Put On Your Thinking Caps...re "The Guerrilla Sniper"
Give a close read to this article, reprinted with his permission from Gabe Suarez' "Warrior Talk" forum.
Those who wish to contribute their thoughts to the project can and should add to the discussion at Gabe's place.
The Guerrilla Sniper
It is tempting to only think in terms of what you need…or are likely to need. The liberal uses that argument to in hopes of eliminating certain weapons from the hands of civilians. “No one needs an AK-47” for example is a chant not only of the liberal infesting this nation, but also of certain sporting oriented gun groups. Some of these groups (except maybe the liberal) may admit that you need a CCW pistol, but certainly nothing else. Certainly you don’t need a “battle rifle”, or a “combat shotgun” or a pistol with “15 shots”. And of course, you certainly don’t need anything even remotely resembling a “sniper rifle”. If you are one of those folks, then I challenge you to sell off all of your fighting-type weapons except for a five shot snubby revolver, since statistically, that is all you will likely ever need. No, don’t want to do that? I didn’t think so. So let’s look at this not from a “needs” perspective, but from a “wants” perspective.
America is a free nation (still that way in spite of so much effort devoted to changing that). A free nation is not based on need, but rather want. An outside party, like a government let’s say, establishing what you need is oppression by another name. They have no idea what you need…only of what they want to allow you to have. To recognize that free men can determine their own “wants” and then seek ways to fulfill those wants is what a free capitalist nation is all about.
When this nation was founded, that fact was well known to the founders. They had come from generations of people telling them what they “needed”. So they set up a government to insure that all industrious men could pursue their wants….the “pursuit of happiness” as it were. And they set up a statement of rights to that effect. And knowing that whoever had the most physical power always makes the rules, they made certain that every man had a share in that power vis-à-vis the second point in that statement of rights, the Second Amendment.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
In National Treasure, Nicholas Cage correctly points out that “people don’t talk like that anymore”.
Quite correct so –
“A skilled and well trained citizenry is necessary to keep a country free from oppression, so the right of the citizen to own and carry guns shall not be messed with”
Now what on earth would possibly affect the “security of a free State”? These guys had just defeated the greatest army on God’s green earth at the time. Were they worried about the British coming back? Sure, to a degree, but what they were most worried about, and why they took such pains to write everything down, was of the new government becoming the oppressor in lieu of the British king. They wanted to make sure that the militia, which was every living human that could carry and fire a gun, was armed and ready to intervene should things get weird.
The second amendment is definitely not about John Kerry or Mit Romney dressing up in Cabela’s finest duck hunter outfit and posing as “sportsmen” for the cameras. Every time I see such a spectacle it makes me want to vomit. The second amendment is about equipping an indigenous insurgency in the event of an oppressive political force. Its not about shooting ducks, it is about shooting tyrants.
Now that is hardly anything the current “pro-gun” political associations, or sportsmen’s groups will align themselves with, but it is a historical fact, and in such situations, we most certainly NEED as well as want all of the things we are told we do not need. One of these is the sniper rifle.
Now I don’t want to get into definitive discussions about what is a sniper and what is a designated marksman or what is a police sharpshooter. It is a waste of time in my opinion. The kind of sniping we are discussing has little in common with the police sniper/sharpshooter who waits hidden at close range for the incident commander’s “green light”, and who has an entire department’s support structure behind him. Neither does it have much in common with the military trained sniper that not only has the economic support of tax payers to study his craft full time, but has the best gear money can buy. And the Second Amendment Sniper has very little to do as well with the new in vogue term – Designated Marksman. The DM like his counterparts has the full support of his group along with all the assets of a powerful military structure.
The Second Amendment Sniper is a quite different proposition. He has much more in common with a Partisan, or a Guerrilla Fighter, such as have been seen in the occupied/contested territories in the World Wars and in all the subsequent “Conflicts” that followed. Thus if you are a private citizen and want to examine the study of the Sniper, it would be far more useful to learn the ways of a Guerrilla Sniper than of a Police Sharpshooter or a Military Designated Marksman.
The Guerrilla Sniper (GS), like his historical counterparts, has little or no support from any outside force. He carries everything he needs because he will not get it anywhere else. Although he may be a part of a unit, he may just as easily be operating totally alone.
Since the urban setting favors the partisan, his engagement distances will likely be much closer than the sniper “Holy Grail” 1000 yards. As an aside, it is interesting to note that most sniper shots have been taken inside the 500 yard interval. Not to say that there have never been any shots outside of this, but that the majority have been well inside. One of our friends and advisors in this area points out that his unit’s rifles in North Ireland were expected to make 600 yard body shots and 200 yard head shots. This is a good objective SOP for the GS.
The GS has some interesting requirements in terms of physical ability and tactics. He must be able to get into position unseen as well as escape. In an urban setting this would not call for anything like a Ghillie Suit or a drag bag. To the contrary, things like this would get everyone looking at you and bring all manner of unwanted attention. Creativity will be an asset. When I was assigned as sniper to my SWT team, I procured a UPS uniform and delivered the rifle and myself to the firing/observation point. No one notices the UPS delivery guy.
The GS must have a degree of fitness as well. The overweight bench rest shooter may be able to fire a dime-sized group, but what good will he do if he has a heart attack due to climbing several flights of stairs to the firing position, or on the way back from it? The Partisans of WW2 fame often had to literally run for their lives. We would expect nothing less from the GS.
The rifle is an interesting point of discussion for the GS. In truth any rifle will do in this application as long as it is capable of the 200/600 requirement. It should be affordable for the shooter since he will need to shoot it often and in varying conditions. It should be able to use good quality ammo for the required precision as well as any surplus delinked machinegun ammo for closer engagements if that is all you can find. The necessity to penetrate cover, armor and glass, as well as resist wind deviation and any intervening shrubbery, requires the use of a 30 caliber round as minimum. We want this artifact to be as compact as possible without compromising the mission. And since the GS is usually operating alone and will likely use the rifle to fight his way out of a tight spot if necessary, I will add that a semi-auto would be a very nice attribute of such a rifle. A scope is mandatory. I am well aware that there are people who can do wondrous things with iron sights. They can do much better with a scope.
The scope must have magnification and range finding capabilities. Magnification will help do two things; Identify a target and define an aiming point at distance. Yes, you will in fact be scanning with your scope. Today there are plenty of scopes that will give you what you need here. Don’t make the mistake of getting a scope suitable for bench rest target shooting, or for deer hunting, only to find out it will not serve you as well as something less “sporting”.
What the FBI, or SEALs, or local SWAT is using has nothing to do with what we will choose. I know a man who has an extensive collection of “sniper rifles”. They are all the product of the American Sniper-smith’s art. And they are all over-priced, over-weight, and finicky about the ammo they shoot well. He never takes them out to the field since he could not carry one for any longer distance than from the trunk to the shooting bench. And since they must be fed a strict diet of Match ammo, the “dollar per shot” it takes to train with these wonders is prohibitive for anyone except maybe a brain surgeon.
So what is out there – Semi Auto, 30 caliber (minimum), potentially compact, capable of mounting a scope, and affordable. An internet search today revealed these prices.
Springfield M1A Standard, $1,331.99
Springfield M25 308 Tactical, White Feather Edition $4,343.99
DSA STG-58 T1 FAL Rifle 308 $999.99
DSA STG-58 FAL Carbine $1,099.99
DSA .308 FAL CARBINE SA58 $2,455.99
PTR-91F (HK-91 Copy) $1049
PTR MSG91 (HK-91 Copy) $1999
Romanian Dragunov 7.62x54R FPK Open Sights $725.99
Romanian Dragunov 7.62x54R FPKw/Scope $846.99
Affordability is relative to your bank account, but the only rifles available that fit the job description, and are under $1000 are the Basic FAL (barely), and the Romanian PSL (aka Dragunov, FPK).
Another aspect of this is the question “What are you used to?” If you have been running FALs all your life, spend a little more money and get a FAL set up for this type of work. It would make no sense to use a FAL for CQB and an HK-91 or an M1A for Guerrilla Sniping. Having one manual of arms suitable for all your long guns (and conceptually applicable to your pistol as well) is a definite asset. This was first promoted by the Heckler and Koch family of weapons.
I spend a lot of time with the Kalashnikov Platform. I prefer it and reply that those who claim it is inaccurate, un ergonomic, or uncomfortable are either prejudiced against the design, pampered by sporting guns, or ill-trained in how to use an AK weapon in the first place. Having selected the AK platform, an M1A makes little sense. Neither does the FAL nor the HK. These may all be fine and suitable weapons, but what would make most sense for me, if I want to optimize training time and weapons handling consistency, is some sort of Kalashnikov Platform suitable for the GS role.
The only suitable AK weapons in a 30 caliber are either a Saiga 308, or the Romanian PSL (aka Dragunov). The Saiga is extremely affordable and easy to convert back into fighting trim from its obligatory “sporting purpose” import condition. The PSL is also a fine weapon that can easily fit into this role with a few modifications.
Ammo is also an issue. You need to shoot your rifle…a lot. The more you shoot and become comfortable with it, the better you will be. The biggest problem with ammo, and this is a universal point of concern for all small arms students, is cost. Here is what a search on ammo cost revealed today –
In the 7.62x51 “Surplus” category:
Bosnian 7.62X51 M80 $269- 500 rounds
Lithuanian 7.62X51 M80 $275- 500 rounds
In the Commercial US Made Category:
FEDERAL 150GR. $325- 500 rounds
FEDERAL MATCH 168GR. BTHP $499- 500 rounds
In the 7.62x54R “Surplus” category:
7.62x54R 182 GRAIN FMJBT DPS $199- 880 Rounds
7.62x54R 180 GRAIN FMJBT GREEK $129- 400 Rounds
Russian 7N1 Sniper Ammo 7.62x54R, 152gr FMJBT, 20 Rds $5.68
In the Commercial Category:
Wolf Gold 7.62x54R, 150gr FMJBT, 20 rds $12.59
Wolf 7.62x54R 148gr Bi-Metal FMJ, 20 rds $7.95
Wolf 7.62x54R 148gr Copper FMJ, 20 rds $9.95
So choose wisely depending on your perspective of what is affordable.
I expect this write up will be controversial not only because of its weapon discussion, but also because of its tone. Suarez International has brought the art of the fighting pistol and the CQB rifle up from the range-based approach to a much higher level. We are in the process of now examining the sniper science from a clean private citizen perspective uninfluenced by police or military applications and instead focusing on the historical application of the citizen rifleman. Let’s see where this takes us.