Sniper Training... with Airsoft?

Army Returns to an Old Tactic to Defeat Resurgent Taliban:

Sniping Makes A Come Back


In the moments before he pulls the trigger, Dean has learned to switch off.

No longer does the 28-year-old sniper register the close-up face caught in the center of his cross hairs.

“It’s about getting into your bubble, focusing on the act until it becomes automatic, repetitive. You concentrate only on the shot,”

said the Coldstream Guards colour sergeant.

Like all army snipers, Dean does not disclose his surname for fear of his family becoming a target for home-grown extremists.

Within modern warfare and its array of laser-guided missiles and smart bombs, only men like Dean regularly see their victims at the point of death.

In Helmand province in Afghanistan where 8,100 British soldiers are stationed, scores of Taliban have been shot dead.

One sniper alone is reported to have killed 39 of the enemy.

Dean, who spent six months in Helmand last year, would not talk about his “kill tally”, but admitted that colleagues routinely accounted for “handfuls” of the enemy.

Snipers Play An Increasingly Important Role


Sniping’s tactical comeback is facilitated by mounting concern over the number of civilian casualties in southern Afghanistan caused by air strikes.

Fears over the risk of collateral damage from jets are bolstered by field reports indicating that snipers are the military’s most cost-effective, discriminating fighting machine in Helmand.

Sniping is a form of psychological warfare.

Shots from an invisible source can, according to the Ministry of Defence, induce terror in advancing forces; even tank commanders cower inside from an unseen but precise foe.

Yet the real mental duel is contested within the sniper’s mind.

Its practitioners know that, when they squeeze the trigger, the object of their concentration will die.

Be A Back Yard Sniper With A Break Barrel Air Rifle

Finding The Right Guy For The Job


Frank looks for recruits whose minds are sufficiently robust to concentrate on their mission rather than the human being within their sights.

“It is one thing to kill in the heat of the battle when the blood’s up, but it’s quite another when you have a lot of time to think."

A calm, composed disposition is a prerequisite.

As is patience: snipers can spend hours motionless as they wait for the optimum time to strike.

Psychological profiling remains critical in selecting the right candidates; any detection of mental fragility and they are out.

Many snipers hail from farming communities, men who developed an early interest in hunting and creeping after prey undetected.

The act of shooting itself is a lesson in deliberation.

The body must be perfectly still, the breathing controlled.

The headshot is preferable and invariably fatal.

“It’s about stalking; we are looking for that natural hunting ability, looking for a cut above the rest”

Last week Dean targeted a “simulated head” 400m away across a snow-smothered Wiltshire field.

Through the scope of his LII5A3 sniper rifle, the head’s two-dimensional features were as clear as if it were sited across a room.

But to shoot a bullet in the heat of Afghanistan, first a sniper must ascertain the wind speed, temperature, barometric pressure and humidity at the target.

Snipers must also be comfortable in their own company for days on end as they operate undercover behind Taliban lines.

The enemy cannot be allowed to identify their position.

It is one thing to kill, but to kill again snipers must be able to retreat without enemy forces pinpointing them.

Another factor driving the resurgence of sniping is cost-effectiveness.

During the Vietnam war, the average number of rounds expended per kill with M-16 rifles was 50,000.

By contrast, snipers averaged 1.3 bullets per kill, and defense officials estimate that contemporary trends are likely to mirror the ratios recorded in Indochina.

Each of the 8.59mm bullets used by UK snipers in southern Afghanistan costs about £20, compared to a single projectile from the Javelin anti-tank missile, which costs £70,000.

As the Afghan conflict rumbles on, military experts predict the role of the sniper will become increasingly central.

The Pentagon is developing a guided smart bullet for use in sniper rifles.

In the future, men like Dean may crouch four miles away from their target before sending a smartslug to destroy a distant, faceless foe.

M40A31 USMC Sniper Rifle

USMC Sniper Rifle

M40A3

Military Sniper Rifle


Caliber 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Win)

Length 44.25" (1124mm)

Weight 16.5 lbs (7.5 kg)

Barrel Schneider Match Grade SS #7

Barrel Length 24 inches (610mm)

Stock McMillan Tactical A4

Max Effective Range 1000 yards (915 meters)

Military Sniping...

Is Much More Than Just Pulling A Trigger


"Sniping is a form of psychological warfare. Shots from an invisible source can, according to the Ministry of Defense, induce terror in advancing forces; even tank commanders cower inside from an unseen but precise foe. Yet the real mental duel is contested within the sniper's mind.Its practitioners know that, when they squeeze the trigger, the object of their concentration will die."


In 1996 the USMC started on the design for the replacement of the M40A1.

The result was the M40A3 for their sniper training program.

The M40A1 and the A3 use the short action version of the Remington 700/40x.

This round was designed for shorter cartridges, such as .308 Winchester/7.62mm NATO, 7mm/08 Remington, .243 Winchester.

The M40A3 uses the remington 700 short action with a steel floorplate assembly and trigger guard built by D.D. Ross.

The Unertl rings and bases have been replaced with D.D. Ross base and G&G Machine rings.

The rifles also come with a Harris bipod and an accessory rail, also built by G&G Machine.

The stock is a new McMillan A4, with adjustable cheek and length of pull.

As the M40A1's rotate in for service and repair, they are replaced by M40A3's.

All M40A3's are built by USMC armorers at Quantico Virginia.

The M40A3 is an outstanding replacement for the aging M40A1's.

This rifle is extremely accurate, very rugged, and is designed from the ground up to be a superb sniper rifle.

Combined with the new M118LR ammo, it makes a system that is ranked with the best in the world.

"It is one thing to kill in the heat of the battle when the blood's up, but it's quite another when you have a lot of time to think,"

Barrett M82A1 .50 Cal. Sniper Rifle

The Grim Reaper
The Grim Reaper

Barrett M-82 .50 Cal. Sniper Rifle

Features: Semiautomatic, bipod, 10x scope

Caliber: 12.7x99mm (.50 cal BMG)

Ammunition Capacity: 10 round box magazine

Rate Of Fire: NA

Range: 1800m (max effective)

Muzzle Velocity: 893m/s

Length: 57in

So... Where Does Airsoft Fit Into This Hub?

The stories above are the result of hundreds of hours of training for each individual soldier.

As a sniper in the military, you are obligated to your profession.
There is no 8 hour shift or a hot shower and a beer after a long day at work.

These men have dedicated their lives to this job and the shift is over when the mission is complete.

In an effort to bring more realism to their training program, the Army has turned to non lethal airsoft weapons.

Your first thought might be, why would the Army start training with toys.

But I assure you,

There is Nothing Soft About Airsoft.

Is It Real Or Is It Memorex? These Are All Air Soft Rifles...

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