Among the most celebrated and liked professions seen in movies is that of a sniper. As often depicted, it’s a great joy for the audience to see the camouflaged sniper secretly eliminating the bad guys. The sheer brilliance of their marksmanship and stealth is among the things that have made snipers a popular character in movies.
Although things may be a bit different in the real world, the job of snipers continues to amaze us. It may even inspire us to take the job of a sniper as a full-time career. In that case, one needs to know how to become a sniper. To answer such questions, here are some things you need to know.
Basic eligibility criteria for becoming a sniper
- Be a soldier – You need to be a soldier in active duty to qualify for the sniper’s job. People in active duty in Reserve or National Guard are also eligible.
- Good experience as infantry soldier – You should have score of at least 87 in combat (CO) Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. As an infantryman, you will learn to tackle stressful situations, use weapons and be ready to accept challenges.
- Get necessary rank – You need to have rank of Additional Skill Identifier (ASI) B4 (Sniper). This is available to soldiers who have achieved Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 11B (Infantry soldier).
- ASVAB test – In the General Technical (GT) section of ASVAB test, you need score of 100 or more to become eligible for sniper’s job.
- Good vision – This is apparent, as snipers are required to shoot targets from long distances. To become a sniper, you will need 20/20 vision. People whose vision can be corrected to 20/20 are also eligible for the job.
- Top-level fitness – Snipers may be required to work alone in difficult terrain. They could also be asked to operate covertly inside enemy territory. Due to these reasons, snipers are required to have excellent physical fitness. You need to have physical profile of at least 111221 in PULHES.
- Clean record – Snipers work at the top level and their activities are usually entirely confidential. You need to have a clean civilian and military record to become eligible for the sniper’s job. There should be no cases of alcohol or substance abuse.
You need to clear a psychological assessment prior to starting your sniper training. This is necessary because snipers are often required to work in highly dangerous and stressful conditions.
Security clearance from DOD
Since the sniper’s job is highly classified, you will need security clearance from the Department of Defense (DOD). A background check will be carried out for this purpose. Your security clearance may be reviewed on periodic basis.
Volunteer for Sniper School
You need to request your Battalion Commander, expressing your willingness to attend Sniper School. If approved and if you meet all the eligibility requirements, you can join Sniper School. The training is conducted at Fort Benning, Georgia and is spread over a period of seven weeks. You will learn various skills such as range estimation, target detection, and marksmanship. Once you pass through Sniper School, you will receive a diploma. You can then be considered for full-time sniper operations, as and when required by the Army.