Suppressed Rifle Employment

Spec Ops Shooting

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For all its ballistic shortcomings, there are stili tactical situations in which a suppressed sniper rifle is a welcome tool. The most obvious use is eliminating sentries, especially during a hostage rescue, such as when Americans were held in Iran in 1979-1980. Had Delta Force reached the U.S. Embassy compound in Tehran, suppressed sniper rifles could have removed gate guards without alerting other terrorists until the rescuers had penetrated the embassy grounds. There were usable firing positions in facing buildings within 150 yards so that even subsonic rounds could have been used.

A more conventional military role involves precisely but quietly eliminating all kinds of terrorists and their helpers while concealing the presence of friendly snipers, whether taking out roadside bombers, lookouts near a terrorist training camp, or trackers following a recon team in the Hindu Kush. In all these scenarios, though, I don't think I'd want a fixed suppressor but rather a removable one to employ with subsonic rounds only when needed.

It's difficult to imagine a law enforcement situation in which a suppressed sniper rifle would be a benefit. A hostage rescue or recapture of a key facility from terrorists such as a nuclear plant may require eliminating foes silently. But the elite lawmen who would execute such an exotic operation—the FBI Hostage Rescue Team or special counterterrorist teams under the Department of Homeland Security— certainly have every piece of gear you can imagine, including suppressed weapons. Some local or state law enforcement agencies may choose to add such rifles to their arsenals, but I doubt they'd have much need for them.

But here's the major exception: suppressed rifles in .22LR caliber. It's not uncommon on high-risk warrant operations at drug residences to encounter attack dogs purposely positioned to delay the entry team and alert the drug dealers so they can flush or destroy evidence. A .22 rifle with suppressor can really do the trick here, silently depriving the bad guys of their "early warning" system. Perhaps even more

Firing a suppressed .308, I was impressed by this AWC device's compact size —fewer than 8 inches.

308 Compact Rifle

Firing a suppressed .308, I was impressed by this AWC device's compact size —fewer than 8 inches.

Bernalillo County, New Mexico, Deputy Erik Little's suppressed Ruger 10/22 generates less noise than snapping your fingers.

The variety of solvents and lubricants that maintain a sniper-grade rifle. Note bore guide and one-piece rod.

dissolve copper brushes, which can be stopped by rinsing them with rubbing alcohol after use. It's acceptable to use an eyehole rod lip to hold your patches, although rifle purists prefer a jagstyle tip.

A good toothbrush, pipe cleaners, and a dentist's pick complete your cleaning tools.

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