The Canadian Armed Forces confirmed yesterday that a sniper in Iraq established a new world record with a 3,540 meter kill shot. The shot happened sometime in the past month in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and was confirmed by multiple witnesses. For reference, 3,540 meters is a little over two miles. From the Globe and Mail:
“The Canadian Special Operations Command can confirm that a member of Joint Task Force 2 successfully hit a target at 3,540 metres,” the forces said in a statement. “For operational security reasons and to preserve the safety of our personnel and our Coalition partners we will not discuss precise details on when and how this incident took place.”
That’s one heck of a shot. Reportedly the bullet was in flight for roughly ten seconds. My physics skills are a little rusty (I may have skipped physics class a few times to go fishing), but I guestimate the bullet drop for a 10 second flight to be around 98 meters, or a little longer than a football field.
“The shot in question actually disrupted a Daesh [Islamic State] attack on Iraqi security forces,” said a military source. “Instead of dropping a bomb that could potentially kill civilians in the area, it is a very precise application of force and because it was so far way, the bad guys didn’t have a clue what was happening.”
At that range, the .50 cal bullet reached the target before the sound of the gunshot. The confusion, carnage, and outright terror of standing next to the target would be enough for anyone to give up and go home. At that point they have no idea where the shot came from, and no way to do anything about it if they did know.
“Hard data on this. It isn’t an opinion. It isn’t an approximation. There is a second location with eyes on with all the right equipment to capture exactly what the shot was,” another military source said. A military insider told The Globe: “This is an incredible feat. It is a world record that might never be equalled.”
Given all of the factors in play, it would take a miracle to beat such a record. Even if it’s a perfect shot, if the target individual moves at all over the course of 10 seconds, the round won’t hit the target. That doesn’t take into account bullet drop, wind, or a myriad of other factors.
“It is at the distance where you have to account not just for the ballistics of the round, which change over time and distance, you have to adjust for wind, and the wind would be swirling,” said a source with expertise in training Canadian special forces. “You have to adjust for him firing from a higher location downward and as the round drops you have to account for that. And from that distance you actually have to account for the curvature of the Earth.”
God bless the military, especially snipers.