Going vertical: NATO snipers getting some high-angle shooting practice (PHOTOS)

Sniper teams from eight NATO countries recently visited Austria to use the Alps for some specialized training — and the images are epic.

The teams — from Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, and the U.S. — completed the high-angle portion of a two-week course held at Austria’s Hochfilzen Training Area last month. Lt. Alexander Rishovd, a sniper instructor with the Norwegian Army, explained that the concept involves shooting further than 300 meters at angles greater than 15 degrees.

“Imagine the whole shooting process being a triangle and the sniper is on top, the line of sight to the target at the other end is greater than the distance the bullet travels in a flat line,” said Rishovd in a release from U.S. Special Operations Command Europe. “With the greater the angle the more the deviation between the line of sight and the distance that gravity has to affect the bullet.”

With the geometry of the shot different from normal engagements over flat terrain, teams had to get in touch with their math in order to figure out the correct bullet drop, sometimes operating at elevations above 2,000 meters.

“Each degree of angle will have an associated number value called its cosine,” said Rishovd. “For snipers shooting at high-angles, they need to measure the range to the target in line of sight and multiply it by the cosine get the actual range the bullet is going to fly. Then the sniper will set his bullet drop compensation from that distance.”

Further, in such a beautiful part of Europe, the released photos from the event look like they came right from a postcard, but with a bonus sniper team inserted.

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