AMA! Take your best shot!

Hello everyone my name is Rob Furlong and I’m a former record-holding sniper rifleman. Back when I was a Corporal for Canadian sharpshooting six-man Recon Sniper Cell with 3 P.P.C.L.I. based out of CFB Edmonton I took out a Taliban fighter from 2,430 metres away while covering U.S. allies in the mountains of Afghanistan. The Taliban fighter was carrying a machine gun up a mountain trail in an attempt to get above the U.S. forces for an ambush.

I now run a Marksmanship Academy in Edmonton, Canada where shooters of all levels and backgrounds can come to take their training to new heights with world class training from world class instructors who have worked, trained and served in Military and Law Enforcement roles. You can visit our website here:

I’m doing an AMA this week in conjunction with a new sniper game that was released yesterday called Sniper Elite 3. The game scored an 8.2/10 on IGN. You can find out more about the game here:

Alright, ask me anything!


Comments: 129 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

VivaLaVodkaa22 karma

What factors did you have to take into account before taking the 1.5 mile shot? Are those long shots really how the movies portray them? Also, I'm wondering how you felt right before the shot.

RobertFurlong22 karma

Environments are the most important consideration when doing long range shooting, so your environmentals are your elevation, your angle. The long shots are portrayed by the productions as a simulation as there is always a little bit of Hollywood attitude added. You are just concentrating on your job, there is nothing in your mind other than that task.

Cantbelosingmyjob15 karma

Hi Mr Furlong,

I am aspiring to be a sniper in the marines soon I just have a few questions.

How rough is the training to be a sniper I know it's one of the hardest, which is one of the reasons I want to be one, but what's the training like?

I have glasses will that hold me back as at all even if I were to get corrective surgery on my eyes?

How hard is calculating the wind speed/drag and fall of the bullet?


RobertFurlong18 karma

First off, I can't comment on the Marines course, but I can give you my perspective on the Canadian side of things. You're right, it is extremely difficult, not only are the physical demands high but the mental capacity of the person and if they are able to operate as a sniper: intelligence level, natural ability as a shooter, eyesight, non-smoker, etc. Re: glasses, as long as the time in between surgery and service isnt too long, I don't see it being a factor. It is really about how bad your eyesight is. With corrective lenses, it would be difficult to operate as a sniper. Correcting for wind is the most difficult part of long range shooting. This is only learned through training and practice. There is no real set way or equation you can use to get an exact correction for wind every single time.

Cantbelosingmyjob4 karma

Wow thank you. Just one more question

Did you acquire most of your marksman training before your enlistment?

I've never had anyone to take me out and shoot I've always been a good shot but not great. Do you think the lack of past with guns will affect my ability? Or my progress to say be as great as you.

RobertFurlong8 karma

No. Any marksman capability I had before the armed forces would have been just natural. Re: the 2nd part of your question, absolutely not. As a sniper instructor, my favorite students are those who haven't had bad habits before they take their training. Just because you haven't had any precision rifle training does not mean you won't make a great marksman once you complete military sniper training.

Murica-WeThePeople12 karma

What is your view on open carry in America?

RobertFurlong33 karma

As a non-American, I am very proud of you having that right in your country. Concealed carry is definitely a crime deterrent. Criminals are less likely to commit a violent act against someone they believe may be armed.

will_delmar12 karma

Do you ever worry that your fame might make you a target for Taliban or their sympathizers? How do you feel about being a famous sniper? Overall, is it a positive or negative?

RobertFurlong20 karma

Although it's something I don't lose sleep over, there is always that chance that there could be an act of revenge. There are things put in place for that sort of thing, but anybody who serves in the military or law enforcement takes a risk when standing against people like this. Re: being a famous sniper, positive. I take it very seriously. I take it as an onus upon myself in the Canadian sniper community.

otterom11 karma

I initially thought you were the kid actor from Terminator 2. Are you?

RobertFurlong20 karma

No. Edward Furlong has way more hair than I do.

BordersRanger0110 karma

Have you ever missed an important shot ?

RobertFurlong15 karma


AlexBerghe8 karma

What was the worst experience in your career ? :D

RobertFurlong26 karma

My recon course. This was the most physically demanding thing I have ever experienced. No food or sleep for 5 days (water only) was extremely difficult, our backpacks weighted 100 pounds. Very mentally and physically demanding. At the end of the 5 days, you are given a potato and a live chicken.

dirtyrottenshame8 karma

All I can say - as a fellow Canadian, is Wow. Just Wow. Hope you had a great Canada Day, and thanx for your service!

RobertFurlong5 karma

Thanks for the support!

littlegreenarmy7 karma

How the army dicked him and his team after that op. An American General showed up to give them bronze stars and the Canadians were like "sorry sir, those guys are under investigation and are kinda in lock up. Care for some shitty TOC coffee?" But I want there so I'm just guessing...

RobertFurlong10 karma

Although there was an investigation into the other sniper team that deployed with us, this investigation by no means diminished what I believe was outstanding work done by our teams. The decision by Canadian military to hold back the American awards was more of a political decision rather than one of punishment.

ChokeMeiLikeIt8 karma

Once you reach a skill level as high as yours, is shooting at shorter ranges respective to your skill set still entertaining for you? How do you keep yourself challenged on regular basis?

RobertFurlong7 karma

Yes, very much so. Working on marksmanship principles such as trigger control, breathing, the basics are what's important to make a good shooter.

knack267 karma

Have you ever taken a shot that resulted in a kill that you regretted taking, and why?

RobertFurlong20 karma


LimaRomeo5 karma

When you were in training, did you ever go to training courses in other countries and with snipers from other services/countries? How was the experience? Best and worst experiences?

RobertFurlong12 karma

Yes. As a sniper, you will often train with snipers from other parts of the world. The opportunity to train with other countries is great as it expands on skills and tactics. Best experience would have to be with my American and Australian counterparts doing some cross training. The skill sets, tactics and lessons learned were shared by all three countries were phenomenal. Worst experience? Training with some British SS guys. At the conclusion of the week, we turned in our kits or what we thought was the end of the week, we were roughed up, blindfolded, and transported to an unknown area where we had to conduct a 3 day E and E exercise.

elsumocat4 karma

have you ever had to operate in an urban environment, and if so is how does it differ from operating in the countryside / mountains, etc.?

RobertFurlong7 karma

Yes, I have had to operate in those areas. The biggest difference is the use of hide's. The ability to stay concealed is much more difficult than when you are operating in a rural wooded area.

iceBlueRabbit3 karma

What sidearm did you have, and did you ever have to use it?

RobertFurlong6 karma

We carried two: there was a Browning high powered and a Sig, neither of which we used in combat. All of our engagements were at long range.

NotYouDude3 karma

Why did you choose a to become a soldier/sniper? Was that something you'd always wanted to do?

RobertFurlong3 karma

Yes, I have always wanted to be a soldier. It wasn't until I joined the Canadian military, that I realized my marksmanship capabilities. The path of a sniper just seemed to produce itself and I saw it as a challenge.

NotYouDude1 karma

But what made you want to be a soldier originally? I mean compared to any number of other professions it's not really... pleasant. I expect you're happier with your current job then you were in the military (but please correct me if I'm wrong). I've always just be interested in the sorts of people that take on these very emotionally, physically, mentally draining careers.

RobertFurlong6 karma

To be honest, there is not a day that I don't miss serving as a soldier. The choice to become a soldier was an easy one, as it was something I always aspired to. I was always a very outdoors-type person at a young age and enjoying hunting, camping, and later in life, firearms, so it only seemed like a natural transition.

FroggFace3 karma

I have a couple questions?
Most memorable shot? (not including the record winning shot)
Any shots you wish you could re-do?
What is your favorite classic rifle, or Which do you own if any?

RobertFurlong8 karma

Probably that final shot I took on my basic sniper course to get qualified as a sniper. Hearing that sound on the round, striking steel was one I will never forget. Yeah, I wish I could re-do all the shots I've missed. I am not really a classic rifle collector type, I am more into high precision rifles.

littlegreenarmy3 karma

Is it true that snipers polish their rounds? Clean ammo means clean gun means clean hit, or something to that effect?

RobertFurlong9 karma

I am unaware of any snipers who actually polish the projectile, but as a sniper you would be aware of any blemish or dirt buildup that would have to be removed. No, we do not polish our bullets.

azn_beef2 karma

For a shot that far (or any shot in particular), how much do you have to attribute to chance (I won't say luck because that makes it sound like you rely on luck). For instance, no matter how skilled you are as a Sniper, as a higher up or an officer, what are the chances that you go with that your Sniper's shot will miss or hit?

RobertFurlong7 karma

With any big feat in history, chance has always played a little bit of a factor. However, when you go down to the core, that record sprint (whatever it is), it comes down to training and how much time they put into that art. It is difficult to put a percentage on your hit ratio based on how many factors that come up, distance, range and environmentals.

wolfyr2 karma


What did you feel like on your first mission? Also, how did you feel when you got your first successful shot as a sniper?


RobertFurlong5 karma

My first mission as a sniper was a mix of excitement and nervousness. The range of emotions felt by a young and new sniper operator can be overwhelming at times until the training kicks in and you become focused on the mission at hand.

Packersrule1232 karma

How much training does it take to be able to hit anything that far away, or even half that far? And did you know you had the guy when you took the shot?

RobertFurlong8 karma

At that point, I had been training for the role of a sniper for about 5 years. I don't think it's possible to give anybody a set time frame for them to build skills as a long range shooter, as we all learn at different rates. It takes dedication and practice. The longer you put into your training, the more efficient you'll become. When engaging the target with .50 cal, at that range, there is no mistaking that the target has been struck.

ChokeMeiLikeIt2 karma

Love the last line to this answer.

To expand on the question, on a long distance shot where there is some time between the round firing and the target being hit, do you know if it was a good shot as soon as you fire? Or, due to so many outside influences like the environmentals as you described above, can you do everything right, feel like it was a good shot, and not hit the target?

RobertFurlong5 karma

Yes, when a shot is released, the sniper knows if he has followed the marksmanship principles close enough that all human error was eliminated. But, it is almost impossible for you to feel that it's going to be a good shot based on environmentals. Just because a sniper follows through with good marksmanship principles and has done everything to eliminate the environmental factors, you can still miss a target.

StarkRadio2 karma


RobertFurlong3 karma

No, I was not fascinated with them. My first air rifle was at the age of 10 or 11. Practice and training is how you develop skills. It is an extremely perishable skill so you have to practice or it will deteriorate, rendering you ineffective.

zaikanekochan1 karma

There are many high-powered, uber-expensive rifles out there. I want to ask you about the opposite of those. What are your thoughts on the good 'ol Mosin-Nagant?

RobertFurlong4 karma

My thoughts are that was an elite gun during that time, it was very effective. To this day, I still know highly trained individuals who will shoot these rifles for pure enjoyment on their own time. That is how accurate this rifle is.

suckseggs1 karma

What are you feelings towards being known for a shot like that? Is it bittersweet because of how it was done?

RobertFurlong5 karma

I mean, you accept being known as someone who has had such an accomplishment. It's part of that job and operating at high levels there are times where successes at missions are leaked to the public and if they are it's part of the job.

CalculatingFool1 karma

Do you collect antique/World War 2 era rifles? What are your favorite rifles not from the modern era?

RobertFurlong2 karma

I don't collect. I have very little interest in classic rifles. Everything I do is around precision and shooting as accurate as possible. I prefer shooting modern day precision rifles.

NorbitGorbit1 karma

is there anything they leave out of games in terms of accuracy for fear that it will encourage something bad?

RobertFurlong6 karma

There is a lot of things that are left out. The actual process the sniper would take, to ensure it is accurate, isn't a process that takes seconds. Therefore if they were to implement the whole process of what a sniper goes through to take a shot, the game would become quite boring and time consuming.

Ex_Astri1 karma

What rifle did you use?

RobertFurlong3 karma

McMillan TAC .50

Therealpleasurer-7 karma

Hi Mr.Furlong, this might be a weird question but what are some tips you can give for in-game sniping? It might be a weird/childish question but I love being a sniper in video games. Now games like Call Of Duty and stuff. Mostly Battlefield 3 or Arma. Thanks!

EDIT: These games also have bullet drop etc...

RobertFurlong8 karma

I don't know, maybe cheat codes from the designer. I'll see what I can do to hook you up, ha.

MiserableLuckface-8 karma

What do you know about robotic laser sniper rifles? Are they tight?

RobertFurlong8 karma

I am unaware of robotic laser sniper rifles.