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 substantial history following 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 (shots over 1.1-kilometre or 0.7-mile) 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 Coriolis effect due to the rotation of the Earth. Mistakes in estimation compound over distance and can cause a shot to only injure, or to miss completely. Any given combination of firearm and ammunition will have an associated value, known as the circular error probable (CEP), defined as the radius of a circle whose boundary is expected to contain the impact points of half of the rounds fired.
Devices such as laser rangefinders, handheld meteorological measuring equipment, handheld computers, and ballistic-prediction software can contribute to increased accuracy (i.e. reduced CEP).
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.
Hathcock's record stood for over thirty years until Canadian Master Corporal Arron Perry of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry beat it with a shot of 2,310 metres. Perry held the title for only a few days as another man in his unit (Corporal Rob Furlong) beat Perry's distance with a 2,430 m (2,657 yd) shot in March 2002. Perry and Furlong were part of a six-man sniper team during 2002's Operation Anaconda, during the War in Afghanistan.
The current record is held by Briton Corporal of Horse (CoH) Craig Harrison, of the UK’s Household Cavalry, who recorded a 2,475 m (2,707 yd) shot (confirmed by GPS) in November 2009, also during the War in Afghanistan, in which he hit two Taliban insurgents consecutively. CoH Harrison killed the two Taliban machine gunners with shots that took the 8.59 mm rounds almost five seconds to hit their targets, which were 914 metres (1,000 yd) beyond the L115A3 sniper rifle’s recommended range. A third shot took out the insurgents' machine gun. The rifle used was made by Accuracy International.
Confirmed kills 1,250 m (1,367 yd) or greater
This list is not exhaustive, as such data is generally not tracked nor managed under any official procedure. For example, the Canadian Army 2002 sniper team that saw two soldiers (Arron Perry/2,310 m and Rob Furlong/2,430 m) set consecutive new records, also made a number of kills at 1,500 m that are not counted here. The list also shows that, in some cases, an armed force command may choose to withhold the name of the actual sniper for security reasons. The United Nations Security Forces, such as in the Balkans, also had one American sniper (name withheld) attributed with a 1271-meter shot.
|Corporal of Horse (CoH) Craig Harrison||November 2009||2,475 m (2,707 yd)||Accuracy International L115A3||.338 Lapua Magnum LockBase B408 bullets||United Kingdom||Household Cavalry||War in Afghanistan|||
|Furlong, RobCorporal Rob Furlong||March 2002||2,430 m (2,657 yd)||McMillan Tac-50||Hornady A-MAX .50 (.50 BMG)||Canada||3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry||War in Afghanistan|||
|Master Corporal Arron Perry||March 2002||2,310 m (2,526 yd)||McMillan Tac-50||Hornady A-MAX .50 (.50 BMG)||Canada||3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry||War in Afghanistan|||
|Sgt. Bryan Kremer||March 2004||2,300 m (2,515 yd)||Barrett M82A1||Raufoss NM140 MP (.50 BMG)||United States||2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, United States Army||Iraq War|||
|Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock [A 1]||February 1967||2,286 m (2,500 yd)||M2 Browning machine gun||.50 BMG||United States||1st Marine Division, United States Marine Corps||Vietnam War|||
|South African Special Forces sniper (Name withheld) [A 2]||August 2013||2,125 m (2,324 yd)||Denel NTW-14.5||14.5×114mm||South Africa||South African Special Forces Brigade [A 3]||United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo|||
|Ranstad , NicholasNicholas Ranstad||January 2008||2,092 m (2,288 yd)||Barrett M82A1||.50 BMG||United States||1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, United States Army||War in Afghanistan|||
|Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle [A 4]||August 2008||1,920 m (2,100 yd)||McMillan Tac-338||.338 Lapua Magnum||United States||US Navy SEAL - Team 3, Charlie||Iraq War – Sadr City|||
|Corporal Christopher Reynolds||August 2009||1,853 m (2,026 yd)||Accuracy International L115A3||.338 Lapua Magnum LockBase B408 bullets||United Kingdom||3 Scots – The Black Watch||War in Afghanistan|||
|Staff Sgt. Steve Reichert||April 2004||1,614 m (1,765 yd)||Barrett M82A3||Raufoss NM140 MP (.50 Cal)||United States||2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, United States Marine Corps||Iraq War- Latifiya|||
|Billy Dixon||June 1874||1,406 m (1,538 yd)||Sharps .50-90||.50-90 Sharps||United States||Civilian Buffalo Hunter||American Indian Wars|||
|Norwegian sniper (Name withheld) [A 5]||November 2007||1,380 m (1,509 yd)||Barrett M82A1||Raufoss NM140 MP (.50 Cal)||Norway||Norwegian Army 2nd Battalion||War in Afghanistan|||
|Sgt. First Class Brandon McGuire||April 2007||1,310 m (1,433 yd)||M107||Raufoss NM140 MP (.50 Cal)||United States||3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, United States Army||Iraq War|||
|Confederate sniper (Name withheld)||December 5, 1864||1,271 m (1,390 yd)||Whitworth Rifle||.451 caliber hexagonal bullet||Confederate States||South Carolina Troops||American Civil War - Fort Sumter to Morris Island, South Carolina|||
|Staff Sergeant Jim Gilliland [A 6]||September 27, 2005||1,250 m (1,367 yd)||M24 rifle||7.62×51mm NATO||United States||2nd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment, United States Army||Iraq War – Ramadi|||
|Sergeant Ilyin Vladimir||1985||1,350 m (1,476 yd)||SVD||7.62x54R 7N1||Soviet Union||345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment (Soviet Union), Soviet Army||Soviet War in Afghanistan|||
- 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 14.5×114 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 has been corroborated by the Department of Defense, U.S. Special Operations Command, and the U.S. Navy Special Warfare Command.
- Longest confirmed kill using 12.7 mm multi-purpose ammunition
- Longest confirmed kill with a 7.62×51mm 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 has 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
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- Henderson 2003, p. 283
- Smith 2010
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- Chandler 2010
- Alpert 2010
- Drury 2010
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- Gibson 2013
- Helfrich 2013
- Hofstatter, Stephan; Oatway, James (22 August 2014). "South Africa at war in the DRC - The inside story". Times Live. Sunday Times. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Murphy, Jack (26 August 2014). "South African Special Forces Sniper Takes Out Congo Rebels (2125m shot!)". SOFRep.com. SOFREP. Retrieved 23 September 2014. (subscription required (. ))
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- Zennie, Michael (2 January 2012). "255 confirmed kills: Meet Navy SEAL Chris Kyle... the deadliest sniper in US history". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
- Sanchez, Raf (2 January 2012). "'The Devil of Rahmadi' named America's deadliest sniper". London: 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". London: The Daily Mail. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
- D'Alessio 2005
- Souter 2012, p. 40
- Johnsen 2008
- Cannon 2010
- Charleston Courier 1864
- Harnden 2006
- "Soviet snipers in Afghanistan, 1979 - 1989 years. (28 photos) - MethGAG". MethGAG.
- 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.
- Cannon, Chuck (April 19, 2010). "Army sniper films spot for History channel based on 1,300 meter shot in Iraq". United States Armed Forces. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
- Charleston Courier (December 6, 1864). "Charleston Courier". Charleston Courier. ISSN 1061-5105.
- 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". London: 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". London: 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