The Barrett M107 .50-caliber rifle has been popularized in the media as the pinnacle of sniper rifles. In fact, the military classifies the M107 as an anti-materiel rifle. While its .50 BMG cartridge packs a punch and is effective at destroying cover, obstacles, and even taking out engine blocks, there are simply more accurate rifle calibers for use in sniper and marksman rifles. In former Eastern Bloc countries, the anti-materiel cartridge of choice is the larger 14.5x114mm which is being used by Ukraine in their massive rifle: the Snipex Alligator.
The 14.5mm cartridge was developed by the Soviet Union and used during WWII in anti-tank rifles. It was later used in anti-aircraft guns and wheeled armored personnel carriers. Available in different ammunition types like armor-piercing incendiary and high-explosive incendiary, the 14.5mm still packs enough of a punch for the modern battlefield like the .50 BMG. The Ukrainian company XADO chambered its latest anti-materiel rifle in 14.5mm and the result was the massive Alligator rifle.
Weighing 55 lbs and measuring 6′ 7″-long, the Alligator is not a weapon system for a sniper to sneak across the battlefield with. Rather, it’s designed to engage vehicles, communications equipment, air defense systems, fortified defenses, and even parked aircraft. The 47-inch barrel propels its 14.5mm projectile at a muzzle velocity of 3,200 feet/second. For comparison, the M107 has a muzzle velocity of 2,799 feet/second. With such power and speed behind it, one round from the Alligator is capable of penetrating a 10mm armor plate at a distance of 1.5 km.
In order to fire such a large round from a rifle platform, the Alligator was engineered with both accuracy and strength in mind. A free-float barrel allows the barrel to whip naturally under recoil while a large muzzle brake dissipates the gasses behind the bullet as it leaves the barrel. The rifle’s chamber is heavily reinforced, but the rest of the Alligator is rather bare with the barrel largely exposed. Stability for long-range shots is achieved with an integrated bipod on the front end as well as an adjustable monopod in the stock. The adjustable cheek riser on top of the stock can be swapped for left or right-handed shooters.
The Alligator feeds from a detachable box magazine. However, there is also a single-shot variant designated the T-Rex. Both rifles have the same dimensions, weight, and construction, differing only in their feeding methods. The Snipex Alligator and T-Rex entered production in 2020 and were quickly adopted unofficially by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. On March 2, 2021, both rifles were officially adopted. Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, they have been used extensively on the battlefield, especially by Ukrainian Special Operations Forces.