The Snipers Environment

Spec Ops Shooting

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Both police and military snipers operate in stress-filled environments, but how the stresses are generated, and how they can affect you, are quite different.

The military sniper, day in and day out, operates in great personal danger because he probably is behind enemy lines. Every single move, his tiniest act, must be modified to remain undetected, for his only true security is invisibility. When he shoots he must displace, or certain retaliation will crash upon him. He cannot relax from the moment he departs friendly lines until he returns.

The military sniper's stresses eventually reduce him to being combat ineffective. Having run many operations deep behind enemy lines, I can tell you

This custom police sniper vest was made to author's specs rifle speedloaders, a 20-round ammo box, and mini binoculars

We're going to discuss how each piece of equipment is employed, except the most critical sniping items—weapons, optics, rangefinders, camouflage—which are covered in much detail elsewhere.

No matter the item, keep the threac of hostile countersu rve ill a n ce in mind and ensure your gear is colored in a suitable camouflage shade. A sniper must stay invisible.

It's physically impossible to tote ail the gear we're about to discuss. Therefore, it's as important for you to leam when and how to carry it as it is to recognize the basic use of it.

To start with, understand that sniper team operations fall neatly into two categories: those you plan and execute, and those initiated by die acts of a hostile. In the former case, you have time to consider using any gear, then reconfigure your

/ Southern Tactical Supply and features pouches for 5-round (Photo credit: Fred MacOonald III)

rucksack and webgear to carry it. But in the latter case, there's almost no time; you're rushing to a scene with friendly lives in jeopardy.

To be prepared for either situation, you need to develop a basic load—or "alert load"—that includes the items you'd almost always need. You can grab it and dash out the door, and probably 85 percent of the time you're ready for action. Perhaps you'd pause a minute to grab another item or two, and that would cover you for 99 percent of missions.

On the other hand, when preparing for planned operations, you carefully balance an item's need against its weight and repackage based on your specific situation.

Taking this concept a step further, let's look at the kinds of containers and carriers we'd use in the context of what goes into them. In fact, this is our first category of gear.

American Sniper Lifting Weights

The rear of author's sniper vest has pouches for a handy-talkie, rangefinder, spotting scope, and tripod as well as straps for a Therm-a-Rest mat (Photo credit: Fred MacDonald III)

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