Sniper competition teaches real-life combat skills, techniques


FT. INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. (WHTM) — It may have been a day of competition but for several dozen National Guardsmen, it was a Friday of sniper drills that will also have real-life impact.

“We have the ability to shoot targets from 10 meters to 1000 meters here,” said Sgt. First Class Luke Heim, who was a sniper during the Iraqi invasion.

Heim helped to organize the Pennsylvania National Guard PA State Sniper Match, which is designed to promote sniper team training across the commonwealth.

“Bring them here, take them out of their comfort zone, show them things that they are maybe not training on,” Heim said.

Teams of two were timed as they maneuvered different scenarios, shooting moving targets, perching up on high platforms – all in a chance to hone combat skills, and practice new techniques.

“We don’t know how far the target is, and we need to hit that target with only a certain amount of shots in a certain amount of time,” Jared Briggs said, adding it’s more than just point and shoot. “It’s just constantly learning, the equipment is always changing, the scenario is always changing where we need to employ these weapons.”

Marksmen can network as they compete, and take new ideas with them from fellow competitors.

“To see where they’re at, to judge how they’re doing against other snipers that they don’t regularly see,” Heim said.

The battle-focused competition even brought old friends together.

“There’s a guy over there right now I went to Iraq with in ’05 and I don’t see him ever, so just seeing him again…telling old stories again, it’s awesome,” Briggs said.

The overall winners of the match-up will represent Pennsylvania at the Winston P. Wilson Sniper Championship at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas in April 2020.

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