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Sniper evolution behind record shot

30th June 2017 - 16:43 by Ian Keddie in Toronto

Sniper evolution behind record shot

Canadian snipers have gained a world-leading reputation and now account for three of the top five world record shots following news of their latest feat.

A Canadian sniper shattered the world record for a confirmed sniper kill after a member of the country’s special forces shot an Islamic State insurgent at a distance of almost 3.5km during an operation that took place within the last month in Iraq.

The Department for National Defence (DND) confirmed the feat in an official statement but could not give further specific details owing to operational security concerns.

‘The Canadian Special Operations Command can confirm that a member of the Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) successfully hit a target from 3,540 metres.’

The JTF2 sniper is believed to have used a McMillan TAC-50 sniper rifle, designated as the C15 Long Range Sniper Weapon (LRSW) in Canadian service, while firing from a high-rise building.

The kill was reportedly verified through a video and external data.

To understand how this came about, Shephard spoke to Warrant Officer Oliver Cromwell, who has been a sniper since 2001 and is an instructor at the Canadian Army’s infantry school at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick.

While keen to stress that he has never been a part of JTF2 and couldn’t comment on the specifics of their operations, Cromwell pointed out that snipers have experienced an evolution in the last couple of decades.

New equipment, training, and experience have all contributed to the dramatic increases in capability the modern sniper can bring to the battlefield today. 

‘The guys are skilled enough these days, especially with as much experience and exposure as they've had, to work further than the listed maximum effective range and they have the equipment to aid them in making those shots,’ Cromwell explained. 

The equipment referred to by WO Cromwell includes Bushnell 60-power spotting scopes, Vector laser range-finding binoculars, and a Nexus ballistic computer.

The latest hardware, along with the fearsome C15 LRSW, are a huge step forward compared to the limited equipment WO Cromwell said he trained on in 2001. Back then, the army used a C3 hunting rifle with an improved scope.

‘Technology has advanced so much since then, we have multiple different weapons now, different sights, the equipment is all better than it was,’ Cromwell said, adding that it was the holistic approach that delivers the capability that the Canadian military has today.

‘I'd say it's an equal balance of both improved skills as well as improved equipment.’

Canadian forces have been operating in an advise and assist mission to train and support Kurdish Peshmerga fighters against the Islamic State in Iraq, few details about Canada’s training mission have been released but the mission does allow for frontline support of Peshmerga operations.

‘As stated multiple times in the past, members of the Canadian Special Operations Task Force do not accompany leading combat elements, but enable the Iraqi security forces who are in a tough combat mission,’ said the official government release.

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