Spotter/Sniper dialogue


Jun 25, 2018
I only made it about halfway through the video before puking in my mouth a little bit. In my experience every schoolhouse has a set verbage they would like to have you use. It's probably different for each one. After that it boils down to building chemistry with your buddy and finding out what works for you. Some guys like weird scripted verbage, others like to talk to each other like humans and get the job done.


Sep 11, 2018
I don't have time to watch the video, sorry. Looks pretty cool-guy for sure though. :cool:

I think that a loose script is a good idea, as well as some key words. That way, people in the same unit can easily work together outside of normal pairings. I have found that the general dialogue is unit SOP.

But the most important thing to have as an SOP is corrections. Are your corrections telling the shooter where he it, or where to correct to? In my experience, it should be the latter. For example, if the shooter hits to the left, you correct "0.5 mils right, re-engage." Whatever you do, DON'T mix corrections. Talk about confusing. :poop:

Another really important thing for shooter/spotter is to manage your eye fatigue. It's easy to want to stare through glass all day hunting targets, but you'll just burn yourself up. Your eyes will become tired, and your mind numb from the concentration expended through glass. o_O

You must use your eyes. Use them to find target indicators, movement, and interesting spots. Then use low-mag optics to weed out some of those. Then, use high power to reveal the last few interesting places. The shooter and spotter should generally not be glassing at the same time, unless shooting.
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Jan 25, 2010
Out West
I knew what video it was before even clicking the link.

The short answer is, it depends.

There is no official 'how to talk to each other' language guideline. You have the general ideas and work on them together or if you have a new person shooting/spotting, you simply work on the layout/wording that both of you understand. The longer you work together with the same guy the more tricks and short cuts you learn and the faster everything is because you know what the other guy is currently doing/working on and you do your thing at the same time.

But the terms used can vary greatly. For example, just to let the spotter know I'm ready to shoot, after performing a function, I've used the terms 'Up' or 'Set'.

Some teams repeat settings changes to each other: Spotter: 3.4MILS elevation, .4 left. Shooter, after clicking turrets and checking parallax, 3.4MILS on the gun, .4 left. 'Set'. Some just say 'set' which assumes you put whatever the spotter said in the gun, etc. There's also different ways/techniques that the spotter may 'hold you off' on wind calls, adjust them while you're holding on the target, etc.

Things will also vary after the shot if there is a follow up shot on the same target, shifting to a new target, or even a complete 'zero your gun' on a miss so bad that something had to be seriously wrong with either the equipment or the turret settings.

I wrote a long email to a Hide member about this a year or so ago outlining every aspect of this and more (observation, TID, etc) when he and a friend entered a team competition but realized that when they were practicing together, it was an instant cluster fuck as far as communication. If you're that interested and/or need something like this let me know and I can forward it.
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Mar 13, 2018
@TheGerman Could you post it here for all? Definitely sounds like an interesting read. Having been to 2 2-man team competitions, having a good dialogue routine would have definitely saved a lot of time and confusion.
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Jan 25, 2010
Out West
Format is weird when pasted and it exceeds the post characters even for splitting it between 2 posts.

IM me your email if you'd like it.


Full auto flintlock user.
Sep 15, 2017
Basically communicate in the least words possible. So either no see or 1 mil 9 o'clock. Half mil 6 oclock depends on your preferred wordage.


Gunny Sergeant
Mar 5, 2004
Paulden, AZ
A standardized system makes it a more efficient process. At Gunsite, we teach methods for directing the shooter to the target, then a system for executing the shot and corrections. Once the target has been located and ranged, you need to index the solution. Here, the keywords are DIAL or HOLD.

Spotter: Shooter, DIAL up 4.2
Shooter: Roger, up 4.2

Now we run the process to execute the shot.

Shooter: On target (This indicates the shooter is indexed and has a shooting position)
Spotter: Spotter ready (The spotter has a wind call ready and has positioned the spotter reticle on that hold)
Shooter: Shooter ready (With the last little exhale to the respritory pause, the shooter has the target centered and the slack out of the trigger)
Spotter: (Wind call. Direction first, then distance in decimal mil/moa.)
Sniper: place reticle on the call and press the trigger! Call your shot if an error is made! Run the bolt and stay on the target!
Spotter: Calls any correction, Elevation first, then windage, direction, then distance.

Don't say spotter ready if you are not prepared to give a wind call. Position the spotter reticle on that call, so when you see the trace/splash all you need to do is say the correction out loud. Don't tell him where he hit, tell him where to hold.

Don't say shooter ready until your position is set and you are ready to press the trigger. The wind call is the command to fire, nothing else needs to be said. If I give you a wind call, SHOOT!

Calls need to be direction first (with one exception) then distance. This way the shooter can act on each piece of information with no need to remember something. If you say .7 left, I can't do anything until you say the whole thing. If you say left .7, I can start moving the reticle left to the target edge and continue until I get to the specified value.

Standard holds. We use the following standard calls.

No Value or Center
Favor Left/Right (This is the exception. By saying FAVOR, you are telling me to hold halfway between center and edge, now all I need is the direction.)
Left/Right edge
Left/Right decimal mil/moa value ( Don't say left one half, right three-quarters or other such nonsense. Much harder for the shooter to process than a decimal value)

I've yet to see a better system, or a reason to change anything about the way we run the process. This takes a minimum of time to both learn and execute.


Full Member
Jul 23, 2014
Brisbane Australia
Didn’t watch the vid but my communication varies depending on task and environment . Long observation
periods , and one or two shots at longer distance is different than closer range . I tend to update the wind
call within the bracket often to help the shooter correlate the same environmental signs I’m seeing when making
a wind call. Shorter range it’s just the EL and a quick wag on shot position relative to target rather than a Mil
value. If I’m on the rifle, I’ll confirm the info to the spotter / operator , and I like frequent and clear wind info.
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