Years ago, I had the pleasure and honor of attending the Kentucky State Police Advanced Sniper School a couple of times. I went back several more times with the honor of helping put it on.
This article is not about the grueling 16+ hour days, the realistic scenarios or the demanding mental and physical conditioning needed to pass. This article is about the single thing that sent many a perspective sniper, or in some cases experienced sniper packing without a certificate at the end of the week.
This article is about the modified qualification course.
There are many schools and individuals that have similar qualification courses. This one is not fancy and doesn’t require great props to put on. You simply need a range that will allow movement, a paper head target with a trapezoid, or T drawn out from the tops of the eyebrows, to the corners of the eyes, down to the tip of the nose on a realistic sized human face. And 13 rounds of match grade ammo.
The qual has three phases-
The Cold Bore phase, the run phase, and the movement phase.
The Cold Bore Phase is simple. The shooter starts in the standing position with rifle in one hand, and a live round in the other. On the timer, the shooter has 15 seconds to prone out, and fire a single shot. That shot must hit inside the trapezoid, or break the line. If the shot is not in, the shooter is deemed to have failed the qualification. If the shot is good, the shooter moves to phase two.
Once the shooter passes phase one, the clock begins on a quarter mile run with all operational gear. The shooter has a maximum of two minutes to complete the quarter mile run. Anything above two minutes is deemed to have failed the qualification. If the shooter comes in below two minutes, he prones out at the 100 yard line, loads three rounds of match grade ammunition, and fires all three rounds into the trapezoid target. The shooter picks up and runs to the 75 yard line. The shooter loads three rounds of match, and fires all three into the trapezoid target. The shooter runs to the 50 yard line. The shooter loads three rounds, and fires all three rounds into the trapezoid target. The shooter runs to the 25 yard line, and loads and fires a total of three rounds from there.
All positions are shot from prone with a bipod. A toe sock can be utilized as long as it makes the run with you. All 13 rounds must be within the trapezoid, or breaking the line. Any rounds out are considered a failure. The shooter has a total of four minutes and thirty seconds to complete the entire run phase and moving and shooting phase. IE- If the shooter comes back from the run in 1:30, they have 3 minutes to complete the moving and shooting phase.
The drill is great as it puts an emphasis on both marksmanship and cardiovascular fitness. The drill is also designed for top loading bolt action rifles such as the Remington 700, but like anything, with a little ingenuity, you can make it work with any system.