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USASOC Sniper Competition Wrap Up

FORT BRAGG, NC — Two-man sniper teams from allied countries, NATO and four branches of the U.S. armed forces participated in the 10th United States Army Special Operations Command International Sniper Competition at Fort Bragg, North Carolina from March 17-22, 2019.


Each team faced a myriad of challenges that tested their performance under physical and mental stress while racing against a time limit of as little as four to eight minutes per event. Competitors received no instructions until just moments before competing in scenarios designed to replicate unexpected, but potential battlefield conditions.

“The way we run this is completely different,” said Master Sgt. Josh, a Special Forces Sniper Course instructor. “The competitors show up to each event with only their briefing book. They are completely blind. They don’t get the opportunity to talk to anybody, listen to anything or see the stages before shooting.”

While 21 teams brought their experience, skills and weapons to the competition, they learned quickly that victory could boil down to simple fundamentals.

“You have the super precision side of your skill set, but basics will come into play at some point in the next five days,” said U.S. Army Col. Michael Kornburger, Commander of the 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) that hosted the event, during the competition orientation brief.

The competition kicked off with a night live-fire exercise on the installation’s Range 37. This range, a 130- acre, 360-degree course and the epicenter of the competition, was developed specifically to train special operations forces for urban warfare techniques and to hone marksmanship skills. There, the teams engaged targets with their rifles and pistols with the aid of night vision devices. The limited visibility and reliance on noise discipline made the first event all the more challenging.

Throughout the entire competition, the pace never slowed as the administrators forced a very rigorous and precise schedule. Competition designers pushed participants to their mental limits with events that required teams to find an enemy target in a crowd at long range or to abandon their own weapons and take up a fallen sniper team’s rifle, scope and data on previous engagements card. Physically demanding events stressed their ability to fire with precision, such as engaging targets while running through a grueling obstacle course or with one hand cuffed to their back.

“The core tasks of everything revolves around real-world application,” emphasized Josh.

Many events required more than sniper mastery. Competitors used carbines and pistols as well, switching from one weapon system to the other as they navigated through obstacles.

“The reason we added that in there is as a lead component for level one snipers; you should be able to shoot all your weapons effectively,” Josh said. “It’s easy to get down and practice behind your favorite rifle or gun, but you have got to pick them all up.”

On the final day of the competition, the snipers donned ghillie suits and participated in a “stalk” event. This event required teams to sneak up to a target across hundreds of meters of terrain without being detected by administrators actively searching for them, all again under the stress of a ticking clock.

Since its initiation in 2009, the international competition has served to strengthen partnerships amongst allied military participants.

“These guys could very well see each other on a not too distant battlefield somewhere down the road,” said U.S. Army Maj. William Cunningham, the commander for Range 37. “That camaraderie of getting together with the guys that do the same stuff for the same cause, albeit they’re from different countries, is another great part of this competition.”

This year’s winners were:

1st place: USASOC

2nd place: USASOC

3rd place: Marine Corps Scout Sniper

By SGT Michelle U. Blesam

11 Responses to “USASOC Sniper Competition Wrap Up”

  1. Airborne_Fister says:

    So is USASOC like delta? I know I should be able to answer this question on my own. But do they have multiple delta teams? Kinda like there is multiple different SEAL team 6 (by different I mean they are like another platoon not different unit!)

    • Ed says:

      AF, Each branch of service has it’s own Special Operations Command (SOC).

      US Army is USASOC

      US Air Force is USAFSOC

      US Navy is NAVSOC also known by Naval Special Warfare Command (WARCOM)

      US Marine Corp is MARSOC

      Under each branches SOC is how they delineate into either Groups, Squadrons, Teams etc…

      For more info:

      I know it’s wikipedia but it’s fairly accurate.

    • Micro says:

      I don’t expect to see such a comment on SSD. Dude, please head over to Wikipedia or Google to find out the force structure of DEVGRU, Delta and USASOC, or more about the US military in general.

      And to answer your question, USASOC probably refers to Delta or 1st Special Warfare Training Group(Airborne), a training unit within USASOC.

      • Ed says:

        Bro, is Micro short for Micro-aggression? did Airborne_Fister insult you in some way?

        Way to go, setting the example to the outside crowd that they are inferior. You should be proud.

        • Micro says:

          I didn’t mean to insult him. But since this is SSD so I thought that question was really weird, and could be solved by a easily Google search. How can there be only one sniper pair in Delta, or any other M/LE unit anyway?

          • Ed says:

            Not really sure what you mean by “…but since this is SSD”? From an outsiders perspective no question is weird or misplaced. My apologies thinking you were putting A_F down. I have seen way to much computer induced testosterone on here. Even snarky Bro’s who just drop one line quips then pop-smoke when you ask for clarity. Myself on the other hand, I always want to educate and pass on the knowledge just like those who came before me taught us how be leaders.

            • Micro says:

              My fault here. I should not say that. Since I am I foreigne amateur I had always considered SSD as a website with most of its readers being professionals within this industry.

              • Ed says:

                No Worries mate! There are a lot of professionals on here and also people who are just very interested in modern military cool-guy stuff. I am both, have a great rest of your week.

    • AbnMedOps says:

      Gentlemen, I applaud how this thread was concluded with fresh air and sunshine.

  2. Jon, OPT says:

    The competition existed prior to 2009, but there were a few years it stopped being held, it has now been ran consistently since then. I competed in December 2005.