Infantry: Marines Replace World War II Spotter Scope


February 27, 2009: The U.S. Marine Corps is replacing the sniper spotting telescope it has used since 1944 (the M49, with x20 magnification) with a new, lighter, model. The replacement is the SSOT (Scout Sniper Observation Telescope), a 2.2 pound, 31 cm (12.4 inch) unit based on the Horus Vision commercial 12-40x60 Spotting Scope. Magnification is x12.7-x38.1. The SSOT gives a clearer image and can have a digital camera plugged in, with the addition of an adapter (which the SSOT does not come with). The SSOT has a less capable reticle system (which the M49 lacks), so that the spotter scope and the snipers scope use the same one. The commercial scope sells for $1,300. Initially, the marines will buy over 40,000 of the new scopes.

Snipers are accompanied by a spotter, to provide an extra pair of eyes, better security and someone who uses the spotter scope to help find targets. The M49 (with a few upgrades over the years) lasted so long because it did the job so well. It was a hard act to follow, and many marine snipers are skeptical that the SSOT will be that much of an improvement.


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