Most Important Spotting Advice

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1. Your mind cannot, detect something unless it has enough lime to see it. In order for your brain to recognize something, your eyes must linger on it long enough to register an impression. Rotating your head too fast creatcs an indecipherable blur. I've learned to pace my eye movement by consciously scanning from one point to another, then going back and doing it again half as fast, dien repeating this yet again at one-quarter the speed. This slowest pace becomes rhe pace for all subsequent scanning. As a general rule, the smaller or more distant your potential target, the slower you should move your eyes.

2. Your mind cannot find something unless il can visualize what you're looking for. Inexperienced snipers watch for a whole human body in uniform carrying a weapon, which they'll probably never find. No, you must "tell" your mind that you're looking for a grapefruit-size piece of a human target— perhaps the heel of a boot, half a face, one hand, a shoulder, a rifle muzzle. If you program your mind to look for whole men, you automatically filter out numerous smaller clues and fragments of humans. You should be so familiar with enemy gear that you can distinguish the shape of a canteen or edge of a helmet against an irregular, confusing background.

3. Appreciate the significance of shadow. Experienced soldiers prefer shadows for walking, resting, or locating their fighting positions. Stationary humans seek shadow naturally to get out of the sun, and most often it's in the protective umbrage of shadow that you'll find an enemy sniper. Optically penetrate shadows to find the enemy. Also, place yourself in shadow not merely for concealment but because your pupils will widen and you'll be able to see more clearly looking outward into a sunlit area. Our World War I sniping expert, H.W. McBride, advised paying special heed at sunrise and sunset, when shadows are longest and light pierces deepest into foliage.

4. Patience is the key to successful target detection. You may spend entire days scanning an area without detecting a single target, or you could spot several instantly. Your self-control should be such that your reaction is identical in both circumstances. Realize that patience is nothing but a form of self-discipline. Fight the temptation to engage the very first target you spot from a new hide; if the enemy is unalerted, take time to identify high-priority targets, then properly engage them first. The essence of successful countersniping is both out-thinking and outwaiting your opponent while scanning the same areas over and over in search of him, trying to find significance in the most boring visual details.

5. Human beings are creatures of habit and occupy or travel along predictable places. Learn your enemy's doctrine and tactics so well that you can anticipate how he'd position himself on a particular piece of ground. See the battlefield as he would see it. Balance and adjust this against what you know of human nature: we like to stay warm, out of the wind, close to roads, and near habitation. Our final component of habit invites further elaboration, which we'll now cover under a concept called "natural line of drift."

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