NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Beltway Sniper has hit 11 people, using just one shot for each and killing all but two of his victims. That's led some to believe authorities have an expert marksman on their hands, possibly with military or police training.
But others say he could have developed those skills with little practice.
Fox News wanted to know how hard it would be to train a complete beginner -- in this case, me -- to shoot with that kind of accuracy. So I went to the American Firearms Training School in North Attleboro, Mass., to find out.
School staff set me up with an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle similar to the one police believe the sniper is using. I'd never fired a gun before, other than a fake one at an amusement park, and I wanted to take a shot without any instruction, to see how close I could come to the target.
On that first try, I didn't just hit the target -- but struck very close to where I was aiming.
Then one of the teachers gave me literally less than a minute of training.
"Okay, a few things you were doing wrong; you were a little unsteady, placement of the firearm was incorrect," said instructor George Kleczka. "We can improve your shooting if we make a few minor adjustments."
So with a little shift to my stance, I fired my second shot. That time, my teacher said I struck gold -- calling it a "kill shot." The target I hit was only 25 yards away, but to hit a target that's a little farther away doesn't take much more instruction.
Witnesses have suggested the sniper may be shooting at a distance of just 40 yards from his victims. In other words, he isn't necessarily an experienced marksman. Despite his accuracy, the sniper who has been terrorizing the D.C. area could be just a beginner.
"Anybody with basic firearm training can pick this gun up and effectively use it out to 200 yards," Kleczka said.