Sunday, November 6, 2016

The M14 DMR, EMR, & EBR


The United States Marine Corps used the M14 to create the DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle) which is more formally the "United States Rifle, 7.62 mm, M14."

The DMR (aka the M14) is a semi-automatic, gas-operated rifle chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge. It is simply a modified version of the M14 rifle built and utilized by the United States Marine Corps.

The big difference between the M14s that I was issued in the Corps and the DMR being issued is with all of it's modification and match-grade M118LR 175-grain Long Range ammunition.

The "basic" DMR, without secondary sight, magazine, sling, basic issue items, cleaning gear, suppressor and bipod, weighs 11 pounds or less. The DMR design facilitates repairing or replacing of the sight mount, barrel, bolt, and other key assemblies at the third echelon maintenance level.

The USMC Precision Weapons Section at Marine Corps Base Quantico built all DMRs. The Marine Corps replaced the DMR with the M39 Enhanced Marksman Rifle and the Mk 11 Mod 0 on a one-for-one basis.

There are several notable differences between the basic M14 and the DMR:
  • Barrel: 22 inches, stainless steel, match-grade barrel by Krieger Barrels, Inc.
  • Stock: McMillan Tactical M2A fiberglass stock. This particular stock features a pistol grip and a butt stock with adjustable saddle cheek piece.
  • Optics: An over-action MIL-STD-1913 picatinny rail sourced from either GG&G Armament Arizona or Smith Enterprise, Inc. allows for the use of any optic compatible with the rail; this includes a rather large variety of military scopes and imaging devices.
The most common scope used on the USMC DMR are TS-30.xx series Leupold Mark 4 day scopes, AN/PVS-10 or AN/PVS-17 night vision scopes, and Unert M40 10× fixed power scopes.
  • Muzzle device: Most DMRs utilize the traditional M14 muzzle device, although since deployment in 2001 in Iraq and Afghanistan, some DMRs are now equipped with the OPS, Inc. 2-port muzzle brake, which is threaded and collared to accept an OPS-Inc. 12th Model sound suppressor.
  • Bipod: A Harris S-L bipod is used on the USMC DMR.
For the Marine Corps, a grunt operating as the Designated Marksman (DM) using a DMR is an integral part of Squad Tactics. The Marine DM's role fills the gap between a regular infantryman and a sniper typically being deployed at ranges of 270–550 yards and DMRs have been developed with this middle ground in mind.

These rifles have to be effective, in terms of accuracy and terminal ballistics, at ranges exceeding those of ordinary assault rifles and battle rifles typically 270 yards or less, and up to 550 yards respectively, but do not require the extended range of a dedicated sniper rifle which is typically employed for targets at ranges from 550–2,200 yards.

DMRs, however, often share some basic characteristics with sniper rifles in difference to the weapons carried by others in the DMs unit. DMRs may have an attached telescopic sight, quickly deployed stabilizing bipod to allow optimized accuracy and low-recoil in temporarily fixed situations or an adjustable stock.

They will, though, generally retain semi-automatic firing capability, to be more rapid than bolt-action sniper rifles, and a larger magazine capacity of 10, 20, or 30 rounds depending on the firearm in question.

A designated marksman primarily uses DMRs for enhanced accuracy and range.

The DMR fills the need for a lightweight, accurate weapon system utilizing a cartridge more powerful than the M16A4's standard 5.56x45mm NATO—the 7.62x51mm NATO.

Most DMRs are a battle rifle, semi-automatic or full-automatic, that fires 7.62mm NATO or similar full-power rounds - and not under-powered rounds of assault rifles such as that of an M16.

Marine Corps Explosive Ordnance Disposal Teams, Scout Snipers and sniper spotters also used DMRs when the mission requires rapid, accurate fire at long range.


The Marine Corps is replacing the DMR with the M39 Enhanced Marksman Rifle and the Mk 11 Mod 0 on a one-for-one basis. Where the DMR looked like an up to date modernized tricked out M14, the M39 EMR looks like the M14 on steroids!

The M39 Enhanced Marksman Rifle (EMR) or more formally the Rifle, 7.62 MM, M39 Enhanced Marksman Rifle (EMR)) is a semi-automatic, gas-operated designated marksman rifle chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge.

It is a modified and accurized version of the M14 rifle and is based on the current United States Marine Corps Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR), which it is replacing. The rifle is currently issued with match-grade M118LR 175-grain Long Range ammunition.

The "basic" EMR, without telescopic sight, magazine, sling, basic issue items, cleaning gear, suppressor and bipod, weighs 13 pounds or less. The EMR is primarily used by a Designated Marksman, to provide precision fire for units that do not rate a Scout Sniper.

As a replacement for the DMR, the EMR fills the need for a lightweight, accurate weapon system utilizing a cartridge more powerful than the M16A4's standard 5.56x45mm NATO—the 7.62x51mm NATO.

The EMR is also used by Marine Scout Snipers when the mission requires rapid accurate fire and by Marine Corps Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams. While the EMR stays in service with Marines in the field as its Designated Marksman weapon, in early 2012, the Marine Corps started replacing the M39 with the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System for its snipers.

Back in 2003, the US Army issued a market survey for a 7.62 mm Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS). Smith Enterprise responded to the market survey with an M14 rifle variant that was very impressive. They made the case why the Army should adopt the M14 Rifle and not an M16 platform as with the M110 for its sniper needs.


The Mk 14 Enhanced Battle Rifle (EBR) is a variant of the M14. It was built for use with units of the United States Special Operations Command.

The EBR is being made with the intention of carrying out both designated marksman and CQB roles in combat. The weapon takes the standard M14 action and replaces the standard 22.0" barrel with an 18.0" barrel.

The barreled action is then bolted into a telescoping chassis stock system, with a pistol grip, a different front sight, Harris bipod, four picatinny accessory rails (which surround the barrel), and a more effective flash hider in place of the standard lugged USGI flash suppressor. A paddle-type bolt stop similar to that of the M4 carbine is used on the rifle.

The EBR chassis system stock is made up entirely of lightweight aircraft alloy.

A Kydex hand guard and M68 CCO are also added as standard external accessories, though they are almost always replaced with a vertical fore-grip and magnifying scope for better handling and for use in a designated marksman role.

A Wind Talker suppressor can be mounted on the DC Vortex flash hider, though the U.S. military did not adopt one to active service.

No, the M14 EBR isn't anything like the M14 that I was trained with in Boot Camp or carried overseas. But, it is certainly its great-grandson on steroids with a 7.62 attitude. And yes, this is very close to the sort of M14 that my father-in-law Nickel Jim would build -- but that's a story for another day.

One other thing that is really important to note. Because the M14 is so reliable and powerful, it is often favored by users for high lethality at longed ranges with great penetration. Those are features much appreciated by US troops in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and other places around the world.

Since the start of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, many M14s have been employed as Designated Marksman and Semi-Auto Sniper Rifles. These are original production M14s with common very easy modifications including scopes, fiberglass stocks, and other accessories.

In 2009, a study conducted by the U.S. Army claimed that more than half of the all enemy engagements in Afghanistan occurred from beyond 300 meters (330 yards). The study claimed that America’s 5.56mm NATO service rifles, the M16 and the M4, are ineffective at these ranges. 

Since they had a report that told them what troops already knew, that report prompted the reissue of thousands of M14s to our troops. And with the reintroduction of the M14, our military understood that an M14 platform was needed to keep our troops safe and able to accomplish their mission better than before.

So now, can you see why for my money the M14 rifle is greatest battle rifle ever created? From the original design being as functionally perfect as it gets, the M14 has shown to be a platform in which to improve on.

And yes, that's just way I see it.

Tom Correa

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