The Ultimate Sniper: Navy SEALs vs… Insurance Salesmen?
Modern society is harder than you might think. It takes serious dedication to fuse your butt to the couch cushions on a regular basis. And yet, suffering brings such sweet release from the mental suffocation which comes from an overly comfortable lifestyle. Give your memory foam cushions amnesia with this arduous 3 to 4 day sniper competition. This isn’t some sort of pansy fad ghost pepper challenge, no, this is far worse… or better, depending on the sort of person you are.
Over duration of the event, competitors ranging from Navy SEALs to insurance salesmen gather wherever the Mammoth Sniper Challenge throws its gauntlet to test the limits of their mental, emotional and physical endurance.
Up for grabs is over $3000 in prizes for the exhausted winners. This intense competition takes place during the coldest months of locations like Kentucky (2017) and Georgia (2018). This is a sniper competition, not a precision rifle competition, and there’s a big difference. Shooting precision rifle might include shooting from comfortable prone positions or from sand bags with targets at known distances.
The Mammoth Sniper Challenge, however, gleefully forces competitors to shoot from awkward, unstable, and uncomfortable positions any sane shooter would avoid at all costs, but this the bread and butter of Combat Snipers and a key element of this challenge.
The course of fire is broken up into 3 divisions depending on the level of suck you and your partner think you can handle. The Open, and Regular divisions are for those who are not interested or not physically able to compete in the more arduous division. But the Tough Man division is only for those dedicated to that special form of enlightenment only available through intense physical suffering.
The main event is comprised of around 11 different unforgiving scenarios, carefully crafted to test the skills and fortitude of two-man teams consisting of a sniper and spotter. Each team rucks over 30 miles, traveling 1 to 5 miles from one shooting position to another with a deadline of 16-20 minutes per mile, so be prepared to put out. On reaching each stage there is a 10-minute briefing before the contestants are sent to shoot at ranges from 150 yards to over 1000 yards.
The Tough Man division of the competition requires competitors to ruck the whole course so get ready to put some miles on those dogs. Tough Man contenders don’t go back to the hotel for a hot meal and a warm bed at the end of each day, but instead spend the night on the course. For duration of the competition, you’ll undertake meticulously constructed missions resembling real life scenarios combat snipers might be required to tackle daily.
This division requires participants to stay in the field throughout the duration of the Challenge and carry on their backs all the gear they think they will need to survive in the harsh, artic like conditions which means gear selection is essential. As any seasoned sniper planning an OP will tell you, “Ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal pain”.
Anyone who considers his or herself significant competition carefully considers every possible way to reduce carried weight. Those nearly weightless boxes your ammo comes in? Gone. None essential gear straps? Better get rid of them if you want to hang with the best. The plastic your Military Grade MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) are packaged in? Rookie mistakes.
Pack light, but don’t forget anything vital. And don’t think you can bum some dry socks from your fellow competitors if you forgot extras, the rules clearly state you are not allowed to ask for any help during the challenge. The bottoms of your feet staying behind in your boots after removing them is not the time to wish you packed some mole skin for your blisters.
This is about you and your teammate against whatever is in front of you. You might not make it, many teams don’t. The 2017 Mammoth Sniper Challenge had 143 teams sign up, 43 were slated in The Tough Man division. Of those, only 18 teams finished.
If this sounds like your bag, you’ll want to think about training for this event. The most successful teams practice rucking miles every week in addition to their normal workout plans. They are constantly reevaluating their equipment, testing their shooting skills, and focusing their everyday activities in preparation for giving it their all. This is not the kind of competition which you can simply hop off your memory foam couch and hope to be competitive.
This is also a chance for you to practice with your gear and carry the pack you plan on bringing with you. You are sure to find hidden issues you will want to take care of before reaching the competition. Two days into the challenge is not the time to realize you didn’t break your boots in enough. That old proverb “train like you fight” applies here. Train like you compete.
And don’t forget to hit the range either. Even if you’re an experienced shooter, practicing shooting fundamentals will serve you well, especially if you practice in awkward positions. Start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Gadgets like laser range finders and the Kestrel 4500nv Applied Ballistics Meter are handy to have but plan on knowing how to perform without these if you need to. The newest tech isn’t illegal in the challenge, but if it goes down, have a plan to stay in the fight. You know, like a real sniper.
Someone might be asking themselves right now… “why?” If they’ve never had an adventure like the Mammoth Sniper Challenge this might appear to be masochism. And in a way, they’re right.
The pain which comes from an adventure like this is brief, but afterwards, intensely pleasurable.
In my experience, adventures are never fun when they’re happening. When you’re in it, all you can think about is how much it sucks, but afterwards, it’s all you can think about. For weeks, months, and sometimes years you’ll think about it and compare it to every minor inconvenience. It’s about finishing something you didn’t think you could. It’s about mastery over your environment, but more importantly, mastery over yourself.