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Firearm Infobox
Name, Image, type, origin
Name Rifle, 7.62 mm, Sniper, M21
Image 300px
M21 sniper rifle
Type Sniper rifle
Place of origin Flag of the United States United States
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Service history
In service 1969–1988 (officially replaced by M24 SWS; remains in active service)
Used by
Wars
Production history
Designer Army Weapons Command,
Combat Development Command,
Limited Warfare Agency
Designed 1969 (XM21; renamed M21 in 1975)
Manufacturer
Produced
Number
Variants XM21, XM25/M25
Specifications
Weight 5.27 kg (11.6 lb)
Length 1118 mm (44 in)
Width {{{width}}}
Height {{{height}}}
Barrel length 560 mm (22 in)
Diameter {{{diameter}}}
Crew
Cartridge 7.62x51mm NATO
Caliber
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Muzzle velocity 853 m/s (2,800 ft/s)
Effective range 690 m (750 yd)
Maximum range
Other identifying characteristics
Wood parts (Y/N) {{{wood}}}
Common color {{{color}}}
Imprint {{{imprint}}}

The M21 Sniper Weapon System (SWS) is the semi-automatic sniper rifle adaptation of the popular M14 rifle. It is chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge.

OverviewEdit

The United States Army wanted an accurate sniper rifle during the Vietnam War. The M14 was selected because of its accuracy, reliability, and the ability for a quick second shot. As a result, in 1969, the Rock Island Arsenal converted 1,435 National Match (target grade) M14 rifles by adding a Leatherwood 3–9x Adjustable Ranging Telescope (ART) telescopic sight and furnishing National Match grade ammunition. It was designated the XM21 until 1975, when it became the M21 (although it had been unofficially called the M21 since December 1969).

The M21 remained the Army's official sniper rifle until 1988, when it was replaced by the bolt-action M24 Sniper Weapon System.

M25 Sniper Weapon SystemEdit

Main article: XM25 Sniper Rifle

The XM25/M25 is an upgraded version of the M21 developed by 10th Special Forces Group's armorers for use by United States Army Special Forces and United States Navy SEALs in the late 1980s. It saw some use in Operation Desert Storm.

In standard military use, the M21/M25 use the same 10- or 20-round box magazines as the other members of the M14 family, and weighs 5.27 kg without the scope. The U.S. military never officially authorized or purchased magazines in any other capacity, although 5 and 10 round magazines are commercially available.

ServiceEdit

The XM21 Sniper Weapon System was used by the US Army in the Vietnam War, and saw limited action in military conflicts and operations in the late 1960s until the late 1980s. The M21 is currently in use with various U.S. military units in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are limited numbers in some Army National Guard units and in a few specialized active units such as the OPFOR units of the Joint Readiness Training Center.[1]

Springfield Armory, Inc. also manufactures variants of its M1A rifle called M21 Tactical Rifle and M25 White Feather™ Tactical/Carlos Hathcock rifle, which are based upon U.S. Armed Forces' M21 and M25 Sniper Weapons Systems but are slightly different, most notably they are fitted with a Picatinny rail to mount a scope[2].

PhotosEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. U.S. Army M21 & XM21 Sniper Weapon System. Sniper Central. ; Leatherwood website shows a photograph of a Texas National Guard's sniper with an old M21 on [1]
  2. Springfield Armory, Inc.'s official pages of the M21 Tactical Rifle and M25 White Feather™ Tactical/Carlos Hathcock model

External linksEdit

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