How To Shoot Like A Marine Sniper

Lance Cpl. Christopher Cash, a scout sniper with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, now part of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, loads his weapon during the sniper marathon course here Jan. 30.

Shooting with the precision and accuracy of a Marine is a delicate and carefully honed skill. Sporting an M40A5 long range precision sniper rifle, Sgt. Alex Kesler, a scout sniper with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, explains the steps involved in mastering this skull accurately and effectively in a new YouTube video for III Marine Expeditionary Force. Here’s how to shoot a sniper rifle like a Marine.

The first step is to establish a good shooting position. “We do this by placing our rifle [and facing] downrange at the target we’re going to engage,” Kesler explains. “Get directly behind your gun and move down to a pushup position. You kind of lay down, you open up your legs as wide as you can; this will help absorb the recoil of the shock.”

The video shows a collection of service members firing various sniper rifles and demonstrates the recoil being properly absorbed by their bodies.

“At this point you’ll bring the butt stock into the shoulder of your pocket, utilize the chicken-wing method just like with any rifle,” he says, flapping his arm like a chicken to secure the butt of his rifle into place. “Then I’ll get a high firm grip on my pistol grip with a relaxed thumb.”

“The final thing we do before taking the shot is checking our data on the gun,” Kesler says.

Before you are ready to shoot you need to adjust the “data on the gun” to the natural setting around you. “This will be done by adjusting the windage to whatever we see the wind down range, and then I’ll also check my elevation,” he says as he adjusts his rifle accordingly.

While prepping to shoot, do a final check on your shooting position. “We do this by making sure our gun is not canted at all,” explains Kesler, “and then my cheek weld is the final thing I’ll worry about.”

Kesler then ensures his face is pressed firmly against the buttstock of his rifle, and delivers a well-aimed shot downrange. 

Check out the full video below, and you can stay up to date on everything III MEF is doing on Facebook.

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