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Soldier team wins world sniper competition

Nov. 7, 2012 - 04:01PM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 7, 2012 - 04:01PM  |  
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A team from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit has won the 2012 International Sniper Competition.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Horner and Spc. Tyler Payne beat out 35 other teams from around the world to win the competition, which ended Wednesday at Fort Benning, Ga.

The AMU duo competed against teams from Ireland, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Denmark, Army Special Forces, the Air Force, Marine Corps and Army National Guard. State police teams from Las Vegas, Chicago and Florida also competed.

"It feels awesome to win," Horner said in a statement. "I've wanted to compete in this event my whole life. We didn't have a slot to compete in the last few years, so when we got in this year we trained hard the past few weeks to get prepared."

The competition, hosted by the U.S. Army Sniper School, featured 14 events, including sniper stalk, urban shooting and orienteering exercises, firing under stressful conditions, and other tests of marksmanship and sniper skills.

The 72-hour competition ran almost non-stop, with only two four-hour rest breaks in between.

"This was a challenging event," Payne said in a statement. "There were some real challenges out there. Many of the events had tight time constraints. Finding the targets was tough, especially at night."

Despite having seven shooting teams and a custom firearms shop, the Army Marksmanship Unit doesn't have a sniper team. It also doesn't teach sniper skills at any of its marksmanship training courses.

Horner is a five-time and current United States Practical Shooting Association Multi-Gun national champion, and Payne was a finalist at last year's 3Gun Nation championship.

In his statement, Horner credited time management as a big factor for their win.

"We are really good at getting a lot accomplished really quickly," he said. "There was no way you could physically get everything done in the time allotted, so it was who completed the most in the time they had."

Horner and Payne hope to be able to defend their title at next year's competition.

"I'm ecstatic about this win," Payne said. "We have wanted to shoot this for a long time, so to win it in our first year feels amazing. I really hope we get to come back next year and defend our title. I learned a lot from the other guys. It was a lot of fun."

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