Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - 39

Required items included ghillie suits, body
armor, and night vision devices. Competitors
were advised to bring additional equipment,
including protractors and compasses.
Participation is free, but comes with strict
entry requirements. Competitors must be
able to prove that they graduated from an
accredited sniper training course. Set each year
in October, the contest is announced several
months in advance.
"We like to put the invite out mid-summer,
so that competitors have three to four months
to prepare," Doolittle said. "We like to get the
word out."
This year, organizers allowed only one team
from each military division. Several, such as
the Army's 10th Mountain Division and 3rd
Infantry Division, held pre-competitions to
select their teams.
Portions of the contest are open to
audiences. Among those who come to watch
are other snipers.
"It's good to see the mindset these guys are
in," Irving said. "Seeing those guys, I know that
look. They're so deep in thought, they're in a
bubble. They probably don't see the people
watching them."
The contest offers prestige within the elite
community.
"The camaraderie is there, but it's also your
branch, your unit," said Irving, whose team
finished one slot shy of the top three. "Your
name goes down in history. Every sniper
knows you."
Aside from offering bragging rights to
winners, the contest serves valuable purposes.
"It's fun, there's the prizes, there's the spirit
of competition," said the Army National Guard
team's Sgt. Nick Mitchell. "But in the end, it's
always a learning event."

Stations included sets of tiered blocks.

"I learned a lot from it, a lot that I can bring
back to my unit," said Specialist Jonathan
Rojo, who competed as part of the Army's 7th
Infantry Division team.
Organizers deliberately try to foster a
knowledge exchange among competitors.
"We try to pair snipers who might not
normally be together," Doolittle said. "Law
enforcement guys are better at close-in
shooting. Military are better at long distance.
They trade tips and tricks."
Some civilian law enforcement teams came
to the contest never having shot past 200 yards,
Doolittle said. Geared toward close quarter
urban operations, police may not have range
space for longer distances; or, their rules of
engagement confine them to firing within a
certain span.
"They came in on day one and were flabbergasted," Doolittle said. "They found gaps in
their own training." They brought those lessons
home. "They are training new guys based on
what they learned here," Doolittle said.
The 18th annual contest pulling snipers out
of the shadows and into the limelight will take
place next October at Fort Benning.
Said Doolittle: "It's a big training exercise
wrapped into a competition." *

SSUSA.ORG | JANUARY 2018

39


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - January 2018

In This Issue
Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - Cover2
Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - 4
Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - 5
Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - In This Issue
Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - 7
Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - 8
Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - 9
Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - 10
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Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - 12
Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - 13
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Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - 18
Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - 19
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Shooting Sports USA - January 2018 - 54
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