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Engagement of Moving Targets

Engaging moving targets not only requires the Sniper to determine the target distance and wind effects on the round, but he must also consider the lateral and speed angle of the target, the round's time of flight, and the placement of a proper lead to compensate for both. These added variables increase the chance of a miss. Therefore, the Sniper should engage moving targets when it is the only option.

Techniques To engage moving targets, the Sniper employs the following techniques:

1) Leading- Engaging moving targets requires the Sniper to place the cross hairs ahead of the target's movement. The distance the cross hairs are placed in front of the target's movement is called a lead. There are four factors in determining leads:

a) Speed of the target - As a target moves faster, it will move a greater distance during the bullet's flight. Therefore, the lead increases as the target's speed increases.

b) Angle of movement - A target moving perpendicular to the bullet's flight path moves a greater lateral distance than a target moving at an angle away from or toward the bullet's path. Therefore, a target moving at a 45 degree angle covers less ground than a target moving at a 90 degree angle.

c) Range to target - The farther away a target is, the longer it takes for the bullet to reach it. Therefore, the lead must be increased as the distance to the target increases.

d) Wind effects - The Sniper must consider how the wind will affect the trajectory of the round. A wind blowing against the target's direction of movement requires less of a lead than a wind blowing in the same direction as the target's movement.

2) Tracking- Tracking requires the Sniper to establish an aiming point ahead of the target's movement and to maintain it as the weapon is fired. This requires the weapon and body position to be moved while following the target and firing.

3) Trapping or Ambushing - Trapping or ambushing is the Sniper's preferred method of engaging moving targets. The Sniper must establish an aiming point ahead of the target and pull the trigger when the target reaches it. This method allows the Sniper's body to remain motionless. With practice, a Sniper can determine exact leads and aiming points using the horizontal stadia lines in the mil dots in the M3A.

4) Firing a snap shot - A Sniper uses this technique to engage a target that only presents itself briefly, then resumes cover. Once he establishes a pattern, he can aim in the vicinity of the targets expected appearance and fire a snap shot at the moment of exposure.


Time of flight ( in seconds ) x target speed ( in feet per seconds / fps ) = lead ( in feet )

then take lead ( in feet ) x .3048 = meters

next meters x 1000 = mil. lead

divided by range

Time of flight

100m = .1 sec / 200m = ..2 / 300m = .4 / 500m = .7 / 600m = .9 / 700m = 1.0 / 800m = 1.3 / 900m = 1.5 / 1000m = 1.8

Target speed

slow patrol = 1fps / fast patrol = 2fps / slow walk = 4fps / fast walk = 6fps / run = 11fps

It's much better to wait and engage your target when he pauses momentarily rather than attempt a moving target shot. But a moving target may be the only shot you've got.      All the data published in the Above Table reflects a target moving 90 degrees to the path of your bullet, that is, moving directly right or left, which is FULL VALUE. Should the target move oblique right or left, whether toward or away from you, use ONE HALF the value since in relative terms he's crossing your front at half the speed. And when he's heading directly toward you or away from you, there's NO VALUE and no movement compensation or leads at all. Aim dead-on.




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