Acoustic sniper detection

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

Sven has blogged about recent developments and challenges in working out a snipers’ location from the sound generated by the sniper rifle.

The most successful technical principle in use is apparently based on triangulating the sonic boom of rifle bullets. The technology is relatively similar to the artillery sound ranging since about 1916, radio direction finding, radar receiver, sonar receiver and passive radar warning/direction finding.

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Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • Sven Ortmann Sven Ortmann on Mar 30, 2009

    @Matt Gromm:
    You didn't follow the link, did you? :-)
    Btw, a mile is an extremely optimistic distance for subsonic, non-explosive projectiles.

    @Sean Nack:
    You certainly had a very different system. Mortar rounds are subsonic and cause no sonic boom - the phenomenon on which most if not all acoustic counter sniper sensors depend.
    Sound ranging the shots (muzzle noise) is a very old technique (First World War), still in use and indeed best used in flat, dry terrain.

    @Less:
    The sound of a police of ambulance siren varies depending on whether the vehicle is still far away, closing in, passing you or moving away. That's the doppler effect.
    The same effect works with bullet sonic boom - three bullets would thus sound differently even if their sound arrives at the microphones at the same time.
    The doppler should enable a well-programmed device to differentiate between multiple shots if they are reasonably spaced in direction and time.

  • Cmathews Cmathews on Mar 31, 2009

    If you are dealing with an experienced shooter(s) they could simply target the detection device as well. You can't use the detector if it has a round lodged in it.

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