“Sniper school is one of the hardest schools in the military, not physically, but mentally,” Staff Sgt. Brian Moran, one of the 11 instructors who oversees the training, told the Army News Service.
Insider spent two days at the US Army Sniper Course inside the Fort Benning military installation near Columbus, Georgia, where we observed various classes at different stages of training. Just 288 students are accepted into the Sniper Course each year, and roughly half pass the course and graduate.
The United States Army Sniper Course is a seven week course in which the student undergoes rigorous training to become the most feared weapon on the battlefield.
Soldiers must be on Active duty or in the Reserve / National Guard Components. Must possess MOS 11B, 19D or 18 series in the rank of E3 through E6. Must have a good performance record with no history of alcohol or drug abuse. Must be a volunteer and have a signed letter of recommendation from their Company Commander.
Students have physical training and firing-range practice every day. In addition, there are "games" that teach the skills snipers need in the field. Classroom time is spent learning the principles of range estimating, windage, barometric pressure, and deployment and tactics.
MOA (minute of angle) is the unit of measurement that snipers use in school to measure accuracy. The greater the distance the sniper is shooting from, the lower the accuracy, as natural forces like wind resistance work on the bullet while it travels through the air.
Before they begin school, snipers must meet a number of physical requirements. Snipers must have 20/20 vision or vision that is correctable to 20/20 and have normal color vision (not color blind). In the Army, snipers must score 70 percent or better on each area of the Army Physical Fitness Test.
They're highly-trained loners. They have an air of mystery about them. They operate quietly, in the shadows, swinging the military advantage over to our side.
Salary Ranges for Army Snipers
The salaries of Army Snipers in the US range from $11,011 to $294,666 , with a median salary of $53,013 . The middle 57% of Army Snipers makes between $53,016 and $133,561, with the top 86% making $294,666.
Snipers must be physically fit, patient, even-keeled, quiet, smart, good at math, agile, and adaptive, Moran said. They must also be able to make snap judgments and quick decisions on their feet.
Historically, members of the military and police forces have taken sniper-training courses, but it wasn't a civilian pastime. In the last 10 years, however, special sniper courses have been open to the public — to anyone who can afford to sign up.
Navy SEAL snipers are considered the elite among the elite. Sniper is among the most challenging specialties in the SEALs. Only a small percentage of SEALs qualify for the demanding training regimen – and even fewer complete the program.
And yet again, Army snipers bested their fellow sharpshooters in the Navy, Coast Guard, and, uh, Marines.
Attain sufficient rank.
Would-be Army Snipers must be classified as Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 11B (Infantry soldier), 19D (Calvary Scout) or 18 series (Special Forces) in the rank of E3 through E6. Additional Skill Identifier (ASI) B4 (Sniper) can only be given to those soldiers who have attained MOS 11B.
The Corps typically has 300 scout snipers, Caylen Wojcik, a former Marine sniper who left the Corps in 2005, told Marine Corps Times. But, the Corps says it only has 150 sergeants and below holding the coveted 0317 scout sniper job field.
The average FBI Sharpshooter (Federal Bureau of Investigation Sharpshooter) in the US makes $79,013. FBI Sharpshooter (Federal Bureaus of Investigation Sharpshooter) make the most in Denver, CO at $79,013, averaging total compensation 0% greater than the US average.
Salary Ranges for Swat Snipers
The salaries of Swat Snipers in the US range from $19,114 to $509,998 , with a median salary of $91,637 .
The sniper, a soldier trained in precision, long-range fire, is one of the most feared opponents on the battlefield. Snipers can make their presence felt far beyond a typical soldier's assault rifle, cutting down enemy leaders, radio and heavy weapons operators, and damaging enemy equipment at considerable distances.
Snipers are exceptional. The trained sniper is a complex fusion of hard skills such as weapons knowledge, situational awareness, knowledge of ballistics and physics, and soft skills such as emotional stability, empathy, and a stoic acceptance of the hardships associated with a particular set of circumstances.
A standard-issue military sniper rifle is typically capable of 1–3 MOA (0.3–1 mrad) accuracy, with a police sniper rifle capable of 0.25–1.5 MOA (0.1–0.5 mrad) accuracy. For comparison, a competition target or benchrest rifle may be capable of accuracy up to 0.15–0.3 MOA (0.05–0.1 mrad).
Snipers spend their mission trying to remain invisible while positioning themselves as closely to the enemy as possible. Then they wait, often for hours, even days, if that is what's required to hit a target. There are just nine qualified female snipers in the U.S. military today.
The bolt-action is still common today among sniper rifles, as the design has the potential for superior accuracy, reliability, lesser weight, and the ability to control loading over the faster rate of fire that alternatives allow.
The major components of sniper equipment are the precision sniper rifle, various optical scopes and field glasses, specialized ammunition and camouflage materials for the sniper's body and equipment. A sniper's spotter typically also wears camouflage.