Infantry: July 15, 2002


Over the last twenty years, there has been a growing enthusiasm for training more infantrymen as snipers. Part of this has to do with the presence of more career soldiers in the infantry. These men are better trained and more experienced than their conscript predecessors. Thus it is possible for a soldier with some talent, and enthusiasm, for shooting to become an effective sniper. It's long been recognized that having a few "marksmen" (expert shots) in each platoon pays off in combat. In addition to making the enemy operate more cautiously, one of the best antidotes  against an enemy sniper was a sniper of your own. Some epic "sniper duels" of World War I and II are still talked about by professional soldiers. And those two wars produced several dozen men (and a few women) who were credited with hundreds of confirmed kills. Commandos have always been given sniper training, and those that show exceptional talent at it become specialists in sniping. Commando units are often assigned assassination tasks, and a sniper is often the best way to do this. Many armies try to have at least one "marksman" per squad, and encourage these sharpshooters to improve their skills to that of an expert sniper. Along with the development of more troops as snipers has come an increase in the quality of sniping equipment. The U.S. M24 bolt action sniper rifle was introduced in 1988. It weighs about 14 pounds with scope and five round magazine. It has a 800 meter range and costs $3,500. It replaced the M21 (an early 1960s M14 upgraded for sniper work), which cost only about $600. In addition, the 1990s saw the introduction of 25-35 pound .50 (12.7mm) caliber sniping rifles. In theory, these are meant for attacks on enemy equipment (vehicles, missiles, radars and other electronic equipment), but they have also been used to kill enemy troops at ranges of 2,000 meters and more. Canadian snipers demonstrated this in Afghanistan in 2002. The Canadian army only has about 30 snipers, but they are very good. Most major armed forces maintain Sniper Schools, and the quality of their students is limited only by restrictions on how much time the graduates can spend practicing their shooting and field craft (remaining hidden while moving up to a firing position and once in position.) 


Article Archive

Infantry: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close