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Building A Better Sniper
by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Justin Boling - November 4, 2015

Training troops to task allows leaders to have confidence their unit can complete missions without fail.

Shortfalls in training must be identified and corrected. One such correction was the need to get snipers across numerous government agencies better trained at engaging moving targets at varying speeds, distances and scenarios.

The Joint Sniper Performance Improvement Methodology Quick Reaction Test is the first step to improve snipers' abilities. The last group of snipers began the final week of data gathering at the Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, October 2015.

A group of snipers have data on their shots recorded as they fire at robotic moving targets at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., Oct. 10, 2015. These strings of fires are part of the last data to be compiled for the Joint Sniper Performance Improvement Methodology Quick Reaction Test. This yearlong test aims to improve the skills of snipers across all United States government agencies. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin Boling)
A group of snipers have data on their shots recorded as they fire at robotic moving targets at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., Oct. 10, 2015. These strings of fires are part of the last data to be compiled for the Joint Sniper Performance Improvement Methodology Quick Reaction Test. This yearlong test aims to improve the skills of snipers across all United States government agencies. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin Boling)

“We kicked off in February (2015),” said Marine Corps Col. Tim Parker, test director and commanding officer of Weapons and Training Battalion at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. “We established a baseline and are collecting data to create better tactics, techniques and procedures.”

The test consists of yearlong data collection involving snipers from numerous agencies firing thousands of rounds at state-of-the-art robotic moving targets at varying distances in varying conditions.

“We have found that this test is very humbling for our snipers,” Parker said. “They are not used to missing their mark, but a target moving at 8 miles per hour at 800 meters is really moving.”

Data was collected on every shot the snipers fired, including the details of wind calls and whether they followed the target through the optic or aimed at a spot and waited for the target to enter their crosshairs.

“We are not doing this to affect the individual shooter's techniques, but to create new procedures for all snipers to follow,” Parker said. “We will have maybe an annex, which would compare the effectiveness of different weapon systems and ammunition, but that is not the primary focus, we just wanted the snipers to shoot using whatever weapon they would be operating with in field.”

All the data will be compiled along with looking at the best way forward to train snipers to engage moving target throughout the military and other government agencies.

“After this is done, we push out to the joint environment a procedure for effectively training snipers to hit moving targets,” Parker said. “Our end state is the development of a [document] that any sniper can use to hit moving targets.”

By U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Justin Boling
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2015

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