Longest recorded sniper kills
Reports regarding the longest recorded sniper kills that contain information regarding the shooting distance and the identity of the sniper have been presented to the general public since 1967. Snipers in modern warfare have had a substantial history following the development of long distance weaponry. As weapons, ammunition, and aids to determine ballistic solutions improved, so too did the distance from which a kill could be targeted. In mid-2017 it was reported that an unnamed Canadian special forces operator, based in Iraq, had set a new record of 3,540 m (3,871 yd), beating the record previously held by British Corporal Craig Harrison at 2,475 m (2,707 yd).
Although technology such as electronics has improved, optical equipment such as rangefinders and ballistic calculators have eliminated manual mathematical calculations to determine elevation and windage, the fundamentals of accurate and precise long-range shooting remain largely the same since the early history of shooting, and the skill and training of the shooter and the shooter's spotter where applicable are the primary factors. Accuracy and precision of ammunition and firearms are also still reliant primarily on human factors and attention to detail in the complex process of producing maximum performance.[original research?]
The modern method of long-distance sniping (shots over 1,100 m or 0.7 mi) requires intense training and practice. A sniper must have the ability to accurately estimate the various factors that influence a bullet's trajectory and point of impact, such as the shooter's distance from the target, wind direction, wind speed, air density, elevation, and even the Coriolis effect due to the rotation of the Earth. Mistakes in estimation compound over distance and can cause a shot to only injure, or to miss completely. Any given combination of firearm and ammunition will have an associated value, known as the circular error probable (CEP), defined as the radius of a circle whose boundary is expected to contain the impact points of half of the rounds fired.
If the shooter wishes to improve accuracy and precision, wishes to increase range or wishes to do all of these things, the accuracy of "estimates" of external factors must improve accordingly. At extreme ranges, extremely accurate "estimates" are required and even with the most accurate estimates, hitting the target becomes subject to uncontrollable factors. For example, a rifle capable of firing a 1/2 MOA (approximately 1/2" center to center of the two holes furthest apart) 5-round group (often referred to as "grouping") at 100 yards will fire a theoretical 12.5" group at 2,500 yards. Unless the group is centered perfectly on the target at 100 yards, the 2,500-yard group will be centered 25 times the off-center error at 100 yards. This example ignores all other factors and assumes "perfect" no-wind shooting conditions and identical muzzle velocities and ballistic performance for each shot.
USMC Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock's confirmed 2,500 yd (2,300 m) kill in the Vietnam War was primarily due to the enemy soldier stopping his bicycle on the spot Hathcock had fired at while sighting in his Browning M2 heavy machine-gun.
Devices such as laser rangefinders, handheld meteorological measuring equipment, handheld computers, and ballistic-prediction software can contribute to increased accuracy (i.e. reduced CEP), although they rely on proper use and training to realize any advantages. In addition, as instruments of measure, they are subject to accuracy errors and malfunction. Handheld meteorological instruments only measure conditions at the location they are used. Wind direction and speed can vary dramatically along the path of the bullet.
The science of long-range sniping came to fruition in the Vietnam War. Carlos Hathcock held the record from 1967 to 2002 at 2,286 m (2,500 yd). He recorded 93 official kills. After returning to the U.S., Hathcock helped to establish the Marine Corps Scout Sniper School at Quantico, Virginia.
In addition to his success as a USMC scout-sniper during multiple deployments to Vietnam, Gunnery Sergeant Hathcock competed in multiple USMC shooting teams. Hathcock also won the 1966 Wimbledon Cup, which is earned by the winner of the U.S. 1,000-yard high-powered rifle National Championship. Even after being severely burned during an attack on an Amtrac on which he was riding and his efforts to rescue other soldiers, and after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Hathcock continued to serve, shoot and instruct. In Vietnam, Hathcock also completed missions involving a "through the scope" shot which killed an enemy sniper specifically hunting him, and a multiple-day solo stalk and kill of an enemy general.
Hathcock's record stood until Canadian sniper Arron Perry of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry exceeded it with a shot of 2,310 m (2,530 yd). Perry held the title for only a few days, as another man in his unit (Corporal Rob Furlong) beat Perry's distance with a 2,430 m (2,657 yd) shot in March 2002. Perry and Furlong were part of a six-man sniper team during 2002's Operation Anaconda, part of the War in Afghanistan.
Corporal Furlong's record was bested by a British soldier, Corporal of Horse Craig Harrison, of the Blues and Royals, Household Cavalry, who recorded two 2,475 m (2,707 yd) shots (confirmed by GPS) in November 2009, also during the War in Afghanistan, in which he hit two Taliban insurgents consecutively. Harrison killed the two Taliban machine gunners with shots that took the 8.59 mm rounds almost five seconds to hit their targets, which were 900 m (980 yd) beyond the L115A3 sniper rifle’s recommended range. A third shot took out the insurgents' machine gun. The rifle used was made by Accuracy International.
In June 2017, an unnamed sniper from Canada's Tier 1 special forces unit, Joint Task Force 2, surpassed the 2009 record by over 1,000 m (1,100 yd), with a 3,540 m (3,871 yd) shot in the Iraqi Civil War. As with the previous two Canadian records, a McMillan Tac-50 with Hornady A-MAX .50 (.50 BMG) ammunition was used.
Confirmed kills 1,250 m (1,367 yd) or greaterEdit
This list is not exhaustive, as such data is generally not tracked nor managed under any official procedure. For example, the Canadian Army 2002 sniper team that saw two soldiers (Arron Perry/2,310 m and Rob Furlong/2,430 m) set consecutive new records, also made a number of kills at 1,500 m (1,600 yd) that are not counted here. The list also shows that, in some cases, an armed force command may choose to withhold the name of the sniper for security reasons. The United Nations Security Forces, such as in the Balkans, also had one U.S. sniper (name withheld) attributed with a 1,271 m (1,390 yd) shot.
While not on the list due to the range being less than the minimum distance used to compile it, Hathcock's second-longest confirmed kill was 1,200 yards (1,100 m) using a "standard" USMC sniper rifle chambered in .30-06 Springfield. At the time of Hathcock's service, snipers had essentially been eliminated from the USMC, and its sniper rifles were a hodgepodge mix of commercial Remington 700 and Winchester Model 70 rifles chambered for multiple cartridges. The major challenge for Hathcock and other scout-snipers was improving the performance and reliability of their rifles and ammunition.
- History of sniping
- Francis Pegahmagabow, a Canadian sniper with 378 confirmed kills, the highest in World War I
- Simo Häyhä, a Finnish sniper who, using a standard iron-sighted bolt-action rifle, recorded the highest number of confirmed kills in any major war (505 or 542)
- Vasily Zaytsev, a Soviet sniper who amassed 225 kills during the Battle of Stalingrad
- Lyudmila Pavlichenko, a Soviet sniper during World War II, credited with 309 kills, and regarded as the most successful female sniper in history
- Adelbert Waldron, a U.S. sniper who has the highest number of confirmed kills for U.S. snipers during the Vietnam War (109)
- During the Vietnam War Hathcock had 93 confirmed kills of North Vietnamese Army and Viet-Cong personnel. During the Vietnam War, kills had to be confirmed by an acting third party, who had to be an officer, besides the sniper's spotter. Hathcock himself estimated that he had killed 300 or more enemy personnel during his time in Vietnam.
- Longest confirmed kill using 14.5×114 mm ammunition
- Serving as part of the UN Force Intervention Brigade
- Christopher Scott "Chris" Kyle (April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013) was a United States Navy SEAL who claimed to be the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history with 160 "confirmed" kills out of 255 claimed kills. This figure has been corroborated by the Department of Defense, U.S. Special Operations Command, and the U.S. Navy Special Warfare Command.
- Longest confirmed kill using 12.7 mm multi-purpose ammunition
- Longest confirmed kill with a 7.62×51mm NATO chambered rifle
- Fife 2017
- Murphy 2017
- Bunch 2017
- Kalvapallé, Rahul (June 24, 2017). "Small but mighty: How Canada's military produces some of the world's best snipers". Global News. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
- Plaster 1993
- "Circular Error Probable (CEP)," Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center Technical Paper 6, Ver 2, July 1987, p. 1
- Henderson 2003, p. 181
- Gaijinass (May 6, 2010). "The way of the Gun: USMC S/S". Gaijinass.com. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
- Henderson 2003, p. 283
- Dougherty, Martin J. Sniper: SAS and Elite Forces Guide: Sniping skills from the world's elite forces. Amber Books Ltd. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-909160-38-5.
Upon reaching the target area he discovered that his shot had gone through the scope of the sniper's rifle
- Sasser, Charles W.; Roberts, Craig (July 1, 2004). Crosshairs on the Kill Zone: American Combat Snipers, Vietnam through Operation Iraqi Freedom. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-4165-0362-0.
Hathcock's bullet had gone through the cobra sniper's scope and entered his eye
- Riegert, Keith; Kaplan, Samuel (June 25, 2013). The MANual: Trivia. Testosterone. Tales of Badassery. Raw Meat. Fine Whiskey. Cold Truth. Ulysses Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-61243-183-3.
Unfortunately for the guy behind the scope, Hathcock's shot was clean and true—perfectly passing through the glass scope
- Sasser, Charles W.; Roberts, Craig (April 1, 1990). "Their Mission: One Shot One Kill". One Shot One Kill. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-4391-3712-3.
Both lenses of the enemy's sniper scope, front and back, were shattered. It was obvious what happened. My bullet smashed through his scope and into his right eye.
- "Carlos Hathcock: Famous Marine Corps Sniper". military.com. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
- Smith 2010
- Tovey, Alan (2 February 2015). "The company behind the rifle used by the world's deadliest sniper". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
- Friscolanti, Michael (May 15, 2006). "We were abandoned". Maclean's. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- Wahler & Linwood 2014, p. 192
- Chandler 2010
- Alpert 2010
- Drury 2010
- Sheridan, Michael (May 3, 2010). "British sniper Craig Harrison (The Silent Assassin) breaks record, kills target from 1.5 miles away". Daily News. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- Gibson 2013
- Helfrich 2013
- Hofstatter, Stephan; Oatway, James (22 August 2014). "South Africa at war in the DRC – The inside story". Times Live. Sunday Times. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Murphy, Jack (26 August 2014). "South African Special Forces Sniper Takes Out Congo Rebels (2125m shot!)". SOFRep.com. SOFREP. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
- Goldstein, Joseph (2010-05-30). "How to shoot someone from a mile away". New York Post. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
- Buiso, Gray (January 1, 2012). "Meet the big shot – SEAL is America's deadliest sniper". New York Post. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- Zennie, Michael (2 January 2012). "255 confirmed kills: Meet Navy SEAL Chris Kyle... the deadliest sniper in US history". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
- Sanchez, Raf (2 January 2012). "'The Devil of Rahmadi' named America's deadliest sniper". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
- Jennings 2011
- هاني صفيّان يخبر (May 7, 2016). وراء خطوط العاصفة (in Arabic). Al Arabiya.
- D'Alessio 2005
- Souter 2012, p. 40
- Johnsen 2008
- Sohail 2015
- Cannon 2010
- Evening Public Ledger 1918, p. 4
- Charleston Courier 1864
- Harnden 2006
- Brownlie 2003, p. 63
- Westwood 2005, p. 212
- "Герой Советского Союза Зайцев Василий Григорьевич :: Герои страны". Warheroes.ru. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
- Fredriksen 2010, p. 306
- Buiso, Gray (January 1, 2012). "Meet the big shot – SEAL is America's deadliest sniper". New York Post. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- Alpert, Lukas (May 2, 2010). "Sniper kills Qaeda-from 1½ mi. away". New York Post. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- Brownlie, Robin (2003). A fatherly eye: Indian agents, government power, and Aboriginal resistance in Ontario, 1918–1939 (2003 ed.). University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-19-541784-5. - Total pages: 204
- Chandler, Neil (May 2, 2010). "Sniper's Taliban shots earn him place in military record books". The Daily Star. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- Bunch, Ashley (June 22, 2017). "Canadian sniper crushes world record for longest confirmed kill in military history, reports say". Militarytimes.com a division of Sightline Media Group. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
- Cannon, Chuck (April 19, 2010). "Army sniper films spot for History channel based on 1,300 meter shot in Iraq". United States Armed Forces. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
- Charleston Courier (December 6, 1864). "Charleston Courier". Charleston Courier. ISSN 1061-5105.
- D'Alessio, Stephen (Feb 22, 2005). "Marine Sniper Receives Bronze Star Medal for Valor". United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- Drury, Ian (May 2, 2010). "The super sniper: Hero picks off two Taliban from a mile and a half away". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- Evening Public Ledger (February 5, 1918). "Johnstown Sammee First to Kill Hun". Evening Public Ledger. Philadelphia: Cyrus H. K. Curtis. pp. 1–16. ISSN 2151-3945. LCCN 83045211. OCLC 9355469. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
- Fife, Robert (June 21, 2017). "Canadian elite special forces sniper makes record-breaking kill shot in Iraq". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
- Fredriksen, John C. (2010). The United States Army: A Chronology, 1775 to the Present (2010 ed.). ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-59884-344-6. - Total pages: 327
- Gibson, Erica (August 30, 2013). "SA skerpskutter skiet doodskoot oor afstand van meer as 2 km (English translation: SA sniper's kill shot from over 2km away)". Volksblad (in Afrikaans). Retrieved 2013-08-30.
- Harnden, Toby (January 1, 2006). "Sniper shot that took out an insurgent killer from three quarters of a mile". The Sunday Telegraph. London. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
- Henderson, Charles (2003). Silent Warrior (2003 ed.). Berkley Books. ISBN 0-425-18864-7. - Total pages: 336
- Helfrich, Kim (August 30, 2013). "SANDF mum about DRC sniper super shot". DefenceWeb. Retrieved 2014-07-30.
- Masters, Chris (October 29, 2012). "Taliban remain in fear of lethal strikes". Australian Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
- Jennings, Christian (August 17, 2011). "Long range killer: Behind the scenes of Accuracy International". Wired.com. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
- Johnsen, Nilas (October 7, 2008). "Dreper fra 1380 meter (English translation: Kills from 1380 meters)". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2008-10-08.
- Jowett, Philip; Jowett, Philip S.; Snodgrass, Brent (2006). Finland at War 1939–45 (2006 ed.). Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-969-1. - Total pages: 64
- Murphy, Jack (June 22, 2017). "SOFREP Exclusive: The inside story of Canada's JTF2 record-breaking sniper kill SOFREP Original Content". SOFREP.com. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
- Plaster, John L. (1993). The ultimate sniper: an advanced training manual for military & police snipers (1993 ed.). Paladin Press. ISBN 978-0-87364-704-5. - Total pages: 453
- Reichert, Steve (November 26, 2012). "Steve Reichert on the 2815 Meter Shot". soldiersystems.net. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
- Smith, Michael (May 2, 2010). "Hotshot sniper in one-and-a-half mile double kill". The Sunday Times. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- Sohail (November 18, 2015). "Soviet snipers in Afghanistan, 1979 – 1989 years". methgag.com. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
- Souter, Gerry (2012). American Shooter: A Personal History of Gun Culture in the United States (2012 ed.). Potomac Books Inc. ISBN 9781597976909. - Total pages: 300
- Westwood, Dr. David (2005). Rifles: an illustrated history of their impact (2005 ed.). ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-85109-401-1. - Total pages: 470
- Wahler, Glenn; Linwood, Russell (2014). One Shot Kills: A history of Australian Army sniping. Big Sky Publishing. ISBN 9781922132659. - Total pages: 220