Weapons: New and Improved 20mm Sniper Rifle

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June 19, 2006: A South African firm (Denel) has introduced an upgraded version of its 20mm sniper rifle. This weapon is intended mainly for destroying equipment at long ranges. The latest version of the NTW 20 can be quickly equipped with either a 20mm barrel (producing a 59 pound weapon) or 14.5mm (a Russian caliber, producing a 64 pound weapon.) The rifle uses a three round magazine. The 20mm projectile weighs four ounces, and moves at 2,200 feet per second. The 2.25 ounce 14.5mm bullet moves at 3.400 feet per second. That's why the 14.5mm barrel is heavier. Moreover, the operational range of the 14.5mm round is 1,800 meters, while for the 20mm it's only 1,300 meters. In the hands of an expert shooter, both rounds can hit targets over 50 percent farther. The only 14.5mm ammo available is armor-piercing incendiary. The 20mm has that, plus a high explosive round.

There are only two other 20mm sniper rifles available; the Hungarian APH RK20, and the Croat RT20. All of these 20mm rifles were developed from similar World War II weapons, used for anti-tank work. But those weapons weighed 200 pounds and up. The modern 20mm rifles benefit from advances in recoil suppression technology. You don't risk a broken shoulder firing the NTE 20. It's also not as difficult as it appears to transport. The NTW 20 breaks down into two 33 pound loads. Thus a two or three man sniper team can handle it.

For the budget minded, there's a single shot 20mm weapon (from Anzio Ironworks) that weighs only 39 pounds and costs only $6,800. But you've got to make that first shot count with this weapon.

Users of 20mm sniper rufles include commandos, police and peacekeepers. That's because these weapons are able to disable vehicles or weapons at a distance, and with minimal collateral damage. In Africa, for example, warlords like to equip their gunmen with heavy machine-guns mounted on the backs of pickup trucks. You want to take these down from a distance and, since these trucks are often parked in the midst of civilians, you want to do it without large explosions.

 


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