The Browning .50 Machine Gun is an ancient and well respected workhorse for allied troops. Some variation of the old M2 has been in service since its inception before World War II. The gun is most often thought of as a sledgehammer of sorts, not a instrument capable of finesse. Yet a sniper just knocked down a jihadi from 1.5 miles out with a single shot from an M2.
The British sniper killed an Islamic State commander with a shot to the chest. “This feat is believed to be the first time the machine gun has been used for a sniper hit by the SAS,” The Daily Mail writes.
The shot was more than fatal. It killed the man instantly and removed his arm and shoulder. The target was reportedly on “a British and US kill list.”
The sniper who made the long shot didn’t break any distance records for confirmed sniper kills, but the gun he used is hardly a sniper rifle. Many of these machine guns are not even equipped with long range optics. The physical construction of the guns, from their rudimentary triggers to the design of their barrels, limit surgical precision.
Yet the SAS sniper was able to place a shot more than a mile away with a machine gun mounted on top a vehicle.
The SAS is rightfully proud. “His gun is being decommissioned and displayed in the elite unit’s Hereford headquarters,” DM adds.
There is still more to this story, though, that makes it more fantastic. “One source told the [Daily Mail] a special sight was fitted on the machine gun and a spotter then estimated wind speed.”
“He also took into account the heat of the day and the light,” the source said. “The image of his target was quite “watery” because of the heat being given off from the ground.”
The sight must have been special indeed. While the gun itself is capable, and the .50 round is lethal at much longer distances, the sniper would need to sight-in any optic added to the gun. That process typically involves firing test rounds.
Yet the spotter and sniper were confident enough to request permission for the shot from the Joint Special Operations Command in Kabul, who approved the kill.
“The Islamic State fighter seemed to be briefing his men as he stood addressing fighters for about 20 minutes,” DM’s source said.
“It took several seconds for the round to hit the commander who appeared to fly into several pieces. For a few seconds no-one moved. When they realized what had happened they got up and ran away.”