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Posted: 6/16/2002 6:00:45 AM EDT
For both military and law enforcement, what is the average distance a professional sniper comes across to take down a target?
I remember a while back, there was a newsstory that made a big deal of a LE sniper taking a "precision shot" at 50 yards. 50 yards??? I bet that sniper was proud of his "almost impossible" accomplishment.

ArmaLiter
Link Posted: 6/16/2002 6:12:47 AM EDT
For Police engagements, the aveage is about 82 yards, and I believe I saw somewhere that there hasn't been a sniper shot at more than 100, in documented US law enforcement shootings. Remember, the goal in an LE counter-sniper shooting is different; the shooter is placing his bullet exactly into his target and must do so precisely to immediately stop the bad guy with that single round. Anything else isn't acceptable, given the liklihood of hostages and how far a .308 can go.
Link Posted: 6/16/2002 7:45:45 AM EDT
Students were taught to try and establish a FFP @ 600yds min/max, when possible, with the M40A1. The new A3 with the LR round may have doctrine pushing ideal FFP distance to the 700-750yds range. I wonder what scope is on the A3s.

Dave S
Link Posted: 6/16/2002 5:32:38 PM EDT


Natez,

From the footage I have seen on TV. Alot of the LEO's shots are not to kill but disarm and give the opportunity for arrest. I saw this one loooser get a revolver shot out of his hand. Didn't even scratch the guy. That's pretty good shootin' to me. Even from just 50 yds.
Any standing orders on how to handle those situations or is it a case by case deal?

Link Posted: 6/16/2002 5:42:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lckydevl:


Natez,

From the footage I have seen on TV. Alot of the LEO's shots are not to kill but disarm and give the opportunity for arrest. I saw this one loooser get a revolver shot out of his hand. Didn't even scratch the guy. That's pretty good shootin' to me. Even from just 50 yds.
Any standing orders on how to handle those situations or is it a case by case deal?




That is a very limited and somewhat controversial "sniping" role. It was started by LAPD SWAT, weapon disablement is the term they use (IIRC).

Military snipers are free to engage a target, use of force wise, once they ID the target. They get to decide how, when, where, etc they engage the target. Also if they miss their target, let's say a General, but hit the guy standing next to him, a Colonel, the shot is considered a success.

LE marksmen must ID the target and wait until they have legal justifictation to engage the target, as well as possibly having to get "permission" to engage the target. Because of that they are often trying to engage obscured, moving targets. If the shoot and hit someone standinf next to the specified target, that is not a success. The LE marksman is trying to instantly stop their target, so that the target can't do anything else to endanger any other person.

Link Posted: 6/16/2002 5:49:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/16/2002 5:50:49 PM EDT by Lckydevl]
Wow, it sounds like he also needs to pass the bar in whatever state he works just to keep himself out of trouble!

Link Posted: 6/16/2002 7:17:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lckydevl:
Natez,
I saw this one loooser get a revolver shot out of his hand. Didn't even scratch the guy. That's pretty good shootin' to me. Even from just 50 yds.



I remember that. He was sitting in the middle of the street threatening to commit suicide.
He just kinda looked down at the pieces of the gun in disbelief befor the cops rushed him.

Link Posted: 6/16/2002 8:01:24 PM EDT
The average is 100yds or less, although most LE snipers are ready for a 300 yd cold bore shot, they rarely have to take a shot from that distance.
Link Posted: 6/16/2002 9:21:18 PM EDT
The average shot actually taken is around 80 yards, the longest law enforcement shot to date is 460 yards. It was taken by a U.S. Parks Police sniper who took out a guy who had explosives near the Washington Memorial.

The reason is that unlike the military sniper, the police sniper is able to literally get on the roof of the building next door.

Link Posted: 6/16/2002 9:27:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lckydevl:
I saw this one loooser get a revolver shot out of his hand. Didn't even scratch the guy. That's pretty good shootin' to me. Even from just 50 yds.



I think they used one of those compressed copper rounds or something for that shot (the ones that vaporize on impact with something solid). Didn't they?
Link Posted: 6/16/2002 10:31:19 PM EDT
For the LAPD, they rarely shoot more than 75 yrds. I think the longest was 150 yrds. The problem is the target isn't a person, it's more often only part of a person.
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 2:04:28 AM EDT

Military snipers are free to engage a target, use of force wise, once they ID the target. They get to decide how, when, where, etc they engage the target. Also if they miss their target, let's say a General, but hit the guy standing next to him, a Colonel, the shot is considered a success.


Yoo phunny guy. Yoo make me laff long time.

Dave S
Link Posted: 6/17/2002 6:27:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lckydevl:
Wow, it sounds like he also needs to pass the bar in whatever state he works just to keep himself out of trouble!




That's the beauty of the LE sniper's role. The LE is rarely actually responsible for taking the shot per se. He or she doesn't have to make the decision.

The LE sniper is almost always on the radio net with higher command reporting exactly what he or she sees through the scope. Likewise the spotter. The spotter is observing through a spotting scope and reporting back to the commander on scene.

The commander on scene needs to get provisional orders from their commander allowing them to use pre-emptive force/snipers in the situation then begins watching the situation seeking resolution. If the situation degrades to the point that it looks like the shot must be taken, the on scene commander, based on what the sniper, spotter and other on scene intelligence and surveillance is telling them will give the order to take the shot. The sniper himself is only responsible for passing on the intel and making certain that the shot goes where it is supposed to.

It is also important to note that the only spot on the human anatomy guaranteed to instantly incapacitate a human being to the point that they CANNOT squeeze a trigger is the brain stem (where the spinal cord comes out of the base of the skull.) That target is extrapolated rather than directly observed, and is only about the size of a walnut. It's a 2 MOA target TOPS and you can only extrapolate it's position based on a knowledge of anatomy. a near miss is probably enough to do the job from bone fragmentation etc., but not certain. Taking that shot at 80 meters, likely with intervening glass, and a target that may be partially obscured/screened or moving, is nothing to sneeze at. Also be aware that while the shot is fairly easy to accomplish against an unmoving face forward target, if the target is standing at an angle to the shooter it becomes more compex.

Now add in city winds rushing down the streets in odd gusts, plus weird up and downdrafts from strange building configurations, etc. Then consider different angles of attack, etc. It's pretty complex really. About the one thing that works in your advantage is the fact that your elevation and windage adjustments are going to be minor thanks to the short range.

No thanks, not a mission I'd want. Frankly the military sniper, while he is shooting at longer ranges, may actually have an easier tactical situation since a hit is a hit. If the guy gets up or doesn't drop instantly it's usually not that big a deal. The military sniper also has greater discretion, at least in a war zone, to take the shots he feels are necessary. The LE sniper has nearly zero margin for error, very challenging shooting conditions, and suffers from a complex decision making process, that while it frees him from making the decision, may leave him without a shot once the word gets back at him to take the shot. Yuck.
Link Posted: 6/19/2002 4:06:52 PM EDT
My copy of the army sniper trainingmanual cautions against friring from closer than 300 yards. They are trained to shoot to 1000 yards.

The reason for the long engagement distance is that when firing from ambush a man is not too hard for them to hit at 300 yards, but getting closer makes detection an easier task for the enemy.
Link Posted: 6/19/2002 5:55:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By natez:

.........I believe I saw somewhere that there hasn't been a sniper shot at more than 100, in documented US law enforcement shootings.



Thought the Ruby Ridge shot where Mr. Weaver's wife was killed was longer ??
Link Posted: 6/19/2002 6:46:55 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/19/2002 7:28:39 PM EDT
In an LE role a "countersniper" is more of a sharpshooter than a traditional sniper by definition. While getting into position may require fieldcraft and concealment, they are working in a better controlled environment. The targets are well defined and usually in a known position, as opposed to engaging an enemy that has mortars, reaction forces, crew served weapons, and their own snipers. In the military environment, engaging the enemy undetected and outside of their effective range is ideal.
Link Posted: 6/19/2002 8:33:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/19/2002 8:34:14 PM EDT by marvl]
Of course, there is Carlos Hathcock's famous 1-shot kill in Vietnam with a 50BMG (MG not rifle) at 1700 or 2500 yards (I forget which, been a long time since I read the book).
Link Posted: 6/22/2002 1:48:24 AM EDT
it was 2500 with an M2, using a custom made scope mount.
the story goes, they were out testing the gun and sighting it in at 2500-2700meters, some VC comes walking into range area around 2400-2500meters and got zapped.
Link Posted: 6/22/2002 2:00:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/24/2002 3:03:10 AM EDT by mr_wilson]
Don't forget about the posted topic last month or so about the Canadian sniper up for US bronze star for support of our troops in which while using a 50cal. bolt rifle he dispatched Taliban at 1700 meters and something in the neighborhood 2400 meters.

from Beekeeper: I believe it was about a 200 yd. shot, but it wasn't a "law enforcement" shooting--it was a "murder." It cannot, therefore, be counted as a LE shot.
Correct on both points.

Mike
Link Posted: 6/24/2002 3:02:51 AM EDT
Bolt Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Canadian Snipers In Afghanistan : Part I

FWIW, the August 2002 issue of Soldier of Fortune, which came Saturday, contains part I of a two part article which parallels the facts I have noted in my post above about the Canadian sniper teams. It appears I was mistaken about the range listed above as at the end of “part I” is this excerpt “Next month: Part II, with confirmed kills at 2310 and 2400 meters from a .50 BMG McMillian LRSW.” This is a very good article in which an interview is done with Master Corporal (MCPL) “Alex” the “shooter” (a 30 year old infantryman and 10 year veteran) on his three-man team, who has been a sniper for 2 years.

Article has fairly good inventory of equipment being used by the Canadian sniper teams and contains lots of info on the U.S. forces they were supporting in “Operation Anaconda” in March of this year. Also included is a brief history of the “rejuvenation” of Canadian Army sniping at the School of Infantry. While for reason of political correctness the Canadians would not be specific on the actual number of kills, thankfully SOF suffers no such compunction. A source in Kandahar working with the Canadian sniper teams estimates “well over 20 confirmed kills at long ranges.” Mentioned in this part I was the 2400 meter “chest shot” on a Taliban enemy supply truck driver, which if validated will be a new record for the longest shot made by a military sniper in combat (currently 2500 yards or about 2250 meters, held by GySgt Carlos Hathcock, USMC, near Duc Pho, South Vietnam, January 1967, with a Browning .50 HMG mounted with an 8-power Unertl scope). Worth the read, IMHO.

Mike
Link Posted: 6/24/2002 2:49:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dc306:
The average shot actually taken is around 80 yards, the longest law enforcement shot to date is 460 yards. It was taken by a U.S. Parks Police sniper who took out a guy who had explosives near the Washington Memorial.



When was this and please post a valid link of more info...
Link Posted: 6/24/2002 3:56:50 PM EDT
I would be interested in a link, as well, because this contradicts my other stats (and stats need to be accurate).

Oly and Iceman pretty much summed this one up; I am not a sniper, anyway; I am just the guy they whine to when they want more gear and books them range time, although I am generally familiar with what they do.
Link Posted: 6/25/2002 1:45:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 7:
...
When was this and please post a valid link of more info...


Unfortunately I don’t have a link.

However, this incident took place in about 1983. I remember the incident (but not date) quite clearly since at the early states of it I was maybe 300 yards from where it was taking place (strictly as a sightseer – I was on my lunch break).

The individual was apparently an anti-war type who claimed to have explosives in a large van that he had driven up along side the Washington Monument. (Strangely, he was in his 60’s and was a WWII veteran.)

He wasn’t taken too seriously until an ATF check revealed that he had attempted to make a “straw man” purchase of explosives a week or so earlier, I believe in Kentucky. At that point everybody (myself included) was chased off.

After about 8 hours of standing by his van, the individual got into it and started to drive off. At that point a Park Police sniper in the Department of Commerce building about 400 and some odd yards way took him out. I have a vague recollection that snipers in other locations may have also fired at the van.

No explosives were found in the van.

Since it was not known if he was alone, a SWAT team had to go in and clear the Washington Monument (I bet that was one tired bunch of guys).

The Park Police initially lied and claimed that the sniper (or snipers) shot for the van tires.
Link Posted: 6/25/2002 2:35:59 AM EDT
I vaguely remember this now, but I don't remember the exact circumstnaces under which this guy was shot (I was probably about 9 at the time). This bears more research.
Link Posted: 7/24/2002 7:33:18 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/24/2002 7:34:41 AM EDT by ura_baddog]

Originally Posted By thebeekeeper1:

I believe it was about a 200 yd. shot, but it wasn't a "law enforcement" shooting--it was a "murder." It cannot, therefore, be counted as a LE shot.




I think since the law enforcement officer was on the clock doing what he was getting paid to do. It should still count as a LEO shot.

I think of it as a PAID HIT, still a murder. No
reason to not count it as a LE hit.
Link Posted: 7/24/2002 8:22:29 AM EDT
I was a guest at "Sniper Week" this year in Miami, FL. The longest reported shot taken this past year by a Police Sniper was 87 yards., and I believe the shortest was 37 feet, IIRC, but I am sure of the longest. The average shot was, I believe, 47 yards.

There may be a Web-site for this, and I'll look. I know the president of the association is a sniper / instructor in SE Florida. Really nice guy.
Link Posted: 7/24/2002 9:10:38 AM EDT
For LE sniper, to avoid casualty to innocent bystander or hostage, if possible, the closer to the target the better.
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