Take a look at the results of our last poll and what people valued as the most important attribute for a sniper.
- Patience 33%, 189 votes189 votes 33%189 votes - 33% of all votes
- ALL THE ABOVE. IF YOU BAKE A CAKE, WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INGREDIENT?* 10%, 58 votes58 votes 10%58 votes - 10% of all votes
- All the above* 7%, 42 votes42 votes 7%42 votes - 7% of all votes
- The unbiased ability to objectively kill another human being. It doesn't matter how well you shoot. If you can't do that, you are not an asset to those you are assigned to protect.* 7%, 42 votes42 votes 7%42 votes - 7% of all votes
- all of the above* 6%, 34 votes34 votes 6%34 votes - 6% of all votes
- Wisdom 5%, 30 votes30 votes 5%30 votes - 5% of all votes
- Intelligence 5%, 28 votes28 votes 5%28 votes - 5% of all votes
- a willingness to learn* 5%, 27 votes27 votes 5%27 votes - 5% of all votes
- Fieldcraft in General 4%, 25 votes25 votes 4%25 votes - 4% of all votes
- Common Sense* 3%, 19 votes19 votes 3%19 votes - 3% of all votes
- The ability to think outside the box* 3%, 19 votes19 votes 3%19 votes - 3% of all votes
- Superior Marksmanship 3%, 19 votes19 votes 3%19 votes - 3% of all votes
- A large bank account 2%, 13 votes13 votes 2%13 votes - 2% of all votes
- Excellent Stalking Ability 2%, 9 votes9 votes 2%9 votes - 2% of all votes
- Exceptional Eyesight 1%, 7 votes7 votes 1%7 votes - 1% of all votes
- Posess what I call the switch. You can feel when it is on.* 1%, 5 votes5 votes 1%5 votes - 1% of all votes
- Discipline* 1%, 3 votes3 votes 1%3 votes - 1% of all votes
- Situational awareness* 0%, 2 votes2 votes2 votes - 0% of all votes
Remember, its only your opinion
While the winning option, patience, was not a surprise, it was a surprise by how much it out paced the others. It had more than 3x as many votes as the second place answer, which we have to say was more of a cop out. “All of the above”, while it is true they are all important, was straying away from the intent of the poll. But hey, we all can say we have selected the “all of the above” option on a multiple choice test at some point in our lives! Actually, if you look at the results, the “all of the above” option was put in there three times by different voters, but even if you add them all together, it still is nowhere near the votes for patience.
Ieyasu Tokugawa, the first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, is quoted as having said that “patience is the key to any battle”, and that is perhaps even more truthful with sniping than any means of warfare. During some training our team received an anecdote from an experienced sniper running as an OC. His thought was that the ideal sniper should be perfectly content with setting on a porch all day whittling on a stick. A sniper needs to be able to stay focused and attentive for long periods of time while doing very little, as if whittling. It makes sense.
The two answers “a willingness to learn” and “intelligence” ended up right next to each other in the voting and we thought they were good answers as well. There are expert snipers, and even legends, but there is no single sniper that knows everything and has moved beyond any additional need to learn. Our craft is constantly changing, whether through new technology, equipment or techniques, and we must be willing to learn along with the changing world. Just watching the dramatic shift in how snipers are utilized over the past 20 years has been remarkable. Intelligence helps in learning new things, but also helps with figuring things out when it all goes down the tube quickly. It also helps with the math involved with sniping.
The other answer worth noting, and one we had not considered, was the 4th highest vote getter: “The unbiased ability to objectively kill another human being.” When you consider it, this really is an import attribute. If a sniper cannot morally justify what they are doing, it will eventually tear them apart to the point that they can become a danger to themselves or others. This was one of the things that really set Chris Kyle apart. He never second guessed his moral compass or the kills he made.
The other answers were the typical ones and none of them really stood out from the others, though they are all important. So to conclude this discussion about the poll results, we will end with one of our favorite quotes here at Sniper Central to so eloquently describes snipers.
“Beware the fury of a patient man.”