Paramilitary: The Chinese Sniper Shortage


March 14, 2013: In China provincial police organizations are having a difficult time recruiting combat specialists, especially snipers and bomb disposal experts. While most SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) personnel can be trained locally, Chinese police commanders prefer to have military trained snipers and EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) people. But snipers and EOD people are in high demand and the military only trains those who are inclined to stay in the military. Moreover, the police don’t just want any military sniper but those who are exceptional. The military holds regular sniper competitions, so it’s no secret who the best are.

Many police commanders will compromise and accept civilians who have done well in shooting competitions held for hunters. The new affluence in China has created a lot more people who can afford the hassle and expense of getting a rifle permit and access to a hunting area. These tend to be older guys who already have a good job.

Typically about ten percent of SWAT personnel are snipers or EOD. Police are expanding their SWAT strength on the orders of the central government, which is apparently alarmed at the growing unrest. People are increasingly demonstrating, sometimes violently, against corruption and other forms of government abuse. There have not been many bombs or guns involved in these incidents but criminals have a black market where pistols and explosives can be obtained. The weapons are often bought from corrupt police or military personnel. Explosives are easier to get because of all the construction and mining going on and weak controls on all the commercial explosives used.