That's the only way I can describe John Plaster's latest videotape on sniping, Advanced Ultimate Sniper. It is, of course, a sequel to The Ultimate Sniper, but it is not "just" a sequel. As Paladin Press advertises, "this is a graduate course in sniper warfare." This tape is a stand-alone instructional offering that provides both military and police snipers information that wasn't covered in Plaster's first Ultimate tape. I would be so bold as to say that if you are a duty-slotted sniper, whether in the military or in law enforcement, you are putting yourself at a grave disadvantage if you do not see this tape -- repeatedly. Simply put, the material in this tape could save your life if learned well and put into regular practice.
Plaster introduces several pieces of equipment that will be of interest to anyone who is a sniper or who studies the subject. Rifles, optics, and clothing, all essential to successful sniper operations, are covered in depth, and in a manner that is relaxed in delivery yet professional in attitude. Many of the rifles he discusses and uses are state-of-the-art in modern weaponry, without question. Particularly noteworthy were the detailed discussions about a couple of different stocks. The Accuracy International rifle Plaster uses has some unique features, particularly the removable "stock panels" that detach from the frame of the stock to allow the weapon to be cleaned more thoroughly and also to facilitate easy camouflaging of the stock with spray paint, cloth, or other materials. The other stock that was especially interesting is the Choate Sniper Stock, with which Plaster was involved in the design and development. I have just got to get one of these stocks! It has a number of very desirable features, too many to list, but easily worth three times the current price of the stock.
Optics are covered, as in the first tape, but the discussion leans more toward laser range finders and laser range finder riflescopes. Never think that such items are toys -- these items, as Plaster explains, are useful tools that can contribute to the success of a sniper operation. Incorrect range estimation is probably one of the biggest reasons, if not the biggest reason, why a sniper misses his shot. Knowing the correct range to the target is vital to making a precision shot over long distances. Various models are examined and compared, including the Leica Geovid, and the advantages and disadvantages of each are discussed.
Clothing, specifically camouflage clothing, is covered also. As he did in his first sniper tape, Plaster displays a wide variety of different pieces of clothing that are designed to enhance a sniper team's ability to remain hidden from the view of others. Most interesting, to me, was his discussion of the various types of winter camouflage, showing which patterns are most effective and which ones are not.
Other products that are covered include: the Tenebraex Anti-Reflection (Anti-Glint) Filter, a slick item that virtually eliminates the necessity for lengthy sunshades to keep light from reflecting off of the objective lens; the new Sierra 175-grain HPBT Match King bullet, which can stay sonic over longer distances than can the 168-grain version; and new "special purpose," military and law enforcement only ammunition from Federal -- capable of penetrating a car's windshield and staying accurately on course to the target behind the windshield!
Tactics, of course, are the main focus of the tape. Three types of environments are studied closely: darkness, desert, and winter. In each of these environments, Plaster explains the best ways to defeat targets without jeopardizing the safety of the sniper team. Through the use of many demonstrations, including the tasteful use of slow-motion replays, he explains the proper acquisition and engagement techniques to use in different situations, and does so in a way that is easy to understand.
Though he has some impeccable credentials and is highly qualified to make this tape, Plaster doesn't come across as being arrogant or full of himself. Indeed, there is a scene in the tape of him digging in the snow to establish a suitable hide and, after apparently having dug for quite a while, the man is obviously somewhat winded. I found this to be a refreshing thing. If this had been a guy who was worried about his image, that part of the tape (being winded) would have ended up on the cutting room floor. John Plaster is not a pretentious man -- he has something to teach others, he knows it, and he does it. That pretty much sums up this tape's "atmosphere of academia" as far as I'm concerned.
Advanced Ultimate Sniper is not a slick Hollywood production -- but I mean that as a compliment, not as an insult. This is not a tape that you would rent from Blockbuster to bring home and entertain the kids -- it is a professional, educational tool that is intended for only one group of individuals... snipers.