Friday, February 16, 2018

The Father of Marine Corps Snipers

At our monthly club meeting last night, the guest speaker was Major Jim Land. Major Land was the Marine that started and built the modern Marine Corps sniper program. He started with a dozen scoped Garands (M1-D) and a dozen hunting rifles he acquired from Special Services on U.S. bases and built the first sniper team in Vietnam.

He brought a collection of military sniper rifles, starting with a 1917 manufactured 1903 Springfield on up through the M40A6 that is in use in Afghanistan today, and spoke of the evolution of the equipment.

He had stories to tell of his time as a competitive marksman for the Marines as well as his experience leading a team of snipers that included Carlos Hathcock.

Here's another article about him and his experiences from American Rifleman.

Even the blanket he put his rifles on could have been the subject of an interesting presentation.


Borepatch said...


Someone should video him and put it on Youtube.

Tom in NC said...

I'm jealous! hearing someone like Maj. Land speak is an honor and privilege - no better authority on USMC sniping. There has been so much mis-information floating around about USMC sniping over the years, he's one person that can be believed without reservation.

And yes, the stories around those patches and the units they represent would make an interesting series of stories.

As for the rifles in the picture, I would love to be able to ask Carlos his opinion about the more recent variants of the M40. I'll be he'd think they are too heavy and the stocks too much resemble 'canoe paddles'. He said one time that the nice thing about the M40 and M40A1 was their relative lack of "geegaws" hanging off them that would snag on vegetation. Of course, that may not be as much of a problem in today's world of urban and desert AO's.