The Super Bowl is the single most premier sporting event in this country, and millions of football fans view the game world-wide. However, it is not just a few hours of football, but the culmination of hundreds of thousands of hours of preparation by tens of thousands of people to make the Super Bowl super. Besides the athletics, entertainment, logistics of food and parking, and the movement of tens of thousands of people, it is also the protection of everyone involved, including the people within Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on game day.
Super Bowl LIV Sniper Training
Weeks before Super Bowl LIV, TacFlow Academy’s Director of Sniper Training, Mark Lang, and his fellow instructors trained more than 20 police snipers at the Hard Rock Stadium to prepare for deploying at various Overwatch Positions (OP). The instruction included classroom work and non-kinetic training, including anti-drone demonstrations, but most of the time the police snipers were behind their rifles, first demonstrating that they could consistently place ALL of their shots into a small (2×2 inches) diamond target from any distance, any angle and in any condition, and then during drills to simulate scenarios that they could face.
Their rifles were primarily bolt guns but with some gas guns ranging from .308 to .300 Norma, many of them suppressed. Accuracy International, Seekins, Surgeon, S.W.O.R.D. International, and Brace Built manufactured the rifles. Optics came from NightForce, Leupold and other excellent telescopic sight makers. Mark also demonstrated the capabilities of the .50 BMG by firing several shots with a Cadex Defense CDX-50 Tremor; he specifically demonstrated its capabilities when deploying for vehicular intrusion protection.
The multiple targets were Mike Gibson’s (MGM) Stadium Bullet Traps that absorbed all the .308 Winchester shots so that no stray bullets, ricochets or spalling impacted the stadium. The snipers practiced shooting at various areas within Hard Rock Stadium from club level, catwalks, vertically down pedestrian ramps and also out into the parking lot utilizing KF Armory’s MIB2S (Modular Interlocking Ballistic Barrier System) for .308 Winchester and 50 BMG shots. Why? Well, because the actual threat could come from anywhere. The snipers must remain cognizant that any possible avenue could be used. TacFlow Academy instructs the multi-day Police Sniper Response to a Public Venue (PSRPV) course. Training takes place at public venues nationwide and even in Canada.
With nearly 25 public venues hosting the training over a decade at venues ranging from commercial sport to intercollegiate campuses, it has become the standard for law enforcement training for venue protection. It covers the necessary pre-work and preparation. Snipers establish a liaison with each facility, including a thorough examination of the grounds. Personnel determine locations for overwatch, where teams are pre-staged. They examine potential areas of danger or vulnerability like exposed propane tanks or where any ammonia nitrate fertilizer is stored.
The PSRPV course provides identification of threats, case studies, the need to coordinate with air assets, establishing covert and overt hides, as well as rally points and final firing position (FFP) selection. The traditional prone position is impractical for this kind of overwatch. So the police snipers practiced with tri- and quad mounts with saddles. Types included HOG Saddle, Really Right Stuff and the superb Spec-Rest systems. These saddles provide complete deployment with rifles up to .50 BMG. Rifles dismount and store out of sight, then snipers can quickly place and fire MOA repeatability in seconds.
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