officials are trying to improve the squad with lighter weapons, better load-bearing equipment and increased training. I will be writing more posts about the effort soon.

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