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6th Annual 6mm Militia Sniper Competition
“When I decided to purchase my first sniper rifle, part of a mystery box deal from AirsoftGI where I could possibly win a Barrett but ended up getting a Javlin instead, my buddy patted me on the back. He said that we all go through that phase and that I’d pretty quickly get over it.
Yea, he was right. Such a “Noob” thing to do, I suppose.
Except for this past weekend when I drove 7 hours on an invitation by a team I had never met, on advice from dear friends Stampede Airsoft, and found myself at Gunny’s Warfare Center somewhere in North Carolina (I say somewhere, because I would literally have to go into my GPS to look up the name of the town that was closest to the field.) I was eagerly introduced to the staff that would be running the Sniper Competition and introduced to team members from Raptor 1 Milsim and Iron Tigers. I was then given a tour of the course, laid out over the 50+ acres of woods and streams that make up GWC (and elevation, something we don’t have in Florida.) I went to bed impressed to say the least and thinking that maybe my buddy had it wrong.
I awoke the next morning…possibly by a rooster from that farm with a funny name (if you were there, you know it.) I prepared my video gear in the parking lot among the teams, and laid eyes on an array of rifles not seen since the time I gambled on a mystery box online. While there wasn’t a Barrett among them, each gun was as unique as the person wielding it, customized with scopes, accessories, and in some cases, paint jobs for added touch.
The competition started with a qualifier consisting of 3 lanes: Sniper/Spotter team which had to work together to hit a certain amount of targets, Rifleman who worked to hit targets on semi auto, and a Support Gunner who hit targets with accurate bursts. This was the foundation of what each team would have to build on in order to compete in the rest of the course.
Next, teams put on their best poker faces to compete in the poker challenge. Sniper/Spotters would have to alternate 7 shots total in order to put the best 5 card hand together, not knowing what the other teams would have. Many gambled it all, shooting for as many Aces as possible, which were located on each corner of the playing board. Many teams found themselves playing a high card, with the winner only pulling off pocket rockets (Pair of aces.)
Communications, usually the great divide for so many things and a key skill for any sniper/scout team to have, was the focus of the third challenge. Either the sniper or scout was segregated from their unit while the other, along with the rifleman and support gunner would run a gauntlet of shooting tasks. All 3 members would run to a shooting platform, one for each class, with 3 different objectives. The sniper/scout would then relay the information that was given to them in an envelope that had just opened at the beginning of the scenario. The squad members would then have to pick out the target amongst several targets with information communicated via team radio. If a target was hit in error, the team faced a +1 minute penalty, which would be costly in this scenario, as time was the deciding factor on which team won.
The most anticipated scenario, by everyone but the team members, was the casualty recovery scenario. Teams would have to make their way through a densely wood area with visibility obscured by smoke, and possibly be ambushed or trigger a booby trap. They would then have to recover a “victim” played by a log, and bring it back to the starting point using a military stretcher. I think the biggest disappointment of the whole competition….not a single team triggered an explosion. It was however, impressive to see the difference in how teams traversed the area. 1 team used a branch in order to see trip wires, while another cruised through, keep their eyes down looking for shiny, straight lines that didn’t belong in the natural setting.
The second to last event found all squad members testing their skills equally, with the rifleman and support gunner clearing a kill house with friend/foe targets (G&G Armaments new target system courtesy of Stampede Airsoft) and the sniper/scout following up and taking out targets in an adjacent building. This proved to be one of the quicker scenarios of the event.
The grand finale was very explosive, to say the least. Each team’s sniper/scout pair were forced to run down the length of the range and back, given a single bullet, and required to hit a small baseball sized container containing Tannerite. The team that hits the Tannerite with the fastest time, won. Only one team caused the Tannerite to explode, while the other knocked the container down without an explosion.
By the end of the day, I kept going back to that “phase” my buddy was telling me about. The one where you buy a sniper rifle, because either you found it cool on a first person shooter game or you thought the idea of stalking someone on the airsoft field just seemed cool. He was partially correct, because most places either do not support the sniper platform out right, or do little to incorporate it properly into an Op, causing many people to give it up as a viable class.
This event however highlights the potential of the sniper class, and enhances the idea of a sniper squad. To see all of the different sniper platforms, whether it be bolt action, semi-automatic DMR styles, or even the Polar Star set ups, it was extremely thrilling to see, with a little work maybe, that I could one day put good use to my Javelin.
With all that aside, the biggest highlight of my weekend, was to watch my friends at Stampede Airsoft give an emotional, heart filled presentation for a fallen MARSOC Marine who was killed in Afghanistan last year. While I will reserve the bulk of the story for a future post, Stampede Airsoft came through with presenting the only Knights Armament/zShot M110 Prototype AEG ever produced, specifically for this occasion.
While we give alot of lip service as to what is MilSim, and who is operator; this one act of kindness that passed through a major manufacturer, to another, to a retailer in Tampa, to a game promoter in North Carolina, to the team members who will look after the Marine’s boy, and make sure he grows in the sport of airsoft…well, that’s just cool.”
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