If you are thinking of becoming a sniper, there are a few quick things you will need to consider. Becoming a paintball sniper is a big decision, and most people will have a hard time with this position. Here are a few things to consider before you take on the role of a paintball sniper. These are the keys to deciding whether or not you will make the cut to become a sniper.
Ask yourself these questions
Are you patient?
Sniping is going to require you to be patient. If you are constantly trying to find a firefight to get into, you will not make a good sniper. Being a sniper requires that you find places where people are going to be, and not always necessarily where they are. You will also need extreme patience to be able to let the enemy walk past your position, until they are headed away from you. This takes nerves of steel, and absolute concentration. You may even go a whole game without seeing another soul. If the thought of all of your buddys having a great time shooting whole cases of paint and you sitting in a bush waiting haunts you, then you simply aren't cut out for the sniper position!
Also, patience is not just sitting in a likely spot waiting. Patience also includes the ability to think things out and make reasonable decisions without rushing into anything. A good sniper will never make a hasty decision that gives up their location or puts them in an unwanted firefight. patience takes THOUGHT too.
Another thing worth mentioning is Ghostinthewood's member title. It reads "I have the two most powerful weapons...patience and time." Do you meet that criteria? In order to become a sniper you are going to need both of those assets. Think about those and you will know if you fit the position.
Are you sneaky?
If you don't think you can silently move through the woods without being heard you do not make the cut. It is essential for a paintball sniper to be able to move from point A to point B without being detected. Not only must you be quiet, but you must also know how to keep your outline hidden, by use of not only your camo but the terrain. Any good sniper will absolutely have to be able to move around, and not be seen by the enemy.
One good sign that you could make a good sniper is the ability to hunt animals successfully, since most animals have very keen abilitys which they use constantly to stay alive, they make fairly decent sniper practice. You also need to be able to identify different hiding places and distinguish the advantages of each. Are those leaves a good choice? CRUNCH, CRUNCH! Or do I want to go through that bed of pine needles over there. Hard surfaces without too much give that are free of brush and twigs are good sneaky places. But do you have what it takes to identify them?
Can you set up an ambush?
Being a sniper requires that you are albe to identify good ambush points. A good working knowledge of how people are going to use terrain, where they will be at any given point, and how they are going to use the terrain to their advantage and not yours are required. Being a sniper is going to require some insight into the human mind. You will need to think like the prey you are stalking, and then be able to set up ambushes according to your knowledge. It is not always easy to be able to correctly identify the places that the enemy will end up, as unlike normal prey, your target will have the ability to guess your actions as well. The ability to know how the thoughts of others can work to your advantage will be pivetal to your success.
You will also have to accept the fact that people will sometimes walk past you out of range, and you will not be able to do anything, otherwise your position will be given up. Being a good sniper will, believe it or not, requires teamwork! It is not always a lone wolf position, although it may seem that way to a regular newbie. Snipers need to be in on the plan, and do what is necessary to make the team succeed. A good team will make it very easy for you to set up an ambush, as they will draw in enemys that you will in turn set the ambush for. If you were thinking this is a position where I can be alone if I want, you were right, but if you thought you could do it without teamwork....WRONG!
How well can you make yourself blend in?
To be a sniper you will probably want to own a ghillie suit, although it is by no means necessary. Blending in is a major part of being a sniper though. Because your gun is not going to have much, if any more range then the enemies, your major advantage will be your hiding abilities. The ability to not be seen and execute one shot and one kill will fall largely on the camo you are wearing. You will also at times be required to use different camo for certain situations. If you do not have good camo you will have a hard time being a sniper. Your choice of camo will ultimately determine whether you execute a clean kill(s), or are spotted by a group of 3 people and lit up. Remember, as a sniper you should not expect to be making long shots, but shots that are from shorter distances that are achieved through superior concealment. That is what truly defines the sniper in my opinion. The ideal shot will be taken at less then probably fourty feet, contrary to popular beliefs.
Many feel that it ultimately comes down to skill, and I will agree to that wholeheartedly. If you don't know how to hide, nothing can save you, even the best camoflauge. If you lack commitment to gaining new skills and refining them, don't even consider this position. It is going to take practice, and lots of it. You CAN play without ghillie. There is no doubt in my mind about that. If you know how to hide and hide well, you should be OK. But any true sniper takes every advantage that they can get to get close to the enemy without being seen. So for the sake of my beliefs I have written that you SHOULD have ghillie. While it is not necessary, it is a part of being a sniper, and therefore you should seriously consider it.
Are you a good shot and can you make up for the lack of a weapon advantage?
The sad truth is that a paintball marker is not your average sniper weapon. Compared to real sniper rifles, your marker will me mediocre at best. It is the snipers duty to practice, practice and practice some more. The only real advantage you can have in the firepower department is to be able to execute one shot and one kill moves. This will not happen because of your gun, but more because of the training you will have to put into becoming a sniper. It will also happen because you can sneak into range of your target and get a good open shot, since they are unaware of you.
I will state right here that being a paintball sniper is nothing like the newbie first thinks. You will not be shooting anybody from the distances you imagine. What you will be doing is sneaking and hiding. That is what makes the paintball sniper so crafty. The ability to hide and pull off consistent shooting. There is usually nothing long range about it. If you were suckered into thinking you would have a gun that would be dead on at 100 yds. and you could kill every time as a paintball sniper, you were misinformed. Having an awesome gun will never guarantee you a lot of kills. It is simply your skill that will see you taking out your opponents.
So I Am Going To Commit, What Now?
First of all, you by no means have to commit to the sniper position. There will always be playing situations where playing the sniper position is not beneficial. Make sure, for this reason, that your marker is set up to be able to handle other positions as well. You never know when you might need your marker to have a large capacity for paintballs. The point is that you don't have to play the sniper position all of the time just because you have now decided you are going to do it.
That being said, now that you know you are up to the position, you are in for quite the learning experience. In no way would I expect you to follow all of the guidelines I have set up for you immediately, or even agree with all of them. The position is quite flexible, so just go with what your gut tells you, and happy hunting!
I have also decided to include some links to other imporatant learning tools. These threads should give you an even better idea of what you are in for. Read these and you will already have a good start in your learning process.
The Beat All Advice About Sniper Equipment by Headshotjester
The Ultimate Sniper Tactics
How-To: Team Sniping by SWATORNOT
How to Make Your Own Ghillie by USMC-Scout/Sniper
These criterias posted here are the things I weighed heavily in my decision to be a sniper. It isn't an easy job, but it is one of the most rewarding. As a sniper you will have the ability to gather key information for your team, as well as take out key targets. You also have the advantage of surprise, which is a very rewarding feeling once you achieve it. Well, if you have chosen to be a sniper, I wish you the best of luck.
Section 2: Beginners
First off you need to know the Different Sniper Roles
There are quite a few different ways that you can play the sniper position, so I will give you an idea of these here. You are going to need to be a very versatile player in order to accomplish the role of sniper, and an understanding of the different roles you might end up playing are important in your decision to become a sniper.
The ambush snipers job is for the most part to set up an ambush, which will not only slow the enemy, but confuse them too. If an ambush sniper sets up correctly, they will be able to put the opponent into a trap they cannot recover from. Usually, a sniper using this type of tactic will lie in wait for the enemy, and wait until they have passed his location slightly. That is when the sniper sets the trap, and shoots one or more of the enemies, effectively signaling his team to attack as well. This tactic is used generally on the weak side of a strong side attack, or one in which the majority of your team attacks from a certain side of the field. One of the main jobs of the ambush sniper is too merely slow the enemy from progressing while your team retrieves the flag. Ambush sniper is one of the most common methods used, for the most part because it is one of the simpler and effective ways to cut down the numbers on the opposing team.
The ghost flanker can work in unison with the ambush sniper very effectively if they use good teamwork. Once teams start to trade fire, the ghost flanker is going to have the job of sneaking in from the sides. This position requires you to do a lot of work on your belly, because you will be crawling into position form the sides of the enemy. The main reason to crawl is simply because most paintball players do not expect an enemy to crawl into position to shoot them. Work this to your advantage and stay very low to the ground. When you get into position, and if you do it correctly, you will have an easy time taking out the opposition unnoticed. A good ghillie suit is helpful in this position because it will help you further blend into the ground and make you outline nearly invisible.
Because a piantball gun simply will not offer any ballistic advantage for the paintball sniper, there are types of snipers who use other advantages to gain extra range and a tactical advantage. The longbow sniper uses an elevation advantage like a hill or possibly even a fort/tower to gain a ballistics advantage over the enemy. This type of sniper is not expected to stay hidden, because they simply cannot be expected to execute one shot kills. They fire in quantity in order to make their shots count. Due to this, the lonbow sniper will have to throw some of their normal tactics out the window. Carry extra paint and air when playing this sniper position. For this position, like all others, you are going to need the best possible paint, and even more so for the longbow sniper since at such long distances any imperfections in your paint will truly reveal themselves.
Another aspect of this position is that you can be both a sniper and a commander at the same time. With your superior view of the field, you can also give orders to your team and devise strategy while you play. That is one of the coolest aspects of this position.
You might also choose to follow or stalk your prey and wait for the perfect opportunity to strike. Certain key targets might be worth the extra time to follow and set up an ambush for, and that is where some serious pursuit skills will come in handy. Following you quarry and taking the time to decide how you are going to eliminate them is sometimes worthwhile, but keep in mind that they know their team's strategy and can move about freely knowing intelligence that you do not. It is therefore always a good idea to be wary of just how far you are willing to go to eliminate your target. Also, it is very important to be able to move around quietly and stay hidden. You can't follow if you can't move and stay undetected.
This is a method used to gain vital information that may determine whether or not your team wins or loses. This type of sniping requires the ability to resist shooting easy targets for the greater good of your team. You need to acquire information, which means you are going to have to be very good at keeping yourself concealed. You will observe the enemy's movements as well as numbers and report back to your command with the information. Also, you might even get the opportunity to take out a key target such as the opposition's commander. Your communications on the field will help your team to determine where to send its men and where the most advantageous attacks will be. The key to playing this part though, is that you do not go commando and make eliminations that put at risk the mission at hand. The goal is to gain information and not to get kills.
This is really one of the more "oddball" sniper positions. That being said, I would also say it is one of the most commonly employed methods of sniping as well. This is because most people playing sniper don't always want to follow the "rules" of sneaking and hiding. The marksmen is a sniper that plays more directly with the team. They will use good shooting lanes to suppress the enemy with accurate shots as well as provide assistance for the movements of the team. While a marksmen can do almost anything that the other sniper positions do, they do it more with their team. Not as much of a lone team member making a difference out of their teams view. These players help to keep the team moving and can flank the opponent to make things happen. This is a true team sniper basically. Having this in mind I would also like to add a comment about how each position is not bound by any certain rules.
You can use all of these methods in a single game! There is no set in stone way to play out the entire game if you are in the sniper position. You could be stalking the enemy, predict their path of travel, and set up an ambush. Another situation is the one where you gather the needed intelligence for your team, and then decide to become a ghost flanker in an ambush that has already been planned. The point here is that you can do any number of things in one game. All you have to do is use your head and come up with some brilliant ideas. You could be useful as a sniper just about anywhere on the field.
Basically, in order to play the sniper role you need to be able to adapt to the situation. At any moment something can happen that will compromise your plan, and you will have to form a new strategy. You have to know what to do in any given situation, when "the plan" goes astray. If you are not able to adapt, you will rarely ever complete an entire mission. If every plan went exactly as expected, we would all win every game. Be sure that you know how to change your role in the game at a moments notice. You will benefit from it.
I will also add that one of the greatest things about the sniper position is the use of sniper paranoia. As snipers, we have the ability to do hit and run sort of missions, with the objective being to freak out the enemys, becasue they cannot find you. When you make a kill and the opponent has no idea what is going on, you slow the enemy progress and make them very vulnerable targets. This is one thing that drew me to the position, and I think it is something every sniper loves to do.
Gear and Tactics
As a sniper you are going to have specific needs from your equipment. Here are a few things you are going to need to consider as far as your equipment is concerned. These are not all necessary but for any sniper they are worthwhile to your progress in the position.
There is a lot of decisions involved in buying and assembling your whole sniper setup, and it is a complicated process. My best advice here is to look through the volumnes of text written in these forums and ask questions about what to look for in the perfect marker setup. The ultimate setup is only achieved through hours and hours of testing and refining. This is something very few of us actually get to do. The following hints and tips on marker setup should give you a general idea of what is needed.
First of all you will want to consider using the best quality paint that you can afford. Quality paint will increase your accuracy and give you more consistent trajectory, or less balls that wing off to the sides. This type of accuracy is essential for making one shot kills.
You should switch to HPA, go remote, and get a stock for your marker. This step is very important because it balances the gun and increases you accuracy. You will be able to bring the gun to target more quickly, and have less of a backwards tilt to the gun as you go to aim. You are also going to want to have an extremely lightweight marker. A light marker can be brought to aim very quickly, making quick and precise shots possible.
You are going to want a quiet marker, and this is a big issue with the sniper role. A quiet marker is going to make it harder for the enemy to locate you if you only make one shot. The inability to determine where you are is highly advantageous, and is a great concern when choosing a marker. The only thing keeping you hidden is superior concealment techniques. When you shoot you are giving the enemy a beacon to identify your position by. Make it so that beacon is as dimly lit as possible. Make your marker as quiet as you can, and put some time into considering your options in this matter.
It is not really much of an option to always buy the most quiet marker right out of the box. People don't usually base their decisions for a marker on how quiet it is to start with. That is why I think it is important to cover mainly how to make your marker quiet after the purchase. Also, you probably already have a marker to begin with.
For the most part, you are going to want to focus on a quiet barrel and a quiet hopper. These are the two most important modifications you can make to the gun to keep yourself unnoticed. For a quiet hooper you will probably want to add some felt to the inside, or get a hopper with thick walls which reduce the amount of sound as well. I feel that this should be bookmarked for most people, simply because you cannot enjoy sniper success if you are noisy. There is an existing thread already devoted to this type of thing, so feel free to read up on it here.
Another way to have a quiet barrel is to use a Stiffi. These barrels have been proven to be the quietest thing out there, and they are definitely worth a try. Here is a link to the Stiffi site so you can read all about it and make some decisions for yourself here. For the most part, porting is what quiets the sound of any barrel, and Stiffi addresses this concern very well.
Here are some things to consider when purchasing or using a hopper. It is a good idea to have pods that are half the capacity of your hopper. That way it will be easier to keep your hopper full, and more quiet. If you have to wait until your hopper is nearly empty until you can refill, you are going to be making a lot of noise. Another hopper consideration is putting a neoprene cover over it. This will further reduce sound.
Another consideration is the length of the barrel that you choose. Mostly it just comes down to preference in my opinion. You can get a long barrel up to 21" and possibly see the benefits. Most will argue that this type of barrel wastes gas because of the length. While this is true, it only really uses enough gas to reduce the shots per tank by about 20 paintballs. Depending on the gun that number might increase or decrease, but really if you feel you need a longer barrel then go for it. Shorter barrels can be beneficial though because they are easy to maneuver. No matter what length you have, just make sure that the barrel is quiet and accurate, That is the biggest concern in this department.
You might also want a hopper which does not block your view down the barrel so that you can have better accuracy. You can get a Tac-Cap for the Popular Tippmann models or go with a Q-loader which can be mounted below the marker. The Q-loader is also very quiet. Although I worry about the feeder tube getting snagged, many people claim good success with this loader, so there is no reason for me to doubt its performance. These are some of the most popular ways to go about making the hopper smaller or out of the way.
Here is a link to the Q-loader website:
Sniper clothing should be very quiet, as well as have the ability to let you crawl extremely well. If you spend a lot of time on your belly, you will know that any vest with lots of front pockets and gizmos is just not going to cut it. Get a vest with few things to hold you up on the front. Take the time to look over vest before you buy it. Try it on and maybe even crawl around in it on the showroom floor. A good crawling vest is just that important.
It is also very important to make sure that you have no hard surfaces on your clothing for your gun to rub against. Consider this before you buy any clothing for paintball. If you have buttons or metal attachments they can clink against your marker, effectively revealing you to your opponents. If there are any of these on your current paintball clothes, you can always try to cover them up with a piece of fabric sewn in or a rubber paint coating added onto them. Also of imporatance is to not put items in pouches that will hit against your legs as you move. Better yet, buy a vest that is sized properly to avoid items hitting against your legs. Lastly, avoid buying rough fabrics. If a thick and rough fabric has a tree branch hit against it, it will make a loud smacking sound. A soft fabric is also much more quiet when you are running.
Standard BDU's can work just fine for the sniper. Many an effective sniper no doubt uses them, and some probably don't wear any camo at all. While I do not advise the use of jeans and a T-shirt, I know that it can be done. While the average player doesn't know what to look for in the woods anyways, a more skilled eye can pick up on the outline of the human body very easily.
That being said, I recommend at least a camo shirt and pants. This will help to keep you as concealed as possible, and make your overall gameplay much better. Sniper is a position in which you desperately need to remain hidden.
Ghillie suits are very popular for the sniper. A ghillie suit is basically a mound of materials woven into a mesh that breaks up your outline extremely well. While they do leave you ending up looking like to bogey creek monster, nobody can argue their effectiveness. There are the more common burlap ghillie suits, and then there are the lightweight action ghillie suits. either way, they are good options for breaking up your outline. You can make your own ghillie suit if you wish to be able to customize it to the terrain you play in or just cannot afford one from a mail-order catalog. Here are some links to help you decide what you want to do as far as ghillie is concerned.
Special Ops action Ghillie
How to Make Your Own Ghillie
A ghillie mask is also a handy creation if you wish to complete you ghillie outfit. what is the point in having a whole ghillie suit if the part of you that is going to be moving and poking out the most often is easily visible? I suggest that any ghillie suit is complimented by a ghillie mask. Luckily, I don't have to teach you how to do it because SWATORNOT has already devoted a thread to it already. Read up .
Ghillie mask: How-to.
You will want to purchase some good boots as well. Don't buy boots with firm soles. Instead, find some that have softer soles. Believe it or not, they will be much more quiet. Firm soles tend to thunk and make stomping sounds when you move quickly in them, whereas the softer soled ones absorb more impact and are naturally much more quiet. If you really want the quietest footwear available, it is never a bad idea to try mocassins. While this may sound funny, they are extremely quiet to move around in. Just one more thing to consider.
Radios are important because, as I have said earlier, the sniper position is one where you will need to use teamwork. If you can get one, radio communication can be a huge help to your game. Simply put, a radio lessens the need for you to sit and listen more then move and put together good plans. With a radio, you can have a view of the most of the field, and know exactly where you are going to have the best shooting possibilities. If your team plans to move through a certain area then you are best off setting up an ambush that correlates with their plan. If their plan suddenly changed, how would you know it if you don't have a radio? Get some for your team and you will benefit.
If you are going to get radios you are going to need headsets. while you can do without, you want a headset so that you can communicate with your team while you move. It makes things much more simple and it keeps your movements and noise to a minimum. Because this type of equipment is so imporatant to your game, you will want to buy the best that you can possibly afford.
Ok, this is a really good start to my thread for sure. Even though it is incredibly long, It will possibly end up to be A LOT longer. While I would love to give you more information, the problem is that I am still just a newbie myself. I don't yet feel confident enough to go into advanced sniper tactics yet, because I have only been playing for a month and a half. I am sure that sounds weird, because I was smart enough to write this whole thing. I did a lot of research and put in some serious play time. Also, I am sure that almost everything here is incredibly accurate, as a friend of mine has been helping me out a lot on this.
At this time I would like to thank ghostinthewood for giving me such good advice and being a great inspiration. Don't worry, there is much more to come once i get some time in the field and a feel for advanced tactics. I also need to do a lot more study. Well, for now I will say goodbye. Look for me in the next month or so here though, it won't take me long to assemble some more good stuff.
Good luck out on the field, and for those of you who now see this is something you aren't destined for, there is no shame. The paintball sniper is truly a different breed of man (or woman)
This post has been edited by Femur Breaker: 22 January 2006 - 08:22 PM