Snipers are the elite masters of the art of killing somebody from a distance before he or she has any idea what is going on. Of course, shooting from such a long range incurs a wide array of difficulties, leading to situations where making a successful shot is, by all logic and reason, impossible. It is in these situations where the best snipers sniff, wipe the sweat from their eyes and make the shot anyway.
#5. Matt Hughes Curves the Bullet
Welsh Royal Marine sniper Matt Hughes was participating in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, looking for a perfect occasion to shoot some dudes from really far away. He found it in two Iraqi troops who were holding up the offensive. Hughes was ordered to take them out. And not out to dinner, unless they both ordered a lead steak. A tiny one, shaped like a bullet.
"Sir, I understand you didn't like it, but you've already eaten most of it. I'll have to get a manager."
The problem was that the wind was blowing tremendously. See, this is something that doesn't come up in the movies -- when you're trying to shoot from far away with any kind of wind, you have almost no goddamned idea where the bullet will end up. Sniping isn't just holding the cross hairs steady on the tiny soldier in the scope; it's trying to predict gusts of wind that could push the bullet into some innocent tree trunk 50 feet away. And yes, that's how much of a difference wind can make. You can not only miss the guy, but miss the whole house he's standing in.
So that's what happened to all those road signs in the country!
Oh, and as if his fate were being written by the vengeful spirit of a vaudeville comedian, Hughes discovered that his targets were a little over a half mile away, which, powerful wind notwithstanding, was beyond the range of the rifle he was using. To make matters worse (and yes, there apparently was still room for them to get worse), the enemy soldier he was targeting was covered in a fortified position, with only a small portion of his head and torso exposed. Hughes would have only one chance, because if he took a shot and missed, the Iraqi would simply duck completely behind cover and never come back up. It'd be like if Luke Skywalker had been commanded to park his X-Wing at the beginning of the trench, and to lean out of the cockpit with a grenade wedged in his ass and try to power-shit it into the Death Star's exhaust port.
Cackling in the face of insurmountable odds, Hughes did his best to judge, based on the haze from the heat, how to aim the rifle to hit his target. His judgment led him to aim the shot 56 feet to the left and 38 feet high, which is another way of saying "Hughes pointed his gun in a totally unrelated goddamn direction."
"If I can take out the sun, we'll kill the whole Iraqi army."
Either way, Hughes presumably prayed to the sniper gods and let off his first and only possible shot, not even remotely pointed toward his target, and watched as the arc of the bullet formed the shape of a giant banana and struck the enemy soldier directly in the chest. Needless to say, the Iraqi was killed, though we're fairly certain his last words were the equivalent of "Oh, no fucking way."
#4. Steve Reichert Shoots Through a Wall
Now here is one that you're not even allowed to do in most video games.
It happened when Marine Corps sniper Steve Reichert was taking part in a routine mission in Iraq, providing cover for a squad of fellow Marines from atop an oil tank, when the squad fell under attack by insurgents. Steadying himself and taking careful aim at the enemy onslaught, Reichert noticed something: three enemy soldiers sneaking around the back of a nearby building in an attempt to ambush his comrades with a very large machine gun.
A rare shot of the actual event.
Not about to let this happen, Reichert aimed his rifle at them just as they disappeared behind one of the building's brick walls. Refusing to let this seemingly minor vision handicap stop him, Reichert made his best guess and shot the goddamned wall from his position on the oil tank a little over a mile away.
At that distance, you'd never hear the shot. One second you'd have a head, and the next, you wouldn't.
The single round took out all three of the insurgents.
One of them had been hit by the bullet and was killed outright, while the other two were struck down by brick and bullet fragments blasted out by Reichert's shot. He had neutralized three targets that were behind a wall with a single shot made a mile out. For his actions, he was awarded the Bronze Star and a full scholarship to Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.
We're pretty sure they did it out of pure fear.
#3. Carlos Hathcock Shoots a Dude Through His Scope
Carlos Hathcock was a U.S. Marine Corps sniper who had racked up a high enough kill count during his two tours in the Vietnam War to earn a bounty on his head for $30,000 from the North Vietnamese government. Inspired by the bounty, an unknown Vietnamese sniper set out to try and kill Hathcock, unaware that to do so would be like trying to sneak up on Batman and slap him in the penis.
"I'm gonna take on this next assassin drunk and blindfolded. It just isn't sporting otherwise."
Hathcock was drawn out of camp when the enemy sniper shot several of his fellow Marines, despite knowing that the man was simply trying to bait him. So it was sort of like Enemy at the Gates, only with fewer fake German accents. To avoid a hasty debraining via high-velocity bullet, Hathcock would have to move slowly and stay out of sight, so he crawled the distance between himself and the other sniper on his stomach, making sure to keep the sun behind him.
He kept going like this until he thought he saw a glint of light, like when the sun is reflected off a piece of glass during a boss battle in Metal Gear Solid 3.
"Ha! Found you!"
The experienced Hathcock fired at the glimmer, knowing it to be either his foe or a tiny mirror placed out in the jungle for no conceivable reason. As it turns out, it was the former, and Hathcock's bullet passed clean through the enemy sniper's scope from 500 yards away, threading the needle at close to one-third of a mile.
Bear in mind that the typical rifle scope is only a couple of inches wide at the very most, so Hathcock had to place his shot perfectly for the bullet to pass through it and not hit the sides of the device. Also, the enemy sniper had to have been facing him, with his gun more or less leveled directly toward Hathcock's position. So, in the span of the half-second he had to spare before his foe spotted him and erased him from time, Hathcock fired a round through a 2-inch circle he wasn't even positive was there, draped in dense jungle about three city blocks away.
"My unexploded face sense is tingling!"