While the function of a sniper will always be firmly rooted in delivering on demand marksmanship to the foreheads of enemy combatants, it’s fascinating to see that the way in which they are employed changes from conflict to conflict. The Peshmerga have a very unique method of utilizing their snipers, probably most closely resembling that of the sharpshooters in World War I. Of course, this will change with the times and the requirements of the Kurdish forces, but up to that point they are only expected to deliver death from a different area code while perched on a dirt berm.

Now most of you are probably thinking, “No shit, Kurt. Snipers shooting at people far away!? Preposterous.” But this has its own flavor here. Imagine two massive dirt berm lines spanning the length of a village on both sides. Think inverted trench warfare. These physical lines of battle are spaced, on average, 500 meters to a kilometer apart, with a literal minefield of IEDs—reminiscent of Afghanistan—between them. Now, along this berm are Humvees, technical gun trucks, and soldiers (Peshmerga) bunkered up, waiting for the day they can push in on their enemy opposite them. Daesh ranks will apply many of the same tactics with a heavier emphasis on defense, but do it a little differently.

There are buildings scattered about on each side, too. These are utilized for various purposes to include sniper hides. Amidst the sporadic back and forth of machine guns and potshots taken at each other lie the snipers, both Daesh and Pesh, who observe and wait. Targets of opportunity are encouraged to be taken if deemed valuable, but are often ignored, because a jackass hip-firing a BKC at 500 meters isn’t going to hit shit, anyway.