Sniper Shoots ISIS Fighter Dead From More Than a Mile Away With 40-Year-Old Gun

A British soldier from the elite Special Air Service shot and killed an ISIS commander from more than a mile away, in what is thought to be the best long-range shot in the regiment's 77-year history.

Using a a huge .50-caliber Browning machine gun that was nearly 40 years old, the unnamed sergeant, a veteran of Iraq and Syria, managed to hit the fighter directly in the chest with a shot that blew off the commander's arm and shoulder.

"The Islamic State commander was briefing his men, and clearly liked the sound of his own voice because he was standing still for a least 20 minutes while his fighters sat on the ground in front of him," a source familiar with the incident, which took place in June in Afghanistan, told The Daily Star Sunday.

A specialized Land Rover, equipped with a .50-caliber Browning heavy machine gun, a 7.62 general purpose machine gun and MILAN anti-tank missile systems, drives through the desert at Camp Commando, Kuwait, in February 2003. WO2 Giles Penfound/MOD/Getty Images

"It took several seconds for the round to hit the commander, who appeared to fly into several pieces. For a few seconds no one moved. When they realized what had happened, they got up and ran away," the source explained.

According to sources familiar with the operation, the sergeant had to take into account the wind speed and the heat of the day, as well as the intense light. The view of the target was described as "quite watery" through the gun's scope, due to heat coming off the ground.

"The .50-cal has got a phenomenal range and is very accurate even though it is almost 40 years old," the source said. "It can be fired on single shot. The sniper fitted a special sight to the machine gun and got a spotter to estimate the wind speed."

According to Metro, the patrol unit had other sniper rifles but believed the decades-old gun would be the best option for hitting the target. To commemorate the impressive shot, the gun has been flown home and decomissioned, the publication reported.

A French army soldier of the 2nd Regiment Marine Infantry watches through the scope of a PGM heavy sniper rifle, near the Forward Operating Base Tora, in Surobi, Afghanistan, on January 21. JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images

It was described as the best long-range shot in the British unit's history. But a Canadian sniper set a significantly longer record last year.

In June 2017, the Canadian Armed Forces confirmed that one of its snipers had shattered the world record for the longest confirmed kill shot in military history, at a distance of 3,540 metres (2.2 miles), The Globe and Mail reported.

"The Canadian Special Operations Command can confirm that a member of Joint Task Force 2 successfully hit a target at 3,540 metres," said the forces in an official statement. The unit was operating in Iraq, and the target was also an ISIS militant.