I was first bit by the bug May 2019 when I went to a Designated Marksman Rifleman class. It was not only challenging but it was something I wasn't good at it making me want to learn more and study it. The class was put on by a friend an peer Don Edwards of Greenline Tactical. The class was perfect start to my want to know more. As a teacher/instructor I am always a student soaking information and knowledge where ever I can.
After that class came the constant research and practice. That is when I realized I needed a rifle specifically for this purpose. So, I had one built (SPR Build) to be specific to shooting more precision. Luckily early 2020 I was invited to a Swat sniper school by one of the departments that I teach and consult for on a regular basis. This was a fantastic ground up course for 4 days on a bunch of challenging new things I didn't know.
With the Sniper school I felt very out guned with my SPR/DMR rifle. I used 5.56 77 gr BH and the snipers all used bolt action 7.62x51 (.308) using Hornady 168gr ELD. Some of the drills were very much suited to a bolt gun but I learned what I could and pushed through the class. I borrowed or played with their bolt guns and I again was hit by a wave of curiosity and want to earn more. So, I bought a bolt gun.
In May of 2020 I purchased a Tikka T3x Tac A1 16in chambered in .308. Some may ask why I didn't go with a 6.5 Creed or a 6mm but I wanted to learn and grow with the sport. Also I would get way more reps using .308 that I can "borrow" from all the agencies that I go shoot with. My Tikka was a very different monster from what I was used to and I was really excited to get learning. I attended every sniper training event I could as well as went on my own to shoot and practice. To add to it I joined Snipers Hide which is a wealth of information.
Then I was introduced to Modern Day Sniper run by Caylen Wojcik and Phil Velayo. They have a podcast that is a wealth of information and both seem to be on the same page when it comes to training/learning as I am. The constant learning I was able to get from them, local snipers, bros from Ranger batt that were snipers, and other resources have brought me to a constant want for more info. I feel like one of my newer students that wants to learn. I love the process of learning and discovery about myself on this journey.
With all of that said I ended up taking another DMR/SPR Class recently as well as some other sniper courses to gain even more knowledge. They are always full of new info due to this being a new hobby. To add to it I am discovering more about myself in the process of each class or range session. This is also where I push myself in other peoples drills and exercises. Leading to my want to try PRS or NRL competitions.
Currently at the writing of this I am signed up for Precision Rifle 101 in October with Modern Day Sniper in Washington and am more than excited to go. My practice on and off the range have come pretty far but I am still making mistakes every time. The need to create my process and commit it to memory is one of the things I see students struggle with and I am experiencing it myself once again. So diligent and deliberate practice is now almost a daily thing. Finding consistency is one of the things I have found myself faulting on. Below is a video where I didn't stay consistent and dialed the wrong dope. I realize it after 2 shots but it still bothered me.
Due to the mistake I have made myself a checklist that I can try to commit to memory as a go through. I am glad I caught that mistake on camera to share with others. Even as an instructor we make silly mistakes, but its how you handle and learn from them that counts. So, practice continues.