Table of contents:

10 sniper myths we believe in Hollywood movies
10 sniper myths we believe in Hollywood movies

It's time to finally figure out whether it is possible for three to light a cigarette from one match and whether the pro shooters are wearing diapers.

10 sniper myths we believe in Hollywood movies
10 sniper myths we believe in Hollywood movies

1. You need to aim at the head

Snipers aim at the body, not the head
Snipers aim at the body, not the head

In all films and computer games, snipers always strive to stuff the head of their victim with lead. One well-aimed shot - and a man standing at least half a kilometer from the shooter falls, struck directly in the brain.

However, in reality, no sniper will aim at the head. The reason is simple: it is easier to get into the body.

It is much more difficult to put a bullet in the head because this target is smaller than the torso. In addition, people tend to twist and shake their heads. Therefore, long-range shooters aim at the chest or stomach.

Only police snipers are purposefully shooting in the head when they need to eliminate a criminal who has taken a hostage without harming the latter. But the maximum range at which they fire is 200 meters, no more.

2. Bullet holes are small and neat

Shot from the movie "Jason Bourne"
Shot from the movie "Jason Bourne"

The myth of snipers who desperately need to get in the head is linked to another misconception: the surgical accuracy of sniper rifles. In the movies, a well-aimed shooter makes a small, neat hole in the opponent's skull, and he falls to the floor like a picture.

If the bullet flies somewhere else, bodyguards will surround the victim, take him out of the fire and patch up - and that's okay. And if the character is wearing a bulletproof vest, then he is almost invulnerable at all.

But in reality … You wouldn't want to see what a sniper rifle bullet does to a human body, believe me. The fact is that she has tremendous energy, which allows her to fly over impressive distances. Consider, for example, the effect of firing a.50 army barrel on a bar of ballistic gel.

Such a gun will sew through any body armor, making a huge hole in it. And also - a large exit hole if it goes right through.

That is why it is not necessary for military snipers to aim at the head - it is enough to hit at least somewhere, and the enemy will be very, very bad.

3. Ballistic wave from a bullet can kill

There is another myth, the opposite of the previous misconception about the "pinpoint accuracy" of sniper charges. Allegedly, a bullet from a large-caliber rifle is so lethal and powerful that it can hit a target without even touching it. It is enough for a charge to only touch a person with a ballistic shock wave, flying past, in order to inflict injuries incompatible with life.

In fact, this is nonsense, which was debunked by the Mythbusters using the ArmaLite AR-50 large-caliber sniper rifle. The bullet does create a small shockwave during flight, but it is not enough to even move the wine glass. So if a sniper shoots a bullet off target, it won't harm it.

In this video, American weapons geek Matt Carricker, host of YouTube channel DemolitionRanch, tries to hit a drone with a ballistic wave from a 50 caliber bullet. And as expected, nothing comes of it.

4. Snipers work alone

Snipers rarely work alone
Snipers rarely work alone

Contrary to popular misconception, a sniper is not a lone wolf walking on its own. In modern troops of different countries, the shooters work at least together, there is even such a term - "sniper pair". And sometimes even three of us.

An additional fighter in a pair is equipped not with a sniper, but with an automatic weapon for combat at short distances. It protects the shooter while he fires at distant targets. So that it does not happen that the sniper lies with a rifle and stares intently at the sight, and an enemy soldier accidentally comes out at him from behind, who went into the bushes on his business and got lost.

In addition, the sniper's partner serves as a spotter and gunner. He tells you what kind of wind, what is the humidity and temperature and what is interesting is going on in the camp of the enemy.

From time to time, the sniper and his assistant can change, and the first becomes a spotter, and the second shoots. This is done to avoid eye strain.

The shooters also walk in pairs because it is very problematic to carry a particularly heavy and armor-piercing gun like the Barrett M82 alone: it can weigh up to 14.8 kg. Therefore, the unit is transferred disassembled: half of the spare parts for the shooter, half for his assistant.

Often snipers operate in groups of 4-8 people. These include a spotter specialist who also marks the sniper's position using GPS, a radio operator receiving instructions from headquarters, and several auxiliary soldiers. The latter, frankly speaking, protect all these clever people from all sorts of troubles.

5. And wear diapers

In the public mind, snipers are superhumans who are capable of lying motionless for hours or even days and not making a sound. They watch the target without blinking, waiting for a chance for a single successful shot. And even sweating can be controlled.

What if they want to use the toilet? This is where diapers come in handy! At least that's how it is considered.

Here is the answer of the American sniper Kyle Hinchleaf, who was once asked by the Observation Post whether the shooters wear diapers.

They ask me about this all the time … No, it doesn't come to that. I can assure you that I personally never peed in my pants on a mission. Times have changed, now the shooters do not so often have to lie on the ground in ambush, without moving. Then no.

Kyle Hinchleaf U. S. National Guard Sniper

In general, before taking on the rifle, do whatever it takes.

6. When three people light from one match, the sniper always kills the last one

An extremely popular soldier's superstition. It is believed that while the first soldier lights a cigarette, the sniper detects the light in the dark. When the match is passed to the second, the shooter aims. And when the third takes it in hand, a shot occurs. And the smoker gets a portion of lead instead of a dose of nicotine.

No wonder they say that smoking kills.

Some believe that the omen appeared in the First World War. Others say that the roots of superstition are rooted in the Boer War, which pioneered the use of Mauser long-range rifles.

However, this is actually nonsense 1.

2.. A soldier, if he is, of course, in his right mind, will not smoke in the area shot by a sniper. And a sniper is unlikely to shoot at any light flashing in the dark if he does not see the target itself.

In addition, it is not at all necessary that the third smoker will receive the bullet. If the shooter is able to fire a shot, he will kill the first one. If not, then five of us can light a cigarette at the same time.

Soldiers die not because of the number of matches spent on burning cigarettes, but because they leaned out of the shelter. There is no rational basis for this superstition.

In addition, modern rifles with night sights, thermal imagers and night vision devices can effectively destroy even non-smokers.

7. A sight is like a telescope, only a sight

In the movies, the sniper's job looks pretty straightforward. We aim the rifle at the target and see the victim in all details. We press on the descent - and watch how the enemy falls.

Hollywood scopes have a downright astronomical magnification.

In reality, of course, everything is a little more complicated 1.


3.. First, even the most modern sniper sights have a maximum magnification of 10–20 times. And especially sophisticated models with 80x magnification are much rarer, expensive and rarely useful. And to argue that you can see the hairs in the enemy's nose in them is too optimistic.

Look, for example, what a sniper sees in his scope when he really marks a person. Many details of the appearance of those guys you will consider?

Snipers may not always be able to aim through rifle optics
Snipers may not always be able to aim through rifle optics

And you will not see how the enemy hit by your bullet will collapse, because at the moment of the shot the weapon and the sight attached to it will shake robustly. So you will lose sight of the victim. And then go and guess whether the enemy was safely shot or lay in cover and is already causing an artillery strike on the position of the shooter. Therefore, the sniper needs a spotter to confirm the hits.

8. The task of the shooter is to aim the crosshair at the enemy

The fact that you have aimed the crosshair at a person does not mean that you will hit him. Because the gravity of the Earth, humidity and air temperature act on the bullet. And also the height above sea level, wind and a bunch of other factors play a role.

At especially long distances, even the Coriolis force, that is, the effect of the Earth's rotation, has to be taken into account. So Hollywood snipers, who catch a target in the crosshairs and instantly hit it, do not look very realistic.

Optical sight PSO-1 mounted on Dragunov sniper rifle
Optical sight PSO-1 mounted on Dragunov sniper rifle

By the way, in many films, the sniper squints while taking aim, pressing his eye almost close to the sight. This is not worth doing, because the optical device can knock it out on recoil. You need to keep the sight at a distance of 20-30 cm from your face.

In addition, it is not recommended to squint at the arrow. This puts unnecessary strain on the eyes, says Nick Irving, a US Army Ranger sniper. Therefore, they are taught to fire with both eyes open.

And snipers do not use laser designators, because they can easily unmask the shooter. Even invisible beams are visible in night vision devices, not to mention the bright red laser pointers that are shown in movies.

9. Snipers hit other snipers directly in the eye through the sight glass

A sniper duel in the minds of most people looks something like this. The two shooters try to provoke each other to fire a shot and reveal their location. When one sniper notices another, he calculates his position by the glare on the sight lenses. He shoots directly at their source, the bullet goes through the sight of the enemy sniper and hits him in the eye.

It looks cool, but in practice it is very unlikely.

The heroes of the Mythbusters show once checked whether it is possible to shoot through the head through a telescopic sight. It turned out that a bullet with a soft core could not penetrate its lenses and deviated from the flight path.

Another sniper enthusiast from Toronto tried to replicate their experiment with a better cartridge. The bullet partially pierced the lens, but missed the scope lens, leaving it intact. True, she would still have killed a person if he was holding a rifle.

In general, getting into the head of an enemy sniper straight through his sight is possible only under an incredible combination of circumstances. And not a single shooter in combat conditions will aim precisely at the lenses - he will aim at the enemy himself.

10. The sniper shoots silently and hits the first time

Snipers don't shoot silently
Snipers don't shoot silently

In Hollywood movies, snipers shoot only once, but they always hit the target. And if you missed, then you must immediately run away.

The sniper hits from afar, but always for sure? Not really.

The “One Shot, One Dead” rule is mostly a myth. The first shot rarely hits the enemy, especially if we are talking about shooting from a long distance. Usually, says sniper Kyle Hinchleaf, you have to adjust the shooting, and the enemy falls only the second time. You can hit targets from the first shot only with very, very good luck.

For example, a British sniper, Corporal Craig Harrison, killed two militants in Afghanistan in one go, and also damaged their machine gun from a record distance of 2,475 meters. To do this, he had to make as many as nine sighting shots.

And yes, even the quietest sniper rifles cannot fire silently. Of course, the silencer eliminates the muzzle flash and makes the shot invisible from a long distance, but it is quite audible near it. For example, a weapon boom from the Social Regressive channel demonstrates the volume of a rifle with a silencer, gradually increasing the distance.

It hardly looks like the "rustle of a fly's wings" that Hollywood stuffs us with. On the other hand, in a forest or city, the shot of a well-disguised sniper will indeed be inaudible to enemy soldiers - but not to himself.