There have been tons and tons of guns that have been created and developed throughout history, and their improvements, along with our technological advances, are truly impressive. In terms of choosing which one to use, many factors could be considered, such as purpose, price, weight, reliability, and accuracy, among others. While it’s easy to assume that the newer guns are more reliable and are therefore always picked out, that is not always true, and the Canadian Rangers know just that. That’s why their weapon of choice is the more than a century-old Lee-Enfiled Rifle, and it was a no-brainer.

The Canadian Rangers

The Canadian Armed Forces have a branch dedicated to the surveillance and protection of northern Canada, which was an isolated area. These men are called the Canadian Rangers: the experts in surviving the hazardous and extremely cold environments of the area that they are assigned. They also serve as the military presence in places that are so remote, it’s impossible for large-scale military forces to be deployed and sustained there long term.

2009 Canadian Rangers. (Photo by Wendy Gilmour, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

There are about 5,000 Canadian Rangers in total. They are distributed among the five Canadian Ranger patrol groups (CRPG), all working independently from each other, depending on their members and environment. These rangers are almost always on-duty, as they reside in their areas of operation and are always observant to ensure the survival of the small indigenous communities they live in, and they thrive in these modern times.

The Canadian Forces have been around since 1942, established in fear that the Japanese forces would attempt to invade North America through northern territories after the Pearl Harbor Attack in December 1941. Initially, the force was called the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers (PCMR), made up of volunteers who patrolled and protected the western coastlines of Canada, as well as calm the public fears of enemy invasion.

Lee-Enfield Rifle

The Lee-Enfield Rifle could be considered an oldie but goodie when it comes to old firearms. It served the British Empire from the fields of Europe and witnessed both World Wars.. It was also present on both sides during the Arab-Israeli conflict and served in the hands of the Taliban fighters. Lee-Enfield saw actions on D-Day, too, as well as the Battle of Kapyong, to name some.

Winston Churchill inspects the new Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk 1 rifle during a visit to 53rd Division in Kent, November 20, 1942. (Horton (Capt), War Office official photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

This classic rifle chambered .303 had different shapes and sizes from the World War I version with SMLE pattern up to the Ishapore Model 2A in 7.62×51 mm NATO produced in 1962. In over seven long decades, about 16 million Lee-Enfiled pattern rifles had been produced. Its longevity, durability, and simple design are what made the rifle a standard for bolt-action military rifles of the 20th century.

Rangers’ Weapon of Choice

The northernmost part of Canada, for the entire year, is like a giant freezer with temperatures reaching up to -40°F. Because of this, the Canadian Rangers need equipment that is dependable and guaranteed would work whenever needed. They found these qualities in the Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifle in 1947 and have not changed it ever since.

The No. 4 version entered service in 1941, with exceptional accuracy and rate of fire, just like the other models like the Lee-Enfield Mk III. This simplified version made the rifle stronger and easier to mass-produce. During World War II, the PCMR was in desperate need of getting whatever guns they could use as the Lee-Enfield was needed elsewhere, so they had no choice but to use whatever was available until more rifles became available and Canada could begin supplying them with Lee-Enfields. Thanks to the rifle’s accuracy, stopping power, and ruggedness, it remained in Canadian service. They didn’t feel the need to seek a different weapon until around 2010 when they began looking for a possible replacement because supplies of replacement parts for the Lee-Endfields were becoming scarce. The replacement of choice was Colt C19. According to the Government of Canada’s website,