The U.S. Army Special Operations Command International Sniper Competition challenged the skill level, training and knowledge of participants. (Photo: Army/Spc. Alleea Oliver)
Teams from around the globe were at Fort Bragg earlier this month to compete among the best sniper teams in the world. The U.S. Army Special Operations Command International Sniper Competition, which took place March 17-22, drew 21 teams.
The overall intent was to foster camaraderie among representatives from the United States and the international advanced sniper community, organizers said.
Teams from Army Special Operations Command took first- and second-place; the U.S. Marine Corps Scout Sniper team placed third. Organizers said the competition is a combat-oriented series of events intended to challenge the skill level, training and knowledge of participants in sniper and reconnaissance tactical and technical skill sets.
It is held to challenge comfort zones and capabilities with the goal of identifying training shortfalls and sharing best practices, organizers said.
“Our instructors designed the events,” said Maj. William Cunningham, commander, Range 37, 1st Special Warfare Training Group. “All the guys that instruct here are guys that have performed exceptionally well in the operational force. This is a part of their passion.”
The events are created by instructors of the Special Forces sniper course and change each year. This was the 10th year the competition was held. This year’s focus was on mental agility in real-world tactical applications. The teams competed using their own sniper rifle, carbine and pistol. Each event had time limits, along with a limited amount of ammunition.
Competitors couldn’t talk to anyone or see the stages prior to going through the course, said Master Sgt. Josh, a Special Forces sniper course instructor. Sounds, artillery simulators and bunkers were used to “induce chaos,” meaning the plans the snipers had prior to the competition might not have been the same as when they competed, Master Sgt. Josh said.
“This year we wanted to focus on bringing guys in who may shoot competitively on the side but the core tasks would revolve around real-world application rather than shooting off of barrels under a pro-timer,” he said.
Teams that competed included:
U.S. Army Special Operations Command
1st, 3rd, 7th, 10th, 19th and 20th Special Forces Group
U.S. Marine Corps, 2nd Marine Raider Battalion
U.S. Marine Corps, MARSOF Advanced Sniper Course
U.S. Marine Corps Scout Sniper
Naval Special Warfare
U.S. Coast Guard
France, 1st Premier Regiment de Parachutistes d’Infranterie de Marine