Integrating Optical Systems

Spec Ops Shooting

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A sniper team employs several viewing systems—naked eyes, mini binoculars, binoculars, rifle scopcs, and spotting scopes—each possessing distinct optical qualities. Used alone, any one leaves visual gaps in depth or width or inappropriate magnification. But when properly integrated, with all optical systems employed in unison, a sniper team minimizes any shortcomings and effectively exploits optical advantages to the hilt.

Our most fundamental viewing system is only one power, the lx system God gave us, our naked and natural eyes. Among the viewing systems available to snipers, naked eyes produce the widest possible field of view, an impressive 150+ degrees. Our eyes are extremely sensitive to even slight target movement; I've seen sniper students detect concealed foes who'd only shifted one boot some 300 yards away, so quick can a naked eye spot movement.

This wondrous human eye can process 60 distinct images per second, like a flickering motion picture. If you scan slowly enough that your mind has a chance to examine each of these framed images, your eyes can discern

much. But if you rotate your head faster than your brain can process such images, you'll see nothing—the so-called LIb)ur" we frequently talk about but seldom define. While visually scanning, you must move your eyes slow enough that your brain can digest what you see.

Naked-eye observation is seriously disrupted by glaring light, which automatically causes the pupil to shrink, making anything near the light source difficult to see. The World War II movie cliche of enemy fighters diving out of the sun to achieve surprise was a well-founded exploitation of such visual masking. The American Indian and other native peoples simply but wisely enhanced their vision by blocking glaring light with a raised hand; you can do the same, or position yourself in shade to observe a sunny area.

Naked-eye vision also is degraded by staring too long at one spot, which is easily remedied by keeping your eyes correctly focused but slightly in motion.

In darkness and low light, human pupils nearly triple in size, but man's night vision still is much poorer

FUNDAMENTAL BUT EFFECTIVE. Block sunlight to see better detail in daytime.

Sniper TrainingSniper Data CardsSniper Data Cards
Splitting the sector in half.
Data Pages Plaster Ultimate SniperMachine Gun Range Cards




Duplicated from The Ultimate Sniper by John Plaster, copyright 1993,2006 by John Plaster. Published by Paladin Press, ever entering wind data, use a pencil since you it commercially, and only use it for official may have to change it. agency business. Please do not remove the

Once finished, the range card is held by the source line, spotter so he can read from it if the sniper needs data during an engagement. When your OBSERVING AND ADJUSTING FIRE team is part of a larger unit's operation, give a copy of the range card to your next higher . . . once the shot is fired, no individual leadership so they can integrate it with their rifleman, and I don't care how conscientious overall fire planning. he is, can ever truthfully say whether or not he

This range card should be prepared got his man. The rifle kicks up in your face whenever you're in a hide for more than about and hides the aiming point:, dust and dirt fly five minutes without having seen any targets; it's up around the target, and before your vision an integral part of the detailed scanning has cleared up, the target has disappeared.

process. Between bouts of optical scanning, Whether shot or merely ducked, you cannot both the sniper and spotter study the range tell. Your observer often can.

card, eventually memorizing it. Capt. H.W. McBride

We've included one blank range card form, British sniper, World War I which we'll allow purchasers of this book to reproduce provided they do not sell or duplicate If there's a single, simple reason why a sniper



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Talking the sniper into a target uses landmarks or reference points pivoting your optics back to the target so you 1<! don't lose sight of it.

If you're using a spotting scope, keep one j eye focused through the lens on the target while I_

the other eye examines the wider context and reference points. /y^^xX

The reference point you select should be //

simple, as we've used in the illustration. To ® 1 ( (v®)/) ) ~ ^

describe Point A you'd say: "See that downed wire? Well, draw a line right through the pole it's hanging from and extend it until it just -1-

touches the woods. The target's 5 meters left of that point, between the two closest trees." ' The clock system.

To describe Point B: "From the road junction, '

come back east into the trees about 50 yards. 1

See that opening? On the far side of the ^

opening, at the base of the lone tree trunk."

And for Point C: "Fifth fence pole north of fire, is the clock system, illustrated over a bulPs-

the corner, at the north edge of the bush." (I'd eye target. Instead of a bull's-eye, however, the hesitate to use compass directions while center could be a reference point near your talking-in a sniper unless we were both concealed foe.

familiar with the area and knew directions From the bull or reference point, right is 3

with certainty.) o'clock, left is 9 o'clock, straightaway is 12, and

Another talking-in technique, which can be direcdy down or back toward you is 6 o'clock, used both for designating a target and adjusting In the illustration, you'd describe the bullet

Spotting and Target Detrction 317











DESIGNATING A WINDOW. Count down from the top.

impact as "2 o'clock, 2 inches out." Were this a reference point, such as the lone pine tree in the center of the last illustration, and you wanted to designate Point C using the clock system, you'd say: "2 o'clock, 50 yards, at the far edge of the bush."

Note that we gave both a clock direction and an estimated distance—then for even more clarity described it as the "far edge of the bush."

Simpler than the clock system is directing the sniper to a target from a visual reference point using mils—but that's possible only if the spotter has a spotting scope containing its own mil dot reticle, such as the Leupold Mark 4. If he has mil dots, it's quick and easy for the spotter to announce, for example, "Three mils right of the corner telephone pole, and four miles up, by the fence." That's exact and precise. Those mil dots would come in handy for the spotter to help the sniper calculate his moving target leads or windage holdoffs, too.

One special problem I've encountered while surveilling is visual confusion about a target's exact location due to optical "depth of field"; that is, when viewed at a distance through an optical device, a deep area seems compressed on the same plane. You can overcome this by staying aware of the danger, but it really underscores the hazards of estimating range through an optical device unless it's designed for that purpose.

If you don't have to use an optical device, one fast way of talking your sniper in is to describe the target's location in terms of fist widths, multifinger widths, or thumb widths— when your arm's fully extended—from a visible reference point. Again using the illustration's Point C as an example, "One thumb-width right of the road, next to the fence."

Our last talking-in technique, illustrated at left, is used in an urban area to designate a target in a particular window. We count floors down from the top of the building because many times the first floor may not be visible to us. To distinguish a particular window, we use alphabetical letters. Some SWAT units go so far as to assign a color code to each side of the building, too.

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