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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.

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 Shot:

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."

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.

The Shot:

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.

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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.

Via Atruepatrio.tumblr
"I'm gonna take on this next assassin drunk and blindfolded. It just isn't sporting otherwise."

The Shot:

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!"

Mike Plumb Saves His Victim's Life


SWAT sniper Michael Plumb arrived on the scene with the rest of his unit to find a suicidal man named Douglas Conley sitting on a lawn chair in the middle of the street, ranting and holding a revolver to his head. Conley refused to let any police officers come near him, becoming more and more agitated each time they tried to approach and raising the gun to his chin. Conley's volatile state, coupled with the fact that he was ignoring all the police's demands, led Plumb's commander to finally give him the go-ahead to fire.

Wait, what? That's how we handle a guy who's threatening suicide -- we call in a sniper to shoot his ass and get it over with?

And people say the government isn't efficient!

Not exactly. Plumb's task was to shoot Conley in a way that would prevent him from shooting himself. Good luck!

The Shot:

Instead of trying to hit the man, Plumb was to attempt to assassinate the tiny .38 snub-nosed revolver Conley was holding in his hand, from 60 yards away. You've seen this gun in countless movies -- this is a weapon that is barely larger than a person's hand:

Via Wikimedia Commons
It's the one they let Joe Pesci use so he looks normal sized by comparison.

So, with Conley's crazy ass fingers wrapped around it, there was maybe about an inch or two of non-person for Plumb to target. It was the first time that group of SWAT snipers had ever been cleared to fire their rifles during a call, and it was arguably the craziest shot ever attempted by police.

So, Mike Plumb lined up over half a football field away and shot a single round that smashed into Conley's gun and blew it to pieces.

Here is a video of Plumb's sorcery:

A stunned Conley struggled to maintain his composure, as if he had ordered the gun to explode with his thoughts, and was promptly tackled by the police.

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Navy SEALs

Via Kpbs.org

The Maersk Alabama was a cargo ship that was captured by pirates while floating off of the coast of Somalia. In exchange for the lives of his crew, the captain of the Maersk, Richard Phillips, offered to be taken captive. The pirates agreed.

Following the hijacking, the pirates set off in a lifeboat with their captive and demanded a ransom of several million dollars, because evidently Phillips had told them he was Bruce Wayne or something. The United States government responded by sending the Navy's USS Bainbridge to follow the lifeboat, which, to be fair, is what several million dollars would look like if you spent it on a guided missile destroyer.

Via Wikipedia
"You can even have the missiles, too. Catch!"

As the USS Bainbridge followed the boat, it picked up a team of Navy SEALs who had parachuted into the sea nearby, because being a SEAL means you are required to make your entrance like William Shatner on a game show.

The Shot:

The SEALs had orders from the president not to act unless the life of the captain was in immediate danger, so they took up positions around the Bainbridge and waited. They managed to get their chance when two pirates poked their heads out of the lifeboat, and they were able to see the last pirate through the boat's window, pointing an AK-47 at Phillips' back. After deciding that an assault rifle aimed at the captain sufficiently constituted an immediate danger, three of the SEALs fired.

"Aim for their good eye."

And three pirates fell dead.

By using what we assume was telepathic communication, the moment the SEALs saw the pirates, they fired, each at a different target and in unison so that no pirate had any time to react before his head turned into memories. Phillips was rescued, and the SEALs presumably rose from the ocean on jet packs to rendezvous with a space helicopter that flew them back to their base in a hollow mountain.

On the fucking moon.

Xavier Jackson has an email at XavierJacksonCracked@gmail.com, in case you wish to have a way to truly sing his praises at him. He also has a Facebook page that is really cool.

For more badassery that we struggled to put into words, check out 5 Authors More Badass Than The Badass Character They Created and 5 Real Life Soldiers Who Make Rambo Look Like a Pussy.

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