Nestled in a remote area just west of Phoenix, Ariz., lies one of the best sniper schools that most people have never heard of. Unlike traditional shooting schools that constantly push for exposure, GPS Defense Sniper School quietly moves along, enjoying success with little fanfare.
Founded in 1998, the program originally operated as the McMillan Sniper School and the H-S Precision Sniper Program while these companies were its corporate sponsors. Through it all, founder William Graves has kept to his principles and built a world-class precision shooting school. His clients range from elite military special operations personnel to serious civilian shooters looking to master the craft. Students come to GPS Defense Sniper School from all over the world.
Graves, a former Dallas-area police officer, has developed a world-class curriculum that covers every aspect of precision shooting. His office is a testament to his work. On the walls sit framed letters of commendation from George W. Bush and Tony Blair. You’ll also find countless unit patches, challenge coins and thank you letters from numerous federal agencies. His drive and effort have earned him a strong reputation as well as a coveted government training contractor designation.
Wild GPS WayPoints
Located west of Phoenix on hundreds of acres of rolling hills and Southwest desert, GPS offers one of the most diverse shooting areas in the country. From a static 100-yard zeroing range to a mock Middle Eastern village, it has terrain and targets to hone even the most advanced shooter’s skills. The company has recently developed a high-angle shooting area to teach shooters the skills needed to make these difficult shots. Coupled with a top-notch unknown-distance range, GPS gives shooters everything they need to push themselves and develop their skills.
“The key to GPS’ success has been a hard focus on providing real-world training in a professional setting.”
Because of their extensive experience, GPS instructors are able to offer a variety of classes to fit the needs of any student. The courses move in succession and go from “Sniper/Countersniper DDM” to “Instructor Development” classes. Because of its unique status with the military, GPS has even developed a professional warfighter class for personnel preparing for deployment. Designed by their professional instructor staff at the request of the Department of Defense, it teaches practical fighting skills with a sniper rifle as opposed to basic prone marksmanship. It is a two-week course designed for those on the cusp of a deployment. Personnel can schedule an entire sniper element to avoid waiting a year to schedule Department of Defense schools. This is the same sniper training that GPS has provided to 2nd Ranger Battalion, 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, SEAL Teams Two, Three, Four, Five and Seven, and SEAL sniper school instructors. GPS graduates meet and exceed current military sniper school shooting standards.
Elite Operators Welcome
GPS’ current client list includes 35 Department of Defense/federal agencies, 153 law enforcement agencies from 34 states, and eight foreign countries on four continents. Aside from providing training in combat-focused carbine, tactical pistol and sniper weapon system training, GPS offers a variety of specialty courses including urban vehicle operations, building assaults, room clearing, downed-officer extractions, close-quarters battle, hand-to-hand combat, restraint techniques, and using Tasers and pepper spray.
In keeping with its real-world-applications philosophy, GPS has also recently expanded its curriculum to offer an enhanced Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) course. Created in the mid-1990s by U.S. military medical special operation members and the National Association of EMTs (NAEMT), the TCCC course is the only nationally recognized class of this type to prepare individuals for facing a unique tactical environment.
The key to GPS’ success has been a hard focus on providing real-world training in a professional setting. GPS instructors are all experienced shooters with military and law enforcement backgrounds who share much more than just textbook knowledge. Professional presentation and training has allowed GPS to secure POST approval for much of its training, allowing law enforcement to secure continuing education credits for training. With this winning mixture, GPS now manages over 200 class days per year. Because of its long history of success and commitment to excellence, GPS has recently been approved by the Veterans Administration as a training school, which allows military veterans the opportunity to use their VA benefits to pay for training.
Those who make the trek to GPS find that they get a great deal more than they had hoped for. The dusty hilltop with military-style containers doubling as briefing rooms reminds every shooter present that this is the real deal. The skills they will develop over the next few days will elevate their marksmanship regardless of their previous experience. Few other schools in the world can share the accolades and diversity of training that are found at GPS.
For more information, visit sniperschool.com.