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Royal Marines snipers on target thanks to innovation

17 December 2018
Royal Marines snipers will be more lethal than ever thanks to new kit pitched at a Dragon’s Den-style event.

Just five months after commandos pitched various ideas to improve the effectiveness of the small cadre of snipers, the specialist marksmen of 40 Commando had the enhanced weapons and accessories in their hands for testing.

Less than £5,000 was spent on the kit: lightweight scopes for urban combat which can see around corners without putting the sniper team in danger; weather meters with an inbuilt calculator for data such as wind, altitude and temperature to give an instant, accurate shooting solution, substantially improving the chances of hitting a target with the first or second round; a spirit level on the scope to ensure the sniper has not accidentally tilted their guns, which can lead to wide misses at longer ranges; and a radar for measuring muzzle velocities – crucial as all shooting solutions rely on accurate readings.

Enhancements were put to the test in the sands of Oman in October during Exercise Saif Sareea – and lived up to expectations


Those enhancements were put to the test in the sands of Oman in October during Exercise Saif Sareea – and lived up to expectations; the sniper teams deployed by Taunton-based 40 Commando reported a significant increase in the likelihood that the first rounds to leave their rifle muzzles hit the target.

The enhancements are another success for the Royal Navy’s DARE (Discovery Assessment and Rapid Exploitation) initiative – aimed at encouraging sailors and commandos to come forward with affordable ideas which will improve front-line operations.

Royal Marine Snipers have a reputation as being amongst the best in the world – they regularly take out the engines of drug runners’ go-fast boats in the Caribbean, shooting from the back of a helicopter while the traffickers hurtle along at high speed.

But without regular combat operations, kit development can stall – one of the factors prompting a ‘DARE Lair’ (Dragons’ Den) event at 3 Commando Brigade’s headquarters in Plymouth during the summer to showcase new kit and listen to suggestions from across the Corps.

“This initiative is an easy and effective way for individuals with a good idea to have their say in resourcing capability,” said Lieutenant Commander Matt Cox.

“Thanks to the success of this initiative 40 Commando’s snipers have the latest cutting-edge technology to complement their high personal soldiering skills, allowing them to retain their global reputation as the world’s best.

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