When I served as a sniper in the US Army I was never given the Tom Berenger award or any such nonsense, but having conducted dozens of combat operations as a sniper and having graduated from the Army sniper school, I would not have thought that this book would be packed full of new content that I had never heard of before.
The “Maritime Sniper Manual” has something to teach junior and veteran snipers alike. The manual is broken down in a logical manner and presents the information in easy to digest bits and pieces as you read the book. Here is some of the information I learned that I have never read from any other source:
-How to make wind calls based on sea conditions (ie: size of the waves)
-How to time your shots between waves and synchronize your breath rate with them
-An in depth discussion on environmental factors such as how water temperature effects air temperature, which as we know effects external ballistics.
-A detailed look at shooting through the different types of glass that can be found on large ships
-Where is the best position on a ship for a sniper to place himself and how to construct a steady firing position once he gets there.
These are just a few of the “take aways” to be found in this manual. Other topics include tactics, equipment checklists, verbage to be used between the spotter and sniper, and much more. I’ve found that in this line of work that myth often over takes reality but in this case the author has both feet well grounded, making realistic assessments of what the sniper can and cannot realistically accomplish.
Some of the topics seemed rather academic such as the discussion about the Magnum effect, Poisson effect, and the Coriolis drift but like GI Joe says, Knowing is Half the Battle. The chapter about casualty first responder (medical) treatment also seems somewhat misplaced in this manual, however the information it contains is so critical to soldiers operating in any environment that I can understand why it is included. That said, the author breaks down CFR into concise data points in a manner that makes this chapter an ideal reference or quick refresher.
The Maritime Sniper Manual is packed with new information that previously could only be obtained through hard experience in the field. The appendixes are also useful, such as John Plaster’s piece on aerial platform shooting. Having buzzed around Afghanistan in a helicopter doing just that, I wholeheartedly agree with his assertion that peering through a ten power scope in this situation is ridicules.
Making an excellent companion to Plaster’s Ultimate Sniper, this book will be referenced by snipers and other marksmen for years to come. As it becomes more apparent that piracy on the high seas is escalating and expanding (while the Western world fails about like a bunch of school girls for the most part) I think that this manual will only increase in relevancy in the coming years.