The 7.62mm sniper rifle. (Bishwarup Dutta)
Aug. 29: Calcutta police today placed an order for sniper rifles built to strike with precision from 800 metres. The rifles would be used for "surveillance from highrises" by special police units and commandos.
Each of these rifles, manufactured at the Rifle Factory Ishapore (RFI), will cost the police a little over Rs 3 lakh, which is about a third of the price of the German sniper rifles they had procured earlier this year.
"Special units of Calcutta police and our commandos will undergo training to handle these rifles. A few months ago, we had procured sniper rifles manufactured by Heckler and Koch (H&K) of Germany," police commissioner Rajeev Kumar said after RFI general manager Ratneshwar Varma handed a sample.
Officers in Lalbazar declined to specify the number of sniper rifles being procured or how many are already there in the arsenal. "This is confidential, given their use in counter-terrorism and protection of high-risk VVIPs," a senior officer said.
Police stations in Calcutta currently use .303 muskets while Armed Police are equipped with .303 rifles, Insas and self-loading rifles. None of these weapons has the precision and range of a sniper rifle.
Metro decodes the 7.62mm sniper rifle, butt to barrel.
Effective range: 800 metres
Length of barrel: 680mm (inner surface will be chrome-plated to absorb excess heat)
Rifling grooves: 04 (there will be four rifling grooves inside the barrel - muzzle velocity of a bullet increases with the number of grooves)
Magazine capacity: 05 rounds (five bullets can be loaded at once)
Sighting system: The rifle will be equipped to adjust "sight", depending on the change in medium through which it will be fired. The rifle has a telescope that can magnify (zoom in on) the target.
Bipod: The heavy-body rifle comes with an adjustable bipod stand.
Safety: A safety lock , if put in place, will prevent misfiring.