But don’t use a mouse-killing rifle

Move Like a Cat, Instructor Tells Sniper Candidates


To pass the stalking test soldiers had to pick out an instructor in their site and identify a letter printed on a card he was holding. If they got the letter right they fired a blank round and crawled back to the start point. If an instructor saw trainees poking their heads up or moving the grass they were disqualified.

Smith said the stalking section of sniper school required trainees to use a variety of skills they learned in the weeks leading up to it.

“First they learn range estimation with their eyes, binoculars and scope,” he said. “Then they practice target detection, which is like a military Easter egg hunt. We put military items on the range and they have to find them with their binoculars and scope.”

Snipers also learn rifle marksmanship at distances of 300 to 800 yards during the day and at night, shoot at moving targets at ranges out to 600 yards and fire .50-caliber sniper rifles at vehicle-size targets 1,400 to 2,000 yards away. They also study the history of sniping, employment, tracking and foreign weapons, Smith said.

Hopesuflly, by the time the next assault rifle is adopted in 2019, the brass will have realized that it’s not only snipers and sharpshooters that could benefit from something larger than a 5.56.

UPDATE: In response to some comments about non-lethal snipers, I’m posting this link.


  1. I have to say, the training to become a sniper sounds really fun: lots of esotertic skills and equipment to learn, physical and mental challenges, a chance to be outdoors in weird conditions. It’s just a shame that it has to involve combat and killing people. But then, what’s the point of a non-lethal sniper?

  2. But then, what’s the point of a non-lethal sniper?’ sometimes one might want to just take photos or other intelligence, or maybe just wound. There was on /. an article about a BlueTooth ‘sniper rifle’, not really a gun, but a means of hacking BlueTooth connections at a fair distance (BlueTooth is normally a shortrange radio format) even then, the thought of having to cope with -possible- snipers succeeds in changing an enemy’s behaviour.

  3. They are called ‘Scout-Snipers’ in the Marine Corps. The scouting and the sniping being equally important to the Battalion they support. However, I can’t imagine anything more useless than a sniper unwilling to kill.