Book Review
Out Of Nowhere
Osprey Publishing LTD Out Of Nowhere – A history if the military sniper, from the sharpshooter to Afghanistan
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]

The term sniper originated from the name of a bird, the Snipe, which was elusive and difficult for hunters to sneak up on and kill. A hidden sharpshooter needed to have the same ability as the Snipe to lay hidden and not be detected and therefore they became known as snipers. Since the invention of the firearm there have been individuals that have been experts in its use and they have been known as sharpshooters. Taking the marksmanship ability of the sharpshooter and training them in the art of stalking and hiding has led to the individual that is known worldwide as the sniper. A sniper is trained in acquiring and dispatching a target at a great distance. They are also trained in reconnaissance, infiltration, observation, camouflage and field craft. Their skills are equally effective and useful in wooded, desert, jungle, plains and urban type settings. Throughout history snipers have proven themselves to be a valuable asset in taking out key individuals and lowering the overall morale of their enemy. The sniper is an individual that will continue to be seen on the battlefield well into the future.

About the book

Osprey Publishing LTD book Out Of Nowhere – A history if the military sniper, from the sharpshooter to Afghanistan is a paperback book with 304 pages. Included with the text are color and black & white photographs with detailed captions. The book has an original copyright of 2004 by Trustees of the Royal Armories, Leeds, LS10 1LY. The revised paperback edition was published by Osprey Publishing Ltd. in 2011 and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-645-5.

The contents

- Acknowledgements
- Foreword
- 1. The Sniper in Perspective
- 2. The Rifleman Emerges, 1500 – 1854
- 3. The American Civil War & European Wars, 1854 – 1914
- 4. The First World War: the Watershed, 1914 – 16
- 5. The First World War: the Fight Back, 1916 – 18
- 6. Russian Sniping, 1936 – 45
- 7. The German Sniper & the War in Russia, 1941 – 45
- 8. The War Against Japan, 1941 – 45
- 9. The War in Western Europe, 1940 – 45
- 10. Limited Wars, 1945 – 85
- 11. Vietnam, America’s Nemesis
- 12. Into a New Millennium
- 13. 21st Century Sniping
- Glossary
- Notes
- Select Bibliography
- Index

The text

The book is well-written and contains many excellent details about sharpshooters, snipers, the art of sniping and the snipers weapons throughout the history since the introduction of the firearm. The book begins with the origins of the rifleman in the 1500s and ends with 21st century sniping. All aspects of sniping is covered and discussed such as the snipers themselves, their training, their weapons, the specific wars they were snipers in and the act of actually taking the shot. Included with the author’s text are quotes form individual snipers as well as excerpts from military manuals and personal diaries. Specific incidents are discussed and the reader is taken through the incident as to what was done, the settings placed on the snipers scope and the result and outcome of the shot once it was taken. There are several such stories throughout the book which takes the reader and places him next to the sniper or sniping team which helps give a perspective of these highly trained individuals and their effectiveness. The sniper rifle and the snipers scopes are discussed in great detail and cover their development, use and changes made to the weapons to make them more efficient killing tools. Also discussed are the various calibers of sniper weapons and their effectiveness and such details are the range of the rounds and the amount of drop and drift once they were fired. Due to the fact that the book covers sniping throughout history it definitely helps the reader to understand what has taken place with the sniper and how that has led to the modern snipers of today. The text portion of the book will be of little, if any, use to the military scale figure modeler however, the included photographs will help to fill that void. The military and weapons enthusiast and historian and the military scale figure modeler interested in sharpshooters and snipers and their weapons from the 1500s to present day will find this book very informative and interesting.

The photographs

There are a total of 31 black & white photographs and 22 color photographs in correct chronological order throughout the book. Majority of the photographs were new to me and I was glad to see this as there are times that the same overused images tend turn up when there is discussion, along with photographs, of snipers and their tools of the trade. Three of the photographs are of re-enactors dressed in the appropriate clothing of the period shown and carrying the correct weapon and equipment. Those photographs will be especially helpful for the military scale figure modeler due to the fact that there are no photographs from those periods of history.

The photographs included in the book are:

- An Arquebuser of the Tudor period.
- An irregular American militiaman of the Revolutionary Wars
- British Army muskets from 1670 to 1853
- The first sharpshooter of the British Army, a rifleman of the 95th Rifles, 1805
- A scoped .40 caliber percussion rifle with early Malcolm-type telescopic sight
- A dead Confederate sharpshooter at Gettysburg
- A group of Boer Kommandos
- A German sniper post, 1915
- A German NCO with a hunting rifle, WWI
- Vernon Hesketh-Prichard (He was key to helping establish British Sniper schools)
- A British sniper post, WWI
- A Galilean sight
- An SMLE with PP Company mount and Aldis scope
- A Gew.98 with an Oigee scope and rare 20 round magazine
- An Australian sniper, WWI
- A French sniper, WWI
- An Austrian sniper, WWI
- A French Mle.1886 Lebel rifle with APx. Mle1916 scope
- A British Rifle-Brigade officer instructing American snipers in the art of camouflage, WWI
- British snipers in a barn, WWI
- A German machine gun and sniper team, 1918
- Vasily Zaitsev with a Mosin-Nagant with a 4x PEM scope
- Simo Hayha with a Mosin-Nagant rifle
- Senior Sergeant Roza Shanina
- US Marine with a US Springfield rifle
- A US Marine with a 8x Unertl equipped Springfield rifle
- British sniper Sergeant Harry Furness with an Enfield No 4.Mk. 1(T) rifle with No 32 Mk. II scope
- A Canadian sniper with No 4(T) rifle
- A Japanese 7.7 MM Type 99 rifle with 4x scope
- A Waffen-SS sniperwith a Great War vintage Gew. 98 sniping rifle
- A German Army sniper with a high-turret scope mounted K98k rifle
- A Commonwealth sniper with a Pattern 1914 Mk1*W (T) rifle
- British snipers in the bocage country in northern France
- A US Marine in Korea with a pre-Second World War vintage M.1903 Springfield rifle with a Unertl scope
- Chi-Com sniper Zhang Taofang
- US Staff Sergeant John Boitnott with a Garand M1-D sniper rifle
- A US Marine 3 man sniper team in Vietnam with a Remington M700 rifle with a Redfield 3x9 scope
- US Army sniper Adelbert Waldron III with a XM21 sniping rifle
- Two US snipers armed with Sionics suppressed XM21 rifles fitted with AN/PVS night sights
- US Marine Chuck Mawhinney with a Remington M40-A1 rifle
- A sniper with a Vietnam era Starlight scope, mounted on a British L1A1 SLR rifle as used in the Falklands (this caption does not go with the supplied photograph. The photograph is of a US sniper, possibly a Marine armed with a Garand M1-D rifle)
- Modern sniping ammunition: .223 inch, .338 Lapua, .50 BMG and 20mm Vulcan rounds
- A US Marine Staff Sergeant of the 2nd Marine Logistics working on an M40-A3 rifle
- A Bosnian irregular with a camouflaged SVD or Eastern-Bloc variant
- A US soldier in Iraq with an AN/PVS10 8.5 x weapons sight mounted rifle
- A US Marine in Iraq with a captured which is possibly a WWI vintage Lee-Enfield rifle with a Russian PSO scope and an enormous home-made silencer
- An Iraqi armed with a sniper rifle
- A scout-sniper with a 7.62mm M110SASS rifle
- A Russian sniper with a SVD sniping rifle with synthetic furniture and an upgraded PSO-3 3-9x24 rangefinder scope
- A US soldier armed with a Mk14 Model O Enhanced Battle Rifle
- A Barrett M107 being test fired
- The 20mm Anzio Ironworks rifle

The captions

The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs well. They provide such detailed information as the type, model and caliber of the weapon shown, it’s country of origin, the time frame and other such specific details that are shown in the picture. I did find some mistakes such as misspellings. One caption read the “German Amy”, it should have read, the “German Army”. Another mistake was that one the captions read “a Vietnam-era Starlight scopemounted on a British L1A1 SLR rifle of the type used in the Falklands”. This caption does not go with the supplied photograph. The photograph is of a US sniper, possibly a Marine armed with a Garand M1-D rifle. Other than a few mistakes, the captions are still informative and helpful to the reader.


I am very impressed with the book. It examines sharpshooters and snipers and their weapons from the 1500s to present day very well. The book will not only be a useful reference for the military and weapons enthusiast and historian but also the military scale figure modeler as well. Osprey Publishing continues to release many great titles such as this one and I would have no hesitation to add more of their books to my personal library, nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.

This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.


Wikipedia entry on arquebus
Militia in the RevolutionaryWar
The 95th Rifles & Royal Horse Artillery, Battle Re-enactment & Living History Society
American Civil War
Federation of American Scientists (M-14)
Field Expedient Sniper Rifles used during the Bosnian Civil War
Sniper Central
Wikipedia entry on snipers

The German Sniper 1914-1945
Peter R. Senich
Paladin Press

U.S. Marine Corps Scout-Sniper
World War II and Korea
Peter R. Senich
Paladin Press
Highs: A very well written history of snipers throughout history. Detailed and useful photographs
Lows: Personally, I would have liked more photographs; misspellings and incorrect captions.
Verdict: A very nice reference book that's well researched and written and contains many interesting photographs and detailed captions. Also a nice addition to personal libraries of military and weapons enthusiasts as well as figure modelers.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-84908-645-5
  Suggested Retail: $14.95 US/£8.99 UK/$16.95
  PUBLISHED: Oct 11, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.


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