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Publisher's Summary

With more than 60 confirmed kills, Jack Coughlin is the Marine Corps' top-ranked sniper. Shooter is his harrowing first-person account of a sniper's life on and off the modern battlefield.

Gunnery Sergeant Jack Coughlin is a divorced father of two who grew up in a wealthy Boston suburb. At the age of 19, although he had never even held a gun, he joined the Marines and would spend the next 20 years behind the scope of a long-range precision rifle as a sniper.

In that time, he accumulated one of the most successful sniper records in the Corps, ranging through many of the world's hotspots. During Operation Iraqi Freedom alone, he recorded at least 36 kills, 13 of them in a single 24-hour period.

Now Coughlin has written a highly personal story about his deadly craft, taking readers deep inside an invisible society that is off-limits to outsiders. This is not a heroic battlefield memoir but the careful study of an exceptional man who must keep his sanity while carrying forward one of the deadliest legacies in the U.S. military today.

(P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"The 3rd Battalion has a veteran sniper, Staff Sergeant Jack Coughlin, for whom the war in Iraq was only the latest of many wars; he fought in Mogadishu, too. On the first day of battle at the Diyala Bridge, he had 11 kills. He is one of the best snipers in the Marine Corps, perhaps the very best. When I asked one of his commanders about his skills, the commander smiled and said, 'I'm just glad he's on our side.'" (Peter Maas)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

First rate story!

I read Gunnery Sergeant Jack Coughlin's story last year in paperback, and could not put it down. A gripping story of the Iraq conflict told through the eyes of an American hero who saved countless lives being the best at his job. You will come away with a different picture than the sanitized version given by the main stream media. Gunnery Sergeant Coughlin comes across as a regular guy with extraordinary skills and commitment to serving his country above and beyond what was expected of him. An awesome story that will leave you looking for more Coughlin books. You will not be disappointed.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Deadly Story

This is a good book and truly recounts the deadliness of war that men wage on one another. The author doesn't glamorize his acts, but simply recounts them as they fell upon him and his duty as an enlisted marine. This is a good and accurate accounting of the beginnings of the second Iraq war waged in the early part of this decade.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Definately worth reading

Shooter is written in a fast paced, action adventure style of story telling that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It tells the story of the US-Iraq war without trying to hide the facts. Coughlin tells the facts as he knows them but he gives you the whole story. He is clearly proud of his work as a sniper and he?s proud of the United States Marine Corps so Coughlin shares some regrets about things that went wrong, but don?t expect to find any hand wringing about what happens on the battlefield. And the narrator is so good he probably sounds more like Jack Coughlin than Coughlin does himself.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • james
  • Hartselle, AL, United States
  • 11-09-05

Great...if you want another book about Iraq.

This was an interesting book, but the description was a little misleading. For instance, "...Coughlin has written a highly personal story about his deadly craft..." There is SOME background about sniper and scout training, but it's covered quickly at the beginning and most of the rest of the book is an account of Coughlin's experiences in Iraq. He kept mentioning formulas and details that all good snipers need to know intimately, but he never actually said what they were. Scouts need to be able to silently approach the enemy undected. Interesting, but HOW? Of course, you can't list information learned from years of training in a few sentences, but give us SOME details. I don't want to become a sniper, but I am curious about the physics involved.

"This is not a heroic battlefield memoir..." Heroic or not, it very much IS a battlefield memoir. I'm not faulting the author or belittling his experiences, I just wish the description had pointed out that it's PRIMARILY an account of the war in Iraq.

Still definitely worth hearing.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Nopawn
  • Flagstaff, AZ, United States
  • 10-11-12

Pass on this one

Would you try another book from the authors and/or Dick Hill?


What was most disappointing about the authors’s story?


Did Dick Hill do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Differentiation is not the issue.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?


Any additional comments?

I love the genre and subject matter. I was very disappointed with this book. 4 books that are excellent are, Marine Sniper by Charles Henderson (Carlos Hathcock story), American Sniper about Chris Kyle, Lone Survivor, and Unbroken. These are must read/listens. Skip Shooter.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Alexander
  • Jackson Heights, NY, United States
  • 12-12-10

An engaging book - and a funny reader

I liked the book, but cracked up listening to the reader. He has a speech defect and cannot properly pronounce letter "R". "I laised my lifle and squeezed my tligger". His reading gave a nice soft delively to an othelwise shalp-edged book.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


A wonderful depiction of the evolution of Marine sniper tatics. A good blend of historical data, with enough yarn to keep the story moving, and interesting.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Paul
  • Highland Park, IL, USA
  • 02-18-06

Dry, like a desert storm

This is a first person narrative by a star Marine Corps scout sniper, a man who may be one of the most talented marksmen in the world, but whose skills go beyond target shooting (as he explains in this book). Regardless of your views on U.S. activities in Iraq, this is a good story. It suffers, though, from being a bit too detailed in parts, with the result that some parts of the story are very dry, and very boring. The narration is passable, but the narrator almost seems bent on creating the impression that, because this is an account by enlisted man (instead of an officer), it has to be "dumbed down." He creates a deez, dem and doze speech form with a Boston twinge. I found that irritating. The inherent drama of the story, though, merits at least 3 stars.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • William
  • Cambridge, OH, USA
  • 05-03-07


An engaging and interesting account. Worth a listen.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Makes you want to be there...

As a former Marine, I was heartened to hear a real account of combat - and what it's like to deal with both real professionals, and idiot wannabes. Nicely written, Gunney. Thanks for your service. Fair winds and following seas in retirement. S/F

3 of 5 people found this review helpful