Hands On! Through the Looking Glass

Hands On! Sniper ammo that will shoot through glass.
This is a three-shot group fired at 100 yards though a windshield into a target three-feet behind the class. It's clear the Shoot-N-C target provides lots of immediate feedback.

The sniper exists to provide protection. Because of that the sniper must be counted upon to make the shot. It is that simple: First shot. Cold Bore. Every time.

The Hornady .308 TAP Barrier proved superior in the glass penetration test.
The Hornady .308 TAP Barrier round proved superior in the glass penetration test.

Equipment provides the technological advantage but training provides an even more vital element: confidence. Snipers need to know what they can do and what they can't and also what their equipment can and can't do.

That explains why I spent nearly five hours on the range recently with snipers from the Waupaca County, Wisconsin SWAT team. We had a plan, but the long and short of it was that this time on the range would provide confidence in both ability and hardware.

Here's the backstory. Correspondence between the Sheriff's Department and the maker of the chosen ammunition for departmental snipers revealed that the current ammo was not suitable for use against commonly encountered barriers. Specifically, the ammo maker said the round currently in use by the department was not recommended for use against glass; auto glass in particular.

“They told us they wouldn't stand behind the round if we had to fire through glass. They wouldn't testify in court and they wouldn't claim that it was effective at all against glass,” said one of the snipers as we gathered at the range to make some decisions.

You see, in most cases where a police sniper is deployed in a rural setting like Waupaca County, the subject is likely to be inside a house or vehicle in some sort of standoff scenario.

Gun Digest Tactical - Shooting through a windshield
Snipers Nick Kamba (left) and Cameron Durrant assess the exit holes on the back of a 100-yard target and wonder aloud if the case separation or glass particles caused the extra damage. Either way, it was decided that the round would do its job.

The snipers needed to be confident they could shoot through glass and neutralize a target efficiently. So that's what we did.

For the grand total of $12 in lumber and screws we built a rack to hold scrap windshields and discarded windows from area remodeling projects. Then we grabbed some of Birchwood Casey's Shoot-N-C targets and commenced the testing.

As an aside, should you wish to duplicate this experiment, do not attempt it without the Shoot-N-C targets. The green backing not only made tracking hits fast and easy, but it also showed the extent and intensity of the glass fragmentation… an important consideration if the standoff includes a hostage.

The final tabulations not yet done, but I can tell you this: Two rounds provided amazing performance against all the glass barriers we put between shooter and target. They are Hornady's 165-grain TAP Barrier and Black Hills Ammunition's Bonded 180-grain ammo.

For their part, the snipers learned that auto windshields, storm windows and even double-paned insulated windows are not a hindrance when using the proper ammo fired from a well-maintained .308 rifle.

When the snipers complete their reports watch for the findings in an upcoming issue of Tactical Gear Magazine.






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