Hear U.S. Secret Service snipers talk about the challenges and tremendous responsibilities of the job.
United States Secret Service agents have a tremendous responsibility when it comes to protecting the President of the United States and his family. This may very well be one of the most elite sniper teams in the world, and it's one that's never fired a single shot!
Listen to two team members talk about the challenges their job brings, one of which is being willing to lay their life down for the President and Vice President!
This video was recorded when President Barack Obama was still in office, but we have to believe the service still maintains their stringent standards with the Donald Trump administration.
This has to be one of the world's most stressful jobs. Nothing can be left to chance when it comes to protective detail. They have to extra vigilant and observant at all times. The responsibilities have to take a tremendous toll. It's no doubt a special kind of calling to come and do this kind of defense work.
One thing that adds to the stress has to be the travel. It isn't just the White House and Washington D.C. they have to worry about. The have to plan for motorcades and counter sniper operations in cities all over the world. The counter sniper team's job is probably even harder than normal when the President visits troops in an active war zone. It's a testament to how good these counter assault teams are that heads of state are still able to make those kinds of visits to such dangerous places with no incident.
Secret Service Counter Sniper Rifle
It's likely members of the Secret Service use many different rifles for protecting current and former presidents and other government officials. We wouldn't be surprised if they also utilized the M82 Barrett or McMillian Tac for some of their operations depending on the situation.
But in the video above at the 34-second mark, it looks like these snipers are training with a highly modified Remington 700, aka: the M24 Sniper Weapons system. The Remington logo can clearly be seen. This rifle is chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO and has seen action in every conflict the United States has been in since the first Gulf War.
This rifle is also sometimes chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum. But it has proven itself over and again as a competent bolt action sniper rifle with plenty of firepower for taking out targets quickly and efficiently. It's a favorite not just of the military, but FBI and law enforcement agencies the world over. We're not surprised at all to see that's what these special agents are using here.
How much do Secret Service snipers make?
But it's also one with no easy answer. The website federallawenforcement.org states that the counter sniper units start at an LE-1 federal pay grade. Salaries for agents at this level start at $52,018 a year. We assume that the most seasoned members of this emergency response team receive much more than that.
It's worth noting the site also says as members of the Uniformed Division of Officers, these agents are paid hourly. Considering the grueling nature of the President's job and the long hours worked, Secret Service snipers probably make considerably more than your standard police officers or law enforcement officials just in overtime pay!
Secret Service sniper training
Not surprisingly, the requirements for being part of the elite team that protects the president are stringent and much different than the Secret Service's financial crimes and US currency anti-counterfeiting teams. For the counter sniper team especially.
A 2014 report by the Washington Post notes that the physical requirements alone would be demanding for even professional athletes. Agents must be able to run a mile and a half in nine minutes, must be incredibly strong and able to fire accurately under extreme duress.
They also don't take rookies with no experience. Agents have years of experience in the Secret Service agency before they can be considered for presidential protection duty. Even then, it's months of grueling training and shooting tests designed to weed out unqualified applicants. The story estimates as little as 10 percent of applicants make it through!
Watching these guys train, it's easy to see they're really good at what they do. The fact the president's Secret Service counter sniper team has never had to fire a single shot while on duty is a testament to that fact!