Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Sniper Match Isn't A Snipe Hunt.

sniper taking aim
Breath, exhale, hold and press the trigger to the surprise break

GTA, the gun club I shoot at, just held their scout/sniper match.  

There were six stages for the two-man teams of scout and sniper, including a cold bore shot at 100 yards 

cold bore shot
The sniper shoots the target with the orange square for his cold bore shot and the scout then has a chance to shoot the remaining 5 targets.  Distance?  About 100 yards 
and one requiring the team to shoot together off a peaked roof, affectionately known as the Dog House.

Sniper team shoots it out
A team shoots it out against 1 inch hard candy and steel plates under the watchful eyes of the SO

I ran the Banging Plates stage.  It was a simple enough stage.  From a shooting box in the woods, the scout had to find and shoot steel plates ranging from 50 to 100 yards.  While the sniper could help him find the plates, the scout had 2 minutes and exactly 10 rounds to make 10 hits.

sniper/scout match
Scout utilizes a "can' on the end of his AR to hit 10 steel plates

This was a radical change from our match last year.  Each stage in that match had unlimited time and the misses were scored as time added to your raw time.  This encouraged people who simply wanted to pull the trigger as fast as possible and accept the misses as additional time.  

 Most people call that gamesmanship and frankly, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  I see every match, every practice session as a dress rehearsal.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at a match or just plinking at the range.  After all it isn’t anything like “real life” that so many shooters are fond of talking about.  I suspect, God help us, shooting at a person and being shot at will be nothing like our practice or matches.  But they are the closest I can get to of my perception of “real life.”

Cold bore set up
The snipers were given 2 minutes to get set up.

I did a quick, unscientific survey of all the participants who shot or spotted my stage.  The question was “Do you have a personal first aid kit with you now?”  I was looking for the little blow-out kit, you know, tourniquet, pressure bandage, QuikClot.

Excluding myself, less than 12% of the shooters had a kit on them.  Many had a more extensive kit with their pack 50 yards away or in their vehicle.

Many of the shooters had expensive optics, dots, customized guns, high tech clothing, range finders and the ubiquitous smart phone.  But the one item that could save their life was 50 yards away.

blow-out kit
My blow-out kit.  gloves, pressure bandage, tourniquet and QuikClot gauze.  I vacuumed sealed it myself  

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