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Government Snipers: Useless, at Best; Dangerous, at Worst?


March 1, 2017
BBC World News & The Straight Dope & Team Fortress.com

Do Secret Service snipers really offer protection for public officials? With scores of snipers on every rooftop, how does a "good" sniper identify a "bad" sniper? A well-trained sniper would take care not to be seen. The sniper's presence would not be known until after the first shots were fired. It would be hard to detect the source of fire in an urban setting. It would be hard for a "good" sniper to be able to detect a "bad" sniper once the target has fled, let alone catch an escaping shooter in his crosshairs.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39121997

French Police Sniper Shoots Two in Error at Hollande Speech
BBC World News



FRANCE (February 27, 2017) -- A French police sniper has accidentally shot and injured two people during a speech by President Francois Hollande in western France.

The shot was fired as the officer moved position on a roof about 100 meters (328 feet) from a tent where Mr. Hollande was speaking in the town of Villognon.

The bullet went through the canvas of the tent, where drinks were being made. It passed through a waiter's thigh and lodged in another person's calf. The injuries were not life-threatening.

Mr. Hollande was inaugurating a new stretch of railway when a gunshot was heard. He interrupted his speech for a few moments but reports say there was no panic.

"I hope it's nothing serious -- I think not," Mr. Hollande said as he paused his address to ask whether anyone had been hurt.

The president later visited the injured -- the head waiter of a local hotel and an employee of a railway maintenance company. One local report said the safety catch of the sniper's weapon had been unlocked, allowing the gun to be discharged accidentally.

Local government chief Pierre N'Gahane said a judicial investigation had been launched.

Asked if the officer had fired accidentally, he was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying: "Yes, without doubt." The marksman is based with a special protection unit in nearby Poitiers, officials said.


Snipers Can Kill Political Leaders from a Distance
But How Can a Sniper Protect a Leader from another Sniper?

The Straight Dope

Question: How does the Secret Service prevent
long-range snipers from getting to the President?

A sniper with a high-powered weapon could perch practically anywhere. If he's in the open and they know the routes he will be traveling how do they protect against this? Surely they can't cover everything.

Responses:
* Back in 1992, candidates Clinton and Gore were appearing only a block from my office. The building manager thought it would be a really neat idea if we all went up on the roof and watched the rally from there.

When we got up there, we were greeted by a Secret Service agent who, although clearly not happy about it, let us stay up there and watch. From the top of the roof we could see the tops of a lot of other roofs, all of which were occupied by one or more people (some in uniforms, some in plain clothes) carrying high-powered rifles. Maybe they can't cover everything, but they sure as hell cover a lot.

* The SS puts their own spotters on the roofs of surrounding buildings, and they DO have snipers that can make that shot from half a mile.

Also US Presidents (since JFK) never travel in open top vehicles. In terms of outside speaking engagements, they literally search & monitor all possible potential sniper's nests. As stated above it takes a highly skilled shooter to be able to reliably hit that small a target with one shot from any great distance, so the search radius isn't as huge as you'd think.

*They know how far away it is plausible for a sniper attack. They have to have line of site as well. With proper planning -- this can be limited to a few buildings. The security on these buildings is tightened -- and watched by the SS snipers. I believe workers in those building are sometimes subjected to searches when entering for x period of time before the event.
They can't always do this -- if you recall in (I believe) Chicago during 2008 -- when Obama actually Was elected -- he was behind a fairly large and presumably thick/effective bulletproof/resistant glass type thing.

* Pro snipers like the Secret Service has can determine the locations a bad guy can shoot from. They either station agents in those locations or cover them with snipers that can take out the bad guy. There could be a problem stopping a highly professional sniper that trained with a foreign army.

* Very few people can make the kind of shot you're talking about outside their defense perimeter. That may change, as there are all sorts of computerized automatic targeting aids that will help moderately-skilled snipers expand their range.


Community Sniper Strategy:
A Gamer's Perspective on the Sniper's Role

Team Fortress.com

The Sniper is a long-range support class that focuses on the elimination of key targets. The Sniper generally stays back to avoid heavy fire because he is very frail at 125 health. The Sniper is one of the three classes that can gain headshot bonuses (the others being an Ambassador-wielding Spy and a Pyro who compression blasts Huntsman arrows). Headshots are guaranteed critical hits, and often result in an instant kill when fully charged (the only exception is an Overhealed Heavy). The ability to do this consistently can set apart an amateur Sniper from an elite Sniper.

Quick Tips

* Snipers need to be aware of their surroundings because they are often the main targets of Spies and enemy Snipers, both of which he is most vulnerable to. Equip the Razorback, SMG, or Jarate to help with Spies. While reloading your rifle, move from side to side to Spy check the area you're sniping around.

* Try not to crowd up the class! Too many Snipers can ruin a team's viability. If you're not getting kills as a Sniper, you're not contributing and thus should consider switching classes until there are fewer Snipers.

* Put the crosshair on a target before scoping to maximize mobility.

General

* Keep the dot on a nearby object so enemy players won't suspect you to be there.

* Since your enemies can see the laser dot of your rifle, consider aiming at a doorway or other obstacle to hide your presence. They will be much easier to hit if they are not expecting you than if they are actively trying to dodge your aim. Alternatively, you can use the Huntsman, which doesn't have a laser dot.

* In contrast to this, you can use it to discourage enemy advances. Most classes will not willingly walk into a Sniper's line of fire, and will instead take another route. This tactic does not always work well with Scouts, who are fast enough to slip through your aim. Note that the enemy can only see the laser when facing an object in the same direction you're facing.

* Watch for enemy Snipers. An uncharged headshot is a one-hit kill (except if the enemy Sniper is using the Darwin's Danger Shield), and expert Snipers can line one up in a fraction of a second. If you want to charge your shot, do so behind an obstacle where you can't be seen, and peek out when you're ready to shoot. This is not a foolproof method, however.

* Sticking to one point might take your life. The freezecam will give away your position away after a single kill; you should switch to a new location often, especially after killing another Sniper or firing a shot from The Machina (which fires an obvious tracer from your position).

* Mobility in general is a valued trait for the Sniper. Remember that walking while zoomed is ineffective, as your speed is almost halved.

* Pick your targets carefully. As a support class, it's always important to help your team out in the most efficient way possible, so look out for high value targets on the battlefield, mainly Medics, Heavies, and other Snipers. By killing targets that would otherwise disrupt your aim, inflict heavy damage, or negatively impact your team, you are being a great support to your entire team.

* A quick shot against a Medic's patient, or the Medic himself, can force him to use his √úberCharge early, allowing your teammates to kill the patient before inflicting any damage to your team on the front lines.

* However, a Headshot with a Sniper Rifle will instantly kill a Medic (unless the Medic is overhealed). Take this into consideration, as you can easily take out support Medics.

* Disabling the automatic re-zoom option might help you, but it's not a requirement. Some Snipers prefer to not use the automatic re-zoom of the Sniper Rifle's scope after every shot. To prevent the re-zoom, turn off the automatic re-zoom in the "Advanced Options" button on the main menu.

* Alternately, pressing alt-fire after taking a scoped shot and before the rifle has re-zoomed will prevent the re-zoom from occurring.

* A fully-charged shot can instantly destroy any Level 1 Building and do major damage to others. Put pressure on enemy Engineers by standing outside the range of their equipment and hitting them with charged shots. Make sure to kill the Engineers first, since harming their buildings will make them fix them back to full health, thus wasting ammo and time. Working in conjunction with a friendly Soldier can easily overwhelm the Engineer's repair capabilities.

* Crouching shifts your vision downwards while making you a much smaller target (albeit a slower one). This can be useful for getting a better shot on your enemies. Crouching may also throw off enemy Snipers going for a headshot, especially if you have just fired a shot and are retreating.

* When an enemy is Jumping, it can make it significantly easier to headshot them, as they move in a predictable path (unless Air strafing). Likewise, jumping to avoid an enemy Sniper will only make you a much easier target to hit.

* Pay attention to respawn timers, especially when facing many enemy Snipers. On defense, you may only have 5-10 seconds to focus on other targets between spawns.

* When forced into close combat (i.e. encountering a Spy or a Sniper in close range), you have two options: retreat and attempt a quick headshot or bodyshot, or fight with your secondary and melee weapons. A quick headshot is rarely a viable option unless you know you can make it. It's generally more advisable to retreat while firing your SMG or throwing your Jarate (unless you have the Razorback, Darwin's Danger Shield, or Cozy Camper equipped). Make sure to strafe while retreating, to make your movement less predictable to Soldiers and Demomen. Rushing in with your melee weapon has different results depending on the weapon. The Shahanshah was primarily designed for this style of attack, and the Kukri is also viable. The Bushwacka works exceptionally if you use Jarate. The Tribalman's Shiv is better suited to surprise attacks.

* When sniping, it's very common for the other team to have one or two Spies attempting to backstab you. You can use walls to protect your back while you snipe if you don't use the Razorback. But keep alert, as a Spy can kill you just as easily with their Revolver or backstab you from the side.

Weapon Specific

* Aim for the head. A headshot will automatically crit, and a fully charged headshot is the only thing short of a backstab that can instantly kill a fully Overhealed Heavy.

* A fully charged Bodyshot can kill Scouts, Engineers, Spies, and other Snipers outright if they are not Overhealed. A fully charged bodyshot may kill a Medic in one shot, depending on damage spread. See Damage.

* Keeping your back against a wall while zoomed in can protect you from a backstab, but you should still be wary of Spies. On the other hand, keeping your back against a wall will leave you more open to splash damage from rockets.

* Note that Spies can backstab for 180 degrees around the back of a player.

* Unscoped Sniper Rifle shots do approximately 50 damage. If a target is too close, you should be using your secondary or melee weapons.

* The Sniper Rifle cannot randomly Crit. Outside of headshots, only the Kritzkrieg, Crit boosts from Humiliation, and Intelligence captures can force your Rifle to score Critical hits.

* Standing still while zoomed in will make you an easy target for enemy Snipers and Spies. Move around and Spy check often to throw both classes off.

* Do not stay zoomed in constantly. It's easy to miss a player coming towards you with your narrowed field of view, or miss a chance to hit another enemy a few yards away.

* Positioning is key; you should look for high vantage points to get a good view of the battlefield, or positions where you can easily cover multiple enemy routes. Ideally, you want to maximize your threat to your enemies while minimizing their threat to you.

* Changing the cl_interp variable to 0.034 in your Autoexec.cfg can help increase the likelihood of hitting a fast moving enemy. See Scripting.

* Firing through small holes in walls minimizes the space enemies can shoot back through. This makes you a minuscule target, but this also limits the area you can cover.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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