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Discussion Starter #1
I have two quesitons and I want to avoid speculative answers. If you are a genuine military/law enforcement sniper, or have gotten your opinions from one, please respond! Question 1. What is the most reliable and most common tool for range estimation among snipers? Is it not true that lazer rangefinders can be detected and give away your position? Question 2. Are military snipers vulnerable to detection by infrared devices which spot body heat? If so, what measures do snipers use to defeat such devices?
 

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i cant answer the second part of the first one. I do know they laser rangefinders can be spotter, i do not however know how. I know alot of guys (and this might be because many of the snipers i know and love are from the previous wars) use the mil-dot system almost exclusively. They just got so used to shooting it that they never used anything else.

The Second question, various gov't are working on various suits to help squash heat signatures, lining their suits with everything from kydex to neoprene to running water tubes through them. The drawback from these suits is of course weight when added to a ghillie and other provisions.

I would think mel,mlammers,jeffvn,and mabye topo would be the ones to answer this question more thoroughly, as my information is spotty at best.
 

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I dont know on the heat signature issue, other than the choppers used in my area with FLIR do detect many perps hiding in vegitation. On the ranging issue, I used laser at school, and in scenario training it worked well. Detection would not be hard , a police speed laser is a ranging laser with a computer to calculate closing speed. Only tough part is to detect it before I range you. The beam has to hit on the detector to set one off, to the best of my knowledge from speed laser training. The beam is very narrow which makes detection difficult. Mine(speed)is about 30 ft wide at 4000 ft.

Detection is not as life or death for LE as Military, we are often less than 50-100 yards out. We often may not get time to even set up much of a hide. I may be on patrol when a call comes in, resulting in me gearing up right near the scene, changing clothes in a van if there is time to do so. Many LE guys wear black, or just basic camo, as the terrain is so varied in a city. Best case we get a house or building across from or near the scene to set up in.

Hope this helps, I am fairly new at this for what it is worth.
 

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Question One:
I believe you are referencing the fact that some NOD's can see the actual laser from LRF's. There is the possibility, especially at night (when NOD's are used). When operating at night, care should be taken.

Question Two:
Thermal from ground based units can easily be defeated by putting a big terrain feature between you and the target. At 600 meters, a well concealed man in the prone position provides a very hard to detect target. Airborne thermal provides a much more significant threat. One thing to do to help conceal if you are in a more permanent hide is to line your hide with a space blanket. (can pose heat problems in hot environs, but then again, your thermal image is better masked in hot environments where ambient temps can exceed your body temp). It does make our job harder, but its doable

MEL
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Spade, mlammers, Mele

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience! I sounds as though detection by thermal imaging has not been a large problem for U.S. troops because we are primarily the ones with the thermal imaging capabilities. Could become a problem in the future though? As to the lazer rangefinders detection, sounds like it would be less of a problem for LE in a situation where it is one on one and ranging and firing could take place before an opponent could respond to being ranged. In a context of engaging multiple targets it would seem to be a greater threat because it would seem a sniper armed with a bolt action rifle may not be able to elimate very many opponents before being detected and fired upon. If you would please, Mele, I would like to hear from you on the question, what is the most common tool for range estimation among current military snipers? Again thanks for your time and for sharing your experience.
 

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Sure, I'll respond.

The best way for Range E is laser range finder and is the preferred way. More and more sniper teams in the line units are getting them. (if they all don't already have them). That being said, the way a LRF is most effectively used is when a team gets into their FFP (hide) and draws a range card. They use the LRF to range preexisting objects on the range card. The intersection, the building, the bomb crater, etc. Then their use of the LRF is generally done. When a enemy soldier appears, they generally will have a reference point. "Subject, 15 meters to the left of the bomb crater, range 5+3, left 3." "Roger, identified"... click click click. "uuuuuuuugggggghhhhhhh"... "send it". **Crack**.

Now, if the mission entails an unplanned engagement (over watch, or "sniper up", etc) when you do not have a filled out range card, then either a quick mil-dot calculation or LRF is done to engage the target. Either way, the LRF shoots for about a second. Thats it. Its not like the laser is continuously on, and if you so happen to have the right kind of NOD's to detect and see the laser, you MUST be looking for it in the proper conditions and looking in the proper location just to see the quick blip. So far, LRF detection has not been a concern. That "may" change, but so will the LRF's. Remember, LRF's are used on tanks and many other things without worry of detection.

MEL
 

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Regarding Thermal:

- Dead Ground is Dead Ground. If the device cannot see you it cannot see you irregardless if it is Thermal or not, unless the berm or whatnot you're behind happens to be pretty thin.
 

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Another significant issue with Laser rangefinders is that when using it, you maybe be hitting a leaf 50-100 meters early without noticing it. More of a military issue than an LE one.
 
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