The Process on How to become a US Army Sniper
The first thing that happens on your journey to becoming a sniper is that about 40 to 50 candidates arrive at the US Army Sniper School in Fort Benning, Georgia, every seven weeks. Usually, only four graduates will have what it takes to pass this rigorous Course.
Pulling the trigger and being a great shooter is only a tiny part of the battle; you're going to need to know more than just guns to get you through the next few weeks.
Excellent proficiency in physics and mathematics is a must-have for any would-be sniper.
The job of a Sniper on the battlefield is to be accurate. Because of this, a single shot could turn the tide of a battle. That means a US Army Sniper must effectively calculate the windage, the range to the target, and what happens with gravity over distance and even the Coriolis effect.
The effect of the Earth's rotation on a moving object will all cumulatively have on a bullet as it travels through the air.
Before you even get to Sniper School, you'll undergo the Army Physical Fitness Standard Test with your home unit. With this test, you absolutely must earn top marks. You'll also need enough experience in either the Infantry, Cavalry, or Special Forces soldier. In addition, you must have an extremely high score in the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery.
Next, you'll undergo a thorough psychological evaluation since you'll be spending most of your career alone in a 2-man sniper pair. Because of this, the US army needs to know that you have the mental fortitude to handle the pressures of the job and isolation together for extended periods.
Even if you pass all those requirements and make it to the start of Sniper school, you will still have to complete the following;
- Another physical fitness test followed by;
- A marksmanship test with the M 4 assault rifle using only iron sights
Fail either test, and that's it for you; you go home.
At the start of your second week, you'll be faced with your next pass or fail test. Then, you and your class will camouflage yourself on one of the school's wilderness courses called a stalk. You will have to maintain your position for hours while instructors search for you with high-powered binoculars.
You'll need to tough it out and ignore the scorching Georgia heat crawling ants, spiders, snakes, and other creepy crawlies. If you move or are spotted, you automatically fail the stalk.
You'll also undergo target detection training. You'll be taught to use your eyes, binoculars, spotting scope, and a rifle scope to detect targets. After learning all these skills, you will be tested. Failure means you go home.
In weeks three through five, they'll pair you with another student, and you'll both swap as Shooter and Spotter.
The Sniper Spotter is responsible for calculating wind and other environmental effects, feeding his Shooter the critical data needed to make an accurate shot.
Throughout these weeks, You'll spend your time either in the classroom or at the range testing your marksmanship.
If you fail any of the marksmanship tests, you'll go home.
You'll spend six weeks learning how to shoot from different positions as a sniper rarely ever shoots from the famous prone firing position.
You'll be forced to contort your body to hold uncomfortable positions for hours at a time. Then, finally, you still must deliver an accurate shot to a predetermined target. Failure means you go home.
Your final and seventh last week will be a test of all your previous lessons.
You will plan and execute a sniper and counter-sniper mission undergoing urban infiltration and hide setup techniques. You'll then move to the woods and learn to build subsurface hides meticulously camouflage holes in the ground, where a sniper may live for days at a time in a real-world mission.
Final culmination exercise; This consists of the following.
- Live Stalking;
- Detecting a target estimating range, and
- Accurately Shooting
Failure in any element of the Course means, you guessed it, you go home.
The US Army employs some of the deadliest snipers globally, and of all that apply. As a result, only a tiny percentage will ever reach Sniper Course Graduation and receive the respected Sniper Patch.