7 things all troops need to know before becoming a sniper

Marine Corps Marines sniper sharpshooter Hue Vietnam
US sharpshooters in Hue, South Vietnam, February 3, 1968. 
Bettmann/Getty Images

With Hollywood tapping into the sniper lifestyle with such films as “American Sniper” and the “Sniper” franchise, many young troops get a misconception of what it’s like to be one.

So we asked a few veteran snipers what would they want young troops to know before embarking on the intense journey to become a sniper. Here’s what they said:

1. It’s not like in the movies

american sniper
“American Sniper.” 
Warner Bros.

Hollywood often showcases a sniper as a single-man force tracking down that perfect location to take that most concealed shot possible.

In modern day, scout sniper teams typically consist of four- to eight-man teams consisting of a shooter, spotter, radioman, and additional troops to provide security.

2. Shooting is only a fraction of what a sniper does

Army Iron Sniper
A US soldier prepares for the stalking event portion of the Iron Sniper 2019 competition at Fort Bliss in Texas, August 13, 2019. 
US Army/Spc. Matthew J. Marcellus

A sniper needs to properly plan the mission, insert and quietly maneuver to a well-concealed firing location, stalk his prey, complete the math calculation before firing his weapon accordingly, then safely egress out.

A mission could last days.

3. Have mental conditioning

A student of the Special Forces Sniper Course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School moves quietly while avoiding detection during a stalking exercise at Fort Bragg, NC, on January 27, 2011
A student of the Special Forces Sniper Cours moves while avoiding detection during a stalking exercise at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, January 27, 2011. 
US Army

Being sniper isn’t just about being an excellent marksman — although that’s important.

But when you’re in an operational status, a sniper has to overcome many mental constraints like lack of sleep and sometimes limited rations. The teams typically only leave the wire with what supplies they can carry — and that’s it.

The teams are usually outnumbered by the enemy and must maintain discipline throughout the mission. If the sniper has a mental breakdown in the field, the mission could be lost.

4. Patience is a virtue

Canada Canadian sniper Afghanistan
A Canadian sniper team scans the landscape during an Afghan-led operation to arrest suspected Taliban in southern Kandahar province, April 28, 2006. 
JOHN D MCHUGH/AFP via Getty Images

Making a mistake because the sniper is in a hurry is unacceptable and can get him killed. A sniper’s hyperactive moment could result in death.

5. The selection

Army Iron Sniper
A US soldier participates in the leg tuck event of the Army Combat Fitness Test as part of the Iron Sniper 2019 competition at Fort Bliss, August 13, 2019. 
US Army/Spc. Matthew J. Marcellus

Completing sniper indoctrination doesn’t guarantee a spot in the platoon.

Sniper teams look for the guy who is not only capable of firing that perfect shot but has an outgoing personality.

Once a troop is selected, they will go on to the next phase of intense sniper training.

6. It’s constant training and learning

Army best sniper competition
A team of US Army snipers compete in the International Sniper Competition at Fort Benning, October 2018. 
US Army

Battlefield tactics change and evolve based on the environment the shooter is facing. That said, a sniper team must be able to adapt and overcome any situation that presents itself.

If the wind keeps up or the sniper is forced to relocate, he will more than likely have to reconfigure his sight alignment within moments.

7. It’s not a way out of the infantry

US Army Special Operations Command International Sniper Competition
A competitor in the US Army Special Operations Command International Sniper Competition scans a range for targets at Fort Bragg, March 18, 2019. 
US Army/Spc. Alleea Oliver

Young troops tend to believe that going through the sniper pipeline is an easy way out of the grunt lifestyle.

To outsiders, life in the scout sniper platoons can appear more glamorous because of the modernized gear they train with and operate.

The truth is, that’s just additional heavy gear they must haul during their missions.

Read the original article on We Are The Mighty. Copyright 2021.

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