TX2Guns: Urban Guerilla Sniping v3.0

TX2Guns: Urban Guerilla Sniping v3.0

From The Tactical Hermit archives, 2014. -NCS

“History is nothing else than a long succession of useless cruelties.” (Voltaire)


When you look at the situation in Syria, you see the logic in Voltaire’s prose. I suppose it is the hopeless romantic in me that wishes for a world that is not filled with asshole tyrants and despots that take advantage of the less fortunate; cowards that give “kill” orders daily, slaughtering civilians in the street like cattle. But since “hoping” for something is akin to pissing in the wind and wondering why you are getting wet, I take comfort in the fact that history is also replete with examples of men and women who stand up to tyrants. People that take action and arms against their aggressors. People who are tired of words and useless diplomacy and choose to fight “fire with fire”. Who are these people? You might recognize them, they are just like you and me; “Average Joe” Civilian Operators. who want a better life for themselves and their families and are willing to fight and die for it if necessary. After all aren’t heroes just ordinary folks put in extraordinary situations?

Guerilla Warfare and it’s practical applications should be something the CO studies on a daily basis, and right now, halfway across the world in Aleppo, Syria, there is a virtual “Urban Guerilla” school going on, everyday, 24 hours, around the clock. Now this school has been held in different locales over the years: Northern Ireland, Chechnya, the Philipines; the situation always the same; A vastly under-manned, under-equipped civilian/para-military force, fighting a militarily superior army, hitting them on their own terms using IED’s, hit and run ambushes and (Urban) Guerilla Sniping, attempting to win by attrition, constantly harassing, constantly prodding the enemy, until the war is won.

Before we continue, we need to clarify something. Guerilla Sniping is one of those “tactical misnomers” in my opinion, only because anytime you say the word “Sniper” immediately people think of Marky-Mark Wahlberg in the opening scene of Shooter making these 800 to 1,000 yard shots with his trusty Barrett and his ghille-suit on, with his spotter at his side calling the shots… ..nothing could be further from the truth! (Although that was an entertaining movie taken from the novels of Stephen Hunter).

In John West’ superb book Fry the Brain: The Art of Urban Sniping and it’s role in Modern Guerilla Warfare, West states that “Urban Guerilla sniping is a drastic departure from the traditional concepts of sniping”. He goes on to lay out several reasons for this, the most prominent being the “Long Range Myth”. Where most would think the sniper’s role of taking extremely long shots, the Guerilla Sniper turns that paradigm on it’s head. Citing historical examples from Chechnya and Iraq, where ranges of 50 to 200 meters were the norm, 200 yards even being at the far end of the scale.

Another key element of Guerilla Sniping is the dependence on Guerilla Tactics NOT  Elite Hardware or training to get the job done. West states “To connect the dots of the urban sniper one must first realize it is the guerilla’s unconventional tactics that make them effective, not their exceptional shooting ability.”

Check out this superb little video of Urban-Guerilla Sniping in Aleppo, Syria.

There are several things of note we can take away from this video:

1. Note the spot welded scope rails onto the dust covers of the SKS’ and AK’s to hold zero; yeah not the greatest ideal in the world, but the Guerilla has to work with the materials he has available; the book Guerilla Gunsmithing  is a decent primer on the subject.

2. The weapons are a mixed bag, but all of them make superb guerilla sniper weapons. Remember, we are not talking 1,000 yd yard shots here. Example:  With a steady rest, could you shoot a cantaloupe at 100 yds with your AK with open sights or even a 3x red dot? Guerilla Sniping is “out of the box” that is why the word “Guerilla” is often associated with the terms “Un-Conventional” or “Irregular”.

3. The optics are a mixed bag, note that the higher magnification optics are saved for the larger caliber G3 clones and FAL’s, while the smaller 3x ACOG knockoffs remain on the AK and SKS’s.

4. The snipers employ traditional urban-guerilla tactics to avoid detection and confuse the enemy including:

  • “Position Overload”:  Firing from an area with many potential firing positions; a building for instance with 14 open windows or “loopholes”.
  • “Splitting the Seams” Using the urban terrain to your advantage and firing from a position where the enemy cannot backtrack your firing azimuth; an example would be firing from a building that is adjacent too, or next to another building.
  • Loophole or Keyhole ShotsLoophole shooting is firing from a very small hole in the wall, either cut by the sniper or a natural deformity, like a hole from an artillery blast. Keyhole shooting is where you fire through a loophole from deep in the room, hiding your muzzle flash and suppressing/masking your sound signature. Some snipers in Chechnya for example would fire from deep in the structure, down a long hallway and through an open door or window.
  •  Multiple Shooters: Self-Explanatory tactic where several snipers are operating in the same area sometimes targeting the same or multiple objectives. If communication can be synchronized, snipers in different locations can fire in unison at different targets, confusing the enemy even more.

So, when you lay your head down tonight, thank God for what you have and say a little prayer for the FSA and the Snipers in Aleppo, asking that their AIM be TRUE, and their enemies stay STILL!!!

Study up, Train Hard and Stay Dangerous!

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About The Author

NC Scout

NC Scout is the nom de guerre of a former Infantry Scout and Sergeant in one of the Army’s best Reconnaissance Units. He has combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He teaches a series of courses focusing on small unit skills rarely if ever taught anywhere else in the prepping and survival field, including his RTO Course which focuses on small unit communications. In his free time he is an avid hunter, bushcrafter, writer, long range shooter, prepper, amateur radio operator and Libertarian activist. He can be contacted at [email protected] or via his blog at brushbeater.wordpress.com .


    • NC Scout

      Excellent find!

  1. John

    Random thoughts: Is there any distinction between an urban sniper and an assassin or hitman?

    The article was good in that it directs the reader to a source of more material and tells them where to get it.

    I just read NC Scouts 2019 article about camouflage for one’s rifle and I’m thinking he should write a follow-up and discuss concealing a weapon in an urban environment.

    I’d like to see a few articles on ways to suppress a firearm in an urban environment.

    • NC Scout

      “distinction between an urban sniper and an assassin or hitman”

      Yes. One does it for money, the other does it for love of their people.

      That’s an awesome idea for a follow up. Many thanks!

  2. Goose

    Found out today that when you suspect plates you need to go to a triple tap. Ceramic plates will fracture for green tips on the third strike (yes, that makes an out). Otherwise aim at the pelvic girdle one down three to drag away. Do not hang around, scoot after each love tap and find a new spot. A red dot will let you tap a mellon at two hundred yards so longer distances are unnecessary except for the been there done that crowd.

  3. Just a Dude

    Most excellent post up on what may the “new normal,” here in CONUS…

    I look to the IRA’s use of sniper teams to bog down the Brits to great effect…

    Fry the Brain gives a good write up on their TTP’s…

    All done w less than 1k rifles and men..

    Dorner? Dorner?

    From Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Armagh_Sniper_(1990%E2%80%931997)

    “The IRA sniping activities further restricted the freedom of movement of the British Army in South Armagh by hindering their patrols. The MoD issued a new type of body armour, which was both expensive (£4,000) and too heavy (14.5 kg or 32 lbs) for use on patrol.[70] The morale of the troops was so low that some servicemen had to be disciplined for remaining in shelter while under orders to check vehicles.”

    “The IRA strategy also diverted a large amount of British security resources from routine operations to tackle the threat.[72] Until the 1994 ceasefire, even the SAS was unable to prevent the attacks.”

    “The campaign is viewed as the most efficient overall IRA operation in Northern Ireland for this period.”

    For me, the money quote:

    “A Highway Code-style sign saying “SNIPER AT WORK” was mounted by the IRA near Crossmaglen and became an icon of the republican cause. Following the Good Friday Agreement, the “at work” caption inscribed on the sign has intermittently been covered with slogans such as “on hold,” “job seeking,” and variations thereof.”

    Imagine if these signs starting popping up in various locales….

  4. Matt Bracken

    Here is a direct YouTube link to the 2013 Vice documentary.
    Ground Zero: Syria (Part 7) – Snipers of Aleppo

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