No announcement yet.

22nd - July 31st, 2004

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 22nd - July 31st, 2004

    The moderation team has made a suggestion aimed at stimulating discussions and increasing the contributing membership. They proposed a monthly, or bi-monthly topic posted on the main website, but link(s) pointed here for the actual discussion. These topics will not be overly political or worded to inflame users or polarize the membership. They will be designed to get brain juices flowing and the points of view rolling in.

    Here we have a dry run for this idea. We hope to fully implement the actual concept on the 1st of August.

    I have here a recent topic about a magazine article. An article in Counterterrorism, a magazine about that topic, written by a respected member of the sniper community. This writer comes from an extensive SF sniper background, but states in the article that police snipers should not train beyond 200 yards. He goes into in-depth numbers trying to show that the size of the target, for an instantly incapaciting shot, and the time of flight for the bullet makes it implausible for a LEO sniper to hit a target beyond 200 yards. Therefore he reasons in the article that the LEO sniper should practice at 200 yards or less and nothing else because, “you can’t do everything.”

    The article was well written and the writer means well. We are not here to tear the author down or criticism him. Instead, write your replies, pro or con on that position, as a way to persuade the author and other readers to accept your take on this issue.
    Knowledge comes from retaining what is learned,

  • #2
    If you have the facilities, the time, and the ammunition to shot at longer ranges, then I think you are doing yourself, and those around you, a disservice by not practicing at distances longer than 200 yards.

    It was stated in the Counterterrorism article that, “You can’t do everything.” That is true, you can’t. That does not mean that you shouldn’t practice and prepare for things that are unlikely. I mean after all, a sniper for most police agencies is already and expensive “insurance policy.” For most, a sniper already represents events that might not happen. Your departments pay a premium in equipment, ammunition, training, and salaries (even those that fight for scraps) for a handful of officers that may/will never be give the green light to take a shot. So, does that mean we should not bother training at all? It follows the same mindset. After all, how many on this list have been behind the scope for 5 or 10 years and have never needed to pull the trigger? Or maybe only pulled it once in that time? Why should you spend all that money and time for something that might only come around once every 10 years, or never?

    One of my favorite training events is something I took and modified from the NCOIC of USASS, who was also a President’s 100, back around 1996. In his warm up, he would put a golf ball on an orange traffic cone at 300, 500, and 600 meters and shoot each one. I saw the potential in this concept and modified it to 100, 150, 200, 250, and 300 yards and named it “Sniper Golf”. To aid in the training value, I also hung the golf balls on strings (a staple in the top of the golf ball and then tie a 12”-18” piece of string to it). The golf balls on strings hang free from a target rack and move freely in the wind. A golf ball is approximately 1.5 inches across and can easily represent a human eye or, the “4 inch diameter cranial vault shoot at 100 yards,” represented in the “other” article. The golf ball will move considerably when there is wind, making it even more difficult and helps simulate the movement of a human head. What skill sets do you think a 300 yard/meter shot on a moving golf ball will improve? Maybe the same ones that could/would be used on a 75 yard hostage target? What do you think it does for an shooter’s confidence when he can nail the balls from 100-300 on a regular basis? We have several more solid drills that we use at greater distance that build the same skill set and mind set, but this isn’t a training layout.

    Let’s look at real events that real snipers have been in. Yes, in fact, there probably won’t be too many on this list sitting in hides or over watch positions at distances greater than 100 yards, but let’s not tell all those snipers that were involved in highly publicized events like Ruby Ridge (10 sniper @ 200-300 yards), Waco (20 + snipers 300-800 yards), and the 81-day Montana Freeman standoff. These are but a few small examples of where the suggested rule of “only train at 200 yards and in” would have left all of those LEO snipers at a loss and placed them squarely behind the power curve. There are many more events like these where LEO snipers where required to set up and be prepaid to shoot at distances beyond 200 yards, but this isn’t a history lesson.

    When you prepare for a day that may never come and a call that may never take place, don’t sell yourself short. Snipers are already a police department’s insurance policy for certain events that might not happen. It is up to you to be dedicated enough to make sure you have the skill set and the mind set to fill the needs of as many different scenarios as possible. Its your responsibility to ensure that if the call comes and the target is 500 yards away at a hospital in your jurisdiction , you can engage it with the same level of inner confidence that you outwardly show to your teammates as well as those your are sworn to protect and serve. Be as prepared as possible when the light goes green.
    Knowledge comes from retaining what is learned,


    • #3
      This is a good topic, I would like to jump in and put in my 2 cents worth. I sometimes go out and train with our Local Swat snipers here in town. They shoot there Quail about every three months. It is the standard FBI Quail that is shot at 100 yards. When they are not doing that they also shooting at 200 and 300 yards. There way of think here is that if they can hit small targets at 200 and 300 yards, then a small target at 100 yards or closer should be easy. Another reason why they shoot out to 200 and 300 yards is because of the local airport. They know that some day they might have to take a shot on a long runway. I am sure that the distance on some of those runways might be a little longer than 100 yards. Also some times they make calls out to Rual areas. They had a call out about 3 months ago in a rual area and the snipers were set-up about 150 yards from the suspect they were watching.

      We also went out one day and they shot out to 600 yards. Again this was just to see if they could hit out that far and this also helped them with there wind calls and trace reading. Will they ever have to shoot this far? Who knows, but they will have data if they have to. Is it TACTICAL sound for a Swat sniper to engage a target or make a head shot beyond 200 yards? I think that is a question left for the next discussion. Again this is just my 2 cents worth.
      "Learning to function under all types of situations and always maintaining good marksmanship skills is imperative to effective performance with the precision rifle."



      • #4
        First let me point out that i'm not a sniper, just a target shooter.

        That being said, my understanding is that if you have good ammo and good equipment, the only "weak" point is the shooter.

        For me there is no better confidence builder than shooting long distance, if someone is comfortable shooting at 600+, a 200 yds shot becomes easy.

        Realistics training scenario are also important.

        It might be over simplistic view, but i find it is the best way to convince a point of view is to present it as simple as possible


        • #5
          ***Note: These topics will also be attached to a poll that you can vote in, even if you don't want to actively participate in the discussion. Go to the HQ page and vote for these questions.
          Knowledge comes from retaining what is learned,


          • #6
            Hey Everyone,
            I agree that a Law Enforcement Sniper in a perfect world would have dope and skill to hit at any distance his weapon system can. Unfortunately, most have a limited training budget and time allotment. The great majority aren't lucky enough to have free and immediate access to long distance rifle ranges. As it is, the majority of LEO Snipers dig deep into thier own limted resources to support thier position.
            The ultimate arguement becomes, which is better? An Officer who can shoot with some degree of skill at a distance beyond which most Team Leaders will ever authorize a shot, or an officer with significant experience and talent within his most likely range of influence. Is it a better use of training time and resources to have an officer who can thread the needle anywhere within three hundred yards, or one who can tag pretty close to COM at eight hundred yards?
            I agree that shooting at distance can make you a better shooter up close, and has the corallary benifit of giving you dope if you ever find yourself in the uneviable position of having to take that long shot. Still, I think the best use of time and budget is the closer shots an officer is most likely to make. If the Officer has truly mastered that range, then and only then, should he look to extended shooting, and not to the detriment of his short range shooting skills.
            Here's an example. I regulalrly shoot my sidearm to maintain my skill with it. I fire different techniques, including sighted/aimed fire, unsighted/index/point shooting, and even weak hand only. I don't however, just fire weak hand only because I might lose the use of my primary hand. And you can be sure the great majority of my training, in excess of eighty percent of it, is with my primary hand. I have the waek hand skill, but I focus the great majority of my training time on the skills I'm most likely to need, in the highly unlikely chance I'll ever need them at all.
            Just some more food for thought...I hope it helps.
            "It's better to live one day as a lion, than one hundred years as a sheep", Old Roman Proverb.
            "For those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know", Author Unknown.
            "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!", Shakespeare, Julius Ceaser, Act III, Scene I.


            • #7
              Available resources can often determine the extent to which an individual is expected to become proficient. Notwithstanding this, the art of precision shooting at golf balls, grapes, or other significant targets is more complex than mearly yardage. The more skillfull an individual is at any range and under non perfect conditions will only make the outcome of any shot more desirable. Personally, I believe all LEO shooters should press their envelope of capability until they are as good as they can be.

              All of the components and procedures that make a perfect shot at 1000 yards will do the same for you at 200 yards. The skills used at LR shooting are not lost on the 200 yard and shorter shot. To flinch or sweat drop a shot will cause havoc at 200 yards as surely as it will at 1K. Trigger control, rifle support, angular shots and glass shots are just as difficult at 200 yards as they would be for a wind shot at 500 or 600. Imperfections in the shooter will be a little more apparent at longer ranges where angles and the like are expanded. Also, confidence built in mastering critical elements of precision shooting at 500 yards will enhance the level of skill at the 120 yards mark. Lastly, a very thorough knowledge of an individuals specific rifle, its ballistics, its feel, and its mood, will make a more efficient combination, even if it is never tested to its limits. Mistakes in the real world are uncomfortable to say the least.

              Today, what goes up does not have to come down!


              • #8
                It comes down to operator competence and confidence.

                As a shooter, I have an obligation and responsibility to know my limitations.
                Constantly training for things that may come to fruition is my responsibility. This teachs me to know my limitations. Always needing and pushing my comfort zone a little bit further and expanding my knowledge base though training makes me a better marksman, whether it is shooting a golf ball at 40 when my zero is 100 yards or at 250 with a 200 zero.

                I NEED to know my limitations ... Only then can I feel no guilt in saying "I CAN'T MAKE THAT SHOT!"

                Limitations are only things which I have not tried!

                Like Kevin Mussack said in one of his articles - "Training right, Mission perfect."

                ?Thought becomes action, if action is a result of thought, can action obtain the speed of thought??


                • #9
                  Yeah...... what HB said........ Read it again!

                  I also like what snip1er is saying. It reminds me of two important phrases in my life. First is "what if". That has caused me to plan/prepare for the worst. As rough as you can imagine a situation, A BG can cause that to happen....... or worse. Which brings me to "be prepared". It sure sounds to me like snip1er is gonna be one prepared dude. You can't practice everything, but, that doen't mean one shouldn't get as much quality, and varied training, as one reasonably can acquire.

                  Roger........... out
                  slow down, son..... you just can't miss fast enough to survive a gunfight

                  it's all just in good fun till somebody gets hurt.... then it's hilarious

                  The Second Amendmendment..... what part of "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?


                  • #10
                    I think the questions could have been better put. I voted for only 200 yards. Now to clarify. Are we talking about a surgical head shot or a longer distance body shot. It does make a difference. I do not believe a police sniper should make a surgical head shot beyond 200 yards in a hostage situation. They should parctice body shots at the longest range they can, but in a urban environment, if a police sniper takes a body shot at say 500 or more yards and misses and hits a bystander, there will be hell to pay.



                    • #11
                      That is part of the question and discussion. Should they? If yes or no, when should they and when shouldn’t they?

                      I know you guys can’t read the original article and we will try not to use issues like this for the regular bi-monthly discussion, but, the author stated that LEO snipers should not train past 200 yards…period. That is, aside from limited uses by the Secrete Service.
                      Knowledge comes from retaining what is learned,


                      • #12
                        When I was running the Sniper teams on my old SWAT team, we all had dope out to 550yds. I never expected to have to use most of it, but it's good to have. I can't ever imagine saying "Gee, I wish I didn't have all this additional range data for my rifle". I have overhead Snipers saying they wish they had additional dope, though.

                        It's better to have and not need than need and not have. Also, it is a great morale and confidence booster. If you are consistently ringing a 4" plate at 550yds, then when the time comes to take that 72yd shot for real, it will be easier (discounting the possible stress factors, of course!). Shooting is about 99% mental. A confident shooter is a better shooter.

                        I would say that 75% of our Sniper live fire training took place at 100yds and under, about 20% at 100-200yds, and 5% from 200-550yds. That was official training documented on C12's for record and POST credit. We all practiced "off the clock" at all the different ranges.

                        A lot of this would depend on the environment in your jurisdiction. If you are a LE Sniper out in the Midwest or West, you might have to make longer shots. Or if your team is responsible for an airport or possibly even large bodies of water.

                        I can't really see any downsides to having additional trigger time and solid data for varying ranges and conditions. It's all good.....

                        It's knowing that when I get up in the morning and my feet hit the floor, the Devil says, "Shit! He's awake!"

                        Shortly before World War I, the German Kaiser was the guest of the Swiss government to observe military maneuvers. The Kaiser asked a Swiss militiaman: "You are 500,000 and you shoot well, but if we attack with 1,000,000 men what will you do?" The soldier replied: "We will shoot twice and go home."

                        "There are so many Russians, and our country so small, where will we find room to bury them all?" - anonymous Finnish soldier


                        • #13
                          First off, I disagree with the notion that a LEO Sniper should only train at "200 and in period".
                          There are too many variables in this job.
                          If you work a urban or metropolitan area like downtown Detroit, or L.A., well, practice what's likely. High angle shots from buildings, Rooftop shots, residential neighborhood shots with surgical precision, etc. But if you work for a county agency, or an area with variable AO's, you should practice for WHATEVER might come your way. And dont be shy about making up "What-if's".
                          In my case, we not only cover a large county that varies greatly in types of terrain, and can run the gamut of environments from slums, to posch "well-off" million dollar residences, to rural farms and ranches, to downtown skyscrapers. My team is also responsible for an Air Force base, and an Army installation. Think we should be able to shoot at 45 degree angles from 20 stories up? Sure. Should we be able to take shots in the next yard? Of Course. How about a long head shot on a hijacker or terrorist, or just a deranged E-1 that's snapped and taken a hostage? Absolutely. And it may come across a long tarmac, or down the runway, perhaps even from one of the isolated buildings or bunkers on base in one of the more remote areas. Maybe even from a ranch house in the middle of 50 acres of recently plowed farmland, with little chance of covert approach. You just never know.
                          I have set up on a house as close as 35 feet, and I've been as far out as 500 yards.
                          We shot an individual several years ago, that was walking down the road taking potshots at motorists, houses, and anything else that looked like a good target at the time. The distance to target for the shot that stopped him was around the 400 yard mark.
                          To say that a police sniper "won't ever take a shot beyond 200 yards, so don't even bother training for it", is irresponsible. It's my humble opinion that an individual with that mindset should get out of the game. If you train to 200 yards, that's all you're good for. Hell, your average patrol deputy armed with an AR-15 can make that shot. We as snipers need to be better than that. MUCH better than that. That's our job, and it's our responsibility to see that all our patrol guys/gals, and our SWAT team brethren go home after the incident in one piece. WE are the last line of defense in some cases. Treat the job with the respect it deserves, and take it very seriously. Lives depend on us. "If you miss, someone dies." That's the principle I operate on every time I go out. Don't miss. Be better than the other guy. No matter what his level of training or experience, be better than he is. That's what motivates me to push myself to a higher level. I'm never "Good enough".
                          Not to belittle the author of the article, but perhaps he wasn't competent beyond that range. That's Fine. It's the responsibility of EVERY sniper to know his limitations, and know when it's time to nut up and say, "I don't think I can make that shot". If you're not comfortable with the shot, DON'T take it. Especially an LE sniper. The ramifications of a missed shot for an LE sniper are unbelievable.
                          I go to great lengths to improve my skills, and know my limitations. I regularly practice cold bore shots at 550 yards on clay pigeons, and smaller targets inside that distance. In my mind, no matter what situation should arise, I NEED to be able to stop the threat. That's my job.
                          If you're suddenly presented with a "Must make" rural shot at 400 or 500 yards, because of some Off-the-wall incident, against a whacked-out target shooter or hunter, all jacked up on Goof Balls, slinging lead at everyone he sees with a scoped 300 Win Mag, you'd better be up to the challenge.
                          Life can play some funny tricks on you, and bad guys don't read the rule book.
                          Have your training documented, and have your rifle dope ready to save somebody's bacon at 800 or more yards. If you only practice to 200, and you let a shot go at 350 and miss, who's butt is on the line? Yours.
                          Don't restrict yourself to 200 yards. Don't short change the people who depend on you with their lives.
                          Push yourself, and make yourself the best you can be. I practice more on my own time than I do with the team. That's why they trust me. That's why I trust myself.
                          Believe me, it's a good feeling.
                          Push the limits. Because life itself and the bad guys surely will. Be ready for it.
                          Because, "YOU JUST NEVER KNOW...... "

                          "We stand at the ready at hell's front door. We are the sharpest and most potent arrow in the quiver of last resort, and upon us hangs the weight of being the final option. When it cannot otherwise be done, we are called. When lives are at stake and the specter of death roams freely, we are put into the fray. We go once more into the breach where others fear to tread. We do what others won't... or can't, and we are allowed no errors. For us mistakes mean death. We must train as if our lives, and the lives of others hang in the balance, for indeed they truly do.
                          Spend this day and every other day seeking perfection in the warrior arts."

                          JB out.
                          "We stand at the ready at Hell's front door. We are the sharpest, and most potent arrow in the quiver of last resort and upon us hangs the weight of being the final option. When it cannot otherwise be done, we are called. When lives are at stake and the specter of death roams freely, we are put into the fray. We go once more into the breach where others fear to tread. We do what others won't, or can't, and we are allowed no errors. For us mistakes mean death. We must train as if our lives and the lives of others hang in the balance for indeed they truly do. Spend this day and every other seeking perfection in the warrior arts."


                          • #14

                            Where'd you get the quote in your last paragraph....Thanks...Jet
                            Isshin Ryu Student


                            • #15
                              One of our entry guys came up with that. He's a writer, and I believe it's his own work.
                              We use it as one of our quotes on some of our team postings and literature, along with our team logo. I've always liked the sound of it.

                              "We stand at the ready at Hell's front door. We are the sharpest, and most potent arrow in the quiver of last resort and upon us hangs the weight of being the final option. When it cannot otherwise be done, we are called. When lives are at stake and the specter of death roams freely, we are put into the fray. We go once more into the breach where others fear to tread. We do what others won't, or can't, and we are allowed no errors. For us mistakes mean death. We must train as if our lives and the lives of others hang in the balance for indeed they truly do. Spend this day and every other seeking perfection in the warrior arts."