With the recent crisis on the India-Pakistan border setting off fears of a looming conflict, the Indian Ministry of Defence has decided to expedite buying new rifles for its snipers -- especially those who’ll be setting up at observation posts and hides along the border.
These new rifles are just the latest in a massive re-armament program that will see the Indian military consolidating their extraordinarily diverse small arms arsenals into a select number of common weapons that will be standard issue throughout conventional infantry units.
First on the order list is the bolt-action Model 95 chambered for the .50 BMG round, designed and manufactured by Barrett. Unlike the company’s M82/M107 currently used by the US military, the M95 is a bullpup design, fed by a magazine behind the trigger of the weapon.
This allows the rifle to use a longer barrel (read: better effective range and accuracy) packed into the frame without extending the overall length of the weapon.
In comparison to the M107, for example, the M95 fields a 29 inch barrel with an overall length of 45 inches, whereas the M107 uses a 20 inch barrel with an overall length of 48 inches. M95s, which weigh a whopping 23 pounds, have a factory range of over 1800 meters (1.1 miles).
The second rifle on order comes from Italy’s Victrix Armaments.
Taken over by Beretta in 2017, Victrix produces quality bolt action long guns, especially for sport shooters and hunters with sizable wallets.
The Indian Army will get its hands on the company’s Scorpio TGT.
Build and marketed as part of Victrix’s Minerva line, oriented towards military and law enforcement customers, the Scorpio TGT is a futuristic precision gun chambered for the .338 Lapua Magnum round, favored by military sharpshooters worldwide.
The Scorpio uses a skeleton-style frame the company refers to the Fully Modular Rifle Chassis, as well as an adjustable multi-position stock with a built-in cheek rest.
Victrix offers a threaded 26-inch barrel as the standard for the Scorpio, along with a factory three-chamber muzzle brake which can be swapped out for a suppressor.
Victrix spec sheets indicate that the Scorpio is fed from AICS-pattern magazines, and weighs just around 14 pounds empty.
The action rail on the Scorpio boasts a 20 Minute of Angle, and the gun features plenty of Picatinny rail space for optics, as well as M-LOK space for electronics.
An underbarrel rail allows the end user to mount an option collapsible bipod.
Reports earlier stated that India’s Northern Army Command would be the intended recipient for the emergency order, but it’s unclear just who within that command will be fielding the new guns.
The Indian Army plans to buy a combined total of 5719 M95s and Scorpio TGTs for its 382 infantry battalions over the next few years, likely phasing out older Soviet-era rifles procured during the Cold War years.