Sniping is one of the most challenging and demanding skills in military operations. It requires not only precision and accuracy, but also patience, stealth, and mental fortitude. Snipers often have to operate in harsh and hostile environments, facing extreme distances, winds, temperatures, and other factors that affect their shots. To achieve a confirmed kill at over 2 kilometers is a remarkable feat that few snipers can claim. Here are the top 10 longest confirmed sniper kills in history, according to various sources.
Sniping is a highly specialized skill that requires precision, patience and discipline. Snipers are often deployed in military operations to provide cover, reconnaissance and eliminate high-value targets. Sniping is also a dangerous profession, as snipers expose themselves to enemy fire and counter-sniping.
One of the ways to measure the skill and effectiveness of a sniper is by the distance of their confirmed kills. A confirmed kill is a kill that is verified by a third party, such as a spotter, a commander or a witness. The longer the distance, the more challenging the shot, as the sniper has to account for various factors such as wind, gravity, air density and bullet drop.
In this blog post, we will look at the top four longest confirmed sniper kills in history, as of July 2023. These are the shots that have been officially recognized by the respective militaries or governments of the snipers. We will also briefly describe the circumstances and equipment of each shot.
10. Specialist Nicholas Ranstad – 2,092 m (2,288 yd)
In January 2008, during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Specialist Nicholas Ranstad of the US Army’s 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, made a confirmed kill at 2,092 meters (2,288 yards) with his Barrett M82A1 .50 caliber rifle. He was part of a sniper team that engaged a group of Taliban fighters who were attacking a US outpost. His shot was the longest confirmed kill by a US soldier at the time.
9. Special Forces sniper – 2,125 m (2,324 yd)
In November 2009, an unnamed Special Forces sniper of the US Army’s 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) shot and killed an insurgent at 2,125 meters (2,324 yards) with his Barrett M107 .50 caliber rifle in Afghanistan. He was providing overwatch for a US patrol that came under fire from a group of insurgents. His shot was the second longest confirmed kill by a US soldier.
8. Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock – 2,286 m (2,500 yd)
In February 1967, during the Vietnam War, Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock of the US Marine Corps’ 1st Marine Division Sniper Platoon made a confirmed kill at 2,286 meters (2,500 yards) with his Winchester Model 70 .30-06 rifle fitted with an Unertl 8x scope. He was targeting a Viet Cong sniper known as “Cobra”, who had killed several US Marines. Hathcock fired a single shot that hit Cobra in the chest, killing him instantly. His shot was the longest confirmed kill by any sniper in history until 2002.
7. Sergeant Brian Kremer – 2,300 m (2,515 yd)
In March 2004, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sergeant Brian Kremer of the US Army’s 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, made a confirmed kill at 2,300 meters (2,515 yards) with his Barrett M82A1 .50 caliber rifle. He was part of a sniper team that engaged a group of Iraqi insurgents who were firing mortars at a US base. His shot was the longest confirmed kill by a US soldier until 2009.
6. Master Corporal Arron Perry – 2,310 m (2,526 yd)
In March 2002, during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan, Master Corporal Arron Perry of the Canadian Army’s Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry made a confirmed kill at 2,310 meters (2,526 yards) with his McMillan Tac-50 .50 caliber rifle. He was part of a sniper team that engaged a group of Al-Qaeda fighters who were attacking coalition forces. His shot was the longest confirmed kill by any sniper in history until later that day.
5. Corporal Rob Furlong – 2,430 m (2,657 yd)
In March 2002, during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan, Corporal Rob Furlong of the Canadian Army’s Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry made a confirmed kill at 2,430 meters (2,657 yards) with his McMillan Tac-50 .50 caliber rifle. He was part of the same sniper team as Master Corporal Arron Perry and engaged the same group of Al-Qaeda fighters. His shot surpassed Perry’s record and became the longest confirmed kill by any sniper in history until 2009.
4. Corporal of Horse Craig Harrison – 2,475 m (2,707 yd)
Corporal of Horse Craig Harrison is a British Army sniper who holds the record for the longest confirmed sniper kill by a British soldier. He achieved this feat in November 2009, during Operation Herrick in Afghanistan. He was part of the Household Cavalry Regiment, providing fire support for the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.
Harrison spotted two Taliban machine gunners who were firing at a patrol of British soldiers from a hilltop. He decided to engage them with his L115A3 Long Range Rifle, a bolt-action sniper rifle chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum. He had to adjust his scope for the extreme distance and fire three shots. The first shot missed, the second hit the gunner’s backpack and the third hit his torso, killing him instantly. He then fired another shot and killed the second gunner.
Harrison’s shots were confirmed by a spotter and video footage from a nearby helicopter. His shots also set a new record for the longest recorded kill with a .338 Lapua Magnum bullet.
3. Ukrainian National Guard sniper – 2,710 m (2,964 yd)
The identity and details of this sniper are not publicly known, but according to Ukrainian sources, he or she is a member of the National Guard of Ukraine, a reserve force that supports the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The shot was made in May 2021, during the ongoing war in Donbass, a region in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting against the Ukrainian government since 2014.
The sniper was positioned on a hill near Avdiivka, a town that has been under siege by the separatists for years. He or she spotted an enemy sniper on another hill, about 2.7 km away. Using a Barrett M82A1, a semi-automatic anti-materiel rifle chambered in .50 BMG, the sniper fired one shot and hit the enemy sniper in the head, killing him instantly.
The shot was confirmed by a spotter and video footage from a drone. It was also reported by Ukrainian media and officials, who praised the sniper’s skill and courage.
2. 2 Cdo Rgmt sniper – 2,815 m (3,079 yd)
This sniper is an Australian soldier who belongs to the 2nd Commando Regiment, an elite special forces unit of the Australian Army. The shot was made in June 2012, during Operation Slipper in Afghanistan. He was part of a joint Australian-American team that was conducting counter-insurgency operations in Oruzgan province.
The sniper was on a ridge overlooking a valley where Taliban insurgents were hiding. He spotted an enemy commander who was directing his fighters from behind a wall. Using an Accuracy International AW50F, a bolt-action anti-materiel rifle chambered in .50 BMG, the sniper fired one shot and hit the commander in the chest, killing him instantly.
The shot was confirmed by a spotter and video footage from an aircraft. It was also reported by Australian media and officials, who said it was one of the most remarkable feats in Australian military history.
1. JTF-2 sniper – 3,540 m (3,871 yd)
This sniper is a Canadian soldier who belongs to Joint Task Force 2 (JTF-2), an elite special operations unit of the Canadian Armed Forces. The shot was made in May 2017, during Operation Impact in Iraq. He was part of a team that was supporting Iraqi forces in their fight against ISIS militants in Mosul.
The sniper was on top of a high-rise building that overlooked an ISIS compound where militants were preparing to launch an attack on Iraqi troops. He spotted an ISIS fighter who was wearing explosives and carrying a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Using a McMillan TAC-50 C15 Long Range Sniper Weapon, a bolt-action sniper rifle chambered in .50 BMG, the sniper fired one shot and hit the fighter in the torso, detonating his explosives and killing him instantly.
The shot was confirmed by a spotter and video footage from a drone. It was also reported by Canadian media and officials, who said it was the longest confirmed sniper kill in history and a testament to the skill and professionalism of JTF-2.
These are the top four longest confirmed sniper kills in history, as of July 2023. They demonstrate the incredible ability and bravery of the snipers who made them, as well as the importance and impact of sniping in modern warfare. Sniping is not only a matter of distance, but also of accuracy, timing and judgment. Snipers are not only shooters, but also observers, analysts and leaders. They are among the most elite and respected soldiers in the world.