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Training and selection

Becoming an U.S. Army Sniper

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us army sniper team - Becoming an U.S. Army Sniper

According to figures released by the Department of Defense, the average number of rounds expended in Vietnam to kill one enemy soldier with the M-16 was 50,000. The average number of rounds expended by U.S. military snipers to kill one enemy soldier was 1.3 rounds. That’s a cost difference of $23,000 per kill for the average soldier, vs. $0.17 per kill for the military sniper.

According to the U.S. Army, the average soldier will hit a man-sized target 10 percent of the time at 300 meters using the M16A2 rifle.

75th rang - Becoming an U.S. Army Sniper

Ranger snipers from 1st Battalion, practice marksmanship on a range in Afghanistan prior to a night combat operation against insurgents, 7 May 2013.

Graduates of the U.S. Army sniper school are expected to achieve 90 percent first-round hits at 600 meters, using the M24 Sniper Weapon System (SWS).

Sniper Abilities, Training, and Equipment

The sniper has special abilities, training, and equipment. His job is to deliver discriminatory, highly accurate rifle fire against enemy targets that cannot be engaged successfully by the regular rifleman because of range, size, location, fleeting nature, or visibility. Sniping requires the development of basic infantry skills to a high degree of perfection. A sniper’s training incorporates a wide variety of subjects designed to increase his value as a force multiplier and to ensure his survival on the Battlefield. The art of sniping requires learning and repetitiously practicing these skills until mastered. A sniper must be highly trained in long-range rifle marksmanship and field craft skills to ensure maximum effective engagements with minimum risk.

A lot of people have the misconception that to be a good sniper, you have to be a good shooter. Shooting is only 20 percent of the course at the Army Sniper School. It takes a patient person, a disciplined person, a person who is used to working alone. In addition to marksmanship skills, the school instructs on detecting and stalking a target, and estimating the range of a target.

The course also covers concealment and camouflage, as well as observation exercises.

The first U.S. Army Sniper School was initiated in 1955, right after the Korean War cease-fire. The present U.S. Army Sniper School was established at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1987. The length of the school is 5 weeks. The Army National Guard Sniper School was established in 1993 at Camp Robinson Arkansas.

Prerequisites

  • Must be 11B, 11M, 19D, or CMF 18.
  • PFC-SFC (Grade waivable).
  • Active duty, or Reserve, or National Guard, must have a good performance record with no history of alcohol, or drug abuse, must be a volunteer and be recommended by his commander.
  • Must be in excellent physical condition (70 percent or better in each event of the APFT).
  • Must have a corrected vision of 20/20.
  • Must not have a record of disciplinary action.
  • Must be knowledgeable of skill level 2 tasks.
  • Must have a GT score of 100.
  • Must have qualified expert with the M16A2/M4 Carbine rifle within six months of course attendance.
  • Normal color vision must be annotated on SF 88, tested within six months of course attendance.
  • Must have a minimum of one (1) year retainability.
  • Must pass psychological evaluation (MMPI/CPI) conducted under the direction of a qualified psychologist.

Upon reporting to the U.S. Army Sniper School, Students are required to have the following:

  1. Gillie suit complete.
  2. 5 copies of all orders and amendments (NG/USAR 10 Copies)
  3. Valid ID card and sets of metal ID tags with chain
  4. Unit issued meal card (non-waivable)
  5.  DA FORM 2-1
  6. DA FORM 2A
  7. Medical Records
  8. Commanders Recommendation
  9. DA form 3822-A
  10. SF88
  11. Rifle Marksmanship scorecard

SPECIAL INFO: The following items are also required for the USASS:

  • Large Alice pack w/frame, LBE/LBV complete with ammo pouch (2),
  • 1 Qt. canteen (2)
  • first aid pouches, poncho w/poncho liner, waterproof bag, (2)
  • camo stick, calculator, padlocks, (2) (key or Combo)
  • Clipboard.
  • Five (5) sets of BDUs, T-shirt, and black/green socks (1 set will be rendered unserviceable after training), 2 BDU caps, 2 pairs of boots (combat or jungle, one pair will be rendered unserviceable after training)
  • 2 Gray PT uniforms complete with running shoes, seasonal military attire (Gortex, polypros, Etc), undergarments, toiletries, etc, as needed
  • 2 ear-plugs w/carrier
  • 1 lensetic compass
  • 2 protractors, pens, and mechanical pencils and
  • 1 Boonie Hat and a Ghillie suit.

All students report to the USASS, Building 4882, Harmony church no later than 0800 hours on the reporting day (a day prior to the class start date). Students arriving prior to 0800 hours on the class reporting date will report to the SDNCO, 2nd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment in building 74 on Main post, Fort Benning.

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Assault Rifles / Carbines

Portuguese Army new Assault Rifle: SCAR-L in 5,56x45mm

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Exercito Portugues substitui a espingarda automatica G3

On the 20th February 2019, FN Herstal was awarded a major contract for thousands of assault rifles,  by NATO’s Support & Procurement Agency (NSPA) on behalf of the Portuguese Army.  The contract is for the 5.56x45mm  caliber FN SCAR L assault rifles. Included in this contrat, FN will also supply other guns, namely the FN40GL grenade launchers, MINIMI 5.56 and 7.62 Mk3 light and medium machine guns respectively, and the designated Marksman Rifle SCAR-H in 7,62x51mm.

C57I5366 4 640x427 - Portuguese Army new Assault Rifle: SCAR-L in 5,56x45mm

The NSPA, is the main logistics and procurement agency of NATO and is able to handle and support procurement for member nations. NSPA described the contract as a ‘major milestone’ for the agency. The contract was signed by FN’s sales director and NSPA General Manager.

NSPA made a short statement:

“NSPA awarded today a contract to Belgium-based FN Herstal, one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of small caliber weapons. This is for the Agency a major contract to produce FN SCAR® assault rifles and FN MINIMI® machine guns as new standard issue weapons for the Portuguese Army’s.

The contract includes the manufacture and supply of 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO caliber FN SCAR® assault rifles, FN40GL grenade launchers, MINIMI® 5.56 and 7.62 Mk3 Tactical light machine guns, and all related accessories.

The Portuguese Army’s standard issue service rifle is currently a Portuguese license produced variant of the Heckler & Koch G3, while the MG3 and HK21 are used in the General Purpose and Light Machine Gun purpose. The exact size of this new contract and its worth have not yet been announced, but In 2017, when the program was released, the acquisition called for 11 000 assault rifles in 5.56x45mm. The value of this weapons package procurement would be €42.8 million ($50.3 million).

This is a major acquisition for the Portuguese Army as the old G3 Battle Rifles are outdated, even in its class, and are obvious not adequate for the assault role. This purchase does not only manage to replace the G3 Battle rifle with one of the best current assault rifles, if not the best, but it will allow that the Portuguese Army to change the fire dynamics of it´s small units, increasing firepower and combat capabilities and being able to have more Hit probability on the enemy.

C57I5761 3 640x461 - Portuguese Army new Assault Rifle: SCAR-L in 5,56x45mm

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Training and selection

The Murph Challenge Workout

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the murph challenge - The Murph Challenge Workout

Special operations operators are well beyond professional athletes. SFO’s are in extreme physical conditions. they are prepared to react instantly, in defense of our county. One SFO stands out to me. Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, Navy Seal. No, I never had the supreme honor of meeting the man, but I have read and followed every piece of information I could find on him. “Lt Murphy” became a Navy Seal in July 2002. After several if not numerous mission combating terrorism, Lt. Micheal P. Murphy was surrounded by Taliban soldiers, along with his three other Navy Seals.

“Murphy was killed on 28 June 2005 after he left his cover position and went to a clearing away from the mountains, exposing himself to a hail of gunfire in order to get a clear signal to contact headquarters for relaying the dire situation and requesting immediate support for his team. He dropped the satellite phone after being shot multiple times but picked the phone back up and finished the call. While being shot, he signed off saying- “Thank You”, then continued fighting from his exposed position until he died from his wounds.” Michael P. Murphy – Wikipedia

Lt. Murphy left behind a legacy of honor and fitness and preparedness that many strive to archive. Lt. Murphy called this workout Body Armour, after his death, the workout was renamed The Murph Challenge.

  • A 1-mile run.
  • Then 100 pull-ups.
  • Then 200 pushups.
  • Then 300 squats.
  • And ANOTHER 1-mile run.

I’m not saying professional athletes couldn’t do it, but Lt Murphy did this for fun.

That being said, I once met an SFO, in Hampton, VA. He was in his late fifties and ran alongside our platoon one morning during pt. , We finished a five-mile run, and he turned to us, and said… that’s it? cmon let’s do it again. The Master Chief was about 6′1 looked like he weighed about 220. It wasn’t until afterward, When I asked him, what was his weight, and almost fell out learning he was 185.

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