09/02/2016 14:19 EDT | Updated 09/03/2017 01:12 EDT

Defence minister says Canada will replace rifles used in north since WWI

WHITEHORSE — The federal government says the northern arm of Canada's military will get new, modern firearms.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says 6,800 rifles will replace those currently used by the Canadian Rangers.

The Rangers have been using the Lee Enfield 303 rifle since the First World War.

Sajjan says Colt Canada will get the $33-million contract for the new rifles.

Ranger Patrol Cmdr. Sgt. Steve Hahn says the Colt rifles are lighter, easier to handle and their ammunition and parts are readily available.

Sajjan made the announcement in Whitehorse during the annual Canadian Armed Forces training exercise in the north. (CKRW)