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Old 08-18-2009, 02:55 AM
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Designated Marksman per the United States Army

Lately the amount of "sniper vs. DM" threads that have been coming up have been getting on everyones nerves to one degree or another. I know that most people around here have some idea of the difference between the two, but let's pretend that we don't for a minute and have a discussion of what it means to be either a "sniper" or a "Designated Marksmen".

I know what some of you are thinking, "what does this guy know?" I like to think that I have some experience, so I would like to share some of it with you. In December, I completed my 6 years in the Ohio Army National Guard. I know it was the Guard, but I wanted to go to school and serve, so meh. In 2004 I was deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom 2. For our training period I was singled out, I had the highest marksmen score in the entire company ( 40/40 ) and was the highest in close quarters marksmenship (It was rudimentary at the time, and is probably invalid to todays training. 38/40). Because of this I was pushed into the Designated Marksmen Course. From there I qualified 38/40 out to 600+ meters with both an M-14 and an M16A2. All of these scores were averaged over a string of 3 for each training circuit. I served in this position, as well as a heavy weapons operator for our convoy operations, and a sometime Combat Life Saver. I served in all of these positions for my 14 month tour, and remained there for the rest of my enlistment which ended December 23, 2008.


1. Misconceptions of the purpose of the "Sniper".
Snipers, both in the Army, as well as the Marine Corps. are very specialized tools. That being said, they are not used lightly and are not wasted. With thousands of hours of training, and some of the best tactics and gear available, Snipers are the scalpel to the sledge hammer that is the Infantry. Specialized Rifles, as well as very specialized uses and tactics mean that they are a valuable tool that is not wasted. Snipers are not usually mobile troops. They are static the majority of their time, and they use their exceptional gear to remain hidden. Most snipers go their entire careers without firing over a dozen shots in anger. This role can never fully transfer into the realm of airsoft however. Due to the nature of our weapons and their ammunition both the range and the accuracy of the real steel world can never be accomplished over your automatic brethren. If you are not mature enough to not shoot, then this is not the job for you in the airsoft world. Sniper in the airsoft world is really for recon and reporting of enemy positions. Only the most patient and mature people need apply.

2. A Designated Marksmen is a position not a rifle.
A little naggle of mine is that everyone ( not in the literal but the figurative ) uses the "DM" to describe a weapon. This is simply not true. A DM is by definition is " a soldier posessing above average ability in the skill of marksmenship. He is attached to a fire team to provide long range, highly accurate fire, consistently. He does so on behalf of the element of which he is attached." ( Okay I might have paraphrased it a little, I am bad at quotes!) A DM does not become such because of the weapon that he is carrying. To be a DM is to be one with a TEAM of men and women. You become the long arm of the element, making its pimp hand to reach places and distances the enemy never thought possible. Since you are part of a team, you are still a riflemen first. You breach, you clear, you overwatch, and you secure. I believe that the role of DM is far more important to the team dynamics of airsoft, than the lone wolf style that "sniping" brings to the table ( not to say that there are not some individuals that break this ). In a pinch a DM can be called upon to make the difficult shot. Maybe the first shot at the edge of the engagement range to take out that heavy gunner before the push to the objective. To be a true DM, you have to have brains, precision, and above all a caring for the team as a whole. If you think you have what it takes.

3. The DM rifle, is it special or is it just you?
What was the most successful long range rifle I ever had the privilege to use? Was it my M-14? That hunk of Vietnam era slag that smashed my favorite ACOG, and made it hard to hold with its monstrous weight of both its form and ammo? Well if you haven't guessed yet, no. My favorite rifle was a little number that I named "Stephanie" and she was a FN made M16A2 rifle. Nothing special but a Z-RIS with an AimPoint and an EOTech Magnifier. No special "hot loads" or AP ammo. Just me and my baby. So that begs the question, do you need 733t hand cannon of doom modified for 500 FPS? The short of it is no. You don't need the special rifle to get the job done, though it could help. People who want to be long range monsters need to work on their shooting, technique, and their field craft. The weapon will fall into place afterward. Simple upgrades like a tightbore and some hop work will get most rifles ( like a TM M14, those things are ridiculous stock ) to the ranges and groupings that they desire, while still leaving the rifle calm enough to be used with the rest of the riflemen in the team. But that being said, if you want to build that "hand cannon" eventually, then go for it. Your weapon has to fill that forth kind of cool for you and only you. But if you specialize too much you leave the riflemen and the squad behind and move into lone wolf sniping again, and that is not who a true DM is.

In Conclusion.
Lately the flood of young bloods has caused the ever popular "howz can I b 733t snipez?" threads to grow like weeds and has gotten everyone in an uproar. I can see the pain in the threads and the frustrations in the mods' words. I felt that as a trained DM, you guys would want to know more about what you were telling these young bloods to be, and maybe have it written down for future n00bs to not find when they don't use the search function. If anyone has any thing they would like to add such as practical advice, upgrade options, or maybe your own DM build and how you use it then feel free. If you have any questions of myself, also feel free. Please no opinions, try to stick to facts. We want to help, not hurt the n00bs with their fragile sense of reality!

( Steps off soapbox )
Ahhh that felt good to get that all out!

Works Cited:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...2-9/index.html
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Old 08-18-2009, 05:04 AM
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And now we know, and knowing is half the battle.


No but seriously, this clears alot up.
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Old 08-18-2009, 08:18 AM
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Wow, thank you SO much for that, it was a good read and cleared up everything I was wondering about...

It does sound like airsoft teams could have a need for a DM, and that squads would find their services in the airsoft world helpful. I definitely agree that there are some people that are better at shooting, that's not to say we can't all be effective in our roles, just that some people are better @ shooting than others (I know some are better than me!).

On a side note, my girlfriend's name is Stephanie, good name for that rifle...
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Old 08-18-2009, 08:32 AM
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Thanks blacksheep_p for a great post!

Quote:
Originally Posted by blacksheep_p View Post
A DM does not become such because of the weapon that he is carrying.[/I][/B] To be a DM is to be one with a TEAM of men and women. You become the long arm of the element, making its pimp hand to reach places and distances the enemy never thought possible. Since you are part of a team, you are still a riflemen first. You breach, you clear, you overwatch, and you secure. I believe that the role of DM is far more important to the team dynamics of airsoft, than the lone wolf style that "sniping" brings to the table ( not to say that there are not some individuals that break this ).
So are you n00bs reading this?? If not, read it again. A Designated Marksman can't exist without being on a team. Get it? Team. T-E-A-M. Are you on a team? No? Ok, thanks for playing. You're not a DM then, no matter what you think, and no matter what rifle you carry.
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Old 08-18-2009, 10:10 AM
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I think the implication is being a team player. Not being on a team... per say.

Last edited by john; 08-19-2009 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:31 AM
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Any body can be on a "team". Since I have no "official" team that I play on, I am newer to the airsoft scene, it has to be about being part of a "team" in a different sense. Not to discourage anyone from trying this role, you just would just have to prove to strangers at every op you go to that you are a stand up kind of person.

"Stephanie", I named my rifle that because my girlfriend at that the time, and now upgraded to fiance, has that name. It seems cliche but we were taught to give a personality to all weapons we were issued so that we would be inclined to take better care of them. Example: M16A2-"Stephanie", M14 - "Tramp", M2 Browning .50 cal machine gun - "AT&T". I had a lot more fun with it than I should have, I started naming other stuff too: my CPP ( Convoy Protection Platform or up-armored HMMWV ) - "The Juggernaught". I even named my airsoft rifles, because I am still a little bit of a tool!

Anyone can be a DM with a little bit of practice. As for some people it will take a little more for them than it will with others! Know your weapon and what it is capable of, upgrade carefully, and learn the team dynamic. Armed with that knowledge you are 3/4 of the way there.

My current load out for DM'ing is a CA Sar Taktik II (G3A2 I think...) Going to get some hop upgrades and a tightbore, a low rise mount for my ComPc3, and maybe get it around 370-80ish. Go ahead share what you guys are doing, I am interested to see what is out there.
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blacksheep_p View Post
Snipers...are...tools.
I found this part (after a bit of snipping to reduce content) held very true to airsoft.
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:44 AM
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That's some questionable editing there, sir.
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:46 AM
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LOL. Phil were was that even from? I can't even remember if I was just being facetious or not!

Maybe some creative editing on your part? Copy and Paste was surely your friend on that one I think!
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Last edited by blacksheep_p; 08-18-2009 at 11:48 AM. Reason: more to say...
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:38 PM
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Excellent Thread blacksheep. This should be sticked.
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Snipers, both in the Army, as well as the Marine Corps. are very specialized tools.
I can take even more creative liberty and... viola!

"Snipers... are... [special] tools."

But yeah, it's from the first line of the third block.
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:57 PM
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We should lock this thread to prevent any further clutter. I think all that was needed has been provided.
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Old 08-18-2009, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john View Post
I think implication is being a team player. Not being on a team... per say.
Ok, I guess I should have clarified a bit. What I meant by being on a team is really on a 'squad'. A lone wolf player running around in the woods with an SPR is not acting like a DM.
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:48 PM
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The other problem with a sniper designation in airsoft is that even a high quality "sniper" tool, usually heavily modified bolt action snipers, can't achieve the range that can be achieved with a heavily modified M16, in an SPR configuration, so calling oneself a sniper without proving that you have your weapon scaled to range (maybe 200-250 yards without a large trajectory dropoff, compared to 75 yards, the average mid to high end AEG), doesn't really fly.
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:04 PM
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ROFL. I will pay money to see someone shoot an airsoft bb 200-250 yards, period.
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillslam View Post
ROFL. I will pay money to see someone shoot an airsoft bb 200-250 yards, period.
Alright, I take that back, 100-150 yards without significant trajectory drop
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:38 AM
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Are there drills that one should run to prepare for a dm role, black sheep?

H
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
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Alright, I take that back, 100-150 yards without significant trajectory drop
Still LMAO along with Hillslam
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:55 AM
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I think he meant feet.
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Old 08-19-2009, 02:50 PM
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Most of the drills that a DM runs through are pretty much the same as the drills of a riflemen to be completely honest. In the Army it is always riflemen first then whatever you are cook, intel, DM second. Some practical drills would be however to do small unit movement drills. Try to be stealthy, if you have a large team "force on force" is best, then have the DM take the first shots at the edge of the engagement distance. Since airsoft BB's have NO ballistic tendencies at all, as an airsoft DM dramatically outranging your opponents is near impossible, so what should really be worked on is one's accuracy. Knowing your weapons' effective accurate range, and being able to hit a specific target consistently when asked to is really going to be the focus.

Some simple marksmen drills to work on your own shooting:
1. "line drill": Your element lines up in its movement order. Targets are placed either side of you while you face straight forward as though you are moving in a file formation. A handler calls out contact to either your left or right, you turn and return fire as quickly as possible with your element. From there the handler can call to advance, reload, drop, fall back, and all kinds of other stuff. As you can see this is a pretty much all inclusive drill that can work on everything. For the DM double the distances of his targets and shade in a tolerance zone that his shots should fall in.
2."Individual Marksmanship Drills": This is as simple as setting up targets for yourself and tuning your hop-up and your choice of scopes to hit targets accurately at your desired range. Doing this while shooting from various positions as well such as prone, prone supported, kneeling, standing, ect. will make a better shooter. Work on finer points, though honestly for airsoft some are a little moot, such as trigger squeeze, sight picture, breathing, and steady position.

Keep in mind that these drills are for the hardcore. Teams that really want to practice this stuff are going to eat it up, but in fairness just doing individual marksmanship drills from #2 should adequately prepare you for most ops. Just keep in mind that you are there for the benefit of a squad, and as such you are going to be relied on by others to pull shots off they probably can't. Hope that helped guys, if you have other questions feel free to ask.
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Old 08-19-2009, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneColdCase View Post
Alright, I take that back, 100-150 yards without significant trajectory drop
Just to avoid (or add?) further insult...

100 yards is the length of a football field... 150 yards is a football field and a half. If you have a gun shooting that far accurately without the bb dropping, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD LET US KNOW YOUR SECRETS....

But in all honesty, simple typo's = hilarity.
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:00 AM
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I don't think it was a typo. I think the original 200-250 yard figure was for a real rifle.
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:11 AM
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I think it was a typo, because a 200 yard shot is a close shot with iron sights for people in basic training (Marines and Army). Either way I get what he was trying to say, Airsoft sniper rifles just do not dramatically outrange their AEG brothers, and they would have to be significantly and maybe dangerously more powerful to fill their roll closer to the way a real steel sniper would.

To be honest though talking about it now is way out dated, the last sensible post in here was in August. At least you, Spartan-120, were more on point than some of the other stuff that I have seen get deleted out of here a little while ago... Something about midgets I think?
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:25 AM
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Execelent thread Blacksheep! this helped me alot and will be able to deff help the newer and older players thinking about being a DM
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:20 PM
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That's exactly what I've always tried to explain to people who are just getting into the game. I'd be willing to bet that 70% of new airsofters, at one time or another, want to be a sniper. They run out and buy their Well or UTG L96 and a scope, throw on some mossy oak camo, and expect to be making shots like you see in movies. I think it's mostly due to the fact that most kids don't realize just how boring and, well, unimportant an airsoft sniper is. They're just uninformed. One of the guys on me team did it. He insisted on buying an L96, upgrading it to like 550fps, and throwing on a ghille suit. I tried to tell him that if he wanted to get that thrill of a long range hit or being able to hit the enemy before they know what's happening, he should try a DM role. But he just had to be a sniper, and now he's stuck with a ghille suit and an L96 he never uses. He's got an Mp5 now, and I'm filling the DM role (Though I've had to use a JG G3 for a while now, because my last gun is fubar). Not that I mind, it's something I wanted to do anyway. My point is that these kids would save a lot of time and money if they just did a little research and listened when people tell them what a bad idea it is for a new airsofter to try to be a sniper. But I suppose at this point I'm flogging a dead horse,s o to speak. I hope at least a few people who want to be "uber awesome sniperz" read this thread and save themselves some time and money.
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