Western Rifle Shooters Association

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review: Guerrilla Sniper & Guerrilla Sniper II

Atlas Shrug sends this review of Guerrilla Sniper and Guerrilla Sniper II:

Double Shot Review:
“Guerrilla Sniper” by Anthony James and Gabriel Suarez
“Guerrilla Sniper II” by Sua Sponte

As a serious student of the Guerrilla Sniper Rifle concept, a high percentage of my very limited internet posting time and forum participation is focused on this subject. I like it, and furthermore, I fear it may be more useful than many other more popular outlets for skill at arms. Consequently, I pay close attention to new offerings on the subject. A good bit of the recent written developments are either on or motivated by the Warrior Talk forum

It was through this forum that I learned originally of the books “Guerrilla Sniper” and “Guerrilla Sniper II” – both available exclusively from Suarez’s One Source Tactical web site. Following are brief reviews of these two books.

“Guerrilla Sniper” by Anthony James and Gabriel Suarez

This brief review is primarily from a post that I contributed to the thread about the book on the Warrior Talk forum.

Pros:   -

great to have a book that actually addresses the topic

            -good intro to some aspects that the average person needs a starting point on
-touches on several areas not normally mentioned (backpacks, etc)
-does not dwell on brands, models, gear, instead bringing up concepts


-a bit thin and short for the money
-some pictures are out of sync with the surrounding text
-lack of suggestion for other reading, research, etc., aside from the SI courses in the back 

(NB: I  have no problem with the Suraez International (SI) advertising,  as it's a SI book and I'm all about capitalism. My concern is that the SI courses are all that is there, with nothing else suggested to the reader for further study.)

My biggest complaint with Guerrilla Sniper is the cursory handling of sling support. The text only casually mentions that using slings can improve the stability of several field positions, and there are NO photographs of actually using a sling for support while shooting. Given the nature of the book, IMHO anyone seriously considering this role needs to be at least competent in shooting from multiple positions using proper sling support. No, you don't have to be a top rated Olympic style shooter, but not knowing and practicing sling support of the rifle in field positions is like not knowing how to drive a stick shift. Sure, you're fine as long as you have an automatic to drive, but if you must drive a manual and you don't know how, you'll end up in the ditch - or worse.


(NB: As to a sling, get one from Andy Langlois and you'll be happy. All of my Ching Slings are from Andy – a great guy. He makes something that will work for you, no matter the need.)

I'm not attempting to bash Guerrilla Sniper, but instead to put it into a proper perspective. If you take this book, Cooper's "The Art of the Rifle," and "Fry The Brain" all together, then you've got a good start. Any of the three alone don't get you there, though. (One might throw in Plaster's "Ultimate Sniper" for additional reference.) 

Obviously, much field work is required during and after digesting the above material.

 It's just my $0.02 on the subject, but do get all four of the above if you are serious about the subject.

“Guerrilla Sniper II” by Sua Sponte

Following the release of Guerrilla Sniper, there were several very useful threads started on the Warrior Talk forum by a member going by the nom de plume "Sua Sponte". Several of these have been referenced here in a few WRSA threads. It became quite clear that he was planning to combine the Warrior Talk material into another book. Before long, it was announced that he was finished with the book and that Suarez International would release it as “Guerrilla Sniper II”.

Having followed many of the Sua Sponte-penned threads on Warrior Talk, I greatly looked forward to the release of “Guerrilla Sniper II” and promptly ordered two copies.

My initial review of this book also started with a post on Warrior Talk. Unfortunately, this contribution was not as well received as that for the first book, and my post was promptly deleted. Yes, the post was critical, but my effort was not to bash the book, but to motivate Suarez International to do a better publishing job.

What prompted my critical comments? What does Suarez International need to improve? 

In a word - editing.

While the overall content and usefulness of “Guerrilla Sniper II” is worthy of study, the proofreading and editing are atrocious. While a few obvious errors are forgivable, poor editing on a gross scale makes it painful to slog through the text in question. In this book, there are many poorly edited sections. Misspellings are numerous, sentence fragments plentiful, and other grammatical stumbles trip the reader up regularly, repeatedly, and painfully. In defense of the author, I did not notice such errors in his Warrior Talk posts. It may be that the ball was dropped after the material was handed off for editing and formatting.

In the words of a Rifleman friend of mine from out West with whom I correspond, when dealing with “the sort of writing that is designed to communicate, educate, and persuade” as this book is, “the persuasion takes a pause with each misspelled word."

That pretty much sums it up.

To be considered professional and competent, one must at least appear to be so. With as many marketing self-congratulations as Suarez International indulges, they should know this and recognize the cost of putting out something that is clearly not ready for release. Yes, time to market is important, but a sacrifice in quality to such a high degree is not a worthwhile trade-off, IMHO. 

Maybe in time, the folks at SI will thank me for my candor, but for now they likely just curse me and delete my critical posts. We shall see. 

Back to the content -  Guerrilla Sniper II is generally very good. However, it does omit several gems from the Warrior Talk threads that would have made it much better. In particular, the excellent Nikon BDC ranging technique graphics are not reproduced in the book. Yes, they are particular to that reticle, but still it would be better to have included them if for nothing other than an example of the concept. They are well done and well represented on the Warrior Talk thread. If you have a Nikon BDC, by all means register on the site, review the thread, and download the pictures for your own study and use.

The book does cover several of the excellent forum subjects. The section on field expedient positions is quite useful and should be read, practiced, and tested by the serious reader. Likewise, the exercises on equipment choice, creation of firing positions (urban, rural, stationary, and mobile), and camouflage are all well presented. Additionally, Guerrilla Sniper II presents some new areas on which I don’t recall  specific Warrior Talk posts. The section on cache material and concepts is also good. The often overlooked aspect of reloading your own ammunition is covered, with some very good suggestions for constructing a “field reloading kit” that any practitioner of the Guerrilla Sniper concept should seriously consider. These are nice extras that add considerable merit to the overall product.

Should you buy the book? I am neutral on that question. While it’s nice to have the material in a non-electronic format and all in your hands at once, having to wade through the product of poor editing does have its own cost. 

I suggest you read all of the Sua Sponte/Guerrilla Sniper threads on Warrior Talk and then decide for yourself if you need the blemished printed version of Guerrilla Sniper II. My guess is that most who do so will opt to buy the book, if for no other reason than to obtain the sections that are not on the forum. It would be nice if such a consideration was not necessary, but until an improved and properly edited second edition is released by SI, that is the choice on the table.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just bought GS2 a bit ago, still waiting on it.

Grammatical errors are tolerable, unless they are to the point where it becomes a major distraction.

Guess I'll have to wait and see.

Sounds like I won't bother with GS1.

Looks like there's a market for a comprehensive, well edited resource for the civilian who may find himself someday in a GS role.



January 11, 2011 at 1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The author of this posting appears to be a participant and believer in the Appleseed Project. Witness his reference to himself as a "Rifleman". "Rifleman" designation being the end result of meeting shooting standards of Appleseed. Further his distinct opinions on the importance of a rifle sling is another Appleseed training standard i.e., sling use.

I attended an Appleseed training/shooting event this past spring. The Appleseed cadre started the event by attempting to insure every participant's weapon was zeroed/sighted in. Appleseed cadre commenced to "train" all participants to zero their weapons without the use of a solid rest. Instead cadre had shooters fire 3-round groups holding their weapons and not zeroing from the prone off a sandbag !

As for a sling, neither the US Army nor the USMC is training recruits to use rifle slings to insure accuracy in combat. The vertical fore grip has all but replaced the sling for rifle stabilization. A sling on a modern battle rifle is nothing more than a device to help transport one's weapon.

Appleseed is a nice effort to introduce people of all ages to rifle marksmanship. However, their weapon zero techniques I encountered were wrong, their sling usage requirement is questionable, and there were no emergency medical personnel at the organized Appleseed event I attended.

Use caution when considering an Appleseed event. Their hearts are in the right place but their training techniques leave much to be desired.

My apologies if I deviated from the intent of the posted commentary. However, I find any weapons training provided or written about by Gabe Suarez, ten times more credible than anything the Appleseed people provide.


January 11, 2011 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger Alan W. Mullenax said...

Unless you know absolutely nothing at all, GS1 is not worth the time or the money. However, "Fry the Brain" is worth every penny and them some.

January 11, 2011 at 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Rollory said...

" my post was promptly deleted."

I make it a rule never to buy from people that handle criticism - even harsh and apparently unjustified criticism - this way.

Good to know; saves me some cash.

January 11, 2011 at 3:51 PM  
Blogger Santander said...

Pete & Atlas,

I bought the Nikon ProStaff with BDC reticle in December after extensive research. Atlas mentioned Sua Sponte's book not containing the scope information from his post (http://www.warriortalk.com/showthread.php?54710-My-Guerilla-Sniper-Rifle/page4&highlight=nikon+bdc)

Nikon has a wonderful application called "SpotOn" that you can access via a Java-enabled Web browser or download it for the iPhone.
I talked with their support guy about getting it for the Android OS and he said that it will be coming soon.

This application does what Boston's write up did for the Burris... except it does it dynamically for different cartridges (even custom loads).
Then it will print out the bullet trajectory/path for each of the subtended circles on the reticle. It will even tell you what the top and bottom of each circle is (just like what Sua Sponte put in this thread but *not* his book)

I compared the Nikon SpotOn trajectory calculations for several of my .223 and .308 loads against calculations I already had verified at known distances... and they really were spot-on out to 400 yards and differed only by an inch & a half to 2 inches at 500 (still spot on in my opinion).
All that remains for me now is to verify the scope's BDC at full distance.


January 11, 2011 at 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plaster's Ultimate Sniper kicked GS1 into the dirt in professionalism and breadth of study, though it does not cover chain of resupply issues that would concern a GS.

Plaster also doesn't spend too much time on usage of the sling. But then, he doesn't seem to be loving on bipods much, either. Get low and get supported was what I got from it.

@DAN: Appleseed shoots are not only a distributed system, but they're operating almost entirely as volunteers. Just wanted to add a "YMMV" to your commentary.

Rhett III

January 11, 2011 at 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Somehow I think you missed something at Appleseed or they did a poor job teach it. So are better then others, and the program has been growing fast, so it could be that the instructors did a poor job, but the basic program is a pretty sound introduction.

There is nothing tactical or low drag about an appleseed. The military doesn't tech sling use, because it is slow to get in and out of, and many of the trigger pullers are not shooting past 300. Also, it's a bit of a finer art, and difficult to teach to raw recruits, and the M16 had a bad history of light barrels in it's infancy. Look at the DM and snipers and sling is taught, but not often deployed.

As for zeroing off of sand bags, can you image the logistic problem of having between 10 and 125 sandbags for each appleseed shoot, when you can be almost as accurate with a sling, that is attached to the rifle. Really the 4MOA they want to see at 25M really requires none of that crap, no bipod, sand bags or rests.

Lastly, don't assume the army way is the best way for an individual. They have to teach a lot of people, with a lot if different skill levels. I believe, as well as Jeff Cooper, that every user of the rifle should at least know how to deploy a sling. It's always with you and weights almost nothing.

I've been to "professional" training, that had no "emergency personal", so what. I do know that when I was involved there was an emergency plan for each shoot.


January 11, 2011 at 11:26 PM  
Blogger Dennis308 said...

Dan III, Sorry bro but I disagree with you 100% on the use of a sling for stabilizing your rifle. The proper use of the sling is way more effective than standing and just holding the forend, any forend. But I do agree on Zeroing your rifle on sand bags or a shooting rest.

And as far as the subject at hand, books are fine as far as books go but the best can do is find proper instruction and PRATICE,PRATICE,PRATICE, and then guess what Practice some MORE.

C.A. I just put in a order for a .300 Win.Mag. will be topping it off with a Night Force 3.5 x 15 x 50 with the NP-R1 Reticle. Since I'm in a more of a Rural Area of Operation might as well have something that can get out their a ways. Can't afford the .50 BMG or the Ammo, and I want something that won't Fry Barrels.


January 11, 2011 at 11:53 PM  

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