About That Huge Rifle The Secret Service Sniper Was Carrying During Trump's Photo Op Walk

The highly customizable weapon has the ability to reach out and take out threats like other snipers over long distances with extreme accuracy.

Trump
AP—Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

We get a lot on inquiries sent here to The War Zone HQ, especially after events like the bizarre use of U.S. military assets in Washington D.C. last night, but one feature of yesterday's strange course of events around the White House that seemed to stand out to people watching on TV was a pair of U.S. Secret Service snipers who walked with the big group of administration officials over to St. John's Church for Trump's photo-op. Seeing the snipers walk with the crowd was strange for a number of reasons, but one of the sniper's huge and futuristic-looking rifle seemed to have captured more than a few imaginations.

You can get an even better look at the weapon in the tweet below. 

The rifle is based on Accuracy International's bolt-action AX chassis system (AXAICS). This advanced platform is designed for extreme accuracy shooting and allows customers, such as law enforcement agencies and military units, to customize the caliber, action, and barrel combination for their specific needs. The fully adjustable stock and forend with Picatinny rail and KeyMod accessory attachment points also offer full customization to the user's needs. 

Accuracy International
Accuracy International

AICS fully outfitted. 

The AXAICS can accommodate actions chambered for everything from .308 Winchester on the lower-power end, all the way up to .338 Lapua Magnum on the higher end. The company also makes a .50 caliber rifle that is based on a variant of the AX chassis. The weapon being carried by the U.S. Secret Service sniper in the photos is most likely chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum or .338 Lapua Magnum. 

Grasyl/wikicommons

.308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, .338 Lapua Magnum

It is replete with a suppressor and a very high-power scope. In fact, it appears to be the Schmidt & Bender 5-25x56 PM II. The scope alone runs about $4,500 retail, while a fully outfitted AX series rifle costs roughly $7,000. The suppressor adds around $1,500 more to the total price tag. The heavy-duty bipod is another $300 or so. So, the total package for an off-the-shelf weapon system like this is roughly $13,300—of course, government contracts change everything. 

AP

The USSS sniper team includes another shooter/spotter equipped with an SR-25 pattern semi-automatic rifle. This weapon, chambered in .308 Winchester and equipped with a 5.5x50 ACOG illuminated scope, doesn't offer the extreme reach or precision of the AX chassis rifle, but it does provide a larger volume of fire and is more suited for medium-range engagements. As such, the individual with the longer-ranged weapon can work more in the counter-sniper and anti-material role, while the other one can be equipped to cover shorter-ranged threats against multiple opponents. Either can act as the spotter for the other, as well.  

AP

A look at a sniper team atop the White House with an Accuracy International AX variant rifle seen. 

As to why exactly they walked over to the church with the administration, it isn't clear. They really don't provide a protection function in doing so and a counter-sniper team is always set up in advance of such a movement. There is some talk of the photo-op being done on very short notice and maybe a team wasn't already in place. Whatever the case, it allowed us a very up-close look at the latest and greatest sniper kit used by the Secret Service for its most sensitive and highest-stakes mission. 

UPDATE:

We have new information on this version of the rifle in question. It is at least primarily based on the USMC's MK13 Mod 7, which was born out of the Special Operations community and uses the same family of Accuracy Internationa's chassis as described above. That rifle is chambered in 300 Winchester Magnum and has a special stainless steel barrel unique to this variant made by Lilja. 

We also found a great video showing the USSS practicing with the rifle. It also gives a nice little background on these sniper teams: 

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com