Longest recorded sniper kills
Reports regarding the longest recorded sniper kill that contain information regarding the shooting distance and the identity of the sniper have been presented to the general public since 1967. Snipers in modern warfare have had a long history since the development of long distance weaponry. As weapons, ammunition, and aids to determine ballistic solutions improved, so too, did the distance from which a kill could be targeted.
The modern method of long-distance sniping (1.25-kilometre (0.8 mi) shots) requires intense training and practice. A sniper must have the ability to accurately estimate the various factors that influence a bullet's trajectory and point of impact, such as range to the target, wind direction, wind velocity, air density, elevation, and even the rotation of the Earth under the bullet of the sniper and target. Mistakes in estimation compound over distance and can cause a shot to only injure, or to miss completely. Furthermore, as any given combination of firearm and ammunition will have an associated value, known as the circular error probable, denoting a circle whose boundary is expected to include the landing points of half of the rounds fired, beyond a given distance, whether even a perfectly-aimed shot lands will be dictated partially by chance.
Devices such as laser rangefinders, handheld meteorological measuring equipment, handheld computers, and ballistic-prediction software can contribute to increased accuracy.
The science of long-range sniping came to fruition in the Vietnam War. Carlos Hathcock held the record from 1967 to 2002 at 2,286 m (2,500 yd). He recorded 93 official kills before an injury halted his service on the front lines. After returning to the U.S., Hathcock helped to establish a school for training Marine snipers, the Marine Corps Scout Sniper School, at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia.
It took over thirty years for Canadian Master Corporal Arron Perry of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry to beat Hathcock's record. Perry held the title for only a few days as another man in his unit (Corporal Rob Furlong) bested Perry's distance with a 2,430 m (2,657 yd) shot in March 2002. Furlong took the shot while supporting American soldiers during Operation Anaconda in the beginning years of the latest War in Afghanistan.
The current record is held by Briton Corporal of Horse (CoH) Craig Harrison, recorded a 2,475 m (2,707 yd) shot in November 2009 also during in the War in Afghanistan; in which he shot two static machine gunners consecutively. Confirmed by GPS, Craig Harrison (UK) of the UK’s Household Cavalry killed two Taliban insurgents from a distance of 2,474 m (8,120 ft, or 1.54 miles) in November 2009. It took the 8.59 mm rounds almost three seconds to hit their targets, which were 914 m (3,000 ft) beyond the L115A3 sniper rifle’s recommended range. A third shot took out the insurgent’s machine gun. The rifle used was made by Accuracy International.
Unconfirmed Australian claim
In October 2012, Chris Masters, a reporter for the Australian The Daily Telegraph, quoted an unnamed source that claimed that an unknown Australian soldier from Delta Company, 2nd Commando Regiment had made a shot at 2,815 m (3,079 yd) using a .50 cal Barrett M82 rifle in Afghanistan. If this shot is confirmed it will have broken the 2,475 m (2,707 yd) record held by Craig Harrison. In the Daily Telegraph article Masters claimed that multiple shooters were engaged in a targeted kill mission. The claim has however not been confirmed by the Australian military or the Australian government, and the article in The Daily Telegraph remains the only source of the event and thus not included in the following list. Subsequently, a ballistics blogger and former sniper calculated the alleged shot and in his opinion declared it highly unlikely.
Confirmed kills 1,250 m (1,367 yd) or greater
- During the Vietnam War Hathcock had 93 confirmed kills of North Vietnamese Army and Viet-Cong personnel. During the Vietnam War, kills had to be confirmed by an acting third party, who had to be an officer, besides the sniper's spotter. Hathcock himself estimated that he had killed 300 or more enemy personnel during his time in Vietnam.
- Longest confirmed kill using 14.5x114 mm ammunition
- Serving as part of the UN Force Intervention Brigade
- Christopher Scott "Chris" Kyle (April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013) was a United States Navy SEAL who claimed to be the most lethal sniper in American military history with 160 "confirmed" kills out of 255 claimed kills. This figure, however, has not been corroborated by the Department of Defense, U.S. Special Operations Command, or the U.S. Navy Special Warfare Command, as such numbers are not tracked or managed under any official procedure. Kyle's claims are instead thought to be based on individual shooter logs not subject to verification or legal discovery.
- Longest confirmed kill using 12.7 mm multi-purpose ammunition
- Longest confirmed kill with a 7.62x51mm NATO chambered rifle
- History of sniping
- Francis Pegahmagabow, a Canadian sniper with 378 confirmed kills, the highest in World War I.
- Simo Häyhä, the Finnish sniper, who, using a standard iron-sighted bolt-action rifle, recorded the highest number of confirmed kills in any major war (505 or 542).
- Vasily Zaytsev, the Soviet sniper who amassed 225 kills during the Battle of Stalingrad.
- Lyudmila Pavlichenko, a Soviet sniper during World War II, credited with 309 kills, and is regarded as the most successful female sniper in history.
- SSG Adelbert Waldron, an American sniper who currently holds the record for the highest number of confirmed kills for American snipers during the Vietnam War (109).
- Plaster 1993
- Circular Error Probable (CEP), Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center Technical Paper 6, Ver 2, July 1987, p. 1
- Henderson 2003, p. 181
- Gaijinass (May 6, 2010). "The way of the Gun: USMC S/S". Gaijinass. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
- Henderson 2003, p. 283
- Smith 2010
- Masters 2012
- Reichert 2012
- Chandler 2010
- Alpert 2010
- Drury 2010
- Friscolanti, Michael (May 15, 2006). "We were abandoned". Maclean's. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- Sheridan, Michael (May 3, 2010). "British sniper Craig Harrison (The Silent Assassin) breaks record, kills target from 1.5 miles away". Daily News. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- Gibson 2013
- Helfrich 2013
- "Times Live". http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2014/08/22/south-africa-at-war-in-the-drc--the-inside-story. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
- Goldstein, Joseph (2010-05-30). "How to shoot someone from a mile away". NYPOST.com. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
- Buiso, Gray (January 1, 2012). "Meet the big shot - SEAL is America’s deadliest sniper". Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- Zennie, Michael (2 January 2012). "255 confirmed kills: Meet Navy SEAL Chris Kyle... the deadliest sniper in US history". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
- Sanchez, Raf (2 January 2012). "'The Devil of Rahmadi' named America's deadliest sniper". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
- Mail Foreign Service (August 15, 2009). "British sniper describes moment he shot Taliban commander... from TWO KILOMETRES away". The Daily Mail. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
- D'Alessio 2005
- Souter 2012, p. 40
- Johnsen 2008
- Harnden 2006
- Brownlie 2003, p. 63
- Westwood 2005, p. 212
- "Герой Советского Союза Зайцев Василий Григорьевич :: Герои страны". Warheroes.ru. Retrieved 2012-09-05.
- Fredriksen 2010, p. 306
- Alpert, Lukas (May 2, 2010). "Sniper kills Qaeda-from 1½ mi. away". New York Post. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- Brownlie, Robin (2003). A fatherly eye: Indian agents, government power, and Aboriginal resistance in Ontario, 1918-1939 (2003 ed.). University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-19-541784-5. - Total pages: 204
- Chandler, Neil (May 2, 2010). "Sniper's Taliban shots earn him place in military record books". The Daily Star. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- D'Alessio, Stephen (Feb 22, 2005). "Marine Sniper Receives Bronze Star Medal for Valor". United States Marine Corps. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- Drury, Ian (May 2, 2010). "The super sniper: Hero picks off two Taliban from a mile and a half away". Daily Mail. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- Fredriksen, John C. (2010). The United States Army: A Chronology, 1775 to the Present (2010 ed.). ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-59884-344-6. - Total pages: 327
- Gibson, Erica (August 30, 2013). "SA skerpskutter skiet doodskoot oor afstand van meer as 2 km (English translation: SA sniper’s kill shot from over 2km away)" (in Afrikaans). Volksblad. Retrieved 2013-08-30.
- Harnden, Toby (January 1, 2006). "Sniper shot that took out an insurgent killer from three quarters of a mile". The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
- Henderson, Charles (2003). Silent Warrior (2003 ed.). Berkley Books. ISBN 0-425-18864-7. - Total pages: 336
- Helfrich, Kim (August 30, 2013). "SANDF mum about DRC sniper super shot". DefenceWeb. Retrieved 2014-07-30.
- Masters, Chris (October 29, 2012). "Taliban remain in fear of lethal strikes". dailytelegraph.com.au. Australian Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
- Johnsen, Nilas (October 7, 2008). "Dreper fra 1380 meter (English translation: Kills from 1380 meters)" (in Norwegian). Verdens Gang. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
- Jowett, Philip; Jowett, Philip S.; Snodgrass, Brent (2006). Finland at War 1939–45 (2006 ed.). Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-969-1. - Total pages: 64
- Plaster, John L. (1993). The ultimate sniper: an advanced training manual for military & police snipers (1993 ed.). Paladin Press. ISBN 978-0-87364-704-5. - Total pages: 453
- Reichert, Steve (November 26, 2012). "Steve Reichert on the 2815 Meter Shot". soldiersystems.net/. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
- Smith, Michael (May 2, 2010). "Hotshot sniper in one-and-a-half mile double kill". The Sunday Times. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- Souter, Gerry (2012). American Shooter: A Personal History of Gun Culture in the United States (2012 ed.). Potomac Books Inc. ISBN 9781597976909. - Total pages: 300
- Westwood, Dr. David (2005). Rifles: an illustrated history of their impact (2005 ed.). ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-85109-401-1. - Total pages: 470