Book Review
Special Forces Sniper Skills
Special Forces Sniper Skills
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]


** The mobile sniper acts alone, moves about frequently, and covers a large but not necessarily fixed areas. He lay be used to infiltrate enemy lines and seek out and destroy mobile targets along enemy routes of supply and communication. It is essential that the mobile sniper hit his target with the first round fired. If the sniper is forced to fire several times, he discloses his position and also gives the enemy time to escape. Therefore, although the mobile sniper must be an expert shot at all ranges, he must be trained to stalk his target until he is close enough to insure that it will be eliminated with his first shot – US Sniping Manual, 1944 **

** Quoted from the back cover of the book.


This is a review of the Osprey Publishing LTD book Special Forces Sniper Skills by author Robert Stirling.

Osprey Publications Ltd has released Special Forces Sniper Skills by author Robert Stirlingas a hardcover book with 221 pages and a paper dust jacket. Included with the text are black and white and color photographs, black and white and color illustrations, informational and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-78096-003-6. As the title states, the book covers Special Forces Sniper Skills.


List of Images
Chapter 1 – The Evolution Of Precision Fire
Chapter 2 – The Long-Range Weapon
Chapter 3 – Taking A Shot
Chapter 4 – Field Craft
Chapter 5 – Sniper Tactics And Scenarios
Chapter 6 – Future Sniper Weapons


The book is well-written and contains many excellent details about sharpshooters, snipers, the art of sniping and the snipers weapons throughout history. 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. There are several personal accounts of snipers on both sides of the lines, friendly and foe. Some of the various militaries covers are the United States, Russia, Germany and Finland. 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 begins with sniping history, then on to techniques and finally covering several sniping weapons. 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 throughout history to present day will find this book very informative and interesting. As I read through the book I did see some errors in the print. I do not believe that this is from the author however I guess they could be or they could have been errors made when it was printed. A couple of the errors I found were run together words with the letter X between them such as “thextrigger” instead of “the trigger” and “axsmall” instead of “a small”. However even with the few mistakes in the text it takes nothing away from the narrative and it is still a fine volume to read.

Some of the areas covered in the text that I found interesting were:

• The history from the Boer War as to why it is considered bad luck to light three cigarettes with one match.
• World War II Russian sniper Vassili Zaitsev’s ‘top tips’ for sniping
• Responsibilities of United States Army sniping teams from the US Army manual.
• How to construct a Ghillie suitfrom the US Army manual.
• How to construct and the rules for occupying a hasty position.
• The history of how Russian soldier, Mikhail Kalashnikov, designed and developed the AK-47.
• Discussion of anti-pirate duties in the Somali waters.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.


There are a total of 17 black &white photographs and34 color photographs featured throughout the book. A 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.Several of the included photographs will be especially helpful for the military scale figure modeler

Some of the photographs included in the book are of:
• Early Jaeger flintlock rifles
• Boer snipers on Spion Kop
• Early optical rifle sights
• World War I British sniping team
• An Abyssinian sniper waiting to attack Italians
• World War II Soviet female snipers Bykova and Skrypnikova
• United States M3 active-infrared Sniperscope mounted on an M1 Carbine
• US recon team pulling a suspected Vietnamese sniper from a hole near Saigon
• British Army AWM (Arctic Warfare Magnum) L115A3 bolt-action sniper rifle
• Modern US Army sniping teams
• Members of the US Secret Service sniper unit
• A US soldier using his helmet in Afghanistan to attract sniper fire
• US soldier instructing an Iraqi soldier on the use of a Barrett M107 sniper rifle

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.


There are 2 black and white illustrations included in this volume.

The black and white illustrations are of the following:

• Comparison of 0.5, 1 and 3 MOA extreme spread levels against human torso at 800m (875yd) and a human head at 100m (109yd) (right).
• Components of a modern cartridge.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.


There are no maps included in this volume.


The captions are well written and explain the accompanying photographs and other images well. They go into detail discussing things such as the type, model and caliber of the weapon shown, it’s country of origin, the time frame specific individuals and their names, locations, dates and as with most captions; they detail the event shown in the photograph. I was very impressed by Robert Stirling’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions I have seen that are very brief and lack detail necessary to explain the accompanying photograph. As I read through the captions I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. The captions can be brief in some instances but still provide information as to what is shown in the photographs and other images.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.


I am very impressed with the book. It examines sharpshooters and snipers and their weapons throughout history 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.


Martin Pegler, “Out Of Nowhere – A history if the military sniper, from the sharpshooter to Afghanistan”, Osprey Publishing LTD

Ian V. Hogg, “World The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII”, Saturn Books Ltd.

R.L. Wilson, “Winchester An American Legend - The Official History of Winchester Firearms and Ammunition from 1849 to the Present”, Chartwell Books, Inc.

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

Peter R. Senich,”U.S. Marine Corps Scout-Sniper - World War II and Korea”, Paladin Press

George Markham, “Firearms of the German Forces, 1939-1945”, Arms and Armour Press

Anthony Robinson, Anthony Preston, Ian V. Hogg, edited By Anthony Robinson, “Weapons Of The Vietnam War”, Bison Books
Highs: A very well written history of snipers throughout history,detailed and useful photographs
Lows: Nothing to mention other than the few run-together words that I mentioned in the text portion of my review.
Verdict: This is a very nice reference book on Special Forces sniper skills that is well researched and written and contains many interesting photographs and well detailed captions.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-78096-003-6
  Suggested Retail: US $24.95
  PUBLISHED: Mar 11, 2013

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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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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