Locating the Sniper

Spec Ops Shooting

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When we say "locating" the sniper, it doesn't mean pinpointing his exact location with a single glance. Recall that, like you, he will attempt to exploit available concealment and use any trick he can to stay invisible, from preparing dummy positions to masking with ccho. You could be lucky and observe him immediately, but this is unlikely.

Realistically, you'll probably start your search by narrowing his possible positions—that is, analyzing the situation enough that you can reduce him to several likely hides or a relatively narrow sector, in either case small enough that you and your teammate and perhaps other observers can intensely and continuously optically surveil these likely locations.

In order to have adequate observation, you'll probably surveil from well to the rear and/or above those under fire. You should avoid crawling forward into his field of fire because you may become pinned down. You easily could find that you must observe from one location, then go to another hide to engage him. Or, as Soviet snipers did during World War II, you could use a small periscope, the size of a musical flute, to safely peer from behind cover to search for the sniper.

As you consider his potential hides, keep in mind the criteria you use lor your own hides: it should be inconspicuous; have good observation and fields of fire, concealment, and cover; and have a means for invisible withdrawal. I would pay especially close heed to shadows, inside which a truly professional sniper usually prefers to lurk.

While observing, watch for slight movement, reflection, and dust kicked up by muzzle blast—all the things previously covered under target detection.

There are some cricks for narrowing down his host of likely hides, first among them called the "back azimuth" technique, as shown in the adjaccnt drawing. Find one of his bullet holes through a porous material such as wood, insert a rifle rod or any dowel, and look back down it to determine the direction the bullet traveled. By observing whether the bullet path was flat, slightly descending, or

Sniper Periscope




Triangulation traces two back azimuths to find the gunman.

the adjacent sidebar, is its maximum accuracy range of only 500 yards.

Decoy: Sniper vs. Sniper

On the next page we've illustrated some decoys that you can use to provoke or luxe the sniper into firing when and where you are best prepared to detect and engage him. No matter which decoy you use, preparations should usually be done outside his vision or in darkness so you're surveil-ling intensely and ready to fire when the hostile sniper first sees the lure.

The decoy can simply be an apparently valuable piece of equipment "mistakenly" left in the open, such as a radio, which in this case is an unserviceable one. Or position a mocking sign toward enemy lines, but draw the lettering so small that ordinary riflemen cannot read it—only an optically equipped sniper can.

Various kinds of helmets or heads on broomsticks can be effective if the decoy seems to be acting consistent with the situation and conveys "life" through realistic animation. Conveying such life is a special challenge—be clever, original, and even a little off the wall.

Whatever decoy you use, though, do not forget

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