Craig Harrison, a member of the Household Cavalry, killed the insurgents with consecutive shots — even though they were 3,000ft beyond the most effective range of his rifle.
“The first round hit a machinegunner in the stomach and killed him outright,” said Harrison, a Corporal of Horse. “He went straight down and didn’t move.
“The second insurgent grabbed the weapon and turned as my second shot hit him in the side. He went down, too. They were both dead.”
The shooting — which took place while Harrison’s colleagues came under attack — was at such extreme range that the 8.59mm bullets took almost three seconds to reach their target after leaving the barrel of the rifle at almost three times the speed of sound.
The distance to Harrison’s two targets was measured by a GPS system at 8,120ft, or 1.54 miles.
The previous record for a sniper kill is 7,972ft, set by a Canadian soldier who shot dead an Al-Qaeda gunman in March 2002.
In a remarkable tour of duty, Harrison cheated death a few weeks later when a Taliban bullet pierced his helmet but was deflected away from his skull. He later broke both arms when his army vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb.