While sniping has a long and illustrious history, the range and precision of weapons has improved with advancing technology in recent years, enabling longer shots. Handheld computers, devices that gather information about the weather and quality of the atmosphere, and laser rangefinders have all improved shooter accuracy.
Curious about the longest sniper shot ever? Most of the longest sniper shots recorded have taken place since the turn of the century—though the fifth longest shot took place clear back in the 60s!
5. Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock
Gunery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock
This U.S. marine is still considered a legend, and rightly so. In over forty years, only four other snipers have managed to break his 1967 record. With an M2 .50 Cal Browning machine gun and a telescopic sight ranging 2,500 yards, he shot down a Vietcong guerilla. His record remained unbroken until 2002. Hathcock’s shot measured 2,500 yards.
4. Sgt. Brian Kremer
Kremer holds the fourth spot for a shot placed from a range of 2,515 yards, narrowly beating out Hathcock’s record. This U.S. soldier used a Barrett M82A1 and was a member of the 2nd Ranger Battalion in the Iraq War. He was not however the first to break Hathcock’s record. Kremer’s shot came in 2004, two years after Corporal Rob Furlong and Master Corporal Arron Perry broke Hathcock’s record in 2002.
3. Master Corporal Arron Perry
In March 2002, this Canadian soldier in the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry broke the long-held record by Hathcock, shooting a McMillan Tac-50 over a range of 2,526 yards during the War in Afghanistan.
2. Corporal Rob Furlong
Canadian Forces Sniper Rob Furlong
Furlong was also a member of the same Canadian infantry as Master Corporal Arron Perry, and managed to beat out his comrade’s record within the same month during the War in Afghanistan. After Perry set his record, Furlong beat it with a kill ranging 2,657 yards—a substantially longer shot, during Operation Anaconda. Furlong used the exact same type of weapon as Perry.
1. Corporal Craig Harrison
Corporal Craig Harrison
And the winner for the longest sniper shot ever? In November of 2009, UK Corporal of Horse (CoH) Craig Harrison of the Household Cavalry Life Guards fired a shot from an Accuracy International L115A3 during the War in Afghanistan that traveled an astounding distance of 2,707 yards, again substantially beating out the previous record holder. This was no coincidental achievement either. Harrison had to creatively modify his equipment on the fly to achieve the level of accuracy needed to make the shot over such a tremendous distance. Nonetheless, Harrison does say in his reports that he owed part of his accomplishment to the fine weather, which was optimal for long-range shooting.
It’s still pretty amazing that Hathcock retains fifth place in the record books after so many years have passed. You will notice if you check out the other record-holding snipers, the majority of the top 11 made their shots during the 21st century, with only one other exception, arguably the most compelling of the lot. Billy Dixon, a civilian buffalo hunger, placed a shot with a Sharps .50-90 during the American Indian Wars in June of 1874 that spanned a distance of 1,538 yards. Dixon still ranks in at number 9 on the longest sniper shot list. Not bad for a guy relying on 19th century technology!
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