One of the most unusual military forces in the world is the Canadian Rangers. They are a sub- component of the Canadian military's reserve forces, with a mandate to patrol Canada's arctic regions.
They are a part-time force made up of volunteers and tasked with conducting surveillance and sovereignty patrols in some of the most inhospitable parts of the world. Many of the members are native people who have an intimate knowledge of the land they live on and how to survive on it. This gives them an ability to act as guides and instructors for regular and special forces working in the far north.
While there are a lot of fascinating facts about the Rangers, of particular interest is a recent announcement that the unit is being equipped with new rifles, specifically suited to their needs.
The issue rifle of the Canadian Forces is a version of the AR design similar to what American soldiers use. But the Rangers, until now, have been issued with Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifles, chambered in .303 British—and you thought they were obsolete 50 years ago! As you can imagine, those rifles are nearing the end of their service life, so the military held a competition to select a new rifle.
And the winner is … Sako/Tikka. Specifically, a modified version of the Tikka T3 Compact Tactical Rifle. The rifle will be built in Canada under license, with an original issue of about 6,500 units. The selected rifle still needs to undergo some field testing and there might be minor changes, but the rifle you see pictured should be very close to the finished product.
Specifications include: .308 Win., 10-round detachable magazine, 20-inch barrel, iron sights calibrated from 100-600 meters, laminate stock, oversized trigger guard for gloved use, stainless construction with special coatings to combat corrosion and the Ranger logo etched into the stock. It will be issued with accessories such as extra magazines, a Pelican gun case and a trigger lock.
If this looks a lot like a scout rifle, without optics, it's probably because the Ranger's role is very scout-like. Keep in mind they are not a combat force, unless you count fighting off polar bears.
It's an interesting choice and not far from what I'd pick for rough use in the high arctic. About the only thing I'd add would be a flash hider, primarily to protect the muzzle and provide an open space around which to wrap tape to keep the barrel clear of snow and ice. And it looks like you might be able to own one, because my sources tell me that a civilian version will be available as well.
What do you think: Is this what you'd choose for a general-purpose arctic rifle?