Weapons: Desert Tech Tells It Like It Is


January 19, 2014: An American rifle manufacturer (Desert Tech) recently made the news because it turned down a $15 million contract to supply 350 sniper rifles to Pakistan. Desert Tech noted how Pakistani weapons often ended up in the hands of Islamic terrorists shooting at American, NATO and Afghan troops and decided it did not want this kind of business. Desert Tech was up for this contract because it makes the SRS (Stealth Recon Scout) sniper rifle.

Thw SRS is a 5.6 kg (12.4 pound) bolt action rifle is notable for its bullpup (magazine behind the trigger) design that makes it a bit more compact than most similar rifles. The SRS also uses the .338 Lapua Magnum round. Max range with this very accurate round is 1,600 meters. The SRS uses a five round magazines and is built to be used with a scope and all manner of accessories.

The .338 (8.6mm) Lapua Magnum round is one of several rounds available for the SRS, but is the recommended one for this rifle because the Lapua Magnum has had an impressive track record in combat. The Lapua Magnum in a relatively new development that first appeared in 1989 and was designed for big game hunters and police snipers. It was a round that can hit effectively out to about 1,600 meters and military snipers soon began to call for its use in their weapons. British snipers in Iraq, and especially Afghanistan, got it early on and found the Lapua Magnum round did the job at twice the range of the standard 7.62x51mm round (developed 60 years ago and based on a round developed before World War I).

The 8.6mm Lapua Magnum entered military use in the early 1990s, and became increasingly popular with police and military snipers. Dutch snipers also used this round in Afghanistan with much success and were one of the early adopters. British snipers in Afghanistan had many of their 7.62mm sniper rifles converted (by replacing the barrel and receiver) to use the new round. By 2009, the Americans were also on board and a growing number of their sniper rifles got new barrel/receiver assemblies so the Lapua Magnum could be used.

Desert Tech did not actually have the $15 million contract but had been approached by the Department of Defense (which handles military sales to foreign countries) about it and was considered one of the finalists for the contract. Desert Tech pulled out before it (and the Department of Defense) expended any more time and effort on evaluating the SRS rifle.



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