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I'm working on building a Designated Marksman program for my agency. We are a rural Sheriff's Office in Kansas. I've spoke to admin briefly about the topic but for the most part they are long removed from the road and don't agree on the need, so I'm fighting an up hill battle. Speaking to some of my partners the primary need's we've observed are as follows;

We regularly serve high risk/narcotics warrants in our rural areas and frequently encounter driveway's in excess of 200 yards long. Being in the deer capital of Kansas every meth head in the county has a scoped option, while we are limited to AR's with red dots for a "long range" option.

The second scenario we've come up with is this, typically in a major incident (barricaded subject, hostage situation, etc) our department protocol is to contact a swat team from the city. Problem being that the nearest team is a 45 minute drive running code. In the meantime, we are the team, and if things escalate, we need to have the options available to address the situation.

I've been working on building my own scoped option as time and a leo budget will allow. Our agency is pretty good about recognizing that they cant always provide us the best equipment and will allow us to use personal equipment to certain extents. My plan so far has been to build my own kit and hopefully be able to demonstrate the necessity for a scoped option in the field during our trainings and through other trainings I've attended. If there is anybody else that has ran into similar issues or build a program I can use all the input I can get. Also looking for any tips on training/gear/equipment on a budget.

Current set up is a Rem 700 .308 with the heavy barrel option. Looking at the Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 or the Sig Tango 4 as a scope option (Fan of vortex, but have a good source on Sig that can help a ton with pricing). Will be in the market for a bipod. Any gear recommendations are greatly appreciated. I have a couple of teams I'm going to start travelling to train with soon, but I've got to get a functional kit going first.

Thanks in advance




Original Post

So having been in your position for the last eight years and having similar working environment, I was going down the same road you are; however I changed roads last year.

I submitted a policy and course of fire to allow the carrying of rangemaster approved bolt and semi rifles with scopes about 4 years ago. It went nowhere.  So after carefully reviewing policy, I noted nothing prohibited scoping patrol rifles.  Ergo, now I have .308 and 5.56 patrol rifles in my unit; the 5.56 carries a 1-4, while the .308 carries a 2.5-10 PST/G1. I'm almost to leaving the .308 at home though.

As there's no definitive data about the uses of patrol rifles like the Police Sniper Survey, I structured last year's carbine maintenance training a bit differently; I used the data from the PSS including how roughly 95% of police sniper shootings occur within 200 yards, almost 50/50 daylight versus low light, 50/50 for head versus body shots. We set up 1/2- size IPSC steel targets at 100-300 yards with their patrol rifles and had all our officers shoot from various positions during dusk. 

I explained how Low Powered Variable Optics are a game-changer for rural law enforcement and let them play around with some. Those who bought in noted how much easier it was to get hits by being able to dial up magnification. Switched on guys thought it was good stuff; recalcitrant deputies were recalcitrant deputies. 

I mention this as it's an easier sell, rather than trying to get more/bigger guns, plus optics, plus training, plus ammo. Guys who are interested can invest themselves, if you can't get the department to fund your project.

Just my two pesos.

Last edited by Community Member


My team rolls with 4 snipers max.  It was my proposition to train up a handful of DM's that would cross-train with snipers quarterly.  My objective was to:

1) Have a feeder system for prospective snipers

2) Have additional perimeter support to relieve snipers for other tasks if necessary

3) Act as spotters/security if 4 sniper positions were required so snipers wouldn't have to deploy alone.

Ultimately, the project fizzled.  One good thing to come out of it was shedding the light on the alarming deficiencies of several team members and their AR15's.  I don't think a team member should have to be a sniper or DM to facilitate some of the possible scenarios that exist inside 200y.  Yes, mini binos and LPVO's will help a squared away guy a lot.  The question you may have to ask yourself is this a hardware solution to a hardware problem?  In our case, we had a skill/training and man power problem.

Pointblank I'd say its honestly a bit of both. We have about 14 commissioned Deputies. I'd say about half of us are very capable, take our training seriously, and work to improve. The other half are Rods or admin that shoot their annual qual and go home. Manpower is always an issue for us. A scoped option has just been a bug in the back of several of our heads for a while.  We regulary train at 150-200 and can get our hits. A lot of it is a man power/skill issue. But I think a lot of us would feel better on those long approaches knowing we had a magnified option covering our tails and watching for/addressing threats should they present themselves

Last edited by Community Member
hile posted:
Post Car posted:

Our state certifying entity limits the power of the optics we can use, specifically anything above (I believe) 4x requires an actual sniper school and slot.  So, our patrol guys can run up to a 4x or variable etc without an issue.

That's something that makes no sense to me as long as there's a 1X on the low end.

LE is a strange and mystifying realm sometimes.  I "think" the issue here is long range firepower is something we don't do a lot of.  Some places are lucky to shoot patrol rifles past 100yrds.  My agency allows us up to 200yrds just to get a feel for what it's like but we zero and qualify from 100yrds in.

From a purely strategic point of view, having something like a 1-6 or 1-8 on a patrol rifle just for the intel gathering purposes would be awesome.  The issue then becomes precision shooting.  To invest the time and training in someone to become a true precision shooter (never mind the field craft) needs a proper school and sustainment training...something station commanders aren't going to send just any officer to, not when higher ups are clamering for more traffic stops and productivity and cutting ammo/range time.  So it falls to the SWAT teams who have the time to send and sustain a precision shooter...our SWAT teams in the state are tracked at the state level.  Every deployment or use, so there is a vested interest in quality control in what people are doing and what they are using.

Instead of starting a new thread, figured I’d piggy back on this one.  similar type scenario w/ similar type terrain, very rural w/ municipalities.


Looking for some advice on caliber selection.


All patrol div has ARs; mixed bag of barrel lengths; 20” 16” 10.5”.  All have Aimpoint PROs.  Because of the different barrel lengths & twists we are using 55gr SP


We have 4 DMs, 2 are on a multi-jurisdictional SWAT using 10.5” w 3x magnifiers. 2 not on the team use 16” w/ a vortex 1-6 & a trijicon 1-4.  That manpower ratio of 2 on team & 2 off team will probably stay for a while.  DMs use the same ammo as the rest of patrol.


No .308 bolt guns in house, never had them.  Recent events/call out had DMs being limited in confidence by high angle, distance & wind conditions.


Knowing what you all know now, If you could start from scratch & didn’t necessarily have to worry about funding (just for these 4 DMs) , would you;

A: stick w/ 5.56 & go with heavier 70+ grain bullets


B: go with semi auto 7.62


C: go with semi auto 6.5CM


I’ve read a bunch of threads here as well as open source on 6.5CM vs. .308....if you go with option B, are we going to kick yourself in a few years wishing you went w/ Option C.  Or do you stay w/ option A....


If the once in a career call out comes, what caliber semi-auto DM rifle would you want to take or if you are doing entry what do you want the DM doing your overwatch to have? 

I took a DM/SPR class from Ridgeline Training earlier this year. Per the instructors if training time and cost will only be once a month (like a lot of LE sniper teams), stick with a .223/5.56 AR vs.  .308.  The reasoning being large frame gas guns are less forgiving in terms of application of fundamentals.  I've seen snipers who are good bolt gun shooters struggle with large frame semi's.  After a few days of solid training, the accuracy/consistency gap between bolt vs. large frame gas guns closes, but then will quickly open up again without consistent follow-on training.  

For 5.56 ammo: if distance & wind are common factors to account for in your deployment situations, a higher weight/BC bullet will be recommended.  At 100 yards you won't see much of a difference.  However, at 200 yards in a 7-10 MPH wind you will see a significant  difference in wind deflection between a 55 grain SP (.222 published G1 BC) vs. say a 75 grain Gold Dot (~.330 G1 BC from my personal experience)  or 77 SMK (~ .360 G1 BC) .  

If you go large frame, as of now a .308 over 6.5 CM is recommended due to ammo selection and logistics.  .308 has a wider array of established rounds that are good for barrier penetration.  Not a whole lot of data out there for 6.5 CM vs. glass.  Also, 6.5 CM has a significantly shorter barrel life (~2500-3000 vs. 5000 +) and agencies are typically not good at keeping up with round counts and having spare barrels/uppers on hand to replace old ones.  

As far as what I would want doing over watch:  a rifleman behind a reliable system who has trained his butt off and KNOWS the capabilities of his rifle and ammo. 

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