The International Sniper Competition brings together two-person sniper teams representing the U.S. military, international militaries, and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Planners expect about 30 teams to participate.
The competition puts to meticulous test a variety of sniper skills including marksmanship, observation, the ability to scout an area and give a useful report about what’s observed, and skill at moving with stealth and concealment. Fort Benning is home to the elite United States Army Sniper Course.
The competition begins with a 7:30 a.m. opening ceremony April 14 at the Sniper Course compound, after which competitors must run about 2.5 miles to Burroughs Range. There, they’ll board buses and be dropped off at various ranges where the many tests of their sniper skills will be in play over several days.
“The Sniper Competition is going to take these 30 teams and apply their sniper fundamentals, to be able to employ long-range precision fires, range estimation, advanced camouflage and movement techniques and other field craft skills,” said Capt. Gregory Elgort, formerly a commander of the Sniper Course and currently a plans officer with 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, part of the 199th Infantry Brigade here.
The competition also puts a premium on the snipers’ ability to figure out solutions to battlefield situations using keen critical thinking and on-the-spot ingenuity.
“An example of the rigors that they’re gonna have to face is using their expert target detection and observation skills to identify small or hidden targets in a variety of scenarios or backdrops,” said Elgort.
That can involve, for example, having to demonstrate their ability to spot — from distances of up to 400 meters — objects as small as a pen, well-concealed inside a treeline.
They will also have to fire their weapons at targets from distances ranging from 5 to 1,500 meters or more.
The schedule for Day 2, April 15, calls for further events on various ranges.
And April 16 is a day especially set up for the public.
To give spectators a clear and exciting look at the world of snipers, organizers are recommending the third day of the competition, April 16, which they’ve dubbed “Spectator Day,” Elgort said.
Spectator Day events are planned for Burroughs and Galloway ranges.
“We are definitely trying to craft Thursday — day three — as our ‘Spectator Day,’ and if anyone was going to try to come and watch I would encourage them to come and see the events occurring on Thursday,” Elgort said.
This year’s International Sniper Competition ends April 17 with a closing ceremony at 11:30 a.m. at MCoE headquarters, McGinnis-Wickam Hall, on Karker St.