Some of the most elite soldiers in the U.S. military are those who are trained as snipers.
These marksmen are trained to operate alone or with a sniper team to maintain visual contact with the enemy and eliminate enemies from concealed positions or distances exceeding the detection capabilities of the enemy.
Last year, a Canadian sniper set a new record for the longest confirmed kill by a military sniper. According to Canadian Special Operations Command, the solider was a member of Joint Task Force 2 and successfully hit a target from 2.2 miles.
At the time of the shooting, Joint Task Force 2 was “providing expertise to Iraqi security forces to detect, identify and defeat Daesh activities from well behind the Iraqi security force front line in Mosul.”
The information released by officials did acknowledge that the sniper used a McMillan TAC-50, a .50-caliber weapon and the largest shoulder-fired firearm in existence.
This same weapon is commonly used by Navy SEALs and its effective firing range is 1,800 meters, around half the distance the Canadian sniper managed.
Former U.S. Army Ranger sniper Ryan Cleckner described it best, calling the feat an “incredible” accomplishment, one that owes as much if not more to the spotter’s expertise as to the shooter’s skill.”
According to Cleckner, “The spotter would have had to successfully calculate five factors: distance, wind, atmospheric conditions and the speed of the earth’s rotation at their latitude.”
This shot took 10 seconds to reach its target and travelled at 792 mph, which is faster than a commercial jet such as a Boeing 747.
There is no question this precise shot took the expertise of the entire sniper team and it was an amazing accomplishment.
Now, I realize most of us won’t ever be in a situation where we need to fire round over 2 miles away.
However, everyone should know some basics of long-range shooting in case you are forced to engage a threat at a longer distance than you typically shoot with your rifle.
For this reason, I want to share with you some basic points of long-distance shooting.
Optics. When people think about long distance shooting they figure they will need to buy an expensive rifle that can do the job.
While that is somewhat true, the most important factor to be successful at long distance shooting is quality optics.
In other words, your optics will likely be more expensive than the firearm itself, depending on the specifics of each.
If you are looking for quality optics you may want to check out ones made by Leupold and Vortex and Trijicon.
Wind. One of the hardest parts of long distance shooting is knowing how to read and compensate for the wind.
The thing is, even wind of only a few mph can alter a long-distance shot, which is why reading the wind is a critical skill to learn.
Learning how to read wind and how it affects your shots is going to be gained by practice.
In other words, the more you shoot and know how the wind feels, the better you will become at learning how to compensate for your shots.
Know the range. A common reason many folks fail at their long-distance shots is because they don’t really know that exact range they are firing from.
Oftentimes, especially when hunting, people will make an estimate of the distance, rather than using the gear to get an accurate reading.
For a few hundred dollars you can get a quality range finder that also offers windage adjustments, making your shots much more accurate.
Use a spotter. Anyone who has served in the military knows the importance of having a spotter.
A spotter is so valuable by giving the shooter information including the range, wind call, and scope adjustments.
If you already own a weapon such as an AR-15, consider upgrading the optics and practicing your distance with the right gear.
You’ll be surprised at the distance you can shoot with a few upgrades and an AR-15 can definitely serve multiple purposes when it comes to keeping your family safe.
So, you don’t need to go out and spend a fortune on a fancy new rifle, just use the AR you already own.