Written by Samantha Franco and Clare Fitzgerald
The Snipex Alligator is a massive anti-material rifle (AMR) that’s manufactured by XADO-Holding, Ltd. Having only recently entered service, the weapon’s only user is the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who’ve used it throughout the Russo-Ukrainian War. Over the course of the conflict, it’s shown itself to be a powerhouse on the battlefield, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see other countries adopt it in the coming years.
‘Enormous’ doesn’t even begin to describe the Snipex Alligator
The Snipex Alligator is a bolt-action, magazine-fed repeating rifle that is immediately distinguishable by its enormous size. When fully assembled, it sits at 79 inches, with most of its length coming from the barrel. To put this into perspective, the length of the average hunting rifle barrel is 22 inches, whereas the one equipped by the Snipex Alligator is more than double that, at 47 inches.
Along with its length, the Snipex Alligator is also massive in terms of weight, clocking in at a whopping 25 kg. Given this, a number of modifications were needed to ensure the rifle was operational in the field. A foldable four-position bipod and rear support are used to offset its size and provide balance. As well, a carrying handle is located at the weapon’s midpoint, allowing a single operator to transport it with (some) ease. This part can also be adjusted for balance when a silencer is attached.
Massive ammunition for an equally massive rifle
As the Snipex Alligator is such a large weapon, it makes sense that its ammunition would be, as well. Featuring a traditional rifle arrangement, its chamber can hold up to five 14.5 x 114 mm cartridge at one time, each weighing 2.2 ounces.
As their size suggests, the cartridges were initially developed as anti-tank rounds for the Soviet-produced KPV heavy machine gun. They can accommodate a projectile weighing between 59 and 66 grams, which, when fired, can travel up to 3,300 feet per second.
It’s claimed the Snipex Alligator can not only effectively take out enemy soldiers, but also light-armored vehicles and ammunition and fuel depots. According to the weapon’s manufacturer, it can penetrate up to 10 mm of steel armor from a distance of between 2,000 and 7,000 meters. It should be noted, however that the rifle hasn’t yet seen enough battlefield use to fully prove this.
Issues with recoil
One of the consequences of using the 14.5 x 114 mm cartridge is the immense recoil. While the Snipex Alligator features modifications that somewhat combat this, they don’t completely diminish the kickback.
The sheer size and weight of the rifle allows for a lot of the recoil to be absorbed, rather than imposed onto the soldier; the Snipex Alligator remains relatively steady after a round is fired. Additionally, it’s equipped with a recoil-isolating buttstock that, when paired with the four- or five-baffle muzzle brake and padded shoulder stock, takes away a lot of the pressure from the recoil.
Use of the Snipex Alligator in the Russo-Ukrainian War
As aforementioned, the Snipex Alligator has seen use throughout the Russo-Ukrainian War, joining its smaller counterpart, the Snipex T-Rex. While the exact number currently in service is unknown, it’s presumed that the majority of Ukrainian Special Forces units and other frontline divisions have it in their arsenal.
There have been two incidents of note that possibly show the strength of the Snipex Alligator. The first was a possible hit by a Ukrainian sniper on a Russian soldier who was 1.68 miles away, making it the second-longest distance sniper kill in military history. The second was the taking down of five Russian soldiers in as many minutes by a single sniper. Two of those hit in the incident were struck by the same bullet.
While these two instances have yet to be independently verified, they possibly prove the power and ability of the Snipex Alligator, if it’s determined the weapon was the one to achieve the legendary hits. As of publishing, the Ukrainian military has yet to release details as to the exact rifle(s) used to secure the kills.