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Photo of Compact, Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle (CSASS) Test.
Test Snipers engage targets in depth at ranges varying from 300 to 1,000 meters from a standing supported position during the Compact, Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle (CSASS) operational test at Fort Carson, Colo. (Photo: Maj. Michael P. Brabner, Test Officer, Maneuver Test Directorate, U.S. Operational Test Command)

Eight Ivy Division snipers with the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team field tested an upgrade to the Army's sniper rifle in the shadows of the fabled Rocky Mountains.

Engineered as an upgrade to the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System, the Compact, Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle (CSASS) was redesigned to enhance a Sniper's capability to perform missions with greater lethality and survivability, according to Maj. Mindy Brown, CSASS test officer with the Fort Hood, Texas-based U.S. Army Operational test Command.

Upgrades being tested include increased accuracy, plus other ergonomic features like reduced weight and operations with or without a suppressor. Brown said the purpose of the operational test is to collect performance data and soldier feedback to inform the Army's procurement decision regarding the rifle.

The snipers fired 8,000 rounds from various positions while wearing individual protective and tactical equipment as well as their Ghillie suits and cold weather gear. To also test how the CSASS allowed snipers to shoot, move, and communicate in a realistic combat environment, they also executed Situational Training Exercise (STX) force-on-force missions in what they described as, "the best sniper training they'd received since attending Sniper School at Fort Benning, Ga."

The 2nd IBCT Snipers really pushed each other, testing the CSASS in what evolved into a competitive environment on the ranges.

"Despite single-digit frigid temperatures, gusting winds, and wet snow, the Snipers really impressed me with their levels of motivation and competitive drive to outshoot each other," said Sgt. 1st Class Isidro Pardo, CSASS Test Team NCOIC with OTC's Maneuver Test Directorate.

An agreed upon highlight of the test among the snipers was the force-on-force day and night STX Lanes. Sniper teams were pitted against one another on tactical lanes in natural environmental and urban terrain to see who could infiltrate, detect, and engage whom first.

Staff Sgt. Cameron Canales, from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment said, "The force-on-force STX lanes were an extremely fantastic way for us as Snipers to hone our field craft."

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