Marksmen, snipers, death from afar, they’re the kind of guys you don’t want calling your number on the battlefield because a lot of them can swing the momentum of a fight with just a few well-placed rounds. Plus, with the best of them, you typically won’t see where they’re shooting from until it’s too late. If you happen to see a sniper drawing a bead on you then chances are that’s one of the last two seconds you have to live. In the films the role of the sniper has been given quite the facelift at times, but as experts and veterans have chimed in on films and their accuracy throughout the years, the roles have become a lot more believable.
Put into simple terms, unless you’re a sniper, it’s likely that you’re just another target.
Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Beckett – Sniper
One shot, one kill. In a sniper’s world you do or you don’t. If you don’t you’d better have an escape plan because chances are you won’t get another shot. One downfall to being a specialized soldier is that you’re expected to do your job and do it well, otherwise the plan can go sideways in a hurry. If that happens, then snipers stand a very real chance of exposure with each additional shot they take.
Anthony Swofford – Jarhead
Being a sniper is not just about shooting one’s target from a distance. It’s about blending into the scenery, becoming a part of the environment, and fooling the enemy into thinking you’re not there. In order to be a more effective killer the sniper must disappear while remaining right in front of the enemy. It’s not a glamorous or even action-packed job, but those that do it are without a doubt the best.
Pvt. Daniel Jackson – Saving Private Ryan
When working with a team the sniper is the eyes, the early warning system, and the cover that is needed to keep the enemies back. They are often the crackshot that can hit the enemy on the run and keep a wide berth around their allies to keep them safe. But this clip proves that for all their deadly accuracy that they are just as vulnerable when they’re found out. Despite their usefulness in battle, once they get in close they can be taken out like any other soldier.
Vassili – Enemy At The Gates
There are times when a sniper is just that good because he is that infernally patient. Snipers don’t always have a target wherever they set up. They must wait, and wait, and wait. Sometimes the wait takes hours, sometimes less, but that is part of the role is to sit and patiently wait for their target, who in this clip is another sniper, to appear. It becomes a chess match at this point as they attempt to gain the upper hand without tipping the other individual off. Eventually, one side will always lose.
Bob Lee Swagger – Shooter
Snipers aren’t just about shooting from a distance. Keep in mind that they’re trained as soldiers and so they are inherently deadly up close, perhaps even just as deadly. Ever corner a scared animal? They might be a little less dangerous than a sniper on the run. They know that once they’re cover is blown it’s fight or flight, and if they can’t do the latter then they’re more than trained to do the former. A sniper from a distance is absolutely deadly. A sniper with time to plan and nowhere to run is unpredictable and just as deadly.
Admittedly what isn’t shown in a lot of these films, aside from Jarhead, is that snipers don’t always have the most action-packed lives. They do a lot of waiting, a lot of on the spot calculations concerning their shots, and have to be intelligent, ruthless, and highly trained all the same time. It’s not an easy job, and it’s certainly not for everybody.