The 25 Deadliest American Snipers of All Time

“American Sniper” is a harrowing movie about the exploits of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who is known as the deadliest sniper in the history of the U.S. military. The film delves into Kyle’s contributions to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, but it also underscores the importance of the modern-day sniper. (Also see, the deadliest snipers of World War II.)

The U.S. military has had many outstanding sharpshooters throughout its history. From the beginning of the 20th century to the present day, American snipers have played a pivotal role in battlefield engagements.

To determine the deadliest American snipers of all-time, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed information from Sniper Central, an online database of snipers ranging back to World War I. We ranked snipers from U.S. service branches by their number of confirmed kills, listing the top 25 with 40 confirmed kills or more. Precise figures were not available for one sniper in WWI. Supplemental information about unconfirmed kills, conflict served, and military branches also came from Sniper Central.

Chief Petty Officer Kyle secures the top of this list with the highest number of sniper confirmed kills in American military history at 160 confirmed. His military career accolades include one Silver Star Medal and numerous other commendations. During his tour in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2006, he recorded nearly 100 kills, earning him the name of “The Devil of Ramadi.” Kyle was also credited with hitting an insurgent over 1.2 miles away, a feat of incredible skill aided by modern sniper technology. (Find out about these rifles here: every sniper rifle currently used by the U.S. military.)

U.S. Marine Carlos Hathcock is considered a legend among Marines from the Vietnam era. He was renowned for his accuracy and lethality. During his service in the Marine Corp. he held the record for confirmed kills, at 93, and longest confirmed kill at 2,500 yards. Like many other elite marksmen, his skill was gained from a young age practicing with a gun or hunting.

It is worth noting that a majority of the snipers included in this list served in the Vietnam War. During that conflict, the significance of the sniper was brought to bear as ambush tactics, assassinations, and support fire became increasingly important. This would carry over into the following conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here is a look at the deadliest American snipers.

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