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Height is an enemy to LE countersnipers when there is not an easy way to gain access to a rooftop, a platform or an above-ground area needed for target viewing and acquisition. On the other hand, height can often enhance a marksman’s ability to view the movement of what is below. Once in the air or above the horizontal world, countersnipers can begin to look out and observe what most people rarely get the chance to see. From a vantage point above, angles appear differently, movement is more readily seen, our view becomes less obstructed, and we become more
in tune with the world.

Shots From Above

So how does a countersniper gain access to those areas that lie above the ground that most of society uses on a daily basis? Gaining this higher ground may not always be easy; there is a good chance we will have to get above the horizontal mark under pressure. Shooting from an elevated platform generally makes us less vulnerable to someone getting behind us if our guard is down. By remaining on the ground or concealed in a hide, where we typically spend a lot of time, we keep our eyes focused forward, so we can have tunnel vision that keeps us from routinely checking our surroundings. An added benefit to being above the ground is that most people do not look up when they are outside, so this amounts to being hidden in plain sight.

Although gaining elevation can usually be a good thing, we must also remember the downsides. What else comes into our vision and field of view that may go unseen while we are on the ground? Trees, branches, power poles, power lines, signs and other buildings—we need to be aware of these items when aiming to perch above a suspect’s location. Also, we must make sure that from where we are situated we have clear, unobstructed views and fields of fire of the suspect and any other occupants seen inside or exiting the location.

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