In movies, we often see snipers aiming at their targets, placing the reticle of their scope at exactly the spot they want the target to impact, and rarely making any substantial adjustments to the knobs adorning the telescope like lens attached to the tops of their rifles. Often, they’ll omit what is arguably one of the most valuable tools a sniper has – his spotter. Military spotters are usually equipped with a more powerful scope than the sniper has on his rifle, and between the two of them, the sniper/spotter team is able to observe the objective and make adjustments based on variables like wind speed and the distance to the target in order to maximize their chances of success.
In movies, the difficult part of being a sniper is often omitted; presenting us with talented distance shooters as though the skill set is akin to Harry Potter’s chosen-one-ness; based on an invisible power that us regular folks simply don’t have. In reality, being an effective sniper requires a great deal of patience, a high level of observational skills and a mastery of mathematics in conjunction with traditional talents with a firearm.
It’s this ability to balance the mental and physical challenges of the task that make some better suited for the job than others, but the Army has a plan to make the process a whole lot easier – and in the years to come, it could turn every American infantryman into a sniper more like the ones we’ve seen on TV than the ones we can currently find in the field.
In an effort to take some of the more complicated aspects of distance shooting out of the equation, the Army is working to develop an integrated fire control system that mounts on a rifle just like a traditional scope. However, unlike existing scopes, the Ballistically Optimized Sniper Scope (or BOSS) can accurately assess the distance to a target, compensate for a number of variables, and place the reticle where the round will actually impact, rather than where the rifle is currently aimed.