Before the release of the Hollywood movie about Navy Seal Chris Kyle, few people outside of family members knew of the level of training and psychological trauma associated with being a world-class sniper.
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In American Sniper, Kyle’s 160 confirmed kills are detailed, along with the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) he suffered upon returning home.
The world record for the longest sniper shot is held by British Army Corporal Craig Harrison, who killed two high level Taliban insurgents in 2009 from 1.54 miles away in Musa Qala, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The shot was approximately 3,000 ft beyond the stated maximum range of the Accuracy L115A3 sniper rifle he used. They remain the longest confirmed kills to this day.
In his book, The Longest Kill, Harrison shares the details of that day.
“All the evidence said that it couldn’t be done, this shot was impossible,” Craig stated, adding “At this range every variable came into effect – wind speed, temperature, humidity. Even the earth’s rotation in that six seconds would all affect the trajectory of the bullet. That’s a lot to think about.”
Craig missed the first time but fired again as the two Taliban desperately wheeled round looking for the source of the shot. Six seconds later the gunner slumped to the ground dead. He went on:
“I couldn’t believe it and had to fight an almost uncontrollable euphoria. “Keep calm”, I thought to myself. “Take out the other one”. In blink of an eye, I fired. Six long seconds later, I watched as the second collapsed.”
Unfortunately, like Kyle, Harrison suffered from PTSD as he was haunted by the thoughts of the people he had killed. To make matters worse, when he returned home to England, the army mistakenly released his name and he became a target for Taliban looking for revenge.
According to Daily Mail:
After a suicide attempt he left the Army because of stress and set about starting a new life making equipment for other snipers, who he calls the “ultimate professional soldier.”
Harrison says: “People couldn’t see what was swirling around in my mind. I could see every kill that I had made. Every day was a hell on earth.”
Watch the video of Harrison’s amazing shots below.