Sniper Systems Update for Special Operations Forces

A SOF Sniper with 7th Special Forcese Group on SR training mission at USMC Twentynine Palms, California. (Photo by USAF Tech Sgt. Efren Lopez, Feb 17, 2016).
A SOF Sniper with 7th Special Forcese Group on SR training mission at USMC Twentynine Palms, California. (Photo by USAF Tech Sgt. Efren Lopez, Feb 17, 2016).

Sniper Systems Update for SOF – The last several years have seen new developments in training, tactics, and employment of sniper teams and their associated equipment and weapons. Sniper teams have taken a leading role in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, SOF has been employed in the small wars now taking place in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere.

Andrew White, an writer at Defense Media Network, has published (July 3, 2017) an extensive review of SOF sniper equipment, weapons, training, and employment over the past few years.

USASOC Sniper Competition. In March 2017 the annual U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) International Sniper Competition was held. The event high-lighted “. . . the wide-ranging skill sets required to effectively operate as a force multiplying sniper team.” Two-man teams from the U.S. Army’s SOF units as well as sniper teams from European countries participated in a series of sniper events during the competition. The events included many aspects of sniping to include marksmanship, stalking, battle preparation, sniper operations, and target acquisition.

Employment of Sniper Teams. White’s article goes on to explain how U.S. SOF sniper teams are engaged around the world in real-world missions. These operations range from disrupting terrorist networks, direct action (DA), counterterrorism (CT), and other missions. A key development taking place recently is the urban warfare being conducted over the past several months in the siege of Mosul. U.S. and other nation’s SOF snipe teams have been actively employed in fighting the Islamic State fighters in the Mosul fight. Recently a Canadian SOF sniper was recognized for conducting the longest-ever sniper shoot in combat. Snipers are also the ‘eyes and ears’ for commanders for a variety of operations.

USSOCOM and Sniper Systems. The United States Special Operations Command based in Tampa, Florida is actively pursuing advanced sniper systems for its special operations forces across all services (SEALs, Green Berets, Rangers, MARSOC, etc.). White’s article goes into great depth on the full range of these sniper systems currently being purchased or under development.

White concludes his long article on Sniper Systems Update with:

“The role of the sniper across the COE remains as relevant as ever, highlighted by the effort and investment paid to the training teams tasked with identifying personnel with the correct aptitude for such missions.¬†This trend is unlikely to change as the future character of conflict continues to evolve toward a battlespace that will still require the force-multiplying effects of a sniper team.”

The full article can be read at:

“SOF Sniper Systems Developments”, by Andrew White,¬†Defense Media Networks, July 3, 2017.


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