The biggest misconception of snipers is the belief that they will shoot slowly, and the targets will remain visible as a target in the shooting range. Absolute stupidity! This is only possible if you come across frank horned youths or armed idiots. In all other cases, the enemy will disappear almost instantly after the first shot. Moreover, return fire will be opened, and they will try to kill you with all their might.
Priority targets for the army and police sniper, prioritization of targets, finding the position of group weapons.
The first shot at the target should be very well thought out, since all subsequent ones will be fired at the enemy, who knows about your presence, and will shoot back. The first shot should be the best, therefore, it must be aimed at the most important target within sight. Sometimes it even makes sense to ignore the first targets discovered in the hope that the best option will appear. The following is a series of discussions about which goals are most important – priority objectives are considered.
Day or night, in any situation, your main priority is always your enemy colleague – an enemy sniper armed with a rifle with an optical sight. The enemy sniper is always a priority target, because more than anyone, he has the optics, training, knowledge of ballistics and the desire to kill you. If you are killed, the enemy will continue to conduct sniper fire, and will control all the possibilities of sniper shooting in the area.
If you manage to remove the enemy sniper, then you will already dominate the site. Also, the priority is any adversary who spots you and is an immediate threat. Self-defense – first and foremost.
Then, one should focus on commanders, group weapon calculations, and critical material goals, not necessarily in that order. You can change the order to act according to the situation or in order to act in accordance with the plans of the unit that you support.
For example, I would recommend “decapitating” an adversary, since weakening interaction and control can significantly affect the attack. However, if the enemy took up defensive positions, then the priority objectives will be the calculations of group weapons, not the commanders, since the enemy’s positions will not change and the elimination of command personnel will not affect the outcome of the battle. The commanders are officers and sergeants, in that order. Naturally, the most senior officer in sight should be the first to take aim..
Other priority objectives.
Group weapons include machine guns with tape power, some types of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, for example, rocket launchers SA-7 Strela, grenade launchers with tape power, such as the Russian AGS-17. They are more important than ordinary soldiers, as they have a stronger effect on the course of the battle and, often, you will be the only one who can detect them.
Material targets typically include items such as radio stations, optical sights on mortars and artillery, signaling equipment, radar stations, laser target indicators and range finders on vehicles, any computer devices and control units. Each material target requires a shot that does maximum damage..
For example, an anti-tank missile launcher will be significantly damaged if it gets into the guidance system unit, while falling into any other part of it will not cause significant damage. It is necessary to know very well the weapons and equipment of the enemy and his weaknesses.
Next on the list of priorities is the enemy personnel, which is outside the reach of your colleagues – not snipers. Their 5.56 mm bullets fly at a distance of about 500 yards, and your 7.62 mm bullets can reach targets 500 yards further.
The last priority in the list of potential goals is formulated in a very general way, but it must be called in order to avoid misunderstanding: everything else. When you are alone, far beyond the front line, you can skip a not-so-important goal in the hope that a more significant object will appear. However, if your task is to support the unit, then you cannot passively wait for an important goal, while your comrades are fighting hard and need support.
The battle can provide excellent conditions for sniping, since the enemy is engaged in a shootout and is unlikely to distinguish accurate long-range shots from which his soldiers will fall one after another. During the battle, you must try to “remove” as many enemy fighters as possible.
How to recognize the commander?
Usually, visually, the commander can be identified by uniform and weapons, by the style of communication with others and by place in the tactical formation. The figure shows how to recognize the commander in uniform and equipment. His uniform is clearly visible on his uniform – a distinguishing feature of the commander, as well as a sword belt. The presence of a sword belt clearly indicates an officer, since a gun is usually mounted on it..
The sword belt is such a clear sign of the officer rank that I often called it “the belt of a fool” or the belt “shoot me” so that the cadets better remember what it is. The presence of badges, awards, or simply a cleaner form also indicates a possible belonging to the officer corps.
Also, note that our commander has binoculars on his neck and a card in his hand. There may also be a tablet – an “international” symbol of power. Notice that he is older than the rest and wears glasses. War is a matter for the young, so as soon as you notice a person who looks older than 30, this is most likely a commander. Finally, pay attention to what is not – almost every soldier or sergeant always carries a rifle and a backpack, and even the youngest officer is not so loaded.
Outfit and equipment commander detection.
The following figure shows how to interpret human interactions to identify commanders. During the Falkland War in 1982, British SAS fighters found that in order to strip the division, they needed to shoot the Argentines, who ran the most and screamed the loudest. When you shoot at people, choose the one who waves his arms, as suggested by Major Mike Norman in the 42nd Regiment of the Royal Naval Commandos.
Following Norman’s suggestion, it can be determined that if a person waves to the people around him and even from a great distance it’s clear that this is a commander. Also note that he is followed by a radio operator, therefore, he is at least a platoon commander. Pay attention, the oncoming soldier salutes him, therefore, it can be assumed that he is the company commander or even the battalion.
How to recognize the action commander.
An experienced military leader is likely to prohibit saluting him in the field, but you can still notice that the soldiers stop doing their business and even jump up when the commanders appear.
The soldier, pictured to the far left, requires a more detailed explanation – he simply looks at his commander in anticipation of instructions, which can often be seen during the battle. We did not illustrate the last example of interaction, since we will again talk about what you will not see. The commander will not do the dirty or dangerous work, but it is possible that he will oversee its implementation..
The third criterion for recognizing the commander is his place in tactical engineering, which is displayed as an abstract silhouette, so that you can consider it without taking into account other features, such as uniforms and equipment. Two highlighted silhouettes show the most likely location of the commander. In the middle of a group or column to be able to manage a unit. But not ahead, so as not to be exposed to unnecessary risk.
Even peering into the vague silhouettes of the enemy at a distance of 800 yards through the telescope, you can distinguish where the middle of the system is. Focus on this point and find additional signs that clarify your goal..
Group Weapon Detection.
Once the battle has begun, it will not be difficult to find group weapons. Look for green tracers, listen to the louder sounds of PC machine guns. Mark the location of highly visible jets from RPGs and ATGMs. Dust may rise when firing a machine gun.
However, a sniper must be able to detect the location of group weapons before firing, in order to suppress or destroy calculations with targeted fire and ensure success for his comrades. It is not as difficult as it may seem..
As shown in the figure, the positions of group weapons are not compact and, most likely, will be located at the edges and / or in the center of the position of the enemy platoon or company. Not always, but in most cases.
The right side of the picture shows another way to detect group weapons, which is located in the depths of the sector and covers what is called “approaches” or “approaches” in the military language. Approaches are often covered by several types of heavy weapons and they are located, most likely, at the point of best view of the controlled area.
Location of group weapons.
Anti-tank weapons will most likely be located on the flanks, as the gunners prefer to conduct flank fire. Machine gunners are likely to land almost directly in the direction of travel, in the place where the arrow points. If there are several options for location, then the enemy will most likely prefer where the defense from the front will be better and, most likely, there will be an opportunity to stealthily retreat.
Suppose you were able to determine the possible locations for group weapons. How to distinguish them from points where other types of weapons are located? When conducting observation using a telescope, you should look for what is shown in the central illustration:
The position will be quite large. Since it is necessary to place a large unit of armament and several calculation personnel.
Visually, the position will be different. For example, loopholes may vary in shape or the roof will be higher to accommodate weapons.
The position will be equipped more carefully. With reinforced logging, wire fencing, cut foliage, in order to expand the affected area, etc..
Since snipers most often have the best optics in the unit, do not be surprised if your ability to detect the location of group weapons will become part of every operation, every combat mission. However, one should not forget that a smart enemy will always make several false positions in order to divert fire from the real ones..
What else should be considered as a potential target after you have determined the priorities of targets located in the field of view, you can decide which one to fire the shot earlier. Here are some things to keep in mind when making decisions..
When the goals are equivalent, first shoot at the one that:
Located closer to you. It’s easier to get on it.
Located on the same level as you. Vertical correction may cause a miss.
Located not near prominent landmarks. The next target will be easier to find after she hides..
Motionless. It’s easier to get on it.
Located next to a serious shelter. An enemy who hides in a less secure cover will be easier to get..
This process becomes more interesting when the goals are unequal and the following question arises, say: “Shoot at a sergeant who is 600 yards from me on the slope, or at a lieutenant who is 500 yards but almost invisible?” There is no universal answer to this question. Ultimately, only you know your capabilities and the degree of risk to which you are exposed. You have to decide on your own.
Priority Goals for a Police Sniper.
Like his army counterpart, a sniper law enforcement officer identifies priority goals, according to the threat they pose to others. What worries me the most is that an officer who has not prepared properly and has not set priorities correctly can shoot at the first target that poses no particular threat. And which can be removed by the capture group, while only 10 meters further the criminal who will shoot all the hostages will remain untouched.
We offer the following three categories of priority goals, the order of which is determined by the specific situation. Information about how the suspect is armed and what he looks like should be tactical. This will allow snipers to provide effective support to the capture team..
The most dangerously armed targets for a police sniper.
The danger of a firearm depends on the distance. At a short distance, hunting guns, submachine guns, multi-shot pistols and assault rifles pose the greatest danger. At medium distances (say, from 100 to 200 yards), any shooter armed with a rifle or rifle with optics becomes much more dangerous than a suspect armed with an ordinary gun. Outside of this distance, anyone armed with a rifle and optics poses the greatest danger..
The most dangerous recidivist for a police sniper.
If several potential targets are in sight, then you should start with someone who is known to have been involved in a murder, armed attack or violent action because of mental imbalance or drug addiction. I would also pay attention to any of the suspects who did harm to the hostages or whom his comrades obviously have difficulty controlling. This does not mean that no one except him can start shooting or that you can ignore others.
By location, maximum threat to friendly forces.
Suspects who block or block passages, stand at key points or monitor hostages, may also be a priority. In particularly difficult hostage-taking situations, a suspect conducting surveillance may be a suitable first target for “instant incapacitation”.
Based on the book “The Perfect Sniper. Study Guide for Army and Police Snipers ».
Maj. John L. Plaster, USAR (Ret.)