How to Shoot Like a Sniper According to US Army Veterans

There are many different aspects of becoming a sniper, and you must be proficient in all of them.

Each long-range shot requires several measurements and considerations to counteract variables such as temperature, atmosphere, and wind to ensure the projectile lands on target.

The shooter, concealed, peers through his lens. He zeroes in on his target from the darkness. He deliberates on his shot. He shoots while holding his breath. The opponent is never aware of the approach.

When you hear the term “sniper,” a vision of a masked sharpshooter armed with a powerful weapon ready to launch a kill shot from miles away is likely to come to mind.

Snipers are characterized by their unmatched capacity to destroy objectives at a distance, eliminating obstacles without alerting the opponent. It is a thankless career. Snipers usually work between 600 to 1,200 meters but may rarely eliminate an adversary from a far greater distance.

In 2017, a Canadian special forces sniper, for example, broke the world record for the longest reported kill, killing an ISIS soldier in Iraq from a distance of more than two miles.

What are Sharpshooters?

A sharpshooter is a person who is exceptionally skilled at accurately shooting guns or other projectile-based weapons. Sharpshooter-equipped military divisions played a significant role in nineteenth-century warfare. “Marksman,” “expert,” and “sharpshooter” are three marksmanship badges that the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps award.


A sniper is a combat or guerrilla sharpshooter who engages objectives from concealed locations or ranges outside the target’s detection range. Snipers are often well-trained and armed with high-precision weapons and high-magnification optics. They also double as scouts/observers, relaying situational intelligence to their divisions or command headquarters.

Military offensives employ snipers, who are qualified in several unique action tactics in addition to high-grade and long-range marksmanship: tracking, chasing, goal range estimating procedures, disguise, fieldcraft, penetration, special surveillance and observation, tracking, and target acquisition.

How to Shoot Like a Professional

We spoke with a small group of elite US Army snipers, all of whom have fought adversaries in battle, about what went into long-range shots. What these seasoned marksmen have to say about aiming like a sniper is below.

To begin, a sharpshooter requires the proper equipment. The weapon is the most critical piece of equipment for a sniper; it is his lifeline. The M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle and the bolt-action M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle are the two basic rifles used by traditional Army snipers.

Bullets shot from these rifles accelerate above 750 m/s, more than double the speed of sound.

Snipers do not have unlimited time to produce a shot. They must be ready to respond quickly when summoned.

Second, although each army sniper can complete his task individually, these sharpshooters usually collaborate closely with their spotters, who have vital additional eyes on the battleground.

The two soldiers alternate duties to ensure that one is fully aware of the other’s tasks, resulting in increased fighting effectiveness.

Thirdly, a sharpshooter requires a stable shooting spot, ideally one that conceals the sniper from the enemy’s watchful eyes and allows him to lay prone to withstand recoil. You can see some really great spotting scope options on this guide at On the other hand, snipers are trained to fire from various stances, including standing and kneeling.

Fourth, the sniper, including his spotter, must have a thorough knowledge of all of the problematic aspects and equations that go through the shot phase, according to Staff Sgt. Christopher Rance, Fort Benning’s sniper teacher team sergeant. The team must determine atmospheric conditions, range, and wind and then collaborate to shoot with proper accuracy.

“The first element you must remember is your ambiance,” he said. This involves, but is not limited to, weather, station pressure, and humidity. “The sniper must plan for all of this, which will aid in formulating a shooting solution.”

A critical piece of equipment is a sniper-spotter squad’s applied ballistics kestrel, which is essentially a portable weather station. “It takes readings automatically and determines a shooting strategy that focuses mostly on the gun profile we develop,” Rance said.

Following that, the pair establishes range, which is critical.

Snipers may use laser range finders to counter low-level risks such as insurgents. However, qualified troops are likely to be able to spot this. Snipers must depend on the scope’s reticle to defeat these sophisticated battlefield adversaries.

“So, in general, we have this indicator between three to four inches next to our eyes within the optic that will mil off a mark and decide the length,” Rance said.

After determining the range, the sniper must decide wind direction. The sniper must assess the wind speed for various zones depending on the distance to the target. “Generally, the sniper would then put a hold,” Rance said. “On his optic, he can dial in the elevation and hold for wind.”

Bullets do not travel straight when fired from long distances. Projectiles are subjected to spin drifting and gravity’s pull at a long range, causing them to decelerate from supersonic flight.

As the sniper is ready to shoot, he can “fire on a respiratory break,” Capt. Greg Elgort, the company commander at Fort Benning’s sniper academy, said. “He is going to automatically stop breathing just before he pushes the lever.”

Fifth, a sniper must be prepared to fire any shot down target if the first misses immediately. “If he misses, they just get a few seconds to complete the second shot adjustment until the objective finds cover and vanishes,” Rance said.


Follow these suggestions by former veterans to improve your skills and become a pro at sniping.