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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Default Vehicle Sniper Hide (experiment)

    As part of my training session on Friday I wanted to work on development and practice of vehicle hide TTPs. Historically the IRA used vehicles as sniper hides with some success in Northern Ireland, then of course there are the two Murderers in the DC area in 2002, and more recently we have seen this same technique used by several insurgent snipers in Iraq.
    Obviously there are many ways to skin a cat and this cat is no different than any other. I didn’t just want to sit and approach this topic academically and “what if” or “you could” it to death as so often happens with topics. I went out and did it as an experiment. So as to gain a baseline of real information to start the topic.

    So ideally a suppressed rifle would be preferred for this application. However a guerrilla may have a difficult time procuring those types of items. The insurgent snipers in Iraq have lined the inside of a van with mattresses to help suppress the report of a rifle shot. I liked the idea but to line a vehicle with mattresses could be suspicious.

    The Experiment: What I did was make a sound absorbing chamber, that would also double as a blind. Basically I used a long cardboard box and lined it with closed cell “ripple” foam. I cut a loophole in the bottom of the box.
    As a vehicle I used a 15 passenger van for this experiment. (In practice a guerrilla might steal any type of vehicle that would blend into the area he is operating) The seats were removed and a small card table was set-up in the back of the van as a platform to set the shooting chamber on. The table and the chamber were angled so that the loophole faced the front left, from between the seats and out the driver’s side window.
    Other large empty boxes filled in the open areas in the van to conceal the shooter from view outside the van.
    The shooting chamber took approximately 15min “onsite” to make out of readily available materials. Then another 5min to place the other boxes into the right places inside of the van.
    Once the van was ready a target was set up and it was parked on the range road so that the target was visible thru the loophole in the shooting chamber. The target was 320m away “an average urban engagement distance” I engaged the target with 2 rounds to the head and 1 round to the center mass of the body. My shooting buddy stood outside of the van approximately 20m away to determine the effectiveness of the shooting chamber to muffle or distort the rifle report. The conclusion he came to was that it was significantly reduced in both the noise and the ability to determine where the shot came from. These effects would likely be accented in an urban environment due to all of the other noise and ground clutter to help distort the sound farther.
    Shooting a high power rifle from the small confines of the vehicle and even more so the shooting chamber, was not at all uncomfortable. I wore foam earplugs and a pair of peltor comtrac II earmuffs.


    More to follow
    T.
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    Last edited by SUA SPONTE; 09-05-2009 at 05:30 PM.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2006
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    My concussion from this experiment is that it is indeed a very viable technique for the guerilla sniper. The tactics to employ it is all that would need to be refined.

    Cheers
    T.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Qld, Australia.
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    Interesting set up you have there and I like it. One question: With the muzzle well inside the foam cell, was the cardboard folded down in front of the foam, enough to hold the front piece from being blasted away from the two shots? I should imagine you would have to tape the cardboard up reasonably secure to stop blast damage.

    TB
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  4. #4
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    The front of the box was taped closed with box tape, the same way as you would tape any other box closed. After the 3rd shot there was no sign of the lids being disturbed.

    Cheers
    T

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dedford, Oregon.
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    Niiiiiiice bro. I am loving this experiment. I bet a V.H. could be done from all sorts of vehicles too. Really good stuff. all you have to do is paint something like "St.Mary's Church Choir" on the side of the van and youre GTG. :D

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Eastern Oregon
    Posts
    333

    Default Nice Job

    From a purely academic standpoint that is some very nice testing. I would like to add the following ideas for the next evolution. Video the vehicle and see if there are any tell tale signs of the pressure being released. Cardboard was observed to see if it moved it did not. A sound meter would be fun to see what additions or deletions result in what dB changes. I wish I was close I am in E Oregon.

    Very nice experiment.

    Regards;

    Steve
    Last edited by SteveOR; 09-06-2009 at 02:44 PM.
    Hope we meet in Prescott next year.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2007
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
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    Now this is a practical experiment and it furthers the discussion. Excellent!
    God is God, and I am not.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    1,751
    Vehicles make a great choice and solve many issues regarding how much gear one can carry and how quickly one can escape. I'd go with a classic soccer-mom minivan in most cases. Larger vans, Recreational vehicles, 18-wheelers, moving trucks - even cars can provide more options. The "Beltway Sniper" shot from the trunk of his car - removing the tail-light if I'm not mistaken. You could even have a team of snipers inside an RV or trailer to hit multiple targets.

    Suppressors are a must in my opinion. Playing loud music could also help to hide the fact a shot was fired. Think the typical teenage punk-mobile with the base thumping. That would easily hide the report of most shots.

    The ability to MOVE fast and far is the key to success as a modern day guerilla sniper. Hiding in a mobile mini van solves a lot of problems.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Steve, We wanted to use a decibel meter for the experiment but our Safety (OSHA) Officer was out of town so I couldn't get one. Perhaps if at some point we decide to perform this experiment again we will certainly include that data.

    Dragon- You are part right the Muhammad the beltway shooter cut a notch out of the back of the car over the license plate then stuffed a rag in it when not in use. But same idea.

    The possibilities are near endless. One of the limitations that I discovered was with the size of the loophole, balancing maximum field of view while keeping the loophole small enough to stay concealed. The good thing about the cardboard shooting box was that the loophole could be easily enlarged if a grater FOV was needed once at your final firing position. Also if your looking to overwatch a specific target, it may in some instances difficult to find a location to park that would not draw attention.

    Cheers
    T

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dedford, Oregon.
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    516
    I wonder if as a GS it wouldnt be prudent to carry a small metal cutting tool like mini-Tin snips or something that could cut thru a car body with you, so as to cut a small hole for quick vehicle hide on the fly. For example, you see the abandoned car on the Highway, or even a parked car that isnt yours, you break in, you get in the trunk, cut out a portion of the body, OR the tail light, and begin target Acq.

    Just a thought.

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