While artillery strikes are still the most popular way to handle entrenched militants, there are situations that require more subtlety. Air strikes and heavy guns tend to produce collateral damage. When you need something a bit more surgical, a sniper may be the answer. And an SAS sniper has logged a kill from a mile and a half away.
The shot was made with a CheyTac M200. These purpose-built rifles are manufactured in South Carolina, and are meant for long-range accuracy. The guns are built around somewhat obscure, but highly effective proprietary .375 or .408 ammunition.
From 1.5 miles out, the shot would take more than 3 seconds to reach the target, but still hits with enough energy to kill effectively. The incident happened two weeks ago in the Iraqi city of Mosul. The ISIS fighter was leaving a building.
The CheyTac M200 is notorious for its effectiveness and its price-tag. The guns start at $11,700. While that may seem steep, it is well worth it to troops that can stay more than a mile away from their targets. With some optics, the CheyTac is capable of accurately figuring distance, humidity and wind speeds–all factors that affect shot placement.
The Daily Mail quoted a source that said, “It was a classic counter-sniper operation. The ISIS gunman was moving all the time to get into the best position to get a kill.”
“It was like a game of cat-and-mouse and at one point the SAS almost gave up, believing that the terrorist had gone to ground. Just as the light was beginning to fade the gunman moved into what he thought was a safe location and lifted his rifle up into his shoulder before the SAS shot him dead.”
The shot was high, but hit the ISIS sniper in the neck, killing him instantly.
The ISIS fighter was carrying a Russian Dragunov. The Cold War era guns have been in circulation for half a century. While effective at limited ranges, they lack the long-range stopping power of most allied sniper rifles.
The sniper would pop up to shoot, then effectively hide for long periods of time. At that distance, the bullet would still be traveling faster than the sound of the shot, so he never heard it coming.