I hate to see the M14-type being treated like that! Looks like it is being passed around like a cheap who-are. Everybody taking a turn. Makes me think this is a staged pic. What sniper would pass his M14 around to all the other guys?
It could be staged pics. Or it could be the 10x scope on the M14 was being used for just observing the enemy, who might be well out of range. The effective range w/ M118 was about 800 meters or so. The single shot M88 (in 50 BMG) has a 16x scope and an effective range of 1800 meters, or maybe a little more with a trained SF sniper. Maybe only the big 50 BMG was being used? and perhaps the M14 optic was in a "spotting" role?... The fact one soldier got out the laser range finder suggests they might have been trying to figure out range/ballistics for that big 50 BMG...at least that is one theory.
The soldier on the far right, based on his pistol holster in the first picture being on his right leg - is right handed
. However, in the below picture he is weakly holding the M14 - with his left-hand
. Why? Not sure, but I suspect the other two guys are trying to protect their ears from the blast of that 50BMG M88 which, I suspect is about to be discharged..and he appears to be using the M14 optic for battlefield observation. Could it be a staged picture? Yes of course, but the somewhat grimaced faces look pretty legit to me, and it explains what he is doing with his right hand in this picture, which is not holding the M14 rifle - as would be natural in a "posed" picture. Just a random observation...
Anyhow, what is super neat about this thread? These are the ONLY
known public pictures of the black-stocked SOCOM M14 sniper rifle being used in action (or perhaps staged in a combat theater). There are no other pics of this rifle being used in Desert Storm in 1991. None that I could find. Anyhow, note caption of this artist rendering, which was likely based on those photographs taken in late Feb 1991:
This picture in that same book by Peter Senich was the inspiration for my second M14 sniper rifle replica that I began to assemble in early 2017....
...two years later I had completed this replica of a somewhat obscure M14 - based on that above pic.
...and that's why I like this thread and those high quality pictures from Feb 1991...