Presumably everyone is familiar with snipers. We’ve seen them dozens of times in movies and on TV. Heck, you may have even seen one in the flesh on the roof of a neighboring building during a high profile event in your city. You may think that since you saw ‘Jack Reacher’ you’re an expert on snipers, but there is a lot more to these skilled professionals than Hollywood lets on. That said, here is a list of 10 things you didn’t know about snipers.
10. SNIPERS ARE TRAINED TO SHOOT IN BETWEEN HEARTBEATS
Crazy as it may sound, snipers are indeed trained to shoot between heartbeats so as not to allow the flow of their blood to negatively impact their trigger finger while aiming and shooting.
9. BEING A SNIPER ISN’T JUST ABOUT SHOOTING PEOPLE
Military snipers are not only trained to eliminate enemy personnel. They are also trained in camouflage and concealment, observation, stalking and map reading. They are also often employed to destroy equipment such as enemy vehicles, fuel tanks and radios.
8. U.S. ARMY SNIPERS ARE ACCURATE
Studies show that during the Vietnam War it took an average of 50,000 rounds to kill an enemy soldier with the M-16 while the average number of rounds expended per kill by United States Army snipers was only 1.3.
7. SNIPERS HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR A LONG TIME
The word “sniper” has been around since the 19th century. It was first developed during the British occupation of India and referred to a hunter of a particular type of game bird appropriately called the snipe.
6. FEMALE SNIPERS ARE JUST AS LETHAL AS THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS
The name Lyudmila M. Pavlichenko probably doesn’t mean much to you or me, but most snipers and sniper enthusiasts have probably heard her name a few times. She was one of the most deadly snipers during WWII with a whopping confirmed 309 Axis kills. The Russian sniper holds the record for the highest confirmed kill total by any female sniper in all of history.
5. SNIPERS WERE FIRST USED IN WWI
The Russians may have been the first to deploy snipers in teams of two, but it was the Germans who first utilized specially trained snipers altogether while fighting in World War I.
4. GILLIE SUITS ARE CLUTCH
Snipers absolutely make use of the gillie suit. The gillie is made ideally from surrounding leaves, twigs and other scraps of materials and designed to resemble heavy foliage. When constructed properly, it will move with the wind in unison with the neighboring environment making infrared scanner pickup more difficult and making the wearer all but impossible to spot with the naked eye.
3. U.S ARMY SNIPER SCHOOLS ARE STILL IN THE INFANT STAGES
It wasn’t until 1987 that the very first U.S. Army developed their sniper school making them less than 30 years old. Ah, the joys of being young!
2. SNIPERS CAN SHOOT FARTHER THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE
According to the Guinness World Records, Craig Harrison (CoH) in the Blues and Royals RHG/D of the British Army holds the world record for the longest confirmed sniper kill within combat at a range of 2,475 meters (2,707 yards). He beat the previous record of 2,430 m (2,657 yd), which was set by Rob Furlong in 2002.
1. HAVING 20:20 VISION IS JUST THE BEGINNING
Military snipers must have a corrected vision of 20/20. However, that is just the beginning. Along with great vision, you must have a GT score of 100, must be knowledgeable of skill level 2 tasks, must have no history of alcohol or drug abuse, have a 70 percent or better across all physical conditioning events, no record of disciplinary action and must be recommended by your commander. Well, I guess I’m out.