Royal Marines sharpshooters test marksmanship

Hidden in the undergrowth of Dartmoor, the sharpest shooters in the Royal Marines have competed against each other in a test of their world-class marksmanship.

Snipers from around 3 Commando Brigade gather annually to share tactics, techniques, procedures, plus discuss updates on kit, equipment and weapons.

It’s also a chance for snipers to complete advanced training, using a range of the weapons in their arsenal to hit targets of various sizes and at different distances on the moor’s training area.

The crack shot with the most hits from the shoot is awarded the Hutton Trophy, an award named in honour of Royal Marines sniper Marine Jamie Hutton, nicknamed ‘The Colonel’, who died in 2008.

It is given to the top marksmen using pistol, SA80 and .338 and is one of the focal points of the training. 

“The Brigade Sniper Concentration is essential in bringing together knowledge and understanding from across the scout sniper specialisation so that we can develop sniping in line with the rapid developments associated with Future Commando Force across the wider corps,” said the Officer Commanding of 42 Commando’s Sniper Troop.

“As a force multiplier, the role of the sniper has never been more relevant which is why it is so important that we raise our standards of marksmanship and skills through competition at the concentration.”

The expert commandos are among those to have completed the 13-week sniper course at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines – which is widely acknowledged as one of the hardest military training courses in the world – and deploy on missions around the world.

Snipers from 42 Commando are currently on board Royal Navy warships and as maritime snipers are trained to shoot from Wildcat helicopters at the engine blocks of drugs running go-fasts, helping prevent the smuggling of narcotics.

Fellow sharpshooters from allied nations were due to attend this year’s meet but were unable to because of Covid-19, so snipers from 42 Commando, 40 Commando and from Commando Training Centre were those who headed for Dartmoor this time around.

The live shoots included using the L129A1 Sharpshooter, SA80, L115A3 .338, and Glock 17, which all contributed to the Hutton Trophy totals.

The skills side of the training saw pairs working together on a live stalk – staying undetected and moving into a position unseen to take down a target – plus an observation test, live break contact and unknown distance shoot.

Awards were presented by the Commanding Officer of 42 Commando, Lieutenant Colonel Doug Pennefather, to the winner of the Hutton Trophy and the best and runner-up pairs. 

Royal Marines are currently undertaking a bold modernisation project – known as the Future Commando Force programme – which will overhaul the way world famous Green Berets operate around the globe.

Under the Future Commando Force programme more Royal Marines will operate from the sea, utilising new and innovative technology as high-readiness troops, forward deployed and ready to react, whether that’s war-fighting, specific combat missions such as commando raids, or providing humanitarian assistance.

 

The Brigade Sniper Concentration is essential in bringing together knowledge and understanding from across the scout sniper specialisation so that we can develop sniping in line with the rapid developments associated with Future Commando Force across the wider corps

Officer Commanding of 42 Commando’s Sniper Troop