There are few things scarier in this world than knowing a sniper is stalking you. But for one ISIS insurgent in Iraq, he didn’t have a clue that his life would end 10 seconds after a soldier pulled the trigger on his rifle for what is now the longest confirmed sniper kill shot in history.
And that’s because it’s hard to know you’re about to die when the shot comes from over two miles away.
According to the Canada’s Globe and Mail, a Canadian Armed Forces sniper absolutely shattered the world record with his 3,871-yard shot from a McMillan Tac-50 rifle (rifle model pictured below). That’s about 2.2 miles or the length of over 300 football fields..
The previous record was held by British sniper Craig Harrison, who killed a Taliban gunner in Afghanistan in 2009 at a distance of 2,707 yards, according to USA Today. Other records in the top ten are held by a mixture of Americans, Canadians, Brits, and one South African. U.S. Navy Seal Chris Kyle, the subject of the “American Sniper” autobiography and movie, is among them with his 2,100-yard shot in 2008.
For the new Canadian record holder to make the shot he made, he, like others, would have had to make a careful calculation of wind speed and direction, the height difference between the sniper and target, the arc of the bullet in flight, and even the curvature of the earth. In other words, you have to be really good at math.
Snipers often rely on spotters to help them gauge their shots. Spotters help look for tell-tale signs of wind direction and speed based off the movement of flags, smoke, and dust in the air. When a sniper looks at their target through their scope and prepares to pull the trigger, they’re often aimed above and/or to the side of their target to account for the path of the bullet during extremely long-distance shots.
By why risk missing a far-away target with a bullet when you can just drop a bomb on them?
According to a Canadian military source, “The [recent] shot in question actually disrupted a Daesh [Islamic State] attack on Iraqi security forces. 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.”
Since 2014, the Canadian military has aided in the fight against ISIS.