Patience

Spec Ops Shooting

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Special heed must be paid to patience, which World War 1 sniper Capt. H.W. McBride said was a sniper's most important quality. Whether he's a police officer waiting out a terrorist during a protracted skyjack or a GI calmly peering at an enemy trench for hours on end, the sniper must be as capable of taking a perfect shot 10 minutes after arrival as 10 hours into it.

The most accomplished long-range shooters I know are "slow-walkin', slow-talkin"' kinds of guys, men like Lance Peters, an Olympic-level rifleman who's won silver medals at the Pan American Games. Analytical, patient, unemotional, deliberate in their every step. Of course, these men have emotions, but they've learned to overcome them, to mentally channel stress and anxiety into oblivion.

As a determined form of self-discipline, patience enables a sniper to lie motionless in wet and cold for hours, waiting for a shot he knows most likely won't even happen. But for just a chance shot, he guts his way through the discomfort, as calm and ready as if it were a sure thing.

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