By Dominic Oto
Canadian Sniper’s 2.1 mile shot in Iraq Shatters the World Record
A sniper with Canada’s Special Forces in Iraq has shattered the world’s longest confirmed kill shot in military history. A member of Joint Task Force Two, Canadian Special Operations Forces (CANSOF), killed an ISIS insurgent from a distance of 3.4 kilometers (2.1 miles). Joint Task Force Two is training Kurdish forces to fight ISIS.
The shot was fired from a Macmillan TAC-50 Sniper Rifle set on a high-rise tower. The bullet took under 10 seconds to reach the target. The ISIS fighter was attacking Iraqi soldiers.
The smashed the previous world record held by a British sniper Craig Harrison, who killed a Taliban insurgent at a distance of just under 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) in November 2009. Harrison used a .338 Lapua Magnum rifle. The Canadian commando’s shot topped that record by 1,000 meters.
The Canadians had previously held another record for the longest confirmed sniper kill in combat. Corporal Rob Furlong hit an Afghan insurgent at 2,430 meters (1.4 miles) in March 2002. Furlong shot was with the same rifle the other Canadian sniper used- a.50-caliber McMillan Brothers Tac-50 rifle, loaded with Hornady A-MAX 750 grain very-low-drag bullets.
To put this into perspective, I want to talk about how difficult this shot is. Precision rifle shooting and long-range is very hard work. These extreme ranges are attainable with lots of practice and a little bit of luck.
Snipers serving overseas in combat situations don’t have the luxury of lots of time. These extreme distance shots are very, very difficult. An operational sniper has to take a lot of things into consideration. One of the big advantages that military snipers have is the proper equipment. Some of that equipment is a high-powered laser range finder with ballistic software and wind meters that all help them in getting the perfect shot. The proper equipment and proper training can produce amazing results like a 2-mile sniper shot.
Like a NASCAR winner, you can be the best racecar driver in the world, but It takes a lot of time and practice to get to that level of proficiency. The proper tools like an excellent racecar make you a successful NASCAR driver. The same is true for snipers. The technology and the man behind the gun make almost impossible sniper shots happen. Top of the line equipment, excellent training, and a dedicated sniper all make it happen. Let’s discusses the difficulty of the shot and the importance of the shooter’s team.
A good sniper needs to have a certain number of skills. For a sniper to be effective he has to be part of a good team. As important as the sniper on the gun is the spotter. The spotter relays important information to the sniper. Using high-end HD spotting scopes allows spotters to see in low light and at high magnifications. That information helps the sniper to determine elevation and windage for his scope.
Technology can get only get you so far on an incredible shot like that one. At 3.4 kilometers (2.1 miles), certain atmospherics cannot be diminished. The wind and terrain play a part in a shot that far out. In the end, a little bit of luck was involved. Advances in rifles and optics have made marksmanship better, but it all comes down to the skill and the essential of fundamentals great precision shooting.
About the author:
Oto holds a BS in History from Oregon State University and a MMA in Military History from American Public University. He served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Company Commander and Staff Trainer to the Afghan National Army. He was wounded once and decorated three times. Oto is an Infantry Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve.