Friday, October 19, 2012

The mis-directed fetish of marksmanship



I am a great fan of armed and trained civilians. But I’d like to point out that the “hundreds of thousands of deer hunters” are no military snipers and do not overmatch regular infantry. A very well trained rifleman with a sub-MOA rifle can indeed score a first shot hit on a 500 yard foe. What happens then?

The hit may be stopped by the armor. If effective, the hit may be fatal or not: due to better emergency medicine in the army, they will save most of their non-immediate casualties. Irregulars have historically lost over half of their wounded.

The direction of the sniper would be indicated by the backsplatter from the wound. In case of a miss, the projectile trace in earth or trees would just about pinpoint the location of the shooter. At which point, the infantry would use smoke to obscure themselves from the shooter, make his egress perilous with suppressive fire and get close enough to exact retribution. The civilian shooter would have no land mines to disrupt their progress.

A really good shooter can make 500 yards hits on bullseye targets. Can he do as well on camouflaged foes who move, use cover and can put literally a hundred times his rate of fire with their squad MG or SAW? An individual rifleman might be limited to 300 yards, but a SAW with a scope fired from a bipod can reach out more than twice as far.

Assuming that the sniper can manage to retain his stand-off distance, what can he do about air or artillery response. Insurgents world-wide have to brave close combat to get away from the firepower available to the regulars with one radio call. Against well-designed sniper hides that cannot be reached by artillery or airpower, short-range rockets would be used. The hide would have to escape detection in visible, near and far infrared ranges to remain secure.

Multiple snipers might do better, but the regulars can just continue using smoke to remain safe from long shots while encircling the whole area and plastering it with mortars or just mining the perimeter and leaving it at that.

I am a great fan of rifle marksmanship. But we shouldn’t overestimate its value in warfare. Unsupported by regular troops, most snipers die quickly. Most hunters may be marksmen, but they aren’t even snipers — that skill set goes far beyond the basics of fieldcraft and marksmanship required to bring down deer.

For that reason, the reliance on armed response indicates a loss for the side forced to fight as insurgents. The kind of expedients required for a successful guerrilla campaign tend to warp all participants out of recognition as the “forces of good”. So our best bet is political proselytizing and raising the next generation to love freedom, and to respect the freedoms of others. The opium pipe dreams of the “restoration of the Republic” through another revolution are best left for those who don’t much value a connection to reality.


  1. That last sentence pretty well sum,s it up I agree with what you've said for the most part. ( like you give a shit right ?) . I am in amazement when I hear some of these people talk , and wonder how many of them have " seen the elephant" . The green machine unleashed is a horrifying thing to witness.

    1. The opium pipe dreams of the “restoration of the Republic” through another revolution are best left for those who don’t much value a connection to reality.

      I don't agree with the last sentence under all circumstances. There are few I believe who think that restoration can be accomplished by a revolution when someone says go, but in a SHTF situation, all bets are off and there is no need for me to rehash all that could/would be involved as we've been through these many times before.

  2. Read all the comments with the original post. Then go read the latest from the Lizard Farmer.
    The link won't paste for me this afternoon. Sorry, the iCrap has been unstable lately.

    1. Thanks, I posted the Lizard Farmer's piece and feel somewhat encouraged. Aesop's comment was right on:

      As for the extradordinary level of hate & discontent, I share only 2 thoughts:

      1) For every one you heard say it, 10 times as many think it.
      2) Historically, colonels and corporals lead coups and revolutions.

  3. Too many people do not comprehend the power of an organized military. If we are ever in a PAW/SHTF, one had best not think too much of their security at 1000 yds. People not in the know have no idea about mortars and Hellfire missiles, and how they change the whole game. There is no romance in war. Only death. The solution is political. Force government to obey the Constitution to start. Those who hate Ron Paul are already on the wrong track. Rethink your position, if you want to save America. Sorry, but truth is never 'comfortable.'

  4. Those who hate Ron Paul are already on the wrong track.

    100%, Sir and we missed you at the latest PATCON. Try to make our spring one!:)