With the recent firestorm of active shooter incidents and brazen acts of terrorism on U.S. soil, America needs law enforcement more than ever before. When a SWAT team is called in to a crisis situation there are typically two units: an entry team to assault the target’s position and a sniper/observer team to neutralize the threat if the suspect tries to kill or injure the victims.
Since an active shooter situation can end before the SWAT team arrives, increasingly street officers are being armed with rifles and being trained to take immediate action instead of simply sitting on their hands and waiting for SWAT.
Traditionally law enforcement snipers have used rifles similar to the Remington® M24 Sniper Weapon System, but there is a new contender on the range and it is rapidly becoming the new benchmark in LE rifles: the Bergara LRP rifle system. In less than a year, Bergara USA has received multiple agency awards to outfit SWAT Sniper teams across the country. So why exactly are all of these LE agencies lining up to get Bergara rifles?
Tied for first on a SWAT Team’s list of sniper rifle requirements are accuracy and reliability, both qualities that Bergara has in spades.
It all starts with the barrel. When Bergara set out to design its center-fire rifle barrels it teamed up with legendary barrel maker Ed Shilen. Shilen’s barrels have won 13 world records and he was inducted into the bench rest hall of fame. Shilen helped Bergara develop manufacturing techniques that would allow them to make custom quality barrels at production barrel prices. Bergara uses a proprietary triple honing process and diamond-tipped bits that create a mirror-like finish on the bore. The company then button rifles the barrels, keeping the deviation of the groove less than .0002”.
Just as important as the barrel is the rifle the barrel is placed in and how that rifle is put together. Meet rifle production manager, Dan Hanus. Hanus is the former chief instructor and production chief of the Marines Precision Weapons School in Quantico where the sniper rifles he built led to the demise of many a jihadist. Hanus learned in the Marines that there’s a right way to build sniper rifles and to take no shortcuts when it comes to the tools we put in our soldiers hands.
The approach he takes to building a Bergara rifle has been described as obsessive and each rifle goes through a series of 16 steps that others in the rifle industry have painted as crazed, compulsive, redundant, nitpicking or all of the above. Hanus pays no mind and does all of these as routine.
All of this attention to detail adds up to a rifle with the reliability of a Kalashnikov yet the guarantee that it will shoot sub-MOA groups. Bergara stands by this guarantee and forbids any rifle from leaving the factory unless it has first passed an accuracy test. A test target ships with each rifle guaranteeing its accuracy.
To top it all off, Bergara works with each agency and each SWAT team to determine exactly what rifle system they need.
“We work in detail with them and find out exactly what type of situations they most commonly use their rifles in, what style of stock their shooters are most used to (chassis or solid stock), as well as things like weight needs, night vision, thermal attachments, etc. With a purchase like this it’s critical to ask the right questions so that we can choose a set up that fits an agency’s needs 100 percent,” remarked Dan Hanus.
“We know they are not only using this rifle to protect their fellow officers, but they are using it to protect each one of us. With that in the back of our minds, making sure every fine detail is taken care of for every one of the shooters is paramount to Bergara. We don’t see this as a one-time sale but instead as a long term relationship where we’ll take care of each shooter and each agency for a lifetime.”