Military Review

Unnamed champions

Sniper's hand guide instinct and experience

“In this profession, the romantic or the heroic is actually not enough. The sniper's motto "meanness, meanness and deceit." The closer you can get to the enemy, the better. Yes, even shoot at close range, the most important thing is to accomplish the task, ”the former officer of the Russian special service confessed to the“ Military Industrial Courier ”.

In 70 – 80-ies, in the Soviet special forces units of the KGB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and later in the special forces detachments of the Russian special services, separate sniper units did not exist. There were so-called freelancers armed with Dragunov automatic rifles, who, although trained under a separate program, were actually not much different from ordinary fighters.

“De facto, he is a sniper, and de jure takes the machine gun and went into the assault group,” recalls one of the publication’s interlocutors.

Started from scratch

The first among the CIS countries to the idea of ​​creating full-time sniper units came in Ukraine, where they not only formed a separate group as part of unit A of the SBU, but also armed it with high-precision rifle complexes, in particular, American Blazer rifles.

Unnamed championsIn Russia, the intelligence services thought about the development of sniping only after taking hostages in the maternity hospital of Budyonnovsk and the special operation that followed, in which officers from special forces from both the FSB (then FSK) and the Interior Ministry took part.

Snipers were allocated for the storming of the maternity hospital, but their work was not entirely effective. It became clear that we need specialized units, staffed by fighters who have been trained in a separate program.

The first to develop a training program for snipers began in the Federal Counterintelligence Service, whose employees not only analyzed all the documents available at that time, but also raised archival, in particular, times of the Great Patriotic and Civil Wars.

It immediately became clear that everything would have to be created virtually from scratch. At that time, the last combat training program written for snipers was dated 1952 for the year, and all subsequent ones were reprinted with some cosmetic changes.

Often, FSB special forces officers are criticized for giving a lot of attention to foreign experience, in particular to the US, when developing a new program.

“There is nothing strange in this. In peacetime, only two countries did not stop training snipers - the United States and, if my memory serves me, Australia. All the others act according to the principle “There is war, which means that you need to train snipers, there is no war — you can overclock snipers”. This applies to both Europe and the USSR after the Great Patriotic War. But the sniper school is not born from scratch, it’s an experience accumulated over decades. We have carefully studied the American developments in order to take the best and introduce them with us, ”one of the MIC’s interlocutors specified.

In the new combat training program it was established that snipers should act as a pair. From the outset, it became clear what tasks snipers will perform in positions, as well as the time required to perform these tasks. And it was decided that the eldest in a pair (the one who shoots) must conduct calculations for entering amendments, and the second number carries out observation and corrects the shooting.

“The American“ green berets ”have the one who conducts surveillance in a pair. He also calculates the amendments and gives a ready-made solution to the first number, which shoots. We abandoned this approach. When the shooter of the elder in the pair considers everything himself, and also introduces amendments, experience greatly helps him. If they simply give them a task, it can be treated insufficiently critically, ”explains the interlocutor of the Military Industrial Courier.

According to the newly created program, our snipers were trained not only for high-precision shooting, but also for aiming and adjusting artillery fire and aviation. “At first we thought that we could all do it ourselves. But then, when they realized that there wasn’t enough shooting technique, they came to a children's trainer who had been learning how to lie, breathe, pull the trigger, relax for a whole year ... After that, the quality of shooting increased, especially for long distances, ”recalls the former commandos.

By the beginning of the second Chechen war, the FSB special forces snipers reached a fairly high level, showing excellent results not only in competitions, but also in service and combat activities. Therefore, the Defense Ministry appealed to them for help when they began to create specialized companies, training courses, etc. in the military department.

At the same time, the Ministry of the Interior chose to develop a program for combat training of snipers on their own. However, after some time, she nevertheless asked for help from the Federal Security Service.

In 2006, representatives of the FSB for the first time took part in the World Shooting Championship among army and police snipers held in Budapest, where, to the surprise of all participants, they immediately won first place. It is this victory that is considered to have summed up the many years of work that began after the terrorist attack in Budennovsk.

“When the staff went to the championship for the first time, nobody there took them seriously. And the task was simple - to take part, to understand the system. But they got a little carried away and immediately won first place, ”says one of the participants of those competitions.

It should be noted that the Hungarian championship is not only one of the most prestigious, but also quite complex, requiring participants to have a high level of training and experience. On the day the competitors did 18 – 20 exercises designed for only one, maximum two shots. By the end of the work exhausted completely.

Cooper Factor

Originally in the newly created sniper unit used rifles MC-116. But already in 1997, the British AW, designed by Malcolm Cooper, world champion in shooting, was purchased.

AW (stands for Arctic Warfare) is a major upgrade of the L80 sniper rifle adopted by the British army in the 96s. That, in turn, was created at the beginning of the 90-x by order of the Swedish military to operate in extreme Arctic conditions. Later, the new high-precision shooting complex was purchased by the military departments and special services of more than 20 countries.

"This is what is called the human factor in stories. There were people in Russia who knew Malcolm Cooper closely. After all, he is not only the creator of the rifle, but first and foremost a four-time world champion in shooting. Having created AW, he showed it to his friends, sports shooters from Russia, ”recalls one of the veterans of Russian sniping.

The British rifle became interested in the Russian special forces, and after brief disputes, they began to buy it, and at the same time two models - under the cartridge .308Win and under the .338Lapua-Magnum. A little later, in addition to AW, Finnish TRG rifles were purchased.

At one time, Cooper said that the best in the world is his rifle, and the second is the Finnish Sako TRG. From the point of view of their combat use by our snipers, this is how it turned out.

Everyone has their own handwriting

What is the difference between a policeman and a military sniper? It is from the field of application: a police officer works in cities and towns, where the firing range does not exceed 250 – 300 meters. But it requires a very accurate single shot. When conducting anti-terrorism measures, it’s necessary to shoot not just at a terrorist, but into an area of ​​instantly fatal injury, experts say.

The human body is conventionally divided into three zones. The first is an instantly fatal wound (MSR), with the defeat of which the terrorist dies on the so-called relaxation of his psychophysiomotor activity and cannot pull the trigger or detonator.

The second is the zone of mortal wounds (SR), if a sniper gets into it, the terrorist dies instantly, but still has time to do something. The third is the injured zone, hit in which does not lead to instant death.

Many believe that the MCP area is the whole head. This is not true. Police sniper need to get the first and only shot in the area of ​​the cerebellum and medulla. When viewed from the front, this is a triangle connecting the eyes and the tip of the nose, and on the side is only a small dot behind the ear.

The rest of the head is the CP zone. The slightest mistake will lead to the fact that the terrorist before death will have time either to kill the hostage or to detonate the bomb.

The instant-fatal injury zone is only about ten centimeters. The average sniper rifle fires with an 1 MOA accuracy (angular minute). That is, roughly speaking, three centimeters per hundred meters. Therefore, in order to be guaranteed to get into the MCP, the sniper must shoot from a range of no more than 300 meters, or even closer.

The work of a military sniper involves shooting at a long range, often over a kilometer. In the event of a miss, the military can make a second shot, making the necessary amendments.

“For a police sniper, the weight of the rifle itself is not important, because it will still be brought to the site of the operation. Well, he will pass or run a certain distance - he will not break. Therefore, heavier rifles for police snipers, even preferable with a small caliber. And for military sniping weight and size weaponsThe weight of the ammunition is crucial. After all, it is necessary not only to reach the place of operation, but also to return, but also to complete the task, ”explains the source.

But the problem of masking on the ground is the same for both the policeman and the military sniper. If we are talking about distance, then there is no such disguise where the sniper would be absolutely convenient. Of course, he can climb under the ground, then, like the hell out of a snuffbox, jump out and shoot at close range. But if a sniper has to work in an open area, then the minimum distance to which he can crawl is 90 – 110 meters from the target. If he gets closer, they will see him. You can dissolve in the background, but still the sniper breathes, moves, produces movements uncharacteristic of the terrain and is easy to detect.

When firing at maximum distances and at the limit of the rifle's capabilities, each has its own specific style. As an example, the teachings of one of the sniper units, held in the mountains. As targets, in order not to run from one vertex to another, special plastic was used, cracking with an accurate bullet hit.

All targets were hit the first time, but when the unit commander checked the calculations and the amendments that the snipers made before opening fire, it turned out that they differed greatly among all his subordinates.

“When firing at the maximum range, each sniper in his own way considers, observes the wind, makes adjustments. And here the second component is already included - experience. Often you don’t even understand why you’ve gotten it that way, or that’s where you put the aiming point. Therefore, in the sniper case a lot of subjective. Yes, at the initial stage of training, when you prepare a person from scratch to a certain level, there are some cliches. Then, when you already pass this level, subjectivism appears, ”the interlocutor shares his feelings.

But the most important thing for a sniper is to always be realistic about his capabilities. “If you want to achieve something, you have to tell yourself the truth that you can for today. After all, shooting skills are not innate, they must be acquired and brought to the level of instinct. Then it turns out a professional, ”sums up an experienced sniper.

The editorial board of Voenniy Obozreniye urgently needs a proofreader. Requirements: impeccable knowledge of the Russian language, diligence, discipline. Contact: [email protected]

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  1. Ruslan
    Ruslan 25 October 2015 08: 07 New
    interesting article. it’s a pity that the experience of the WWII was buried, for sure it’s the tupar generals, the cabinet rats are to blame. they say we’ll crush everyone with tanks, go to sleep with bombs, what the hell are snipers or special forces for us.
    1. Senior manager
      Senior manager 25 October 2015 10: 20 New
      Ruslan. Oh, how smart we are in hindsight, and how we can blame someone who does, but is mistaken, and we tear things off from the general situation of the military-political, economic, market, etc., which was very important at that time.
      1. Ruslan
        Ruslan 28 October 2015 03: 19 New
        your position, to defend the army dumb, is ridiculous. In WWII, snipers proved their effectiveness, Sudoplatov and antiquities proved what special forces are capable of. What other reasons are needed to support and develop these areas? only the generals who have grown to their stars in the offices, competently suck up to their higher commanders, do not understand this, suffering from infantilism. Therefore, the USSR was often so stupid in military construction (communications, equipment of soldiers, spread rot of special forces, production of short-lived satellites (although they had been in service for 10 years), dynamical protection, etc., etc.). I read it once, the marshal pinned down to check the unit, the "fools" officers decided that he would be interested in combat work, they were preparing, they were building schemes to demonstrate to him ... yeah, all that interested him was that the posters were not nailed so well, the grass was not green, etc. on this he concluded that the commander and senior officers of the service did not know. I am sure precisely because of such downs, all the problems of our army and there is no need to justify them. to understand the importance and possibility of a particular direction in military affairs, it is enough to be smart.
        1. gross kaput
          gross kaput 28 October 2015 10: 04 New
          Quote: ruslan

          Ruslan, I’m embarrassed to ask, did you yourself serve in the army? or judge from hunting tales and the speeches of liberal mothers who did not give birth?
          Quote: ruslan
          so the ussr often stupid in military construction

          It’s a masterpiece - the first to be powerless in everything, were in the defense of the USSR and the Russian Federation and weaknesses, but in many ways, if we were not the first, then at the level of a probable adversary - tank building, submarine, mobile strategic systems, shooting and much more of what.
          Quote: ruslan
          production of short-lived satellites (although they have been with the service for 10 years)

          Are you probably a Roscosmos specialist? Then you should know that many factors influence the satellite’s life cycle and it’s far from always possible to provide a 10-year cycle.
          ps when I served in the army, I thought - what a mess here! Then the Ministry of Internal Affairs - where I realized that the army is in order and the mess is here, and now in civilian life I understand that in comparison with what is happening here, both the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Internal Affairs are examples of order.
  2. Aleksandr72
    Aleksandr72 25 October 2015 08: 37 New
    At one time, Cooper said that the best in the world is his rifle, and the second ...
    - Absolutely the same can be said by any other sniper (namely a sniper, and not just a well-aimed shooter with SVD, etc.). For any real sniper, his rifle is an extension of his hand. If he personally shot her, lovingly brought her to mind, picking up everything, as he (the sniper) believes, necessary to produce an accurate shot, then this shooter knows absolutely everything about the nature of his rifle and is sure that she will not let him down in an important moment. The good news is that recently the army and special forces in Russia (like us in Kazakhstan) began to pay attention to sniping, both the training of the shooters themselves and the development for them of a new modern sniper weapon that meets the most diverse requirements, as well as methods of preparation and use snipers, who in peacetime are always widely known persons in very narrow circles - this is me about the "nameless champions".
    I have the honor.
    1. Timeout
      Timeout 25 October 2015 09: 22 New
      Quote: Aleksandr72
      not just a marksman with SVD

      And when did the troops receive more long-range weapons than the SVD? OSV-96 and AVK can be ignored, because they are not enough. Being in the networks of centric wars, we forgot that not all battles are fought at prohibitive distances. Take the same Afghan for the USSR. SVD fulfilled its 100%, because there are no troops more long-range than, for example, the PC or FN MAG. Mortars and other heavy weapons are not taken into account, they are mostly hidden in closed positions, and the sniper has no sight there. All the world records of amers in shooting towards dushmans led to casualties only in open positions and static targets. Statistics: Iraq 90% of those killed by a sniper shot - a maximum distance of 500 meters. Syria is the same. Chechen companies - from 400 to 800 meters. I'm not talking about fortified positions, the "Burglar" is like a very rare barrel, basically the problem was solved by a tank or a ZU-23 crew. So it can be concluded that the actual application remained unchanged. SVD and similar weapons still rule. And the means of anti-sniper warfare also do not stand still, it is not easy for a sniper to survive in the current situation, even with the SVD, even with the ASVK.
      1. Lapkonium
        Lapkonium 26 October 2015 03: 49 New
        Don't forget the large-caliber machine guns, they hit for kilometers. Although the value of the massive supply of precision rifles to each platoon is questionable, they should, of course, be in the special forces - and are already appearing. Compared to SVD, ASVK and OSV-96 with an accuracy below the angular minute, "real" sniper rifles, in the modern sense of the word, should give real superiority, even at not prohibitive distances. In particular, when a hit from the first shot is valuable, let this use rather for the FSB / FSO / Ministry of Internal Affairs.
        1. gross kaput
          gross kaput 4 November 2015 22: 13 New
          Quote: Lapkonium
          ASVK and OSV-96 with an accuracy of less than angular minute

          with what re-start? ASVK with a sniper 7N34 shows a bunch of 1,5 moa, and this is the manufacturer’s data, unfortunately now far from the USSR with its acceptance and what’s in the series with the quality of the rifles that the cartridges are known to God, so most likely the more realistic result is the claimed 16 cm 300, which is approximately equal to 2 MOA, which is much more like the truth.
      2. gross kaput
        gross kaput 27 October 2015 00: 06 New
        There is such a wonderful comrade with great real experience, Lieutenant Colonel Zagortsev A.V., writes essays, including stories he also has an article on snipers in the Russian army
        Well, now a little realism. When we still used snipers, just as it is drawn in the fragile minds of keyboard characters and other network specialists.
        In the North Caucasus region? Wander around the Internet and read, basically it's all "GRU SPETSNAZ", well, or the Airborne Forces or something else furiously cool. I remember the first PM. I had a sniper in my group. And, what would I let him go somewhere from me for a few kilometers to perform someone? Excuse me, I was still stupid then, but not a complete stupid person. A scout with a banal SVD moved away from the group a maximum of 100 meters and was always or was in the zone of visibility and audibility. He worked either according to my target indications, or according to whoever he would notice. Often to my cry when I did not see the result
        -Well, what hit? The plain answer followed
        - Yes, he knows, like he fell. SVD []
        When conducting reconnaissance and military operations in the urban environment of a sniper, I used my intuition, as it later turned out to be correct. When traveling in city blocks, always close to me in battle order. Paired with him must be a scout. When scouting a house, this pair did not go inside; it was used as an observation group. The second scout was left with a station and binoculars of several disposable rocket-propelled grenade launchers or RPGs. The couple monitored the windows, insured exits. Sniper with SVD in the house do not hell. When conducting reconnaissance and search operations in mountainous and wooded areas, the sniper was in his regular place in the battle order of the group and didn’t go anywhere alone. In other special forces, as far as I am informed the sniper acted in exactly the same way. They were put up for chips in the area of ​​basing or LDPE of the detachment, but no one went anywhere alone. Well, there were exceptions, in the person of officers, and even those more than a kilometer from the detachment did not leave. The second company was exactly the same. I’m sure there are a lot of people who want to challenge my opinion. Yes, for God's sake, only I operate on facts. So, you are the group commander. You have a regular number of snipers. Will you send your scout conscript or contractor alone or together somewhere, to execute someone? The question is who? The group commander does have information about some manifestations of the defendants (leaders of the IAF) in the area of ​​responsibility of the detachment for a certain period of time. It is unlikely, or rather, it does not. It is good if the commander of the detachment and the head of the operational intelligence unit have contact with the operational-agent groups operating in this area, with operas from other bodies and departments that have their own agents. Then there will be information, but it is unlikely that the unit commander will be able to realize it himself, but the group commander and company commander are all the more so.

        the whole can be found here -
  3. Vega
    Vega 25 October 2015 09: 26 New
    A sniper is primarily a well-trained specialist who is engaged in this constantly, and not a bad shooter, can be trained in about six months.
    1. Major_Vortex
      Major_Vortex 25 October 2015 16: 28 New
      Quote: vega
      A sniper is primarily a well-trained specialist who is engaged in this constantly, and not a bad shooter, can be trained in about six months.

      A sharp shooter or sniper should practice shooting regularly and without long breaks. This applies to any shooter. Threw training and skills will gradually be forgotten. Not 100% and not immediately, but they will be forgotten. It's like playing a guitar.
  4. alex-cn
    alex-cn 25 October 2015 09: 57 New
    Blazer American rifles.
    I always knew them as Blser jagtwaffen GMBH, somehow it doesn’t look like America ...
  5. k_ply
    k_ply 25 October 2015 10: 11 New
    ... American Blazer rifles.

    Isn't it German?
    “There is nothing strange about this. Only two countries in peacetime did not stop training snipers - the United States and, if my memory serves me, Australia.

    Australia? After the events in Munich in 1972 - the British SAS and the German GSG 9 (1973), for sure.

    Couples - of course, but the “troika” are also in use, both here and across the ocean.
    “The American Green Berets have a senior who is watching. He calculates the amendments and issues a ready-made solution to the first number, which shoots. We abandoned this approach.

    5 groups of green berets are designed to carry out operations around the world, including political killings, therefore, the observer, he is the coordinating communications officer, is a pair of conditionally senior, the link between the sniper and the command giving the go-ahead (confirmation) for the shot, in other cases he 2nd No., assistant, work alone is far from possible.
  6. aleksandrs95
    aleksandrs95 25 October 2015 10: 43 New
    The case is necessary and necessary, and most importantly now high-precision ammunition, modern gunpowder, which is already approaching a new caliber, a little more than 10mm. Putting match cartridges for production.
    1. Lapkonium
      Lapkonium 26 October 2015 03: 43 New
      Right. The quality of new ammunition is often lower than the plinth, consumers are complaining. High precision 338 and 408 were not made at all until recently.
  7. Denis Skiff
    Denis Skiff 25 October 2015 12: 35 New
    "Meanness, meanness and treachery"
    Class! Figured it out myself?
    1. K9_SWAT
      K9_SWAT 25 October 2015 16: 04 New
      I liked it)))
  8. Dragon-y
    Dragon-y 25 October 2015 14: 57 New
    What does "meanness and cunning" have to do with it? Set a task - complete it! And for "meanness" let the person who gave the order blush ...
  9. bylec
    bylec 25 October 2015 15: 36 New
    it seems to me . the general is sitting who is closer, let’s say the tankers, who cares, but who the hell is a sniper?

    Well shoots accurately, what else do you need?
  10. revnagan
    revnagan 25 October 2015 16: 09 New
    It seems that something similar happened recently. It didn’t fail. Attempt # 2? "The work of a military sniper involves shooting at a long distance, often over a kilometer. In case of a miss, the military can fire a second shot, making the necessary corrections." I wonder if the army sniper will have time to make the second shot in modern warfare, if in the Great Patriotic War the second shot from the same position was strongly discouraged?
    1. PKK
      PKK 14 February 2016 19: 55 New
      It succeeds according to the situation. It happens that they scorch the whole evening for 3.5 km by car, 1.5 km for the gunner. And sometimes the pturs arrives, as it is lucky.
  11. akm8226
    akm8226 25 October 2015 17: 22 New
    Well, at least one told the truth about snipers ...
  12. RoTTor
    RoTTor 25 October 2015 19: 53 New
    In the Red Army during the Second World War, the training of snipers was at its best: sniper schools prepared quite cool specialists.
    But this was based on the well-functioning pre-conscription training system in OSOAVIAHIM and the massive development of shooting sports, free of charge for those who do not remember the Soviet era.
    Is it now? - The same thing!
  13. Megatron
    Megatron 25 October 2015 20: 07 New
    Well, yes, again in this article they could not do without bulging police snipers. Only the army sniper at stake has his own life, and the policeman has a stranger. On this, all comparisons can be stopped.
  14. Gunther
    Gunther 26 October 2015 01: 07 New
    ... Sniper motto "Meanness, meanness and treachery"..... - A former officer of the Russian special services admitted to the Military-Industrial Courier.

    On what interesting mottoes was the former officer of the Russian special services brought up.
    Perhaps more interesting is only the motto of the Israeli snipers of the Givati ​​brigade "One shot - two corpses" (1shot 2 kills) and a branded T-shirt with a picture of a pregnant Palestinian woman in the center of the target. (Http://
    I prefer "One shot - one death."
    Our snipers during the Second World War, the motto was
    "Invisible, see and destroy"
    1. Lapkonium
      Lapkonium 26 October 2015 03: 54 New
      Quote: Gunter
      "Invisible, see and destroy"

      Linguistic disaster. For me it would be better if the Israelites were pregnant and a German. laughing
  15. Dam
    Dam 26 October 2015 01: 49 New
    . Just blah blah blah. The semantic load is very small.
  16. Buffalo
    Buffalo 26 October 2015 12: 06 New
    On the day of the 65th anniversary of the special forces, the other day, a modest unknown sniper worked well, knocking out the brains of the leader of Jabgat al-Nusra. laughing
    Bravo, maestro!
  17. SiberLight
    SiberLight 26 March 2016 18: 38 New
    The most important thing is always the fulfillment of the task ... And "The sniper's motto Low meanness and deceit" is not their fault ...
    Need to complete the task at all costs!