PU'ULOA RANGE TRAINING FACILITY -- Scout sniper candidates with Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, conducted a known distance qualification course at Pu’uloa Range Training Facility aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, August 14, 2017.
The Marines were training to experience and properly prepare during the Pre-Scout Sniper Course before attending Scout Sniper School. The training is just one building block in the course.
“They shoot at moving targets at the 300, 500, and 600 yard lines,” said Cpl. Tyler Harbert, the chief scout with scout sniper platoon. “Then they fire at ‘stop and go’ and ‘bobber’ targets from 700 to 800 yards, and shoot out to a 1,000 yards at the end of the course of fire.”
Harbert said there are many variables a scout sniper and spotter pair have to observe before shooting.
“All shooters and spotters must take into account their elevation, wind, atmospherics and shooting positions,” Harbert said.
1st Lt. Dominique Keys, the scout sniper platoon commander, said the basics of shooting still apply when using sniper rifles.
“Fundamentals don’t change greatly with precision rifles,” said Keys. “You still got to have trigger control and your breathing needs to be controlled. Just the platforms are little bit different.”
Keys said scout snipers are capable of skills other than firing from a distance.
“Precision shooting is just one aspect to the Marine Corps scout sniper,” Keys said. “They’re expected to report information as well as call for fire on occasion.”
Staff Sgt. Cameron Castaneda, the scout sniper platoon sergeant, said that scout snipers have to play the role of both spotter and shooter.
“Even though you’re a spotter, you’re still a shooter,” Castaneda said. “Your spotter still needs to know how to manipulate the rifle, be able to make those corrections when he’s looking down range, and tell the shooter what to do.”
Castaneda said Marines and those who are looking to be a scout sniper should be physical and mentally prepared.
“I would suggest anyone who’s thinking about coming out to scout snipers should definitely look into something called scout sniper physical assessment,” Castaneda said. “Being in a scout sniper platoon is all about the mentality, reading ahead and learning knowledge all on your own.”