Last week, elite sniper teams from all over the world met at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center on Fort Bragg, North Carolina to compete in a series of events aimed at assessing tactical skills ranging from long-distance weapons accuracy to reconnaissance. Teams from the U.S. Special Operations Command took the top two spots with a U.S. Marine Corps team placing third.

The competition, which took place between March 17 and 22, included 21 teams, each carrying their own loadouts comprised of sniper rifles, carbines, and pistols. All sniper rifles were chambered in either 5.56mm or 7.62mm, all carbines in 5.56mm, and pistols were authorized in a variety of calibers.

A competitor in the United States Army Special Operations Command International Sniper Competition fires a pistol at a target at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, March 18, 2019. (DOD)

The events were designed by instructors hailing from the U.S. Army’s Special Forces Sniper Course and were intended to pit the teams not only against one another, but against the clock as well. Each team faced time limits ranging from four to eight minutes per event and were further hampered by a limited supply of ammunition. The intent was to approximate real combat situations, as opposed to testing the soldier’s ability to shoot in controlled circumstances.

Competitors in the United States Army Special Operations Command International Sniper Competition locate targets with night vision on a live-fire range on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, March 17, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Brian Stephenson)

“This year we wanted to focus on bringing guys in who may shoot competitively on the side but the core tasks would revolve around real-world application,” Master Sgt. Josh, a Special Forces sniper instructor, explained to the press (his last name was omitted when dealing with the media). “We used sounds, artillery simulators, and bunkers to induce chaos and make them think through things.”

A competitor in the United States Army Special Operations Command International Sniper Competition fires a sniper rifle at a live-fire range on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, March 18, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Alleea Oliver)

In the end, the two top spots on the podium were both taken by teams hailing from the U.S. Special Operations Command, with the the third-place position going to a team representing the U.S. Marine Scout Snipers. These teams beat out opponents from the Marine Corps Raider Battalion and the Marine Corps Special Operations Forces Advanced Sniper Course, as well as Navy SEALs, the 1st Premier Regiment de Parachutistes d’Infanterie de Marine from France, and the Kommando Spezialkräfte out of Germany.

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