How To Be A Sniper

Sniping is one of the most specialised professions in the Army. Working in pairs (a sniper always works alongside a spotter) these soldiers are chosen because they’re superb marksmen with a proven ability to fend for themselves.

Snipers need to be fit to cover great distances on foot, carrying a heavy rifle, equipment and enough rations for two days. They also need to be masters of concealment, often hiding for hours under the enemy’s nose. 

Lance Corporal Chris Dunn, from the First Battalion Coldstream Guards, is a sniper. Working in a team of two, it’s his job to pull the trigger when given the command.

Explain how your job works…
My partner, the ‘number two’, is my commander. He’s responsible for making sure we get to where we need to be to take the shot. We both get the rifle’s sight correct, and when we’re happy he gives the order for me to fire.

How do you manage to hit targets from distances of over 1km?
We have a range of powerful binoculars, scopes and thermal sights. The number two will make the calculations – like distance, wind speed and direction. He whispers the information to me and I set the rifle’s sight. 

The camouflage is impressive…
It has to be. We’ve got different camo and suits for different terrains. We add vegetation from whatever area we are working in to blend in.

How do you become a sniper?
Infantry regiments run in-house selection processes. It’s a six-week selection, and the best two or three go on a course run by the Infantry Battle School. You get two attempts at passing, and if you do, you join the Sniper Platoon.