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How A Sniper Gun Works Criminology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 4260 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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ONE SHOT ONE KILL is how Sniper Gun works. The term Sniper was first used in 1824 in the sense of word Sharpshooter. The main purpose of this gun is to destroy valuable targets at extended range. In most of the cases, target means human beings (enemy soldiers, armed terrorists and criminals). The range of such weapon is between 100 to 1000 meters and it is especially used in military and special operations. Basically there are three types of sniper rifles: Military, Police/Law Enforcement and Special Task Sniper Rifles. Some of the best Snipers in world are M24, USA; Dragunav SVD, Russian; Heckler and Koch XM-8, Germany and Vidhwansak AMR, Indian. Main objective of this review is to provide an insight about types of sniper guns, their construction, mechanism and how we can make them better using Laser, Infra red, GPS system, Sniper detectors and Laser guided bullets to make sniper a complete solution for Army.

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It has been hundred years now and Sniper is still the favorite toy of Army. This is because of the design and capabilities of this weapon system and specialized scopes, butt stocks and bipod arrangements making sniper more dangerous. However, proper training and experience can differentiate sniper from true sharp shooter men. Sniper is now the ultimate finisher, a true modern-day ninja which makes its own way few miles away. Sniper rifles come in a powerful array of automatic and bolt-action styles and makes. Most of the snipers are modified with specialized telescopic sights offering the best in accuracy-inducing ergonomics. Sniper rifles have more recently been fielded in the highly-lethal point fifty calibers round which is capable of penetrating engine blocks and can left the human bodies covered in body armor. It is the best soldier as it has unique advanced in recoil, specialized ammunition and highly technical sight. Usually have this image of a sniper working alone behind enemy lines, a sniper is only made better by the use of a spotter and together they make a sniper team following the target through his own scope and calling out adjustments in trajectory and wind age as needed. This working in unison provides a most powerful and lethally hidden element to any war. Consequently, it does not take too much experience to be trained in being a sniper type element on the opposite side. It then becomes a case of the hunter becoming the hunted [1].

History of Sniper

Use of Sniper goes back to as early as Sixteenth Century; sniper’s first victim was Takeda Shingen in Japan. In Britain Sir Lord Brooke, senior parliamentarian was killed during English Civil War by sniper. Similarly this weapon was also used in American War OF Revolution. The first Rifle Regiments was formed by British Army during Napoleonic War. Use of such weapon than started becoming the need of army as it was highly accurate and was modified easily according to its need. During American Civil War US Sharp shooters who were trained under Colonel Hiram Berdnam killed more enemy than any other Union Army with their point fifty two caliber sniper rifle. In the same war Sg.Ben Powell sniped Major General John Sedgwick at a distance of 798 yd during battle of Spotsylvania Court House. This weapon was then used for assassinations due to its high range aim by criminals. Twentieth century changed the outlook of sniper. These guns were the main weapons in WORLD WAR I and II. Junior Lieutenant Vasily Zaytsev (World War II) – credited of killing 225 German soldiers during the Battle of Stalingrad. Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock has achieved 93 confirmed kills but believed to also have over 200 unconfirmed kills in Vietnam War. He held the record of longest confirmed kill at a distance of 2,250 m (2,460 yd) (made with a scoped M2 Browning machine gun) for 35 years until 2002. Canadian soldier Corporal Rob Furlong, formerly of (Operation Anaconda, Afghanistan) holds the record for the longest-ever recorded and confirmed sniper kill at 2,430 m (2,657 yd) using a point fifty caliber (12.7 mm) McMillan TAC-50 rifle. Boon of science and technology has changed the outlook of Military Weapons and these weapons are transforming to new level by every birth [2, 3].

Basic Construction

Main parts of sniper gun

Main parts of sniper gun are:

Barrel and Receiver

Bolt with Bolt Support

Safety Lever Assembly



Upper Band Assembly

Hand Guard L.H.Assembly

Hand Guard R.H.Assembly

Sight Leaf Assembly

Front-Sight Base and Body Assembly

These can be further divide into various parts which are shown in Figure 1 and enlisted in Table 1 [4].


Table 1: Various parts of sniper gun

Sr no


Sr no



Bolt Support


Front Sight Body


Firing Pin








Guiding Rod


Front Sight Base


Guiding Bushing






Upper Band Assembly


Extractor Pin


Band Axle Pin


Firing Pin Stud


Oil Seal Assembly


Extractor Spring


Hand Guard




Upper Band with Spring


Return Spring


Magazine Body Assembly


Sight Leaf Slide


Magazine Spring


Sight Leaf


Magazine Cover


Hand Guard, L.H


Sight Leaf Assembly


Pusher Spring




Gas Tube Latch




Gas Chamber


Accidental Shot Safety Device


Gas Piston


Firing & Trigger Mechanism


Gas Tube


Cover Axle Pin


Gas Regulator


Butt Assembly


Sniper mainly works on the following mechanism:

a. Firing and Trigger Mechanism

b. Cover and Retracting Mechanism

Working of Sniper is very simple and basic; it is a self reloading weapon. This reloading depends upon the energy obtained from powder gas which arc channeled from barrel bore to piston gas. Upon firing, a certain amount of the powder gases following the bullet flows through the port in the barrel bore wall into the gas chamber, exerts pressure upon the front wall of the gas piston and throws back the piston with pusher and, consequently, the bolt support into the rearward position. As the bolt support travels rearward, the bolt opens the barrel bore; the Cartridge case gets removed from the cartridge chamber and ejected out of the receiver. The bolt support compresses the return springs and cocks the hammer; i.e. engages it with the auto-safety cocking cam. The bolt support and the bolt return to the front position under the action of the retracting mechanism; as a result, the bolt feeds the next cartridge from the magazine into the cartridge chamber and closes the barrel bore, while the bolt support disengages the auto-safety sear from the hammer. The hammer gets cocked. The bolt gets locked, after it has been turned to the left and its locking lugs engaged with recesses of the receiver. To fire a shot, it is necessary to release the trigger and press it anew. After the trigger has been released, the rod modes forward and its hook engage the sear and, if pressed, the rod hook turns the sear and disengages it from the hammer cocking cam.

The hammer actuated by the mainspring turns round its pin and strikes the firing pin. The latter travels forward and impinges the primer. Thus, a shot is fired. With the last cartridge fired and the bolt returned to the rearward position, the magazine follower lifts the bolt catch; the latter engages the bolt to stop the bolt support in the rearward position. Thus, it is necessary to load the rifle anew. The rifle has a gas regulator, which serves to change recoil speeds of moving parts. Under conditions of proper servicing with the parts lubricated, the gas regulator is set at division

a. On firing during a long time without cleaning and lubricating and heavy soiling of the rifle, stoppage may occur incomplete recoil of the moving parts. In this case the regulator is set at division.

b. To change the regulator from one positions to another use the rim of the cartridge case or the cartridge [4].


Science and Technology has lead to the development of new prototype advance weapon system. Some of the best snipers with their specifications in the world are given in Table 2.

Table 2: Comparison of different types of Sniper guns [5-58].

Name Of Sniper Gun


In Service




Effective Range

Feed System

Istiglal Anti-Material Rifle(5-13)

Anti-materiel rifle



44.0 lbs (20.0 kg)

Recoil-operated, rotating bolt

3,000 m (9,843 ft)

10-round detachable box magazine

FAMAE FD-200(14)

Designated Marksman Rifle



5.10 kg

Gas operated

800 m

SIG 542 compatible magazines

7.62 Tkiv 85 (15)

Sniper rifle



7 kg (15.4 lb)

Bolt action

800 m (875 yd)

5-round magazine, loaded with 5-round charger clips

Accuracy International Arctic Warfare (16)

Sniper rifle



6.5 kg (14.3 lb)


850 m/s (2,790 ft/s)

10-round detachable box magazine

Accuracy International AS50(16)

Anti-materiel rifle, Sniper rifle


1 AS50

27 lb (12.2 kg)

Direct impingement

1,500 m

5 or 10 round detachable box

JNG-90 (17-20)

Sniper rifle




Rotating bolt

1000 m



Sniper rifle




bolt action

1000+ m

5-round detachable box

AMP Technical Services DSR-1(23-27)

Bolt action rifle


DSR-1 Subsonic (7.62x51mm NATO)

5.9 kg (unloaded) without scope)


800 m -875 yd

5 round detachable box magazine

Brügger & Thomet APR(28)

Sniper rifle


APR308P, APR308S, APR338


Bolt-action, manually operated

1000-1038 yd

10-round detachable box magazine

Armalite AR-50(29)

Bolt action rifle


Armalite AR-30 (smaller caliber)


Bolt action


1 bullet

AWC G2 (30-31)

Sniper Rifle


G2, G2A, G2FA


Gas-Operated, rotating bolt


20 round magazines

Barrett M82 (32)

Anti-materiel rifle


M82A1, M82A1A, M82A1M, M82A2, M82A3, M107


Recoil-operated, rotating bolt

1,800 m (5,906 ft)

10-round detachable box magazine

Blaser 93 Tactical (33)

Sniper rifle


Blaser LRS 2

Blaser Tactical 2


Bolt action


5-rounds detachable box magazine

Bor rifle (34)

Sniper rifle


Alex Tactical Sport



Bolt- action


10-round detachable box magazine

CheyTac Intervention (35)

Sniper rifle




Turn bolt


7-round detachable box

CZ 700 sniper rifle(36)

Sniper rifle



Bolt Action


10-round detachable box

C3A1 (37-39)

Sniper rifle




Manually operated bolt action


5 round detachable box



Sniper rifle




Manually operated bolt action


5 round detachable box

Desert Tactical Arms Stealth Recon Scout(41)

Sniper rifle




Bolt action


5-7 round detachable box

WKW Wilk(42)

Sniper rifle




Manually operated rotary bolt action


7 round detachable box

VKS Sniper(43)

Sniper rifle






5 round detachable box

United States Marine Corps Designated Marksman Rifle(44)

Sniper rifle




Gas operated, rotating bolt. Semi automatic


5,10, and 20 round detachable box

United States Navy Mark 12 Mod X Special Purpose Rifle(45-47)

Sniper rifle



Gas operated, rotating bolt. Semi automatic

600 yards

20 or 30 round STANAG magazine

United States Army Squad Designated Marksman Rifle (48)

Sniper rifle




Gas-operated (direct impingement)


20 or 30 detachable box

T93 sniper rifle(49)

Sniper rifle




Bolt action

Over 800m

5 round internal magazine

M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System (50-52)

Sniper rifle




Gas-operated, rotating bolt


10 or 20 detachable box

Heckler & Koch HK417 (53)

Battle rifle



Recce (16″ barrel – standard and accurized)

Sniper (20″ barrel – accurized


Gas-operated, rotating bolt


10 or 20 detachable box

FN Special Police Rifle


Sniper rifle


A1, A1a, A2, A4, A3 G, A5 M


Bolt action


7.62×51 mm (.308 Winchester):4-round detachable box magazine or 5-round internal box magazine

.300 Winchester Short Magnum:

3-round internal box magazine

Dragunov SVU (55)

Sniper rifle




Gas operated, rotating bolt


10 or 20-round detachable box magazine

Vidhwansak Anti Material0 Rifle (56-57)

Anti-material rifle




Manual bolt action




Sniper Location & Gunshot Detection Systems

Snipers have become the second greatest cause of fatalities in combat in present wars. Troops are often most vulnerable in stationary environments, such as when on perimeter or a Forward Operation Base (FOB). Until recently, sniper detection and location systems were employed primarily on vehicular and static installations, when manning guard towers, or out at mobile checkpoints.

Two versions of gunshot locators were discussed here. Both are being addressed by the US military, in an attempt to improve response effectiveness and reduce vulnerability to attacks by sniper and small arms ambushes. Gunshot locators also improve the war fighter’s situational understanding in emergency situations, particularly when responding to ambush situations. The Boomerang acoustic shooter detection system was developed by BBN to provide warning over sniper threats. Today, over 1,000 Boomerang systems are operational worldwide and procurement of 8,000 additional systems is currently underway. Initially, the system was installed on vehicles, but the most recent enhancements, a static installation kit and portable system, complements the Boomerang to cover more modes of operation. Boomerang automatically provides immediate indication of hostile fire or sniper attacks and localizes the shooter’s position, allowing rapid, informed and coordinated response. The system can be installed on an individual vehicle (manned or unmanned), at a checkpoint, or be scaled up for full perimeter security of a forward operating base. The ability to identify insurgent firing locations quickly eliminates random patrol deployments and exposure to unknown hostile fire. (Figure)[58].

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The static installation kit is contained in a man-portable package, providing rapid installation in temporary or fixed sites. It is equipped with interfacing, to enable interoperability with remote weapon stations and EO/IR sensors currently fielded in theater. Furthermore, several Boomerang sensors can be integrated and networked, to provide better and more precise coverage of fixed sites. Gunshot alerts can be integrated and presented into situational awareness pictures, such as the Blue Force Tracking. Acoustic processing is not the only solution for gunshot detection. Gunshot signature can be identified, located and processed even faster using electro-optical means. Two Israeli systems are providing such capabilities Rafael’s Spotlight M and IAI/Elta’s Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) are sensors-based and a Transient Event Detection (TED) system, developed by a new subsidiary called OptigO. They are designed to cover a wide area, triggering an instant alarm and threat location when a single shot is fired [58].

LASER Guided Bullet

A small caliber laser-guided bullet having a self-contained guidance system is disclosed including on-board laser sensors and navigational circuits capable of detecting a laser target signature, determining the deviation of the bullet from an optimum projectory along which the bullet would impact a hostile target, and generating an electrical signal to piezo electric steering control surfaces to effect a change in the course of the bullet. The guided bullet utilizes a plurality of symmetrically arranged laser sensor elements which are positioned about a longitudinal axis of the bullet. The laser sensor elements function to transmit optical radiation from the laser target beam to photo detector elements housed within the bullet. The electrical signals from the photo detector elements are then amplified and processed by semiconductor logic circuits to produce the functions required by the steering control surfaces to translate the bullet to the optimum trajectory. Electrical power for the guidance system is provided by a miniature lithium polymer battery which is interconnected with the navigational circuits to produce the functions of the system. The guided bullet is fired from a precision, smooth bore weapon using a conventional expanding gas cartridge and is effective at ranges up to 3,000 meters and beyond. A bullet guidance system for guiding an in-flight bullet along an optimum trajectory along which said bullet would impact a laser identified target, said system comprising: laser beam detecting means contained within said bullet and being capable of receiving laser beam energy reflected from said target and converting said energy to electrical impulses; logic circuit means contained within said bullet having means therein responsive to receipt of said impulses for determining the deviation of said bullet from said optimum trajectory and for generating corrective signals in response to said impulses; steering control means having means therein responsive to said corrective signals in a manner to actuate said steering control means so as to deflect air flow about said bullet, said control means including at least deployable flap means being outwardly extensible from said bullet to deflect air flow about said bullet to impart a correctional momentum to translate said bullet to said optimum trajectory, said bullet being fired from a precision, smooth-bored weapon thereby not imparting axial spin to said bullet in the manner of a rifle; and power supply means contained within said bullet being inter connectable to said logic circuit and said steering control means to provide sufficient electrical power to produce the functions required by said system [59].

6.3 Next-Generation Can’t-Miss Snipers

Snipers are already deadly accurate, pinpointing targets from a thousand meters away and more.  But a heavy crosswind can throw off even the surest shot. This is why the military has started a largely-secret, crash program to build laser gun sights that compensate for the environment giving snipers lethal precision at 2000 meters range, in winds up to 40 miles per hour.  If it works out as planned, Defense Department researchers think the scopes will boost a sniper’s kill-rate by ten-fold, or more, and let snipers engage and pull the trigger in less than one second. Today, the agency notes, a 10mph wind could produce a miss even at 400 meters while in other cases the deviation could be much worse, exceeding 3 meters at 1200 meters range. The first method (to grossly, grossly oversimplify), is to shoot out a series of thousands of laser pulses, creating a profile of the eddies in the local atmosphere as the light bounces back.  The second involves using use a high-speed camera to take an image of the target. The eddies distort the phase of the light in that picture.  The scope, through a series of algorithms, can take those into account for the sniper team. Algorithms for the second approach have already been developed and field tested at University of Maryland’s Intelligent Optics Laboratory, Pentagon documents show, helping target objects 2300 meters away [60].

Super Sniper: Next War’s Secret Weapon

It’s probably not the game changing, secret weapon of the war. But it could help win the next one: a stealth sniper scope for invisible assassination.  Battles are increasingly about taking out a few select enemies, not large numbers of foes. Such device allows you to locate, target and kill a subject. Heat haze ordinarily throws off snipers. But SRVS changes heat haze from an obstruction into a means of enhancing the view. An effect called turbulence induced micro lensing means that every instant the heated air acts as a series of lenses; at a given moment you may be able to look right through them and see a magnified view of the scene beyond. The trick is to use digital technology to identify the lucky regions or lucky frames when a clear view appears and assemble them into a complete picture. The end result is a portable device 35 centimeters long and weighing two kilogram with an unprecedented capability. This sniper scope can beat the ‘diffraction limit,’ which defines the best that any other optical device can do in conditions of severe heat haze, no less. Specifically, the SRVS will be good enough to positively ID individuals at sniping range:

a. With an aperture not to exceed 6 cm, demonstrate that full scale facial images meeting ANSI INCITS 385-2004 can be correctly identified by trained observers (90% correct identification) at a distance of 1 km (representing a 3x improvement over current performance).

b. Demonstrate better-than-diffraction-limited super-resolution imaging at a speed of not less than 1 Hz where human subjects moving at 1 m/s can be correctly identified by trained observers (90% correct identification) at a distance of 1 km.

The spooky aspect of the SRVS is that even if the target is looking right at you, they won’t see a thing because of the heat haze. A sniper using one of these will be a truly invisible assassin, with the ideal technology for picking off high-value targets. The prototype is supposed to be ready for early 2011, with finished units being delivered to Special Operations units in 2011 end. There are currently a number of anti-sniper systems (a.k.a. sniper detection systems, a.k.a. gunfire detection systems) that have been designed and developed for use by military infantry personnel [61].


Sniper is the term of excellence in the Army. Howitzers accurately fire in excess of 28 kilometers, tanks kill out to four kilometers, helicopters gunship missiles kill out to eight kilometers. The maximum range of infantry small arms engagements, however, has shrunk significantly over the past century. Some of the standard infantry rifles of World Wars I and II had sights that ranged out to more than 2,000 yards (1800 meters), and infantry soldiers trained to engage area targets even out to those ranges. But with the adoption of the smaller caliber, higher velocity .223 bullets as the infantry standard for many nations, the maximum training and hence effective range of infantry small arms has dropped off to 300 meters or less. Such advancements can give rebirth to new definition of Sniper which will change the whole outlook, and rest will be HISTORY. Such sniper will able to detect, blow the target well beyond 3000 meter range and will be most effective in counter terrorism. Thus we can prevent another 26/11- Mumbai attacks and save life of innocents.


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