Serious firepower

xm109line.jpgMike at Feces Flinging Monkey gave me the heads up on a 25mm (yes, 25mm, not .25 caliber) sniper rifle getting ready to enter testing.

The subject line of his email: “Whoa”. And for us simple-minded folk:

Note – 25mm works out to about 100 caliber

That’ll make a hole.

I’d heard this monster was in the works, but hadn’t seen anything on it in a while. Here’s the Strategy Page post (Aug 12, 2004 entry) that Mike pointed out.

Designed to destroy light armor, the XM109 is a semi-automatic 25mm rifle that has a 17.6 inch long barrel and an overall length of 46 inches. It weighs in at 46 pounds and has a 5 round magazine. In comparison, the Barrett M107 .50 caliber sniper rifle in general use today has a 29 inch barrel, overall length of 57 inches, and weighs in at a mere 32 pounds, with a magazine capacity of 10 rounds.

A spiked bipod is included to steady the XM109 for firing and it has a standard M1319 accessory rail for scopes and other accessories. Barrett will either sell a complete rifle or supply upgrade kits to convert the M107 .50 sniper rifle over to the 25mm configuration, replacing the bolt, upper receiver, and magazine.

To complement this “rifle” is a computerized sight called the BORS (Barrett Optical Ranging Sighting System). BORS is specifically designed for long-range shooting at 1,000 meters and longer distances, measuring and compensating for air pressure, temperature, and the angle of the weapon in relation to the target.


Effective distance armor piercing “lethality” for the rifle is listed at 2000 meters. The 25mm round is derivative design from the AH-64 Apache helicopter’s M789 high-explosive dual purpose (good against armor and personnel) 30mm ammunition and will penetrate at least 50 millimeters of armor plating, making it capable of destroying light armored vehicles, SCUD launchers, and other equipment. According to the ammunition manufacturer, the 25mm round is 2.5 times more effective at destroying targets than a .50 caliber armor-piercing round.

Go read the whole thing.

James at Hell in a Handbasket notes this weapon and provides a couple of links in a new post about advanced sniper weapons. Go check it out.


  1. Heh. You’re right. We’re going to see Vin Diesel diving across a room, fully extended in the air, with one of these in each hand. Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! And we’ll get to see the brass falling in slow-motion, tinkling as it hits the floor. And he’ll be shooting at some guy ten feet away. At least the Terminator was a machine so I could buy it lugging miniguns and such around.

  2. Last night, I was watching the Predator DVD with director’s commentary. The director figured that Jesse ‘the Body’ Ventura’s ‘Painless’ can probably hold 5 seconds worth of ammo.

  3. The guns in Eraser were railguns. I know, because I hve the DVD. (It came in a multipack with two movies I really wanted.) They had a cool see-through-walls sight that they never really explained, but they got the special effects all wrong for the gun itself. Railgun bullets would look like regular bullets once fired, and you’d have even less effects when firing, because you’d have no muzzle flash from the gunpowder. Whoever invents a compact, lightweight, high capacity, battery that works like a bucket for energy – quick charge, chick discharge and able to hold the charge indefinitely – will totally change warfare. Think of all that would be possible – powered armor, railguns, lasers and particle beams, plasma weapons – pretty much the whole panoply of sf warfare. The weapons we pretty much no how to make. Its supplying the juice that’s the real problem.

  4. I WANT ONE!!! Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that private citizens don’t need this kinda firepower. If I promise to take it to drill with me once a month, can I have one? Now on to the serious ramifications of such an obviously serious weapon. Anybody see a minimum arming distance on the ammo for this beast? I guess you could load a flechette or beehive round for close range (ouch!). I’d like to make a point about the selection of Sci-fi weapons the last post listed. Even with a small, lightweight power supply, most of the weapons listed could not be trimmed down to handheld size at this point. It would probably be 15-25 years for a handheld Gauss or Rail gun. The superconductive magnets needed for such a weapon require a substantial cooling (read near absolute zero) system to work. That means liquid Nitrogen, or Oxygen or some such supercold system. Just too much for 1 person to carry. Even in PBA. Also, you have to remember that for a Railgun to be effective, requires a looonng barrel to accelerate the projectile to very high velocities. Not something you can go into a tunnel system with. The military has been experimenting with PBA, and the largest difficulty with their program has not been the power issue as they know that the current battery/generation systems are not going to do the job. (they’ve been working the rest of the concepts as a pre-design to the discovery of cold fusion or some such) Their largest problems have been equilibrium and momentum. Can you imagine what it’s like in that lab? Some little geeky guy with glasses trying to get out of the way of the 1-ton armored exoskeleton thats careening along like someone’s playing golf with sledgehammers and bowling balls. Talk about your hostile work environments. Anyway, if we do come up with a stable small power supply of almost infinite capacity, expect to see a realistic version of the ‘LandWarrior’ system first, and Railguns on tanks, etc. Sweeping change will take a generation or so. (remember that a generation of soldiers is about 15-20 years)

  5. This weapon is really more of a HV grenade launcher than a true snipers rifle(cannon? lol). The MV is really on the low side for any kind of precision engagements against a point(read that person) target at a range of 2000 meters. It will rely on it’s VT fuzed munitions to burst at the appropriate time to inflict casualties. Against armor and vehicles, 2000 meters is probably pretty realistic, but the TOF of the projectile is going to be very high, forcing a much greater target lead than would normally be the case. So in reality this new gizmo is really more of a heavy support weapon than a true heavy sniper system like the M-107/M-82/M-89 weapons systems. Unfortunately, it’s weight will greatly restrict it’s dismounted utility.

  6. with that weight, who could carry that with sufficient ammo for more than 2 miles in the desert and not die. i see this as more of a defensive weapon or to be used to hold a road that may see enemy armor traffic.