What is a Paintball Sniper?
Now the majority of people will say right from the start that the paintball sniper does not exist, and by all means you are entitled to your own opinion. I will encourage you to read on through his thread and make your own assumption about the paintball sniper though, and maybe you will have a different outlook on the position as a whole, instead of the individuals that play the debated position.
The first thing I will hit on is the common misconception of people thinking a paintball sniper is only one who makes an elimination from a long range. Well this is where a lot of new and inexperienced players make their first mistake. A paintball sniper is by no means anything close to that of the traditional sniper, the ones we are most familiar with in the military. The paintball sniper shares few similarities with the military sniper with the most common point between the two being two main skills.
The two skills that both the military sniper and paintball sniper share are concealment, and marksmanship.
Concealment - is a very common point between the two sniper versions simply because they both use their surroundings and camouflage to the fullest advantage possible. This skill allows the individual to maintain an undetected status while moving, or observing. Now most of you will draw back to the common new player that is playing the paintball sniper position, but never moves and does what we call “camping.” Now this is still a skill of both military and paintball snipers; however this is more commonly referred to as reconnaissance. A player does not have to be moving to be truly defined as a sniper; often some of the best work done by a sniper, either military or paintball, is stationary work such as recon. The key point being made in this section is that concealment is a sniper’s lifeline and “trademark.”
Marksmanship - is the obvious skill when you think of a sniper. The sniper is nothing less than a sharpshooter. If we take a look into the definition of a sharpshooter you will find that they are one who is highly proficient in their shooting (Proficient basically means expert). Now we all know that the biggest part of the paintball sniper debate among players is the idea that you can make an elimination from extreme ranges (More than 100yrds/300ft). This is where the two common skills separate the differences in a military and paintball sniper. A military sniper is capable of eliminating a target up to 1000 yards away due to the ballistics of a real bullet. With paintball the ballistics are very different due to the shape of the projectile, and the velocity of which the projectile is expelled. A paintball sniper is limited to the proficient elimination of a target generally no more than 100 feet away. The key point here is to show the characteristics of the two sniper versions is what really sets the two apart; understand that and know that it is not possible to make the extreme range target eliminations as a paintball sniper.
Still Not Convinced?
Now some of you may still not be convinced that the paintball sniper exists, or is even practical in the sport of paintball. A paintball sniper is just like any other player on the game field except that they are skilled specifically in concealment or “hiding.” The most experienced paintball snipers are generally those who you will only see a limited number of times, either going into, or out of the game field, or as they eliminate somebody. These players are very skilled at what they do and it is only fair to assume that they too once started out as a new inexperienced player who “camped” out in the woods. Every player enhances their skill at a different pace, some learn quicker than others, and some may just find that being a paintball sniper is not for them. Those who stick to it from the beginning are in it for the experience and skill that they can build from. Should they decide to play another position, they have practically “mastered” a few very helpful skills that they can apply to another playing style and become an even better paintball player, regardless of the position they take on.
“Too many new players think that they are a paintball sniper”
Oh how true that is, but as I stated before every player needs to start somewhere. The paintball sniper gets the most attention because of the glory that comes from being a military sniper. Since the new players are generally less educated in the differences between that of the military and paintball sniper, they automatically think they will become the best.
The paintball sniper position is could ideally be considered the “front-door” so to speak for the woodsball/scenario paintball community. This is where new players feel “welcome” and automatically accepted because it is such a highly glorified style of play. Those of you who are non-believers of the paintball sniper should appreciate the position for at least one thing; the paintball sniper position could be defined almost as the paintball recruiting department.
Not every player that comes into the woodsball/scenario paintball community will stick with, or even start as a paintball sniper, but they generally use the position as a slow and advanced way to learn some basics before getting into the games a bit more. This is purely an estimated guess on my part, but I would suspect that more than 60% of the players that start off as a paintball sniper will have moved on to another position by the end of their first, if not the second season. They come and they go, only the truly dedicated will stick with it and maintain the “myth” that a paintball sniper exists
Still skeptical about the paintball sniper’s existence in paintball?
Well let’s look at the actual definition of the two words that make up the paintball sniper then and see what we can get from that;
1.) A game in which players on one team seek to eliminate those on an opposing team by marking them with a water-soluble dye shot in capsules from air guns.
2.) The dye-filled gelatinous capsule shot from guns in this game
1.) A skilled military shooter detailed to spot and pick off enemy soldiers from a concealed place.
2.) One who shoots at other people from a concealed place.
Now since there are a couple definitions here, that means there is two aspects of the paintball sniper, but only one truly fits and is logical to the specific application we are seeking.
Taking paintball’s first definition and pairing it with sniper’s second definition we get the following defined explanation of the paintball sniper;
”A game in which players on one team seek to eliminate those on an opposing team by marking them with a water-soluble dye shot in capsules from air guns.”
”One who shoots at other people from a concealed place.”
Now I will “alter” this a little bit to make it more fitting, but without stretching the words or definition;
“A player on one team that seeks to eliminate those on an opposing team by marking them from a concealed place.”
Now I would have to say that is probably the best and most acceptable definition of a paintball sniper. I have not stretched or “glorified” the position in any way; I have laid it out in plain English with a very clear definition. The paintball sniper does exist and will be a major part of the woodsball/scenario paintball community for a long time ahead.
Many people will probably refute the paintball sniper even after reading this, but I believe that they will have the proper information and explanation of the paintball sniper to make a clear and logical judgment about the paintball sniper’s true existence…
So say that the paintball sniper does exist, what practical purpose do they serve?
This is common among people that don’t believe the paintball sniper exists, and if they do believe the paintball sniper exists, they don’t believe that a paintball sniper serves a practical purpose in paintball.
Now another part of the misconception among players is that they think the paintball sniper is nothing more than a “camper” in the field, one who just sits and waits for the opposition to come to them. That is partly true, but by no means is it an accurate assumption about the paintball sniper.
A paintball sniper that is commonly referred to as a “camper” is generally one who is either a beginner, or one that is specifically skilled in reconnaissance. Some of you may be thinking “It doesn’t take a paintball sniper to gather information.” This is correct, but if we go back to the beginning of this article you will see that the paintball sniper is very skilled in concealment. Should your team need to gather information about the opposing team you will want to do this as secretly as possible and who better than a paintball sniper to do that?
So what are the practical applications a paintball sniper has?
Reconnaissance - is not the only thing that the paintball sniper contributes to the team; however it is probably the most valuable asset. In your average woodsball game a paintball sniper may not be given a specific mission to gather information, but if your team is using radios and the paintball sniper should come across an attacking force he can notify his team of their location and heading. This type of situation can be the difference between a surprise attack, and a well planned ambush, all thanks to the information provide by a paintball sniper (Not always just a paintball sniper though).
Scenario - The majority of the paintball sniper’s practical application will be in the scenario games where specific missions are given to a team. Such things like; recon the opposing team’s base, observe trail patrols, or simply to gather valuable information that can assist your team in a victory. The paintball sniper can be effectively used to eliminate one high profile (or high point) target without the use of a large attacking squad. A paintball sniper can also be a very valuable tool for setting ambushes along parts of the playing field; a well planned ambush could easily take out five or more players from the opposing team in a matter of minutes. Again a paintball sniper is not the only one who can do this, but generally they are very skilled with ambushes and will carry these out almost flawlessly.
An experienced paintball sniper can make their way into neutral or opposing ground on the field without the opposing team knowing about their presence. This cuts the risk of your team being drawn into a battle on un-fair grounds (Field area where the opposing team has a better advantage). Your team can send in one player capable of getting behind and around the opposition without being detected (This can also help to keep your team from bogging down in a battle with the opposition). If your team needs to eliminate a key player on the other team the paintball sniper is merely a tool of the team that can be employed to create silent chaos among the opposition.
You may still think there is no practical application for the paintball sniper, however look at it this way; You have to eliminate only one target, the field is unfamiliar to your team and could potentially have numerous ambushes. Why would you send out a squad of players to eliminate one target behind enemy lines when you can send one player to complete the objective silently and efficiently?
Think on this quote a minute or two and then re-think what was stated in the previous paragraph;
”Fear comes from the unknown, not from numbers”
The above quote now leads us into the next aspect of the paintball sniper, and also a familiar tactic.
Psychological – tactics can be used just as effectively from the paintball sniper’s position as any other on the team. As the quote says; “Fear comes from the unknown” which can be translated to the implementation of the paintball sniper’s skill in concealment. To a paintball sniper the opposition becomes the “prey” and the paintball sniper becomes the “predator.” If you cannot see or hear your predator, but know that there is one, it usually generates a form of fear because there is the factor of the unknown. If you as the “prey” could see or hear the “predator” the unknown factor is gone, thus there is no fear.
Now you are probably saying to yourself right now “I’m not afraid of the unknown, let alone a paintball sniper.” The truth is the fear of the unknown is a very common and intense fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. This is precisely why a paintball sniper can use the psychological tactics very effectively, regardless of what you may think off the game field.
There is still more to come on this…
This post has been edited by SWATORNOT: 13 February 2006 - 07:46 PM