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Twentynine Palms

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

Twentynine Palms, California
Elite snipers on target aboard the Combat Center

By Lance Cpl. Isaac Cantrell | Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms | April 30, 2018

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The Marksmanship Training Unit hosted a sniper training course aboard the installation from April 24 to April 27, 2018.

The course was held to advance participants’ skills in marksmanship techniques for combat scenarios. Federal agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sheriffs from Williamson County and Riverside County, Marines from 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment and 1st Marine Regiment Surveillance Target Acquisition Company all partook in the course.

According to Chief Warrant Officer 3 Michael Skinta, gunner, MTU, the participants shot on ranges varying from 100 to 1000 yards and shot at moving robotic targets to simulate the speeds and directions at which individuals would move in combat situations.

“The purpose of running sniper packages is to make each shooter faster and more lethal on his first round of engagement and increase their survivability on the battlefield,” Skinta said.

The course of fire during this training iteration was designed to increase the lethality of each shooter through conducting diverse drills. The shooters took part in a variety of drills throughout the four day course, starting with the basic FBI sniper qualification. This tests the shooter’s ability to conduct a cold bore shot, which impacts their target in the desired area the first time the shooter fires.

“This is extremely important for law enforcement,” Skinta said. “If they pull the trigger, they need to hit what they are aiming at on the first shot."

The shooters also partook in color dot drills which helps them improve their speed. In addition, participants performed various drills in multiple shooting positions behind different barriers. According to Skinta, this tests shooter’s skills in alternate shooting positions and puts a little competition into the shooting, which normally pushes the shooters to perform a little better.

“We are scoring every shot so they can see where they came in at and where they are when they leave,” Skinta said. “Hopefully at the end of the four days they will all leave faster and more accurate and have a little more appreciation for the Hi-Desert.”
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