So you want to be a sniper. With all the superguns available on the market, one may ask what is the point. Not everyone needs (or wants) to shoot 400+ rounds per game. The sniper role can help a player sharpen his skills on many different levels. The ability to shoot well-aimed shots does not make a sniper. Tactics, discipline, and truckloads of patience are all major factors in becoming a Sniper. In this article we are going to try and get you on the right track. So grab your Ghille suit, wipe off your optics, and get ready to get dirty. Its time for Sniper School.
Sniper Markers 101
First things first, you don’t need to go and dig out your old pump-gun. Pump guns are fine, but they require movement to operate. The marker that you are the most comfortable using should be your first choice. You need to know exactly what your range is, trigger pull, trajectory, etc. These are the things that will give you your accurate shots. This cant be stressed enough. A sniper relies on his abilities to succeed, not the abilities of his marker. Paintball snipers use a variety of markers from $120.00 Stingrays to $2000.00 Angels, all of which rely on the users ability.
If you are in the market for a new gun built around sniping, try and remember that the gun does not make the player. A few things to look for in a sniper marker are reliability, fires from a closed bolt position (for a more accurate shot), the ability to accept after market barrels, and a dovetail for scope mounting. Rate of fire should have no bearing what so ever on your choice. We are not out there to create a wall of paint. It takes 500 rounds to paint a bunker, but only one to clear it. Your marker should also be able to take a beating. A lot of a snipers time is spent crawling through areas that most people wouldn’t dare tread. If the marker can’t take getting dirty without jamming up, then the only thing it will be good for is waving your surrender flag in the air. Think camo, stay away from flashy anodizing and polished parts. Although they look nice, they will only draw attention to your position.
Advanced Camouflage & Concealment 102
Your ability to blend into your surroundings is as important as your marker. Camouflage is not just throwing on an old pair of fatigues. Camouflage is a balance of several different elements to make you blend seamlessly with your surroundings. Your choice of camo should match the conditions you play in. You wouldn’t want a green colored pattern for use in the desert. There are several different styles available for the up and coming sniper to be. Lets start with the basics.
The easiest of them all is the standard BDU style outfit. This is your run of the mill woodland or tiger stripe camo pattern that players have donned since the games’ inception. Although they are durable and relatively inexpensive, they however do not offer a very high grade of concealment. You can pick up a pair of pants and a jacket for around $30.00 at your local Army surplus store. A boonie cap or other camo hat will help complete the package.
Your next choice is to buy one of the many outfits that have been made exclusively for paintball. There is a myriad of different patterns available to today’s player. Most of which offer quite a bit of concealment without a lot of cost. Be sure to buy matching gear (i.e. Head wrap, gloves, and hopper cover). Mismatched patterns will draw more attention. The idea is to blend in with your surroundings, so stick with the same tones and patterns that you play in.
For the ultimate in sniper attire, you can either purchase or build your own Ghille suit. Ghilles are the bushy “swamp thing” outfits that military snipers use. Ghille suits were first used by Scottish Game Wardens in the 1800’s. The officers would tie brush and foliage to their uniforms to help hide them from the poachers they were trying to catch. The overall construction of the Ghille suit hasn’t changed much over the years. Most MilSpec Ghille suites today contain dyed burlap and other such materials. Burlap is used primarily due to its ability to refract light in the same manner as leaves do. These suits will offer you the absolute best in camouflage and concealment. A properly built suit, in conjunction with other camo elements, can make a player virtually invisible to the human eye. Most Mil-Spec Ghille suits will cost anywhere between $400 and $1500. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have that kind of cash to throw around, so we must build our own. Depending on how “thick” you want your suit, you can build one for around 60.00. We will cover this process in upcoming issues.
Other camo options that a player needs to be concerned with are the accessories. These include your marker, mask, etc. All the camo in the world won’t help if you have a shiny barrel or bright mask. For your marker, you can use paint or camo gun tape to help blend it in. Hoppers are another problem. Neoprene hopper covers with camo patterns are readily available. A little burlap or silk leaves sewn to the outside help breakup the outline a little more. Your headgear will be the most visible during the game. A wide brimmed hat with strands of cloth or burlap will help hide your neckline. There are many aftermarket accessories to help with the concealment of your mask. Goggle Skinz by TacPro Tactical Products are perforated film that sticks to the outside of your lens. The camouflage pattern is printed on the outside of the lens. The perforations allow you to see through the lens from the inside. Smarts Parts offers GoggleFlauge, a neoprene material that is pre-cut to fit over your mask. This helps break up your mask’s outline. Both are available in many different patterns. Gloves would be a good idea as well. Not only do they offer protection against those nasty pinky shots, but help hide your digits when you are up close and personals. Total coverage is the idea. When someone is scanning the area to find out where that lone shot rang out from, you don’t want anything on you to stand out
Sniper Deployment 103
Once you have all your gear tuned just right, its time to learn how to use it correctly. Paintball snipers are not limited to moving inches at a time like their military namesakes. We must move relatively quickly, but covert. By using paths less traveled, you can cover more ground quicker than your counterparts. Move in a crouched position when traveling distances that are sparse with activity. Once you are nearing firefights or structures, go to your belly and slither in. Take care not to disturb branches above you. This is a dead giveaway to your position. Once you are in direct view of your target, move in slow, controlled paths. If you need to turn your head, do so at a snails pace. Jerky movements are quickly spotted. If you are spotted, stay perfectly still. Nine times out of ten, the player will become distracted and lose his sight picture of you. If you have a scope on your marker, use it to see the players’ faces. With a good scope, you can tell if a player has spotted you or is merely looking in your direction. Find yourself a good place to hide. A few things you may want to consider before choosing a "hide". Some locations can turn into coffins at the drop of a hat. Look for spots that offer a good field of fire, protection from incoming rounds, and an easy avenue of retreat should the situation arise. Don’t run for the first fallen tree. Try and place yourself in an area that would be the most unlikely place to contain a sniper. Good snipers assess the situation before taking his first shot. Choose your shot wisely. Try and take out the leaders of the game. The best way to find that out is look for the player who is doing a lot of pointing. Chances are he has the basic plan of attack and is instructing other on how to carry it out. By eliminating that player from the game, you have effectively caused an upset in the plan of the enemy. The loss of a leader can be very demoralizing, and can make the difference between winning and losing.
If your target is on the move, see if he is the point man for a larger force. Squads offer a bit of a problem for a sniper. You don’t ever want to fight an enemy head on if you are outnumbered. The pointman is there to weed out players such as yourself. If he is not fired upon, the others are lulled into a false sense of security. Let them all walk right by you. You can eliminate as many as 3 or 4 players by shooting them in the back before they have a chance to figure out where the rounds are coming from.
Firing your first round from a hide requires an extreme amount of discipline. You have to train your brain to fire only ONE SHOT. After that shot has landed, reevaluate the area and make the choice to fire again. With every round fired, you are making it easier for the enemy to find you. Fire only when you have a 90% chance of a hit. You don’t need to bunker players, they will bunker themselves. With the indiscriminate round coming in from a location no one can pinpoint, everyone thinks they are the next to be taken out. You are in their backyard. The little bunker that was keeping them safely in game just minutes before has just become a jail cell. Now they are stuck with no where to go. All that fuss because of one little paintball.
Snipers can be an advantage to a team when used correctly. The basics behind sniping and tactical maneuvers can traverse to many other facets of the game. Beating the enemy with your mind before you even fire a shot is a more effective tool than any marker to date. You can effectively keep the majority of players from gaining any real estate with a few well-placed shots. Psychological paintball is back. So give sniping a try. At the very least you will lower your paint cost, and it just might make you a better player. Happy hunting, have fun and play safe.
Movement, its what gets us from point A to point B. Snipers, like everything else in our craft, must do it with medical precision. You may be able to hit the fill nipple on an air system from 50 yards, but if you never make it to your firing position with out getting whacked, you are as worthless as a chopped ball. So we will learn a little bit about what it takes to move through the field with out getting tagged, and then how to hold a firing position once you get there.
The movement of a sniper depends entirely on the situation at hand. A sniper must react to his or her environment with the tools that he or she has been trained to use. The probability of detection has the biggest impact on the method of movement that the sniper is going to use. As stated in previous articles, these are not set in stone. A sniper's most valuable tool is the ability to react to an ever-changing situation without losing sight of the mission at hand. A sniper should always be on guard, and move as though you are always under the eyes of the enemy. This will sharpen your sense of perception and make you more aware of your surroundings. So with that in mind, lets take a look at a quick breakdown sniper's movements.
Now most everyone knows how to walk, but not very many know how to walk through the bush. The Sniper Walk should only be used when you have extremely good cover such as buildings, hedgerows, or other large solid structures. The probability of the enemy even being in the area should be low. This is a good movement technique to get you where you need to be in a quick manner.
1. Crouch forward while bending your knees and body
2. Keep your marker close to your body with the barrel pointed down.
3. Try not to rock your hopper ( to eliminate unnecessary noise)
4. Move in small increments of 20 feet or less, stop, access your surroundings then repeat
5. Move with a heel to toe “cat” walk, noting foot placement. This will keep you from snagging branches and help make your movement as silent as possible.
The Baby crawl is as simple as it sounds. This is a crawl that can be used to move quickly under cover. Although not as quick as walking, the Baby crawl can get you where you need to go rather quickly. Use this crawl when you have adequate cover accompanied with a loud environment. Keep in mind that the Baby crawl makes it very difficult to distribute your weight without disturbing your surroundings. So don’t Baby crawl around in dry leaves & twigs unless you like the taste of paint.
1. Crawl on both knees and one hand
2. Raise belly off the ground
3. Keep your marker in one hand, pointed forward.
4. Move in small increments of 10 feet or less. Not intended for long distance moving.
Snipers High Crawl
The Snipers High Crawl is a lot like the Baby Crawl, except for support attained by resting on your elbows as well as your knees. The Snipers High Crawl is a medium cover, medium probability of detection maneuver. Use it if you need to get a better firing position on a moving target, or to quickly move to better cover. Once again, this is not a quiet way to get from point A to point B.
1. On elbows and knees
2. Hold your marker across your forearms
3. Raise your belly off the ground
4. Move in small increments of 5 feet or less.
Snipers Medium Crawl
Now as we get closer to the enemy, our movements need to be refined and more precise. Detection is at a high probability and cover is limited to a few bushes or shrubs. Speed is not a factor in this technique. This move will disturb a lot of underbrush if not careful, so be aware of your surroundings. Watch overhead branches and vines so that you do not snag them and give away your position.
1. Pancake on the ground as flat as you can go
2. Spread out and push with your legs
3. Pull with your arms to control your movement
4. Carry your gun by the grip frame, keeping it flat with the ground
Sniper Low Crawl (or Stalking Crawl)
This is the moment of truth for the sniper. The enemy is in direct view and your cover is almost non-existent. This is the slowest and most precise of all the snipers movements. Use this only when you are in a position to fire on the enemy, or are very close to the enemy. Keep your eye on your target at all times. Only move when your target is not looking in your direction. Situations that would call for this particular maneuver are going to be some of the most dangerous that you will encounter. So TAKE YOUR TIME. Patience is virtue, not to mention that it will keep you out of the dead zone. If performed properly, you can effectively move without making a sound.
1. Keep your legs together with your feet pointed outwards
2. Push with your toes and pull with your fingers (no, really! It works!)
3. Lay your marker flat with the ground.
4. Count your movement in inches, not feet. Small slow movements are much harder to detect.
5. Move when enemies attention is being concentrated on things other than scanning for the enemy
6. Watch the overhead branches, they will give you away every time.
The moment of truth
So you have learned how to move across the entire field without detection, but what do you do when you reach your objective? This is the moment of truth. The payoff should be worthy of all the time spent sliding around on your belly. To keep you from blowing it, here are a few pointers to help ensure a long game life.
When should I fire?
Simple, when the enemy is not looking. So many times I have witnessed snipers fire upon a squad from head on. Although you may eliminate one or two players, chances are they are going to find you and wipe you out. The reason is that they know your general locations and probably saw the ball come at them. So from that point on its just a simple process of elimination to zero in on your exact position. If you wait until the enemy is occupied, he or she will (hopefully) not be in the frame of mind to remember exactly where the round came from. Observe your target. Notice what they are paying attention to. If they are on guard, watch for a pattern of activity. Fire when they are pre-occupied with other things like shooting at someone else, talking on a radio, loading their hopper, etc. These are all things that require a player to concentrate on the task at hand and not the “static” of their surroundings. Fire one shot at a time, then wait for a result. If you score a hit, great, move on to the next available target. If not, watch your target for signs of alert. Chances are, they probably didn’t even notice the missed ball. If they did, they have no clue where it came from. Be patient, because they will soon focus on another task and you will have another firing opportunity.
Where should I shoot?
That will depend a lot on your confidence. If you are confident you can hit your target in a specific area, chances are you will succeed. However if you want a realistic answer, here it is. Anywhere you think the ball will break. From a long distance, aim high. Ball drop from extreme ranges will usually put the ball in the upper torso region. The chances of hitting your target are better than average, but the chances of a ball bounce increase as well due to the loose fitting clothing. If your target is relatively close, aim for a harness, gun or other man made object. These are sure to have a high break probability. Try and stay away from shooting a player in the headgear. Although we wear safety gear, it is still unpleasant getting beamed in the temple.
Why should I crawl 20 minutes for one elimination?
You shouldn’t. This is a game and we are having fun. If you are crawling for 20 minutes, you are not having fun. Unless the game is a scenario, and you have an opportunity to eliminate a major role player such as a General or spy. In which case you should not just get up and walk off the field after you have succeeded. Remain in your hide. If the area that you are sniping is a base or other highly populated site, use your stealth and cover to your side’s advantage. Keep a two-way radio with you to contact your high rank officials. With Scenario games, intel is every bit as important to the outcome as missions. A snipers ability to get in close with out being detected makes us the perfect tool for intelligence gathering. You can radio back to your base with information about outgoing missions, base strengths and weaknesses, and other vital things that the enemy doesn’t want you to know. You can also take the occasion player out with a well-placed shot. Don’t go crazy. That will just get you eliminated. Just shoot enough to keep them on their toes. This will make them keep players there to protect the general, which in turn keeps them from running missions. So you become a multi-purpose player and you are still having a blast!
My position has been compromised, now what?
Well now you have done it. Let’s say that the enemy has spotted you and you need to get out fast. Whatever you do, don’t jump up and run. Running will only get you a ball in the back. Your best bet is to get as low as humanly possible and move to a nearby position. The Low Crawl is an excellent escape and evasion technique as well. Use this to get yourself into another firing position. You will know if your move was successful if they keep shooting at your previous position. Once you are in a safe spot again, wait for the hornet’s nest to die down. Then move to a better location and start your harassment of the enemy all over again.
Practice, practice, practice. Get in your Ghille suit and crawl around your yard. Try crawling up on birds. Birds have excellent eyesight, and are very alert to their surroundings. I know this sounds bizarre, but if you can successfully get close to a bird in a tree, crawling undetected on a human adversary will be a piece of cake. Practicing often will also help build up a tolerance to muscle fatigue. Crawling is very tiring to anyone over two. Moving through the playing field quietly is a skill that can be learned. So get out there and do it.3 Have fun and happy hunting!
In large scenario games, snipers are usually assigned to defensive
missions. You just set an ambush and wait, or defend key positions. But
if you are lucky, you will get a very special mission. A mission that
will devastate the enemy's moral as well as score you some points. If
you are lucky, may get the honor (and sentence) of assassinating the
Before you start off from your base, you should have you exact rout
planned out. Alternative routs, quick exits, and good cover should all
be considered. Talk to other players about enemy activity and the
density of troops the area that you will be traveling in.
The equipment you should have should be a ghillie suit (or some other
form of good camo), you gun, a small hopper, and whatever little odds
and ends you may want to carry. Paint grenades and smoke bombs are
useful. Jump up and down and get rid of anything that jiggles. Remember,
your mission objective is to take out one man. You should travel very
lightly and you your skills of stealth to get you around the enemy. In
the end you should only fire one shot.
You should have a small force of a few men escort you to the edge of
your team's held territory. Try to hide the fact that you are a sniper.
Keep your mission under a veal of secrecy. Only a select few people
should know about it. The less people that know about it, the less of a
chance that the enemy will find out about you, the more of a chance you
will have of success. When you get to the edge of your team's territory,
you should enter the opposing team's territory in heavy cover.
Now you are in the enemy's territory. Your movement should always be
slow. You should try to crawl all the time except for when you have to
get up. You should never fire on anyone except the General. The only
time that you should fire on anyone else is when you are fired upon.
Because when you are located, you pretty much have no chance of success
in you mission. To you, stealth is life. Whenever you see the enemy, you
should hide. If you get a warning ahead of time that the enemy is in the
area, you should find the best cover in your area. When the enemy just
walks up on you, you should just lie as still as possible. The human eye
is attracted to movement. When moving though the enemy territory, you
should always take the path less traveled. Across fields, thorns,
The Enemy Base:
Once you locate the base, don't get too excited. Find as observation
point some distance away from the base. Observe and locate the General.
Study his movements as well as the sentries that guard the base. You
should also observe the terrain around the base. Pick your sniping
position and points of retreat. Your position should be no more than 25
or 35 yards, so you can be sure that you will hit him. Once you have
everything planned out, crawl into position. Load you gun and get into
the perfect prone position. Wait you a clear chest shot. No fancy,
"maybe" shots, you have to get him on the first shot, if you are very,
very lucky, you can get two. When you take the shot, don't move, don't
pump your gun, scratch you ear, anything. Whether you hit the General or
not, you now have every available opposing player looking for you. You
now have three choices to make, retreat, make a stand, or do nothing and
just lay there. If you retreat, you have very little chance of getting
back to your base. If you make a stand and start shooting people, you
might take a couple of people out, but you are a good as dead once you
are located. Your third choice is your best, just don't do anything.
After a while, if you are lucky, they will just give up looking for you,
and you might even get another shot at the general.
There are also plenty of awesome tactics that I personally know, but you'll have to learn those on your own. Unless you can milk them out another sniper on here. Anyways hope this helped.
This post has been edited by HeadshotPhantom: 21 May 2006 - 12:55 PM