"Worst Position... Tom Cruise": 8-Year-Old Mission Impossible Scene Criticized By Sniper Expert


“Worst Position… Tom Cruise”: 8-Year-Old Mission Impossible Scene Criticized By Sniper Expert

A former Army special-operations sniper expert weighs in on Tom Cruise’s sniper versus sniper scene in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.


  • Former special-operations sniper critiques Tom Cruise’s sniper skills in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, questioning the authenticity of his disguised rifle.
  • While the rifle may be accurate enough for the range, Cruise’s character has the worst position compared to the other snipers in the scene.
  • Despite the lack of realism, the Mission: Impossible franchise excels in providing entertainment through its fantastical elements and outlandish stunts.



A former special-operations sniper has weighed in on Tom Cruise’s questionable sniper skills in 2015’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The fifth installment in Cruise’s long running Mission: Impossible franchise, the events of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation see IMF Agent Ethan Hunt and his team disavowed by the US Government and are forced to pursue a clandestine organization known as the Syndicate on their own. One key scene in the movie sees Cruise arm himself with a sniper rifle disguised as a flute, as he faces off against two other snipers tasked with assassinating the Chancellor of Austria.

In a new episode of Insider’s How Real Is It? Podcast, author and former Army special-operations sniper Nicholas Irving rated the scene for its authenticity and revealed which of the three characters were best placed for their clandestine task. While Irving questioned the realism of Cruise’s disguised rifle, he admitted it may still have been an accurate enough weapon for the range his character was aiming for. However, in comparison to the positions assumed by Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust and the other Syndicate assassin, the expert marksman declared Cruise’s character to have the worst position of the three. Check out the video and his comments below:

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I mean, as far as being a highly accurate sniper rifle concealed as a flute, I don’t think so. There’s a lot of big things on the sniper rifle that makes it accurate, but the barrel is like really important. And most barrels on sniper rifles are fluted and floated. There’s like no interference between the barrel and the stock of the gun as to not like interfere with the harmonics when it goes off. That flute looks like one continuously long object. It probably is accurate. Maybe at the distances that he’s shooting at. But I also don’t know what caliber he’s shooting.

But it’s Tom Cruise, so it’s probably really accurate.

[I] ought to give the female sniper [Rebecca Ferguson] the best position. Whatever she’s in that little room are the designs on the walls. I think that really gives her an advantage, and it’s almost it’s like shooting out of a loophole. It’s like a tactic snipers used overseas where you punch a small hole through a wall or something and a sniper, they back away from the wall and shoot through that hole to hit an object outside. The guy with the shades on, he’s not really in a concealable concealed position, but I guess he’s using his attire to make him least stand out. Worst position, I’d have to say Tom Cruise.

Why Mission: Impossible’s More Fantastical Elements Make It A Better Spy Franchise

While Irving, as an experienced sniper with firsthand knowledge of the kinds of weapons and scenarios depicted in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, may have some misgivings about the movie’s realism, the franchise has a long history of pushing the boundaries of plausibility for the sake of entertainment. From the franchise’s iconic use of masks and vocal emulators to Ethan Hunt’s penchant for outlandish stunts, the Mission: Impossible movies have always had a loose relationship with the far more grounded reality of actual espionage work.

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For movie going audiences trained for decades on the outlandish adventures of fictional spies like James Bond as his assorted imitators, the enduring appeal of Cruise’s Ethan Hunt also owes much to his character’s fantastical abilities and near-superhuman feats. Moreover, while more recent years have even seen Bond himself infused with a far more grounded sense of realism, Cruise’s quick-thinking spy is still intent on mixing high-tech gadgetry with near-impossible daredevilry. It is an approach that has prompted even celebrated Bond author Charlie Higson to regard Cruise’s films as the better modern spy franchise of the two.

So while it may be interesting to unpack the finer points of Ethan Hunt’s prowess as a trained sniper, as Cruise has so often proved throughout his time in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and his other films, realism is no true match for showmanship. With Cruise currently set to return as Hunt in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two once the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike is resolved, it is likely audiences will still have plenty more of his outlandish feats left to witness.

Source: Insider’s How Real Is It? Podcast/YouTube

Key Release Dates

  • Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two Release Date: 2024-06-28

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