U.S. Optics, Inc. Announces New Director For U.S. Optics Academy

U.S. Optics Academy names Master Sergeant Jim Gilliland as the new director to head its training program.

Jim Gilliland
Jim Gilliland
U.S. Optics Inc.
U.S. Optics Inc.

Brea, California – U.S. Optics Inc., an international riflescope and optics manufacturer, proudly announced today the appointment of Jim Gilliland as director of their training academy. The appointment of Gilliland signals a new direction and commitment for expansion over the long run for U.S. Optics, Inc.

Master Sergeant Jim Gilliland is a recently retired Army veteran with an extensive list of both military and civilian accomplishments. Gilliland holds the current record for the longest, successful single shot engagement at ¾ of a mile. The sniper section of the 3rd Infantry Division, which he hand selected and lead was recognized as the best sniper section in Iraq for 2005.

“I am extremely honored and excited to be selected to become the new director of the academy. U.S. Optics’ commitment to the perfection of the art of long range shooting is something I’ve always strived for as well. I believe together we can achieve great things. I look forward to seeing where this road ahead will lead us,” said Gilliland.

Gilliland has held multiple positions utilizing his expertise in firearms consulting with the Army on development, as well as, heading the training ranges at Fort Benning.

General Manager of U.S. Optics, Jason Kyle talks about a specific factor that went in to deciding to select Mr. Gilliland as the new director.

The decision is to “provide our customers and ourselves with the opportunity to learn from such an invaluable source. Bringing on board experienced talents such as Mr. Gilliland no doubt raise the bar in not only how we teach at the academy but also how we envision our future as a whole for U.S Optics.”


Jim Gilliland is an active duty Army veteran Master Sergeant. Deployed twice to Afghanistan as a squad leader, he’s participated in such missions as the highly televised night combat airborne assault in the Helmand providence.

Assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, he personally hand selected and trained the sniper section and later deployed for one year as their sniper section leader. It was during this time that he became accredited with taking the longest, successful single shot engagement at 3 quarters of a mile with a 7.62 rifle. The Joint Chief Counter IED Task Force recognized Jim’s sniper section as the best sniper section in Iraq in 2005.

Jim has also been directly involved in the selection, refinement, and development of all future Army small arms as the senior enlisted adviser of the Soldier Requirement Division, Small Arms Branch and Branch NCOIC. Currently, MSG Gilliland is working in a battalion operations office which oversees most of the small arms training ranges, schools, and cadre at Fort Benning in Georgia.

With such an extraordinary military career under his belt, Jim’s passion and expertise in firearms also encompasses his life outside of the military as well. His extensive list of work collaborations with industry leaders, such as Blackwater, has made him one the top authorities in the field.

Jim has been featured in numerous popular tactical and hunting magazines and catalogues including Soldier of Fortune. He’s appeared in on screen projects such as John Plasters video “Ultimate Sniper 3”, the History Channel’s “Sniper” series and his own training video with Panteao Productions, “Make Ready” series. He also hosts his own segments on the television show “Trigger Time” on the Pursuit channel.
With all of Jim’s extraordinary accomplishments, he still prides himself on being humble and is steadfast in upholding his beliefs for family values, selfless service and American patriotism.

Military Awards and decorations:

  • Ranger Tab
  • Master parachutist badge W/ Bronze service star
  • Expert Infantryman’s badge
  • Combat infantryman’s badge
  • Expert rifleman’s badge
  • Meritorious Service Award
  • Bronze star
  • Army Commendation Medal x 4
  • Army achievement Medal x 4
  • Army Good Conduct Medal x 5
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal x 2
  • Iraqi Campaign Medal W/ Campaign Star
  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon x 3
  • Army Service Ribbon
  • Over Seas Service Ribbon x 2
  • Other Military Education:
  • Ranger School
  • Sniper School
  • Jump Master School (Currently Master Rated)
  • Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape Course (SERE)
  • Airborne School
  • Mountain Warfare School, summer and winter Phase
  • Emergency Medical Technician Basic
  • Senior Leaders Course
  • Advanced Leader Course
  • Warrior Leaders Course
  • Senior Tactics Instructor
  • Small Group Instructor Course
  • Total Army Instructor Course
  • Combat Lifesaver Course
  • Safety swimmer and Boat Operator Course
  • Life Guard Course
  • Army Situational Awareness Course


U.S. Optics Inc. has been building custom riflescopes and optics for more than 25 years. In this span of time the functionality, durability and clarity of our optics has evolved through research and development efforts, invaluable end user feedback, design innovation and proven engineering principles. A family of core products has emerged from U.S. Optics Inc. as a result of our dedication and perseverance to build the best optics available for the precision shooter.

For more on U.S. Optics, Inc. visit, http://www.usoptics.com.


U.S. Optics Academy was launched in 2015 to provide shooters from all demographics the opportunity to come and learn how to properly operate any rifle and scope like a true marksman. With a variety of ranges across the country exceeding 1500 yards students will have the ability to learn the fundamental and advanced skills in order to achieve these distances.

For more information please visit, http://www.usopticsacademy.com.

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5 years ago


They’ve hired a great garrison leader who never translated his leadership into battle on the streets of Ramadi.

A compulsive B.S. Artist …. You might want to look a little closer at the ‘shot’ on the mysterious hospital window phantom. The real shot he should be known for is the one where he mistakenly engaged the enemy combatant that was actually a farmer holding a shovel.

He’s invented his own legend …. interview his team members and you’ll see.

5 years ago

You got yourself a great garrison leader whose leadership never translated to the battlefields of the streets of Ramadi. He is a b.s. artist and you might want to do your homework on this supposed ‘shot’ on the mysterious man in the hospital window. Maybe he has matured for your sake from the ‘leader’ he was. The real impressive shot was the one where he accidentally shot a farmer carrying a shovel that he must’ve mistaken for an AK….. Maybe it was the optics fault.

5 years ago

Don’t know him but served with his brother. If they’re from the same mold then its a great move.

Jeff S
Jeff S
5 years ago

Badges…… Jim and his wife are fantastic ambassadors to this sport and are great people in general. Wise move USO, you couldn’t have made a better choice.