Photo by Serhiy Morgunov for The Washington Post:
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A story by Alex Horton at The Washington Post details the Smile Platoon, a unit of Ukrainian snipers and sniper support personnel. Overlooked to a degree and underfunded, the Smile Platoon has turned to the commercial market to purchase, with their own salaries, rifles, optics, ammunition, and other equipment that is superior to what has been provided by their own military.

According to the article, snipercraft and long range precision shooting in Ukraine has grown by leaps and bounds over the last eight years:

The big bang of Ukrainian sniper units occurred after the 2014 invasion, when the muddy tangle of trench warfare in the east forced commanders to shed Soviet marksman manuals, catch up to modern technology and kill more accurately from farther away.

Their growing proficiency and professionalization backed by Western forces has swung a pendulum back at their adversaries, who often wield superior rifles and surveillance systems, snipers in the platoon said. They even absorb hallmarks of American warfighter culture from the soldiers who helped advise them. Black Rifle Coffee Co. mugs litter the living quarters, and at any given moment, a few of the snipers crowd around a smartphone, watching videos of gun influencers on Instagram.

With some freedom, motivation, and internet access it sounds like the Smile Platoon and snipers like them bucked the old Soviet ways and looked toward the cutting edge of long range shooting technology and technique.

Photo by Serhiy Morgunov for The Washington Post:

From a Weatherby chassis rifle chambered in .338 to various other bolt guns and AR-10 platform rifles, it appears from the photo that the Smile Platoon has been able to acquire U.S.-made gun tech. Luth-AR stocks appear to be a popular choice. Can y’all identify any other brands and models of guns, optics, plate carriers, etc.?

Sounds like we need a more streamlined method to get soldiers in friendly countries the equipment they need, without forcing them to literally go through retail channels while spending multiple months worth of their own money.

Ammunition, at this point, sounds like a limiting factor for the Smile Platoon as the hunting-style ammunition provided by their military is insufficient for their purposes and they’ve been forced to purchase ammo elsewhere. When asked about the pending surge in Russian troop numbers, Smile Platoon’s “Medik” (his callsign) said, “I hope we’ll have enough bullets.”

Much more info in the Washington Post piece, which is a good read so check it out.


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  1. It is curious that Putin has not declared that countries supplying Ukraine are belligerents, subject to military attack wherever transport of weapons and support materials flowing to Ukraine can be found.

      • IF these were serious snipers they’ed be bloody well masked up as well and they certainly would not be having indentifying pics being taken What idiots! It would appear that Ukraine has it’s very own version of Rambo wannabes Or maybe they have been poorly trained. On the quiet it’s the UK that’s been at the front of providing training to the SERIOUS UKRAINE and theyn have also been providing proper sniping rifles not some kind of amateurish mish-mash miklitary especially to Ukraine SF’s. Not that there is anything wrong with the ex-Russian gear the Ukrainians have had for a ,long, long time. You can rest assured that the Ukrain Army is a very aware of sniping tactics for sur anyway. The UK SF have been providing training to the Poles for half a century.
        I’d have thioughn thatvthe main task of outside trsiners for the Ukraine Military was to get them away from the old Soviet Tactics and combat philiosophies which would still seem to be bedevilling the Russian Military and instill into them a sense of individual responsibilities and small unit operations,
        The fact is that in any Military Tactical sense the concentrating on City Flattening and indulging in ‘Fighting In Built Up Areas’ is exceedingly watseful of resources.
        The fact that Ukrain has sucesfully spirited away approaching ONE TWENTIETH [or 20 million] of the population [ 95% women & children] in ten days thus leaving the ‘Fighting Fronts’ to concentrate on fighting rather than worrying about family safety means to me that there has been very considerable pre-planning.
        Meanwhikle the latest proposals from Russia r thatcvthe only conditiions they reqwuire for a cesatiion of hostilities is ONE to recognise DONETSK and LUHANS as Independent States TWO. Crimea is forever Russia, THREE the Ukraine changes it’s constitution to guarantees. NON-ALIGNMENT-NEUTRAIITY and FOUR reconsidedrs any application to join the EU. If RUSSIA really means this to me it shows signs that Russia might realise it has bitten off more than it can chew. It also show that Ukraine by flatly refusing to consider, at least for the moment, these proposals that it has a great deal more confidence about outcomes than Russia might like ‘
        in the UK Paperrs todaybthere was a newsflash that evidence has been obtained that the Intelligence Commiunity of Russia have reported that if the conflict continues into JUNE the Russia economy will possibly be wrecked beyond recovery. They have also estimated that just to POLICE UKRAINE with a wholly resistant population it will require anything up to HALF A MILLION permanent military forces and that’s not counting the military third echelon staff and those necssessary form the cost of re-construction. What resources Russia has are now in the firing line to pay war reperations. They cannot be used on the Home Front home and Russia will be uinable to export without LICENS.

        • Alberta Hall, Get a frickin’ grip. the picture is not in focus and therefore the snipers would not be able to be identified.

        • A. Hall – your analysis is a bit hard to read, but actually seems pretty accurate to me. If Russia’s demands are actually limited to those four items, I was thinking similarly. Crimea has been a hot potato for decades, changing hand back and forth. The Donbass states are also not particularly governable by the current Ukranian state.

          Seems like Zelensky must have pretty good confidence that they can wear Russia down without having too much more damage inflicted on Ukraine, if he’s willing to refuff the latest demands. He might actually be able to whittle Putin’s demands down even more – without getting all of us nuked.

    • Morning Sam,

      I declare it belligerent that Russia is using thermobaric and cluster munitions on civilians and civilian targets…he should be subject to military attack wherever his troops are in the Theater with equivalent weapons….kinda like the MAD theory when I was younger.

      note: neither the USA nor Russia signed the pact disallowing thermobaric and cluster weapons…it was kind of a “gentleman’s” agreement…and Puto is no gentleman.

      • Big problemo for putin…The Russian military and Russian people appear not to be nearly as “excited” about the “project” as putin is…Of course if Ukraine would have invaded Russia the excitement level for the Russian Military and Russian people would be much different and by now things would be back to normal.

    • avatar Geoff "A day without an obsessed, obviously brain-damaged and mentally-ill demented troll (who deserves to live in New Jersey) PR

      “It is curious that Putin has not declared that countries supplying Ukraine are belligerents…”

      Putin recently has made such statements. The Russian military is having a very difficult time avoiding being shot out from the skies.

      On the ground, the Javelin man-portable anti-armor missile is reporting an over 90 percent kill ratio…

  2. Looks like the US has declared hot war on Russia. Putin vs the Lizard People and their information embargo plus propaganda arms. Looks like WW3 is in the cards. Winner? Not you and me.

    • Anyone know anything about the scope on the guys rifle who is kneeling on the lower right in the pic? There is another one above him.

      • those are Pulsar scopes with the Pulsar Digital NV Front Attachment. Pulsar supplied a bunch of scopes and accessories to the Ukrainians (uhhhh for the ‘civilian market’ due to EU regulation) when Russia invaded. The company has a branch in Ukraine with about 700 employees and their families so its employees and their families are currently in the war zone. Pulsar moved out of Belarus in 2005, and relocated to Vilnius in Lithuania in the EU so is not subject to Russian control.

        • .40 cal…Received order from justrails with no issues. They processed fast and shipped via Priority Mail with Track. If there is a Carbine length build in your future I recommend their Kexuan 7.5″ keymod handguard.

    • ??? No, there isn’t a Russia versus The West war. Every candy-arse in Europe and the US is dancing up to that line, none dare cross it. Very closely related is the oil/gas embargo. Every politico says “We need to stop Russkie oil sales”, then they stop to think for a moment, knowing that Europe is relying on Russian oil to get through the winter.

      If/when war cuts loose, the Russians will be rolled up in short order with non-nuclear arms. It only remains to be seen if someone pushes that nuke button. No, we don’t want to go down that road.

      • Ya think it could be because we have a “president’ who lacks a set of balls? If Trump were elected, the invasion by the Russians would never have happened.

    • The Winner will be he who writes the “accepted” history of the conflict.

      If I had a way to ensure it would arrive to these guys I would send 40 rounds of Hornady A-MAX .50 BMG.

      For the past 100 plus years most wars / conflicts involving the USA have been started by Democrat Presidents…Premier Xiden wants ONE verified accomplishment for his 50 years of swining at the Government trough…this will be HIS war.

      • He’s just stupid enough to do it too.

        I would be willing to loan them my S&W AR10 in 6.5 Creedmoor but I want it back after they annihilate the entire Russian Army with it.

        • If you are lucky to get it back your costly S&W AR10 would be returned looking rode hard and put up wet. Nothing remains pretty for long in war.

          With all the sick Gun Control zealots running the US government the citizens in America need all the arms they can get.

        • Debbie W.
          Admittedly I’m just a weekend warrior shooting steel. I dropped a CMC 2.5 pound trigger in it. Added a Sightmark 5×30 56 scope and do very well with it albeit under no pressure or time constraints. I have no dog in the fight when it comes to Ukraine except for the fact that I hate seeing women and children being forced from their homes and many dying for some jackasse’s ego. I’m sure there are those that could put my range toy to better use however I plan on keeping all of my weapons. Just as you say, we need all that we can get.

        • muckraker,
          In WWII, people sent personal arms over with a return address attached to it. Speaking to Debbie’s comment, if they used it, and you got it back, it would increase in value.

      • Find a way and I’ll match that OGiM.
        I don’t have a 50BMG, but I have a decent supply of 50BMG Hornady A-Max ammo. Grabbed some when it was around $3 per round (for range buddies Barrett). It’s currently around $9 per round here.

        • Same here. I have friends who let me feed their 50’s…if I provide the fodder. It looks like these Ukrainians need my 50BMG more than I do at the moment.

        • There are flights of US ex-military going over to assist Ukraine. Allowed to bring their own gear too.
          Any way for TTAG to arrange an ammo drop point in Texas (VFW supported?) to get ammo there?

          Serious as cancer, make this happen and I up my donation by one unopened 400rd GI ammo box of 7.62 NATO, Was loaded in the early ’80s in Austria.
          Was loaded up to use against Russia, may as well let it fulfill it destiny. 🤔

          Come on TTAG, make this happen.

  3. So the platoon “acquired” such gear, as compared to being gifted arms and supplies by the U.S.? Maybe if they wrapped towels around their heads and included the word “Talib*n” in their name, they’d get $80 billion worth of free stuff from Biden.

    • Oh, good grief. I suppose using an asterisk isn’t enough to avoid WordPress moderation.

      Then again, there’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. TTAG set the filters too tight. Keep them on for URL links to limit harmful viruses, I suppose, but loosen them for normal speech, eh Dan?

      • Every time I think about what that bass turd xiden gifted those other bass turds I just want to explode! I know some Ukrainians that could put that weaponry to good use right now. Especially that night vision since it seems the rooski’s aren’t too adept at the night fighting thing.

        • Trump is the one who cut the retreat deal to leave the weapons in Afghanistan, and even better he freed 5000 Taliban terrorists to destabilize Afghanistan and put the Taliban back in charge. Trump was the best Taliban soldier ever.

          If you thought it was a bad idea to leave those weapons in Afghanistan when the United States retreated in disgrace, why didn’t you complain when Trump signed the deal in February 2020?

          Trump released 5000 Taliban terrorists from prison so they could begin killing innocent citizens once more.

          Is that what Trump calls the ‘Art of the Deal’?

          Trump cut a great deal with the Taliban… I thought we shouldn’t negotiate with terrorists?

          “Romney’s claim is correct. A February 2020 agreement between the Taliban and the Trump administration called for the release of 5,000 Taliban members who were in Afghan prisons. Afghanistan’s government has said that the 5,000 Taliban prisoners were released. A Congressional Research Service report said the release was completed in September 2020.”

        • Miner,
          Xiden could have changed the terms of whatever President Trump agreed to anytime he wanted to. He didn’t. The disastrous withdrawal is on Biden. I won’t say he is the only one to blame. He has plenty of idiots in his administration working for him. I hope one day the people get to see just who it is that Biden is meeting with in his home in Delaware. We all know this is an end run around records keeping and should not be ignored by our garbage media.

        • Don’t matter miner. biden owns these mistakes. He’s the man, now. I just filled my gas tank at near 6 bucks a gallon. He owns that too.

          Another year of biden and the country will be poor, hungry and angry. And he owns it all.

        • “Xiden could have changed the terms of whatever President Trump agreed to anytime he wanted to“

          Are you soft in the head? One party to a treaty can’t unilaterally change the terms without the approval of the other party.

          If the terms could be changed so easily, why didn’t Trump do it?

          Are you suggesting that President Biden should’ve reneged on the deal that Trump signed with the terrorist Taliban?

          Are you saying the deal Donald Trump cut with the Taliban was a bad deal?
          Why didn’t you complain about the terms of the deal when Trump announced it in February 2020?

          Republican president Dick Cheney and Vice President George W. Bush are the ones who started the war in Afghanistan, and began the massive arms shipments into the country. Republican president Donald Trump is the one who signed the deal with the Taliban to leave all of those arms in the country whenever America retreated.

          I know it hurts, but you own it.

        • No. biden owns it. It happened on his watch and in full view of all. Nice try. But biden sits at the desk in the oval office.

        • J, do you have trouble with reading comprehension?

          Trump freed 5000 Taliban fighters who were convicted terrorists 4 MONTHS before Joe Biden became president.

          Joe Biden is good, but ain’t no way he could turn the clock back and undo trumps fuck up (or intentional act to promote terrorism and destabilize Afghanistan… )

          “the Trump administration called for the release of 5,000 Taliban members who were in Afghan prisons. Afghanistan’s government has said that the 5,000 Taliban prisoners were released. A Congressional Research Service report said the release was completed in September 2020.”

          I know it hurts, but you own it.

        • Minor you try to spin Biden’s inability to lead as being Trump’s fault any harder we could probably harness it to solve the electrical side of our energy crisis.

        • It’s funny how Biden had no problem breaking the law when it came to his illegal immigration policies, even after he was told by the court that he had to follow the law. It’s just a matter of priorities.

        • “It’s funny how Biden had no problem breaking the law“

          A ‘law’ is an internal matter, a treaty involves outside parties.

          Are you saying Trump made a bad deal with the Taliban, and Biden should have reneged?

          “It happened on his watch“

          No, Donald Trump was president when he negotiated the treaty with the Taliban, signing his name as president and chief executive of the United States of America.

          In fact, it would be against the law for Biden not to honor the treaty.

          Besides, the treaty was negotiated by the king of the deal, why would we want to change something Trump had negotiated and signed?

          Are you saying Donald Trump made a bad deal, it was bad for America, and Joe Biden is somehow responsible for Donald Trump’s deal?

          Donald Trump released 5000 Taliban terrorists, was that a mistake?

        • The Doha agreement that Trump signed with the Taliban was conditional. They broke the conditions shortly after Biden took office. Biden could have declared the agreement void. Further, it was only an agreement and not ratified by the Senate, so Biden could have unilaterally broken it, as he did with stay in Mexico refugee policy, the Keystone pipeline approval, the sanctions on Nord Stream 2, and every other Trump policy he didn’t like.

        • The propaganda is strong with this one. Like Anymouse said, it was conditional. The Biden Administration was calling the shots. Show me the playbook that Biden had to rigidly follow. What a joke. You can’t really believe that.

          Biden completely disregarded advice from our military, then lied about it and threw them under the bus. It’s funny how I don’t hear a peep about that from the people that believed the anonymous source that said Trump was trashing our military. With Biden, we see him doing it live in front of the camera. In other news, propaganda still works.

          P.S. to Anymouse, don’t forget the Paris Climate Agreement. I’m pretty sure Joe signed an EO on his first day to get back into that. Priorities, you know. Were they working on an Afghan strategy on Joe’s first day? I guess they figured why bother because they had to go by some rigid playbook written by Trump. Who would believe that?

          “as he did with stay in Mexico refugee policy”

          That actually ended up being declared illegal by the courts, but it didn’t stop the literally criminal Biden Administration.

        • I know you are aggravated by me cutting and pasting actual facts because it compromises your delusional narrative.

          Most of the Afghanistan withdrawal happened under Trump. He withdrew 80% of our forces in the months before he left office. He left only 2500 for Biden to do a withdrawal. The choice was re-escalate or get out.

          So I take it you folks were in favor of re-escalating our troop deployment to Afghanistan?

          Was trump correct in blocking $400 million of aid to Ukraine in an attempt to force them to investigate Joe Biden?

          And again I ask, was Trump right to release 5000 convicted Taliban terrorists six months before Biden became president?

        • Minor MINER49er Sorry old boy, but your “facts” are skewed. First, while Trump did withdraw some troops, it was Sleepy Joe who did not get the civilians out, nor did he properly plan for the withdrawal of the rest of the troops. There is an adage in the military. “Proper planning prevents piss poor performance.”

          And, no it was not Trump who “released” 5000 Convicted Taliban terrorists. What court “convicted” these Taliban “terrorists”.

          Why not withhold $400 bill from the Ukraine to investigate your boy, Sleepy Joe? It seems that Sleepy sleezy Joe has had his fingers in his son’s activities in the Ukraine or do you just want that swept under the rug?

  4. As a fan and owner of many Com-Bloc firearms, it’s so ironic that they now look to the west for advanced firearm design. Good job guys, make the Russians keep their heads down.

  5. Two or three waves of Arclight on russian troop concentrations and supply lines and it’s over. The problem,of course, is avoiding civilians.

    • Unfortunately the B-52’s delivering the arclight are susceptible to Russian modern SA (surface to air) weapons.

      For those extolling the A-10 against Russian convoys remember that the lowly SA-7 Grail can and has taken out A-10’s.

      Since Puto opened the door on hyperbarics…F the convoys and Russian ground troops …use hyperbaric bombs against them delivered by “loaner” drones.

    • The performance of the Russian army is showing great deficiencies in their logistics, training, and doctrine. Units are reported to be lacking communication, artillery support, and logistics. Some Brigade Combat Groups are said to have ONE fuel truck for the unit.

      Being the mud season (rasputsa) much of the Russian advance is restricted to roads which is making them targets for ambushes, artillery, and drone strikes. Also the vehicles left in the open for months are having their cheap Chinese tyres break and the lack of maintenance is causing breakages of rims and hubs.

      The Russian air force is losing aircraft to MANPADS and even to their own air defenses as trigger-happy conscripts will shoot first and sort them out on the ground.

      The snipers have shown their worth in taking out Russian unit commanders who tried to rally their troops by their personality and force of will.

      Putin expected victory in 2-3 days. If the under equipped Ukrainians have held the Russians for this long, a well equipped western force would roll the Russians back to their border.

      • Unfortunately Putin and his cronies are not stupid but they still have 1980’s mentality. He will bankrupt the country building back an army that has more capabilities and stamina, just like previous leaders of the USSR. Putin is just trying to get the band back together. He wants land and resources previously held by the USSR back in Russia’s control. Poor Vald hasn’t figured out that the rest of the world has moved past that era. The Ukraine will not go easily if at all, and neither will Poland, Romania or the Czech Republic. He is finished as a leader, he just doesn’t know it yet.

        • I wonder if China is looking at the performance of the Russian army in Ukraine and considering their chances to take Siberia for the resources.

          Putin is yet to realize with China Russia is now the junior partner.

        • avatar Geoff "A day without an obsessed, obviously brain-damaged and mentally-ill demented troll (who deserves to live in New Jersey) PR

          “I wonder if China is looking at the performance of the Russian army in Ukraine and considering their chances to take Siberia for the resources.”

          Or invade Taiwan, for that matter.

          Yeah, they are watching this very closely. If the mythical Russian army is botching things up that badly, that’s good news for Taiwan… 🙂

    • “Two or three waves of Arclight on russian troop concentrations and supply lines and it’s over. ”

      The Arclight was permanently extinguished 30Apr75.

  6. Apparently Ukrainian military supplied ammo is FMJ with lead cores, but what the snipers need is steel penetrators to get through the body armor. Otherwise they have to go for head shots. Nice article in the Post, bytw.

    • ……FMJ with lead cores…….. body armor.


      A 50BMG FMJ lead core to body armor will break ribs at a minimum.
      This takes THREE soldier out of the fight. The one hit, and two more to care for and move him.

      In many combat situations, you actually WANT to avoid the clean kill. 🤔 Like when the enemy has logistics issues.

      • For the 338 and below (distance dependant) he has a point in body armor reducing the ease of effective hits. With that said pretty sure 50 is plenty lethal plates or no (unless you are rocking some 20 pound per plate ceredynes from Northern Ireland) at most relevant distances plates or no. Steel would be less effective in the smaller calibers though which is why tungsten is often used. With all that rambling done I am not seeing as many pictures/videos of Russians with body armor as I would have thought.

        • Yes.
          That 50BMG is generating over 13,000 ft/lbs of muzzle energy.
          If you’re wearing armor that can stop penetration (highly doubtful) you’re experiencing some severe bone breakage.

        • The ceradynes mentioned did so rather well (basically a 80-90’s era update to the 50 cal rated aircrew plates) but for anything of a more normal weight of 5-10 pounds regardless of level advertised the typical arguments of broken bones internal bleeding and taking you out of the fight just by force actually do apply and much farther out than many reliably hit with or without optics. Also come to think of it those ceredynes are likely still restricted and outside of a lucky find at a gunshow/armslist/swap meet good luck finding them for sale.

      • just getting hit with a 50cal. even with body armor just the trauma on the body can or will KILL! you.

  7. “………Luth-AR stocks appear to be a popular choice…….”

    The MBA is a favorite of mine. 👍

    Being over 6′ tall, I prefer the FAB Defense RAPS. This one is just right.

    The RAPS has a built in monopod rail too. For when you have a solid/secure area and time to set up before “reaching out to touch someone”.

    • This clown always claims to be ‘big and tall’ in his posts, which of course means that he’s short and small. What a d*ckless loser this 🚩 candidate is. I’d also like to add it’s obvious he’s not really an engineer 🖕🤡.

      • avatar Geoff "A day without an obsessed, obviously brain-damaged and mentally-ill demented troll (who deserves to live in New Jersey) PR

        If there’s anyone with extensive personal experience with being d*ickless, it’s you, little boy. Every morning that’s what you see in the bathroom mirror… 🙂

      • Keep dancing for the 🍌 loser 🤡 troll.

        I command you to!

        Is your mommie making you some bagel bites for dinner tonight loser?


  8. Remington and I believe, one other American ammo manufacturer have donated over one million rounds of ammo to the Ukrainian cause and I hope some of that has been in support of the type of ammo snipers need for their weapons.

  9. Wow, look at all the keyboard commandos in here. Tose of you so eager to start WW III, don’t wait, suit up and go fight in Ukraine!

    • It’s okay that you didn’t comprehend the first time that you read all of these posts. Go back and read them again. Then tell us which one advocates for WWIII.

      • Give the troll 🤡 a break muckraker.

        It’s assigned to troll TTAG, so intelligence and reading comprehension is WAYYYY down on its list of attributes.

  10. well, what a repeat of history—wasn’t it the sanctions that started WWII in the Pacific—wasn’t Russia supplied, (land lease), with everything, (have to mention studebaker), to stand up to the evil ones at the time—-you can’t blame the president, he has his staff, (generals), to advise him, (they have been called outdated since WWI).—–if the U.S. really wants to speed things up,—-buy the 17% share of the oil fields that BP is selling, then send troops in to protect her interests—the way things are going, we can not buy bullets, or gas, or food when the prices go up due to transportation costs——i don’t know–i’m just a nobody that don’t know nutin

  11. I’d say any good rifle in 338 makes a Dragunov look like a slingshot.
    I never owned one but people I spoke with said they couldn’t get 1 MOA out of them.
    The Russian scope is not great either.
    So many good scopes out there.
    A thermal imaging optic is a dream. I spoke with a vet who described terminating an enemy sniper who warmed a wall a bit too long.

  12. Don’t discount the old, proven Russian SVD Dragunov sniper rifle. It is very effective out to 500 meters. There are thousands of them still in inventory in Poland, Romania, Chech Republic and other former Soviet Bloc armories. The iconic 7.62x54R cartridge is very plentiful on both sides. It has proven itself as a solid man-killer since the 1960’s in conflicts all over the world. One negative with some of the newer sniper systems is the shortage of the specialty ammo they require. Without ammo, your modern sniper systems are useless.

  13. So, Our US Gov. is furnishing Ukranian citizens with fully auto weapons. The very fully auto weapons that We The People here in the United States are NOT allowed to have.
    Am I the only one here noticing this ?


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