I was out in New York this weekend and after a quick swim at the New York Athletic Club Saturday, I had the chance to head down to the Beretta Gallery to get my fix.
The New York store is insane and Beretta has some amazing premium shot guns. I was admiring a $90,000 option when I was introduced to one of the gunsmiths, Ed Anderson. Ed has forgotten more than I know about internal ballistics and our conversation quickly shifted to Beretta's submission for SOCOM's Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) competition, the SAKO TRG42(Beretta owns SAKO).
I had a chance to check out the TRG platform onsite and was quite impressed with the craftsmanship of the entire system. While I will not go into specific details at the request of Beretta, I can tell you that this is no ordinary bolt gun and has some amazing innovations in internal craftsmanship.
The technical POC for the PSR program is Phil Mcmillen, he's a fellow SEAL sniper and former Teammate of mine at Team 3. Phil is a very competent intelligent shooter and for once I feel comfortable that a DoD weapon acquisition process is in good hands. The Federal Acquisition Regulations make it tough to give the potential PSR candidates the real skinny, especially without a solid technical POC (not the case here) so I hope manufacturers are taking notes.
A couple suggestions I have for the PSR contenders after my initial once through of the solicitation are:
- Day optic: This should have been bid out separately in my opinion to select the best optic right off the shelf however, it is what it is. A solution to this is that PSR contenders should submit multiple choices for the day optic (i.g. our weapon will come with the choice of x,y and z scopes). If they don't do this, they risk putting themselves and potentially the best rifle out of competition because they chose a poor optic to go on their gun, like putting the pig on lipstick. A great weapon deserves great optics and there are only a few manufacturers out there that are making incredibly good glass with technical coatings that reduce light loss. Doesn't matter how much light a scope takes in if it's lost to reflective lens surfaces. My main point: I hope these manufacturers don't box themselves in with a bad scope manufacturer on the optics side regardless. Better to have multiple choices with the submission and let the technical reps choose the best scope for themselves. [EDITOR'S NOTE: We found a separate solicitation on FBO from the PSR program asking for a "day optic."]
- Caliber: The requirements and stand off distances make this clearly a 338 Lapua option. This is a great round and supersonic (3000 feet per second out of the gun) past 1500 yards.
- Weight: As light as possible! Definitely under 12lbs.
- The weapon should be completely ambidextrous. Having right and left handed variants is ridiculous in this day and age and it's a limiting factor when loading out.
- Action: Semi auto all the way in my opinion. Bolt actions are going the way of the rotary telephone and it's time for a manufacturer to step it up with a solid semi auto option. The technology is there to have a solid long distance MOA shooting machine in semi auto.
- Accuracy: 1 Minute of Angle is required (MOA=1" group at 100 yards, 2" at 200, 10" at 1000, etc.). While the bar that has been set at 1 MOA, it would be great to submit a sub MOA contender. Who says it can't be done and why not?
- Recoil management: Reduced signature for the operator and recoil management go hand in hand. Nothing like getting punished for every shot you take, the muzzle brakes today are pretty amazing. The PSR should disperse energy without creating a massive signature and have virtually no noticeable recoil for the shooter.
I asked a good friend of mine and active duty SEAL sniper what his thoughts were and I'll include the uncut version from him in a bit....
Kit Up! contributor Brandon Webb is a former SEAL, sniper instructor and author of 21st Century Sniper: A Complete Practical Guide.