Lock The Nonfiring Arm Straight Or The Face Will Absorb The Weapons Recoil

(a) After assuming a prone position, grasp the upper sling swivel and sling with the nonfiring hand, forming a fist to support the front of the weapon.

(b) Ensure the nonfiring arm is locked straight since it will absorb the weapon's recoil. Wearing a glove is advisable.

(c) Rest the butt of the weapon on the ground and place it under the firing shoulder.

The sniper can make minor adjustments in muzzle elevation by tightening or relaxing the fist of the nonfiring hand. If more elevation is required, he can place a support under the nonfiring fist.

Sniper Hawkins Position
Figure 3-8. Hawkins position.


d. Field-Expedient Weapon Support. Support of the weapon is critical to the sniper's success in engaging targets. Unlike a well-equipped firing range with sandbags for weapon support, the sniper can encounter situations where weapon support relies on common sense and imagination. The sniper should practice using these supports at every opportunity and select the one that best suits his needs. He must train as if in combat to avoid confusion and self-doubt. The following items are commonly used as field-expedient weapon supports

(1) Sand sock. The sniper needs the sand sock when delivering precision fire at long ranges. He uses a standard issue, olive-drab wool sock filled one-half to three-quarters full of sand and knotted off. He places it under the rear sling swivel when in the prone supported position for added stability (Figure 3-9). By limiting minor movement and reducing pulse beat, the sniper can concentrate on trigger control and aiming. He uses the nonfiring hand to grip the sand sock, rather than the rear sling swivel. The sniper makes minor changes in muzzle elevation by squeezing or relaxing his grip on the sock. He uses the sand sock as padding between the weapon and a rigid support also.

(2) Rucksack. If the sniper is in terrain without any natural support, he may use his rucksack (Figure 3-10). He must consider the height and presence of rigid objects within the rucksack. The rucksack must conform to weapon contours to add stability.

Figure 3-10. Rucksack.
Figure 3-9. Sand sock.

(3) Sandbag. The sniper can fill an empty sandbag (Figure 3-11) on site.

(3) Sandbag. The sniper can fill an empty sandbag (Figure 3-11) on site.

Aiming And Limiting Sandbags
Figure 3-11. Sandbag.

(4) Tripod. The sniper can build a field-expedient tripod (Figure 3-12) by tying together three 12-inch long sticks (one thicker than the others) with 550 cord or the equivalent. When tying the sticks, he wraps the cord at the center point and leaves enough slack to fold the legs out into a triangular base. Then, he places the fore-end of the weapon between the three uprights.

(5) Bipod. The sniper can build a field-expedient bipod (Figure 3-12) by tying together two 12-inch sticks, thick enough to support the weight of the weapon. Using 550 cord or the equivalent, he ties the sticks at the center point, leaving enough slack to fold them out in a scissor-like manner. He then places the weapon between the two uprights. The bipod is not as stable as other field-expedient items, and it should be used only in the absence of other techniques.

(6) Forked stake. The tactical situation determines the use of the forked stake. Unless the sniper can drive a forked stake into the ground, this is the least desirable of the techniques; that is, he must use his nonfiring hand to hold the stake in an upright position (Figure 3-12). Delivering long-range precision fire is a near-impossibility due to the unsteadiness of the position.

e. Sniper and Observer Positioning. The sniper should find a place on the ground that allows him to build a steady, comfortable position with the best cover, concealment, and visibility of the target area. Once established, the observer should position himself out of the sniper's field of view on his firing side.

(1) The closer the observer gets his spotting telescope to the sniper's line of bore, the easier it is to follow the trace (path) of the bullet and observe the point of impact. A position at 4 to 5 o'clock (7 to 8 o'clock for left-handed firers) from the firing shoulder and close to (but not touching) the sniper is best (Figure 3-13).

NOTE: Trace is the visible trail of a bullet and is created by the shock wave of a supersonic bullet. The shockwave compresses the air along the leading edge of a bullet causing water vapor in the air to momentary condense and become visible. To the observer, located to the rear of the sniper, trace appears as a rapidly moving V-shaped vortex in the air following the trajectory of the bullet. Through close observation and practice, trace can be used to judge the Dullet's trajectory relative to the aiming point, making corrections easier for a follow-up shot. Trace can best be seen if the observer's optics are directly in line with the axis of the sniper's rifle barrel. Watching the trace and the effects of the bullet's impact are the primary means by which the observer assists the sniper in calling the snot.

The Sniper

(2) If the sniper is without weapon support in his position, he uses the observer's body as a support (Figure 3-14). This support is not recommended since the sniper must contend with his own movement and the observer's body movement. The sniper should practice and prepare to use an observer supported position. A variety of positions can be used; however, the two most stable are when the observer is in a prone or sitting position.

(a) Prone. To assume the prone position, the observer lies at a 45-to 75-degree angle to the target and observes the area through his spotting telescope. The sniper assumes a a prone supported position, using the back of the observer's thigh for support. Due to the offset angle, the observer may only see the bullet impact.

Aniper Prone Position Drawing
Figure 3-14. Prone observer supported position.

(b) Sitting. If vegetation prevents the sniper from assuming a prone position, the sniper has the observer face the target area and assume a cross-legged sitting position. The observer places his elbows on his knees to stabilize his position. For observation, the observer uses binoculars held in his hands. The spotting telescope is not recommended due to its higher magnification and the unsteadiness of this position. The sniper is behind the observer in an open-legged, cross-legged, or kneeling position, depending on the target's elevation (Figure 3-15, page 3-16). The sniper places the fore-end of the weapon across the observer's left shoulder, stabilizing the weapon with the forefinger of the nonfiring hand. When using these positions, the sniper's effective engagement of targets at extended ranges is difficult and used only as a last resort. When practicing these positions, the sniper and observer must enter respiratory pause together to eliminate movement from breathing.

Sniper Sitting Position


Figure 3-15. Sitting position.


Figure 3-15. Sitting position.

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