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WHAT QUALITIES MAKE A GOOD SNIPER

By Tom Bruner



What makes a good professional sniper? How does he think? Is he a crazed gunman or a cold-blooded killer? A judge jury and executioner? What is he thinking when he makes that shot? Does he care about his victim? Why has he even been hated by his own military or misunderstood by his own department? These are all questions many asked about the professional sniper.

A professional sniper is a special kind of soldier or police officer. He has to be a very focused individual. When he shoots his mind has to be uncluttered from any thought except making the shot. The famous sniper Carlos Hathcock used the statement, “Getting in to my bubble.” He cannot think about what he is shooting at or identifying with the target. He cannot feel anything about the target at the time of the shot. Afterward, that can be different. He does care. In a hostage situation, he must think in terms of saving a life or lives rather than taking a life. It is the same for the military sniper. He knows if he kills, especially a valuable target, it will save his comrades lives.

Some men can only shoot in the heat of combat. An expert shot may not be able to be a sniper. Hunting experience helps, but some hunters would not make good snipers. The sniper must shoot, with the fact in mind that his quarry does not even know he is there. Some men cannot do this and are not suited to this. A sniper must have unusual patience and be able to stay still for long hours. In a hostage situation he is the first and last on the scene and must stay the full course of the incident. This takes extreme patience. Snipers and sniper teams are usually on their own and must be able to make decisions without orders. The sniper, both police and military, must know when to take the shot and when not to. Snipers must be keen observers, paying attention to details and being aware of their surroundings and everything that is going on around them.

A military sniper must be clever and be able to deceive his enemy as to his position. He must make his enemy think he is somewhere where he is not. A good sniper must be able to adapt to different combat situations and to adapt his camouflage to his area of operations. He must know how to exploit the terrain around him to his advantage. He must know how to hide and build suitable hides for his mission.

A military sniper must be an advanced infantryman able to call in artillery and air strikes. Knowledge of map reading, compass and GPS is a must. They should be trained as forward observers and in reconnaissance. The must know how to exploit their enemy’s weaknesses. They must be meticulous in their preparation; planning routes for both insertion and evasion. He must understand the concept of stealth, cover and concealment being able to stalk for long distances without being observed.

A sniper must be an expert shot and have a thorough knowledge of ballistics and know what effects the environmental conditions have on his bullet flight and how to correct for this. He should be meticulous in record keeping and have basic drawing skills. Sniping is a constant learning experience, a sniper must be able to keep acquiring knowledge to enhance his skills and abilities.

Many military personnel do not understand how to exploit the role of the sniper and his value to them. Over the years and through wars, he has been thought of as a coward, shooting from long distance in cold blood. Also the term “sniper” has been used by the media for people that have killed and murdered from a distance even though they were never considered trained military or police snipers. The term as had a derogatory meaning for many years. This has led to a distinct disliking of him, even among his own units. This is gradually changing as officers are being trained in sniper deployment, and ongoing sniper programs have been developed.

A sniper must also know his own weaknesses and how the enemy will more than likely respond to him. He must expect to be treated differently if captured than the average infantryman. In summary he should be an exceptional, disciplined marksman with exceptional training.

This is a short summary of some of the qualities of a good sniper




Patience
Independence
Hunting experience
Cleverness
Ability to adapt to different situations
Make decisions on his own
Keen observation skills
Field craft skills and knowing how to use all types of camouflage effectively
Stealth
Awareness
Knowledge of ballistics
Marksmanship
Ability to keep learning
Discipline
Meticulous preparation
Attention to details
Understanding his enemy
Exploiting his enemies weaknesses
Knowing when to shoot and when not too.
Record and data keeping skills
Evasion skills
Stay still for long hours

:thumb:
 

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I love this *****
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Can't be the nervous type. Relaxed, calm, good eyesight and general health, unemotional, dedicated, and comfortable.
 

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American fearmaker
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What a lot of people don't know is that most snipers undergo very demanding psychological testing BEFORE they can even go through sniper training. I know about that because I went through Sniper School in Viet Nam. After they are through the training and return to their units, the sniper's every action is monitored and watched. His kills are recorded, documented and stored away for analysis later on. Snipers are NOT cold blooded. Reptiles are cold blooded. Even after he gets out of the military the government keeps track of the former sniper. Snipers are actually issued an Individual Sniper Number (ISN) that follows him for the rest of his life. The guys who are picked to become snipers come from a variety of different fields. In times of war, to get into the Sniper School a soldier generally must have been documented to have at least one confirmed kill of an enemy soldier while in combat. Some of the guys who were snipers in my class were really a mixed bag of people. One guy had been a music teacher prior being drafted into the Army. Another was an old farm boy from Arkansas who had a natural hunting ability. A couple of the guys had been cops in civilian life. One guy had been a male nurse prior to becoming a grunt. Some had been scouts or recon team members. Some were Rangers. Some, like me, were paratroopers. We all got into our training with gusto. Our class started off with about 30 students. Only 16 of us graduated and that was unusually high for that training. Normally when 30 students start off only about 8 to 10 people graduate. Once you get back to your unit most of your kills come to you in the form of "targets of opportunity" or whatever enemy troops you stray across. There are, however, times when you will be assigned by different higher headquarters sniper missions. In my case, I could draw sniper missions from my CO, my battalion, my brigade and my corps leaders. In addition, I could be recalled by my Sniper School to pull missions through their authority. In addition, you could draw a special mission from covert groups like Special Forces, CIA and others. If you want to read a little bit more about snipers, get the book titled Soldier by James Gibbore. Keep in mind that much of what Gibbore writes is pure fiction and some of it is right on the money. Gibbore was a sniper in the 3rd Battalion Recon Platoon at the same time I was a sniper in the 1st Battalion Recon Platoon. We were both in Viet Nam in 1970 and both served in the 173D Airborne Brigade. The 173D Airborne Brigade was, and still is, one hell of a combat infantry unit. The 173D made the only combat parachute assault in Iraq a couple of years ago to capture Tikrit.
 

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They usualy pull you off the rifle range for later testing. Someone quiet, patient, great eyesight, great memory, someone who can think for themself, and someone who don't care who the target is or where.
 

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a little modern experiance

I have to be honest, currently being deployed and in a sniper position, what it really takes is someone intelligent, physically fit, and a willingness to get the job done. There are three of us on the team and we all have diff't backgrounds. We have myself, a yank from NY but who grew up around guns all his life, a guy from Cali who before the army never really handled a weapon, and a gearhead from Alabama whos dad was a career soldier. All in all, the one thing we have in common is the ability to reason well, shoot straight, and think for ourselves because often times it is just us. When it comes to taking the shot there is no hesitation, we just do it. Also, there are no more Individual Sniper Numbers. Now, upon completion of U.S. Army Sniper School you are fingerprinted and entered into an FBI database (Scary, I know), just in case something happens, like the D.C. Sniper and you're in the area at the time, guess what, you're a suspect.
 

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American fearmaker
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Don't Tread, let me clue you in a little more... If you get out of the military and you are a trained sniper IF you get into law enforcement you will on occasion "get a phone call or two." I'm not talking about taking shots in all the cases. Expect that you might get a call to help out bodyguarding a VIP, like General Westmoreland or maybe General Powell. Believe me, they know where you live and they will, from time-to-time, give you a little nudge just to let you know that they're STILL watching over you. Nothing big. Just an occasion little prod to sort of say, "Hi. We're still here." The nudges I got were good ones. One was almost funny in a way. So, expect them to care about you long after you're out.
 

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They are trained to execute strategic removal of key enemy personal to optimize the advancement of ally troops. Not to be cold blooded killers or robots with balls of steel they are as human as the next guy. Remember the war its ,war not some friggin video game on TV or your computer. Killing someone is not a thrill ride and not something most people want to keep count of except for being accountable to your CO.
 
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