The first day of the basic course started with classes, then outside to properly set up our rifles, then onto shooting paper at the 100 yard range for groups, adjusting our rifles and optics. In the mornings, we’d start off with shooting a few 5rnd groups, checking our zero (scope calibration), followed by classes on various topics.

In basic sniper course I learned

understanding the basics of the rifle
understanding factors for accuracy
knowing that misses are nearly all caused by shooter error
shooting fundamentals
ballistics, spindrift, ordinate height, Coriolis effect=negligible
importance of “calling your shot”
body position, hand placement
trigger control, the biggest factor affecting accuracy
the effects of scope shadow
proper rifle set up, tailored to the shooters body
shooting for groups, watching them shrink every morning
how to use the tactical scope
minutes of angle
mils, aka miliradians
how to estimate and calculate distance
DOPE= data on prior engagements
how to make and use a sand sock
scanning techniques, looking for camouflaged targets
range sketches, or sector sketches
basics of sling use
basics of shooting from standing, kneeling, sitting
shooting from alternate positions, off bags
importance of “sterilizing” your area, leaving no brass or other traces
the effects of wind on the bullet
how to look for signs of wind, mirage, bushes, dust, floating pollen, by feel
to-the-point shooter spotter communication
making “wind calls”, estimating hold off for wind
how to make rapid follow up shots after a miss
Come-ups, dialing up your scope for ranges
talking in minutes, not clicks. clicks=dicks. don’t measure in dicks cuz everyone’s different
shooting at, leading for moving targets
follow through, stay on the trigger don’t change anything, don’t raise your head off the rifle
after follow through, reload like a maniac
rapid bolt manipulation while staying on the rifle
do everything from the stock
be relaxed and comfortable enough to take a nap on your rifle
mathematical calculations, measuring angle, shooting downwards from high angles
always finishing on a loaded rifle
load to capacity when time permits
always stay ready, safeties off, eyes on target, ready to fire at any time
combat reload, single feed from rounds in your stock pack
always dial down your scope, close lens caps, fold bipod, pick up all your gear and sterilize your area when you move
get out of that range mentality
time pressure shooting drills, shooting on command within 5 and 3 seconds
camouflage, concealment
target indicators: movement, shine, contrast, out of place
stalking movement: walking, crouch walk, 3 leg crawl, high crawl, sniper low crawl aka skull-drag
painting rifle
making ghillie suit and camouflage
VEG is the EDGE
importance of laser range finder as training tool
importance of simplicity
importance of consistency
slow is smooth, smooth is fast
shoot out to 270, 300s 400s 500s 600s 720, 920, 1200, 1400 yards
LAPD time pressure shooting drill, combat reload, alternate positions
proper rifle cleaning

By the end of 5 days, I went from shooting 1.5 inch groups at 100 yards (1.5moa) to shooting all touching hold groups, 1/2inch groupings at 100 yards, (.5moa)

That night, on Lance’s recommendation, we went to a pub in Scottsdale, the ritsy part of phoenix, called Tilted Kilt. Amazing hot white girls, in school girl outfits, and short kilts, good food, good beer, lots of drinking and story telling. Max and DJ, the two brothers from Chihuahua Mexico, were leaving. They are tanks, each about 350 pounds, buying us all drinks, welcoming us to go visit and hang out in mexico at their small village. They spoke really good english, telling stories of the drug wars there, getting ak’s pointed at their heads, nearly getting executed after a “traffic stop” and search. They told of how more people die in mexico every year than in iraq at war. They are actually here learning these skills to go back and teach their village to shoot and protect their village from the drug cartels.