Indian ArmyIndian Defence

The Top 5 Sniper Rifles of the Indian Armed Forces

Sniper rifles are high-precision, long-range firearms designed to engage targets at significant distances with pinpoint accuracy while also providing support in reconnaissance, intelligence gathering and surveillance. Snipers also psychologically affect enemies like the land mines, significantly reducing their movement.

Snipers generally operate in pairs, a sniper is a shooter and spotter who acquires the target, does all the math and guides the marksmen in taking a shot. The spotter is the more experienced one. He performs the observation and target identification, they use the laser range finder to find out the distance of the target, this is crucial since the trajectory of the bullet deviates due effects of wind and the Coriolis effect, so to ensure the effectiveness, spotter takes into of the above factors and guide the sniper who takes the shot.

Criteria for Selection The Indian Armed Forces evaluate several criteria when selecting sniper rifles

Have you ever played BGMI, if yes then tell me which sniper rifle would you prefer. As far as I know, most players run towards airdrop to grab their hands on AWM. Well, this is because of its range, bullet speed, damage and manageable recoil.

In the same way, Indian Armed Forces evaluate several criteria while selecting sniper rifles:

  • Range: The rifle must have an effective range suitable for the operational requirements of the unit.
  • Caliber: The caliber affects the rifle’s stopping power and ballistics; it must be appropriate for the intended use.
  • Accuracy: Precision is paramount, specially for sniper who has a single chance to take out the target after which the element of surprise is lost, thus the rifle must maintain high accuracy at its maximum effective range.
  • Reliability: The rifle must function effectively in various environments, from high-altitude regions to coastal areas.
  • Adaptability: The ability to integrate additional equipment like night vision and thermal sights is crucial for versatility.

Top 5 Sniper Rifles

Now we are going to look at the top 5 sniper rifles used by the Indian Armed Forces.

Barrett M95

  • Origin: United States
  • Used by: Special Forces
  • Caliber: .50 BMG (12.7×99mm)
  • Effective Range: Up to 1,800 meters
  • Combat Use: Effective against personnel, light vehicles, and material targets at extreme ranges.

Additionally, it Can be equipped with ballistic computers and thermal imaging scopes for enhanced targeting. The Barrett M95 is known for its bullpup design, which makes it compact despite the large .50 BMG calibre. Being a bolt-action rifle, it provides greater accuracy due to fewer moving parts during the shot. Its ability to fire the powerful .50 BMG round makes it ideal for anti-material purposes and engaging targets at extreme ranges. The rifle’s design and calibre make it a suitable choice for special forces.

Sako TRG

  • Origin: Finland
  • Used by: Infantry units along the Line of Control (LoC)
  • Caliber: .338 Lapua Magnum
  • Effective Range: Over 1,000 meters
  • Combat Use: High accuracy for long-range engagements, especially in mountainous terrain.

It features telescopic sights with better range and firepower, adaptable to night vision and thermal sights. TRGs are usually outfitted with a Zeiss or Schmidt & Bender PM II telescopic sight with fixed power of magnification or with variable magnification. Additionally, sniper rifles are normally fitted with muzzle brakes to reduce recoil, jump, and flash. The Sako TRG is known for its accuracy and ergonomics, making it one of the most capable and precise rifles available. Its adjustable design and reliable performance in harsh conditions make it a preferred choice for long-range engagements, especially in terrain along the LoC.

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Dragunov SVD

  • Origin: Russia
  • Used by: Various units including infantry
  • Caliber: 7.62×54mmR
  • Effective Range: Approximately 800 meters
  • Combat Use: Proven in various conflicts, known for its reliability and effectiveness.

The Dragunov SVD is known for its reliability and durability in harsh conditions, just like the AK47, making it one of the most common rifles in the world. Normally fitted with the 4×24 PSO-1 scope, it can also be equipped with the NSPU-3 night sight. Its track record in various conflicts and the ability to upgrade with modern optics make it a relevant and reliable choice for infantry units.

IMI Galil

  • Origin: Israel
  • Used by: Special Forces
  • Caliber: 5.56×45mm NATO and 7.62×51mm NATO
  • Effective Range: Up to 500 meters for 5.56mm, 800 meters for 7.62mm
  • Combat Use: Versatile for both close and long-range engagements.

The IMI Galil is best known for its robustness and ability to withstand desert conditions, as it was designed to be operated by Israelis. Its versatility for both close and long-range engagements, along with the ability to be fitted with various scopes based on mission requirements, makes it a special tool for special forces. Additionally, the Galil features, flip-up tritium night sights, and a hooded front post, enhancing its effectiveness in various combat scenarios.

Heckler & Koch PSG1

  • Origin: Germany
  • Used by: Special Forces and NSG
  • Caliber: 7.62×51mm NATO
  • Effective Range: Up to 800 meters
  • Combat Use: Known for exceptional accuracy and used in hostage rescue and counter-terrorism.

The H&K PSG1 is often cited as one of the most accurate semi-automatic rifles in the world, designed with precision shooting in mind. Its exceptional accuracy and the inclusion of a telescopic sight make it highly suitable for hostage rescue and counter-terrorism operations. The PSG1 is typically equipped with a Hensoldt ZF 6×42 PSG1 scope.

It has a built-in bullet drop compensation range adjustment(Built-in bullet drop compensation is a feature in firearms optics that automatically adjusts the aiming point to account for the downward trajectory of the bullet over distance.) that can be set from 100 to 600 meters. It also includes a low-noise bolt closing device, similar to the forward assist on many M16 rifles. Modern versions of the PSG1, known as the PSG1A1, are fitted with the Schmidt & Bender 3-12x50mm scope and can be upgraded with night vision.

In conclusion, snipers being an essential members of the military, undergo rigorous training and demonstrate exceptional patience, and calmness making them invaluable assets in modern warfare. Thus their effectiveness is not just measured in kills, but also in the psychological impact they have on enemy forces.


Bheemanagouda M Patil

Hi, I'm Bheemanagouda Patil, currently I'm pursuing Mechanical Engineering (3rd year) from Dayanand Sagar College Of Engineering. I write on topics related defence and geopolitics.

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