Gun Digest

The Tactical Rifle Gets A Reality Check

Sure, everyone thinks the tactical rifle and sniper duties are the ways of Carlos Hathcock and mile-long shots. And then there's reality.

A Marine hugs his M40 sniper rifle–and he's probably shooting at something beyond 53 yards.

“I had a Special Forces trained sniper once tell me, “Life begins at the triple zero.” Meaning, it was best to work at 1,000 yards or more.

“This image has so distorted the reality that just getting things done properly became a problem. For instance, the classic Army and USMC sniper rifle was a Remington bolt gun, called the M40 in the Corp, and the M24 in the Army, cambered in .308. On top was a scope of 10X … with a mil-dot ranging reticle in it. …

“Well, when it came time for the police to adopt some kind of counter-sniper rifle, and training, guess what they used as their base? Yes, the .308 bolt gun with 10X scope. Now take a guess, a wild guess, at the average distance of police counter-sniper shots. I’ll wait while you ponder the question. Ready? 53 yards. That’s right, the maximum distance we used to be shooting handguns at … .”—Patrick Sweeney, Gun Digest Book of the Tactical Rifle, from the chapter “Sniper Rifles.


Like this quote? You can buy the Gun Digest Book of the Tactical Rifle by clicking on the title link, but we also think you’ll love the Advanced Tactical Marksman by 2012 American Pistolsmith of the Year Dave M. Lauck.

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