Become an Expert Sniper in Airsoft! [Essential Guide]
Being a sniper is one of the most researched and revered roles in the Airsoft community. Nearly everyone I talk to regarding Airsoft seems to have been, or aspires to be, a sniper at some point in their Airsoft journey.
There is the usual multitude of reasons that sniping is regarded so highly; from video games’ awesome factor to movies where a sniper plays a prominent role in an action packed thriller. This blinded view from the movies, while compelling people to play, does not tell the whole story.
There is a lot more to becoming a successful Airsoft sniper, and I’m going to break it down for you in this article. So you don’t have to work as hard, instead you can play harder!
- What to do as a sniper?
- Awareness, Observation and Exploration
- Knowing Your Weapon- Research!
- Aiming and Accuracy
- Secondary Weapons
- Camouflage Gear
- Movement and Escape for Snipers
- Practice makes Perfect!
1. What to do as a sniper?
Becoming an Airsoft sniper is an acquired role which carries a whole host of responsibilities, which generally means more experienced players choose to be snipers. That being said, if you are a beginner, there is no reason that being a sniper is not your calling – a sniper has to be competent, aware of their surroundings and it is vital that they are always alert on the field.
The other roles and responsibilities of being a sniper are to survey the area or playing field. Snipers are usually well camouflaged and therefore can easily obtain a good visual on enemy lines without being detected.
This leads us on to the second role which can be divided into two parts- gathering intel and infiltrating enemy lines. In gathering intel, the sniper is able to provide information on the enemy’s weaknesses, strengths and areas of access. Without this intel it may be difficult for the team to know what they are faced against.
And finally, yes, I’m onto the part where you actually get to shoot. A sniper’s role can also include eliminating high value targets – which is self-explanatory but extremely useful to the team.
It is true that the majority of the roles played by snipers don’t reflect the movie-esque nature that springs to mind when the word is first mentioned, but all of these roles are important for keeping your Airsoft team well oiled and working together.
2. Awareness, Observation, and Exploration
As I mentioned previously, to be a good sniper you must be aware of your surroundings; this includes laying low, patiently observing and exploring further to find out more information.
Observing has to go beyond simple surveyance, however, it can also include prioritizing targets, gathering information on how enemies are positioned and deciding on the best routes of approach.
Being a sniper on an Airsoft team cannot include brash decisions; as a sniper you must be patient, effective in gathering intel and know when to lay low.
It is also important that you gauge the most effective target to hit depending on the situation, for example: hitting a team leader could cause disorientation within the team compared to hitting any random player.
Learning how to be patient and prioritise your fire is crucial to increasing your effectiveness on the field as a sniper.
Exploration can often be carried out before the game. To understand the best places to stay hidden, snipers must study the terrain and aerial maps which can help navigate escape routes and ambush points.
You can generally print recent maps from the websites and if they are unavailable, Google Maps can also be used as a good resource for gauging the surroundings. It is vital that this is carried out to make sure you and the team have a plan.
Studying a site’s map prior to the game will help you plan ambush points, escape routes and fall back points.
As a final resort, you can also ask the site’s marshals to explore the field before the game, it is vital that this is carried out to make sure at least have a basic understanding of the layout.
3. Knowing your replica - do your research!
Generally it’s a rule of thumb that higher prices provide better quality of rifle. Although that is true in some cases, it doesn’t mean that you need to be paying extravagant prices for a sniper rifle that will ultimately turn you into Vasily Zaitsev in an instance.
Start relatively simple on the rifle and remember it takes more than just the rifle alone to become a good sniper- it takes dedication and practice.
If you’re not sure where to start looking, we’ve included two great sniper rifles in our ‘Top 5 Airsoft Replicas for Beginners’; other options are also listed below.
“This is my rifle! There are many like it, but this one is mine!”
‘Full Metal Jacket’
Regardless of your choice in rifle, make sure you do your research- yes, the gun has to be suited to you, and you have to feel at home using it but don’t make the mistake of choosing one only based on looks.
The rifle that you choose will be an investment; so whether it’s spring, gas or standard, read the reviews, ask about the rifle or simply start a thread at our forum and I’m sure someone will get back to you.
Below I’ve listed some more sniper rifles that may be just what you’re looking for, it’s not an exhaustive list so remember to keep digging!
1. Tokyo Marui VSR-10
2. Silverback SRS
3. SSG-24 (Novritsch)
4. Amoeba Striker S1
5. UTG Shadow Ops MK96
There’s more to knowing your rifle than just good fit. You must also understand how to maintain it after use and potentially upgrade if necessary. Not taking good care of your rifle could result in increased tear and wear. Gun Grease and Gun Oil are budget friendly so make sure to take care of your baby regularly! However, upgrades can cost a fair bit of money, so when buying your rifle be sure to look into additional costs that match your overall budget.
If a gas-powered sniper rifle is your rifle of choice, I personally would recommend avoiding both Green Gas and CO2 systems and simply upgrade to HPA (High Pressured Air) system from the get go! It is cheaper to maintain in the long run, creates less hassle and is not affected by temperature thus always providing consistent results!
Gas rifles are a blast to shoot as they provide recoil – but they also require regular maintenance.
Of course, it goes without saying that all the sniper rifles that can be used have their positive and negative points and you should choose the gun that fits you and your budget best. Remember, beauty is only skin deep – look beyond how the rifle looks and review how it actually works!
4. Aiming and Accuracy
I’m not going to go into too much detail here about ballistics as it can easily get complicated, but I am going to try and give you some tips in terms of aiming techniques.
Take note that while you may have the best aim in the world, certain factors will always affect your accuracy such as wind and BB weight.
For consistent shooting make sure you tune your hop-up to your chosen BB weight and keep practicing to get used to your rifle! Initially, start at a chosen distance (e.g. 50m) that you feel comfortable shooting at and progressively increase the distance the more accurate your aim becomes.
You cannot expect to have excellent aim the minute you handle your rifle; practice makes perfect!
We recommend using a minimum of 0.36g up to 0.50g BBs for your sniper rifles; click here for a more detailed breakdown of BB weights!
5. Secondary Weapon
While a sniper’s main weapon of choice will always be the rifle, it is always good practice to carry a secondary weapon or sometimes even a third back-up replica. This comes as a result of the power of most sniper rifles (max. 500 FPS) and close quarter engagement limits; most sites will require snipers to use their secondary (max. 350 FPS) under 20/30 metres.
Recommended - Tokyo Marui MK23
A silenced pistol as a back-up is always recommended, but again, it is important to do your research in respect to your preferences.
I would highly recommend the Tokyo Marui MK23 which provides silent perfection with long ranged shots. However, if you have a preference for a smaller secondary you could use something like Glock 19 or Glock 26.
6. Camouflage Gear
When you first get your airsoft gear, be sure to break it in to ensure maximum comfort when wearing it out on the field. Chances are, you are going to be in tough situations that require patience and the last thing you need is gear that is tight in the wrong places. Practice walking through airsoft fields, if given the opportunity, to gauge how quietly or nimbly you can work across the terrain.
The most important part of your gear is the camouflage. It should of course match the setting that you’re playing in; if possible remember to adapt it to different seasons and settings.
Ghillie suits are the most common camouflage for snipers and are often available from most airsoft retailers with a variety of camouflage patterns available.
The suit has three purposes when worn by the sniper; to allow them to blend into their surroundings well, allow them to use grass and surrounding undergrowth to their advantage and simply stay hidden.
By making yourself near invisible in these suits, you’ll be able to engage the opposite team at both long and short distances.
To make best use of the suits, you must also learn how to move stealthily and without alerting others. If you cannot move quietly, there is a high chance of giving your position away and jeopardising your advantage.
Make sure to stick low to the ground and move slowly through the undergrowth as much as possible, be patient and remain silent to maximise effectiveness.
7. Movement and Escape for Snipers
As an airsoft sniper you must plan your steps ahead, especially after revealing your position. Scoping out the area, as mentioned previously, to understand where the enemy is and what your next move should be, is vital. Make use of your surroundings and current climate, such as moving into a better position of concealment where there is more undergrowth and more shade.
Escape and learning the art of escaping should be an essential part of your practice.
If you select a position, think of ways that you could escape – and I would always recommend finding more than one route. Planning ahead in the sniper’s position is essential and if you’re ever compromised, an escape plan (played out correctly), just may help you reach safety and cover.
8. Practice makes Perfect
This section won’t have a lot to it and I don’t want to repeat myself. But I will, just this once for you guys.
Practice, practice, practice!
A big part of getting better at a particular role and making use of the money you invested into your rifle and gear is simply to practice; whether it be practicing aiming and firing, planning your escape routes and playing them out or simply wearing your camouflage suits. Every little bit helps to make you that much more of a sniper.
Now you have got our hints and tips on what you should do and where you can look for equipment, you can officially start the hunt and get onto getting better.
Remember, you will have to get comfortable with using your rifle and adapt to any field you play at but using the tips I’ve just given you should make it just that little bit easier.
Also don’t forget to practice everything evenly including your secondary weapon, although a big part of being a sniper is to only use your weapons at a correct time. The vigilance, the observation and the shooting will all come with time and practice!
Finally, I will leave you all with my words of wisdom; if you’re a beginner to the role of a sniper, research is your key ingredient and practice is your fuel. Happy hunting!