Precision Rifle & Sniper Training for Hostile Environment Close Protection

Precision Rifle & Sniper Training for Hostile Environment Close Protection

The sniper and sniping are topics that have been romanticized and surrounded with many myths and misconceptions. I address some of these myths in my article “Countering Snipers”, click here to read it. In this short article I am going to talk about precision rifle and sniper training for close protection operations.

Now to start with let us kill a major myth, the facts are that commercially employed snipers are non-existent… You are not going to do a sniper course and then be hired as a sniper in a war zone. If companies are advertising such jobs, then they are talking bullsh#t. In days gone by in Iraq and Afghanistan I understand some security companies employed defensive marksmen but these days the jobs are non-existent. If such jobs do not exist, they will go to those with many years military and law enforcement sniper training and experience, not someone who has just done a SIA CP course and dressed up and played security contractor on a virtually non-fail hostile environment close protection firearms course for a week or so…

The only people who can legally use snipers are militaries, law enforcement and government agencies. Private security guards and contractors can only work on defensive operations and in most locations can only work armed when with a client or on a client’s property. Anyone with experience of responsibly managing armed contracts will tell you that to start with the insurance liabilities for a commercial sniper in would be out of this world, as would the criminal and civil liability if they some someone by mistake, or these days even shot a bad guy intentionally. So, if someone on Face Book is telling you contractor sniper stories or offering you contracts, I would say they are delusional and you’re not going to be sat on the roof of an office block somewhere with a .50 Barret earning $1000 a-day.

Now, some of you reading this might be considering a career as a mercenary. To start with in most places such work is illegal and not paying as well as it did many, many years ago. Take a look to see what the volunteers in the wars in Dombass and Syria were earning if anything at all. I hear the Ukrainian army is now looking to recruit foreigners at €1200 a month. I think they are planning some type of foreign legion, which will be a regular and disciplined military unit.

In Syria, the YPG were using foreign volunteers, some of whom in sniper roles. One such unpaid or minimally paid volunteer was a UK citizen called Jac Holmes. Jac had not formal military training but proved himself in combat and was a commander of a YPG sniper team. He was killed in Raqqa in 2017 while clearing mines. The chances are if he had returned to UK again, he would have been arrested and investigated by the UK police for terrorism offenses, even though he was fighting the Islamic State extremists.

Precision Rifle & Sniper Training for Close Protection

So, what are the realistic applications for precision rifle and sniper training in the close protection context. Firstly, I will say that it is always a positive to learn how to operate as many variants of firearms as possible, as you never know what you might need to use or maybe come across and have to verify if its unloaded and safe.

Most precision and sniper rifles are what’s called “bolt action”. Which this means is that you need to manually operate a bolt to cycle the rounds from the magazine to chamber to load and unload the gun. Bolt action rifles are very common for hunting and many sniper rifles are just upgraded hunting rifles; the Remington 700 is a classic example of this. Bolt action rifles are very simple to operate and the various models from different manufacturers are fairly similar.

There are various semi-automatic sniper rifles around and if you can operate the main military rifles like say the M-4, AK and G-3 you should have no problems safely unloading and loading these rifles. The basic principles apply to all firearms; keep them pointed in a safe direction and keep your finger off the trigger!

All hunting, precision and sniper rifles need to be “zeroed” to be able to shoot accurately. This means the sights on the rifle need to be set to the point of impact of where the bullets land, at a specific distance, when fired from the rifle. There are many different types of scopes and sighting systems. If you understand the basics of how to zero a scope to a rifle you should be able work with most systems.

In many places bolt action rifles are available for sporting and hunting purposes and as with any firearms could be used for self-defense. If your client has land it may be easier to legally obtain a hunting rifle than a pistol. But it might be difficult to justify that you shot someone in self-defense if they were 300 meters away, unless of course they were shooting at you accurately… Remember, if you shoot someone with a pistol or a rifle be sure you can justify your actions beyond any reasonable doubt and also expect to get arrested and to go through a legal nightmare!

As for sniper training, is there any relevance for close protection operations? Depends on where you are working and what you’re doing… I would say that learning the basics of how professional snipers operate will help you better formulate realistic operational plans and procedures if you’re operating in hostile environments or working with a client who is under an active threat.

The basic field craft skills and counter skills can be employed when providing estate security or operating in rural environments. As with any training and knowledge you need to ask yourself do you need it and how can you apply it. If you have the time and think it could be useful then it might be worth the money!

Orlando W.

Books on Amazon

Close Protection: Luxury & Hostile Environments

This book is relevant for bodyguards, investigators & those working in hostile environments.

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