The outgoing M14 EBR in actionSenior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras via US Army

The US Army will replace its aging M4 rifle with the powerful and accurate Heckler and Koch G28. As a designated marksman rifle, it not only improves the range and accuracy of the gun, it also gives shooters the ability to penetrate body armor.

This move comes after the theater of war is shifting from fighting insurgents in the deserts of the middle east to other superpowers, whose soldiers are likely to possess advanced weaponry as well as battle armor, notes a report by Popular Mechanics (PM).

The G28, designated M110A1, by the Army has a 16.5-inch barrel, a 20-round magazine, and weighs a little less than seven kg. It also features an ultra-short telescopic sight and a bipod for precision shooting, reports PM.

Makers of the rifle claim that it is so accurate that if 3 well-timed rounds are fired at a target it would fall within a 1.5-inch circle at 100 meters and at 600 meters, it would fall within 9 inches. For a target that is 18 inches wide at the shoulder (average human male shoulder), it is quite easy to hit targets at the center of mass 600 meters away. H&K also say that this gun can offer suppressive fire up to 800 meters away.

With the right ammo, the G28 could be lethal in the hands of a sniper or even a marksman. With less accurate ammunition, it might not perform as well, notes the report.

Heckler & Koch G28 rifle
Heckler & Koch G28 rifle will bring marksman-level accuracy to troopsHeckler & Koch

Before invading Iraq, US Navy SEALs were handed an upscaled and "accurized" M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle (EBR). This version of the gun had an updated chassis, a long range scope, as well as a bipod. The EBR was built to specifically provide long range cover where the M4 and like rifles fell short.

Soon, the EBR was also handed to army troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, specifically, those who had received high levels of marksman training, notes the report. However, the EBR was always seen as a temporary solution. While it was better than the M14, it was known to be front heavy and ergonomically unfriendly. Also, the EBR carried over the old firing system from the M14 which reportedly made it difficult to maintain accuracy when firing.

Enter the Heckler and Koch G28 semi-automatic rifle. The G28, notes PM, is a scaled-up version of the Marine Corp's 416 infantry automatic rifle. It was initially picked up as a compact weapon for sniper units in 2016.

The army will buy 5,000 G28 rifles for marksmen and 3,643 guns for snipers, reports PM.