Marine snipers are considered among the most elite hunters of men in the U.S. military with Hollywood movies and countless books dedicated to them, and yet, for the past two years, they have been beaten in competition by the freakin' Coast Guard.

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Editor’s Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

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Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

Two soldiers recently outshot their Marine classmates in one of the Corps' most challenging schools — the Marine Scout Sniper Course.

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U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Allan Baros

"The shot was one in a million."

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The Marine Corps is throwing down cash to test-drive the same compact sniper rifle the Army has pursued in recent months. But while its 7.62mm rounds pack the punch required by scout snipers facing increasingly protected enemies downrange, its effective range falls well short of the sniper systems used by both foreign militaries and militants — a limitation that makes it unclear just what the Corps could do with this new weapon.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo

To the average civilian, the story of Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle is one of a warrior destined for greatness. The self-described “American sniper” racked up 160 confirmed kills over his decade-long career, earning a reputation as a superhuman marksman who displayed “unparalleled bravely and skill” during the critical Battle of Fallujah, according to his Navy evaluation report from March 2004 to March 2005. His exploits, chronicled in Clint Eastwood’s 2014 hagiography American Sniper, embody the American ideal of the sniper: Silent and unseen, the pinnacle of lethality, and the embodiment of American military power wrapped up in a one-man executioner. The common refrain among veterans of the Marine Corps Scout Sniper school is that snipers aren’t born, but made — and the Global War on Terror produced the deadliest one since the Vietnam War.

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