Weapons Racks in the Sniper's World

“One shot, one kill” is the sniper’s motto. It’s definitely ominous-sounding, and it definitely speaks volumes. But it doesn’t say what’s behind the concept of one shot, one kill. For the answer to that, ask the US Army Sniper School at Fort Benning, Georgia, where all aspiring soldiers go for five weeks of intensive training before they earn the right to be called a sniper.


The demanding school calls for a special breed of soldier; highly specialized training; teamwork unlike any other; and weapons systems that set the standard for precision. Plus one other thing: it takes an armory designed to safely and securely house weapons and accessories worth millions. In fact, each sniper weapons system is estimated to cost on average $8,000 to $15,000. Equally expensive are the optics. Now factor in around 500 weapon systems stored at the school’s armory – and the need to keep every component and every accessory that goes with it in pristine condition – and you begin to get a feel for the high stakes involved.


When building the new school armory, the US Army turned to Walter Hopkins Company http://www.walterhopkins.com/ Led by Coleman Goodwin, a vet of the Vietnam War and a vet of countless military storage installations, the Walter Hopkins-Fort Benning storage team went to work. And left no detail unchecked.


At the heart of the storage solution are military-certified Universal™ Weapons Racks, http://www.spacesaveruwr.com, each of which is built around the weapons system, the student who uses it, and the soldier’s accessories and personal gear.


Most of the seven-foot-tall UWR® systems safely cradle fully assembled long guns. That way, students don’t need to disassemble or zero them. The lower portion of the UWR® stores long guns that rest on gun stock cups, some of which are adjustable. Barrel supports located at mid-level support and protect each weapon. The top portion of the UWR features a double-row of bins for housing accessories ranging from laser pointers to field goggles to ammunition. Each self-contained cabinet houses eight to ten long guns, along with components.


Another self-contained UWR® stores pistols, hung snugly and safely on pistol racks. And another UWR is equipped with shelves for storing laptops, which are better known as “tough books.” The system even boasts chargers to keep the laptops powered and ready at all times. Yet another system features bins only for storing nothing except optics, including night-vision goggles.


And talk about attention to detail, get this: one UWR® is designed solely for storing rods used to clean the long guns. It features one-of-a-kind, pullout racks that make it easy to get the rods in and out without damaging them. But hey, don’t get the idea that a cabinet specially built for cleaning rods is over the top. It isn’t. The specially made rods are precision tools – not what you would call “off-the-shelf items.”


Incidentally, the UWR® systems are extremely rugged because … let’s face it, they’re built for the military. And they’re super secure because they use locking bars that exceed military requirements for arms security of conventional arms, ammunitions and explosives. A durable, welded door hinge on some units prevents tampering with doors and meets OPNAVINST 5530.13C and AR 190-11. And since keeping track of every single item is a major factor, the doors are perforated to speed inventory checks. 


We’re also talking about a lot of weapons and not much room to work with. To greatly conserve space, the majority of the UWR® systems are mounted on an Eclipse Powered System™. It 30-foot-long carriages that travel on wheels mated to a rail system. The carriages move side to side in order to “compress” the carriages into what is essentially one big box. When a user needs to access a UWR®, he pushes a button on the front panel of the carriage, which opens to create aisle. All the other aisles remain closed, which is how the system lets the school store twice as much as it could in the same footprint. And because the system is powered, it’s plugged into the armory’s alarm system. Plus, it provides an audit trail whenever needed. 


Yet the team responsible for armory storage didn’t stop at powered mobile units and highly specialize UWR® systems. The solution also includes things like a mobile worktable with raised edges on three sides so that weapons components don’t slide off it. The list goes on. 


The motto, “one shot, one kill” boils down to one thing: perfection. Interestingly, perfection is also the term the sniper school uses to describe the completed storage solution – a solution built for an elite class of soldiers who will one day be known as snipers.


Eclipse Powered Mobile System at Fort BenningEclipse Powered Mobile System at Fort Benning

Weapon Racks installed at Fort Benning Sniper SchoolWeapon Racks installed at Fort Benning Sniper School