Mountainous Scout Sniper Course covers all angles



Mountainous Scout Sniper Course covers all angles

Submitted by: MCMWTC

Story by: Cpl. Regina Ortiz

MARINE CORPS MOUNTAIN WARFARE TRAINING CENTER BRIDGEPORT, Calif.(July 18, 2007) -- Some of a sniper’s best firing positions aren’t always on flat ground, straight on a target like the ranges they’re initially trained on, but acquiring the skills to adapt and overcome has been one of the Marine Corps’ legendary characteristics.

The Marine Corps’ Training and Education Command’s Mountainous Scout Sniper Course at the Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, Calif., trains snipers to engage targets from all angles and altitudes.

The 14-day two-part course takes place in the desert-like environment at Hawthorne Army Ammunition Depot, Nev., and at MWTC’s mountainous training areas, where snipers become qualified high-angle shooters and become familiar with basic mountain survival.

Although the course is instructed by Marines, any sniper, or equivalent from any U.S. or allied military branch, can attend and receive certification for the course, explained Staff Sgt. Keith Eggers, chief instructor, Mountainous Scout Sniper Course.

“This is an important course for any sniper to go through,” he said. “You don’t get to practice this type of shooting at any other sniper range and the majority of actual shots are at an angle, whether it’s from a mountain top or a building.”

The first part of the course, which covers high-angle shooting, immediate action and transition drills, and draw courses, is taught at Hawthorne.

Acquiring skills such as high-angle shooting, uphill and downhill shooting, requires a sniper to consider a variety of factors. Snipers learn a couple of math formulas and other tips to determine the windage and other adjustments needed to be made on their weapons for accurate shooting.

The math formulas taught in the course find the flat ground distance. Gravity affects only this element of a high-angle shot, explained Eggers.

Snipers must consider the elevation from where they are shooting to be accurate. At higher altitudes, the air is less dense and produces less drag, causing a higher impact on the target, according to the course’s lesson plan.

The snipers also practice transitioning from their primary weapon, the rifle, to their secondary weapon, the pistol. They also run through a series of draw courses, where they practice drawing their weapons at stationary targets, while patrolling in a mountainous environment.

To qualify for the high-angle portion of the course, snipers must shoot ten targets within the course’s specific point system with the farthest target near 1,000 yards, said Eggers.

The course is then moved to the training areas at MWTC, where they spend time learning basic mountain mobility, survival, man tracking and combine all their lessons for their final exercise.

“This is one of the only places in the Marine Corps that teach tactical man tracking,” said Eggers.

“At the final exercise, they will pull it all together; they’ll have one mission that requires them to move in the mountains, man track, with only two rounds to shoot one target at an angle with high altitude in a mountainous environment,” he added.

For more information, course dates and requirements log onto and

“This is one of the only places in the Marine Corps that teach tactical man tracking,” said Eggers.

A great course. Outside the basic Scout Sniper school, this was one the best I attended. They stressed that the Basic School is just that. The Basics. Here you learn some of the better advanced shit that every sniper needs to know.
For my man tracking training, we went and hung out with some Border Patrol dudes in NewMexico and they threw a bunch of scenarios at us.. It was pretty rad.