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Snipers' Tactics & Experience

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So yeah, I was talking about the reality of airsoft sniping compared to how most of us imagine it will be, in another thread, and two-zero suggested it should be a new thread. Et voila...! Here it is with a few edits to make sense as a stand alone:


Something to bear in mind about high magnification (and for airsoft, 'high' means anything over 5x) your view down range is drastically narrowed, which I will get on to below.


I know, I promise you, I know... 1) bipod, rock solid... 2) range, they can't hit you... 3) scope, once set up you can't miss...


= 1) not really 2) can and does change far more rapidly than you can reset a sniper nest 3) in no way true


The 1st thing to get to grips with is that for all the money you can spend on upgrade parts (and ffs you can't arf spank some money on sniper rifle parts just to get the thing usable on a skirmish field at all) the thing which will affect your shots more than anything else is completely out of your control: moving air - I deliberately didn't say wind, because although the L<=>R adjustment on a scope is called "windage", the amount of moving air needed to alter the trajectory of even heavyweight sniper BB's in no way qualifies as even a breeze, but "fartage" doesn't have the same coolsies. Also air movement can cause BB's to rise or fall in a much more dramatic way than wind can affect the elevation of bullets.


So what? This is the stuff that practice will make perfect right? I've been sniping since 23/08/13 (as of 16/01/14) and before I even started I prepared my SVD with the upgrades necessary to make it competitive. In practice I can consistently hit a man sized target at 80+m, so those upgrades are working just fine. Now don't get me wrong, I have managed to pull some cracking shots out of the bag during skirmishes - but at a guess I'd say that I've only hit another player about once in every twelve to fifteen shots. Maybe I'm just shit, but the main problem is "wind" and being able to see the BB's in flight so that when i miss i can adjust my aim. Adding to that difficulty is something which it would be difficult to realise in advance, which is that when you're shooting at even long range, say 65+m, not just extreme, say 100m, when the BB leaves the muzzle its trajectory is such a pronounced parabola it rises out of the view of even low 5-4-3x magnification with 32-40-50mm objective lenses - there's a trick to it: opening your other eye to give you as much info as you can to adjust the rifle position and catch the BB in the scope hopefully before but at least not long after its zenith so you can see what happens to it as it approaches your target...


It would be easy if you could just keep eyes on the target through a 9x scope (and read the washing instructions on any clothing labels that may be sticking out of their kit), see the BB miss, and move the cross hairs so that the point where the miss went in your reticule covers the target, then fire again... but for one thing BB's don't make holes like bullets and when you're looking through a scope with one eye, you don't have parallax vision to help you determine when the BB passes the target, but even worse is that often you can't see the fucking thing against the background anyway and even when you can, that lack of parallax means that it's extremely difficult to see what direction it is travelling in. Believe it or not/remember, even at much closer ranges, people with both eyes open often think that their BB is on target and hitting someone who is not taking the hit, when in fact it is dropping short by as much as 3-5m.


You get me? You don't need more than 5x and using higher magnification may help you see your target better, but will not help you hit it. 1) and 2) are much simpler - your breathing moves the rifle a lot more than you'd imagine and tracking a moving target on a bipod isn't a simple matter, plus often it's not possible to find a good place to set a bipod so that you can also get behind the butt comfortably enough to shoulder it steady / if you consider how long you could be waiting for blustery gusts to subside so that anything you fire has a chance of, if not hitting somebody, getting close enough to make them keep their heads down, and then think how fast you could cover 30m with a bit of motivation... 5s tops, eh? 80m - 30m = you are under full auto fire.


My experience so far is that sniping is at least as much, if not more, about tactics as shooting. You learn tactics by skirmishing, not sitting in bushes getting increasingly frustrated and/or depressed that you couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a shovel... TBH I wouldn't bother with it at all except that my health is deteriorating and there will come a time when skirmishing with an AEG will be pretty pointless in woodland because I will not be able to move fast enough, so if I want to remain a useful asset to a team I have to resign myself to patience... -_-:ph34r::lol:


For anyone just starting out, unless you have plenty of money to blow on this hobby, say a grand, forget your sniping plans for now, garden or otherwise, and spend your money wisely... on boots, eyepro, an AEG, spare mags, gloves, clothing, and webbing (check this).


I'm hoping to make this thread into a good discussion of not only how to get more hits, but how to maximise our effectiveness on the field, so getting into position, what makes a good position, suppression rather than hits, the psychological impact of sniping / the opfor knowing that there is an unseen sniper on the field, etc. I'll be back soon, in the meantime please have at it my friends...

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concealment, concealment, concealment.




location, location, location.


The most successful snipers I've played against have shot me and I've never even known they were there until the BB hit me, and even after I didn't know exactly where it came from, just a vague indication of direction based on what side of me it hit.

Remember, when you shoot someone they won't fall over and bleed to death, they'll go "wtf!?" and look around for you. DO NOT MOVE at this point, humans are very good at spotting movement and patterns/shapes. If you're camouflaged sufficiently/appropriately you should be not invisible, but not immediately noticeable, provided you remain still!

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I've found that of the sites I play regularly, one offers good cover and opportunity for concealment, but because there are normally a lot of young guns there they have limited the FPS for a BASR to 400 on .20's which is a PITA because most snipers are set to fire at 500 and changing the spring is harder than it looks mainly because the tweaking I do to the barrel to get it firing just right takes a bit of time and I can't be bothered doing it repeatedly.


As it happens I'm in the process of trying to sort out a gas kit for my Bar10, which should give it the ability to be adjusted from 100 to 700 fps with the turn of a regulator screw ( DONT worry those of you who think I'll cheat, I am going to build a housing that will be padlocked/cable tied closed by site owners/marshals once it is set at chrono and this whole gun will only be used at sites that are happy with my setup)


The second site is quite small (same company so 400fps again), this leads to them mostly playing speedball style games. This shoots down the concealment and location ideal, I can't keep up with the game play while getting good positions and being able to move into the positions without being observed.


Third site, UCAP Sandpit, huge site, but places that offer concealment are super limited, anyone in the areas that have concealment know exactly where to aim if someone gets sniped.


As for seeing BB's in flight, one of the biggest problems I have with the heavy weight bbs I have is seeing them, they are chocolate brown (devil blaster .36's) I can see them against sky and white backgrounds, anything else and they disappear. There is a big push for white or at least lighter colours. Screw the person seeing it and doing the Matrix Dodge I want to know where it goes so I can adjust.


Tinkering with the gun will continue, but my list includes making a ghillie or two, probably a winter tan/brown and a spring/summer green. I really need to get my pistol situation sorted, I have a couple and they are great BUT finding a location to put it that allows it to be drawn in all positions (especially prone) easily has become a personal challenge. It may end up that I will rock two pistols when sniping so that I can access at least one while standing, kneeling and prone. Also the holsters are not particularly brilliant so I have some ideas for some fun with kydex.

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This may sound a bit anti teamwork-ish,but don't bother tagging along with squads running assault rifles/AEGs. Better off to go on your own path adjacent to theirs and scout out alternative routes if they are under heavy fire or flanked. You'd be much more useful relaying useful info on enemy positions,where and how to escape and flank if necessary,just shooting people up hardly helps,don't go full lone wolf though,try stay in contact with your team,you do not want to stumble across objectives with no contact to tell your mates about a gap in enemy defenses. I've been there before when I got too cocky with sneaking past enemies.


Note I mainly play MILSIMS now because my local site rarely holds skirmishes anymore so most of my advice will be objective focused,not so much on setting up a hide and sniping away. My playstyle's a bit odd.


if you have to shoot somebody,and they do not know you are there,plan out a few other pieces of cover you can carefully crawl or move too,if they are healed by a medic then chances are your cover is blown. This is hard to do as it depends heavily on the area you are in,It's also not good to be confined to a smaller space of cover options so It's good to pick and choose your approach to an area. Never go up hill,It'll be harder to spot enemies and you will probably be spotted walking up. Try to walk around,it may take long but worth the better awareness.


When it comes to engagement distances I can't offer much advice since I like to engage at around 30m,40m max,which may be why I'm called the 'CQB Sniper' By some people. If I do get in firefight I just screw all the stealth and concealment bollocks and try take out as many enemies as possible,preferably medics and then run away like a coward and come back a bit later.


I'm a pretty terrible sniper XD

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But jimmies, that's the beauty of sniping. It's basically extreme chaos as the enemy silently sh** themselves whilst you finish them off with stealth and cunning.

I find that sniping allows you to go longer without being spotted as they don't hear the whirring of the motor of an AEG. Combined with flecktarn, it allows for some great sniper spots and ambushes. 

I remember at billericay, there is a small FOB called green zone. it was near the front line and everyone else had gone to capture another zone, so my friend and I tasked ourselves with defending it. Enemies approached and we hid and we managed to fight off the first wave without the enemy spotting us. soon we had to fall back and I managed to sneak up to a group of enemy friends and bang kill them all. One of my best sniper moments :D

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With regard to the psychological effect of snipers that you mention at the end of the post, Ian, I don't think there really is much of one in airsoft.

I only know of one person who I've encountered whilst airsofting, that plays the sniper role to an effective enough standard for me to actually give him even a passing thought, and that person, is Coldy.

If you are in his range, he can remove you from the game. But even then, it's still very easy to avoid being hit, because you know that he is skilled enough to realise that BBs move slow as hell, but he can only fire 1 at a time.

He knows as well as you do, that he has to stay far enough away to have the range advantage, and hidden enough for him to not just get hosed by an AEG. Which means that so long as you move around a bit, even if it's just back and forth within the same 2m square, he has a ridiculously reduced chance of hitting you.

And this is the most skilled sniper I've encountered, defeated by me taking a few steps left to right every 3 to 5 seconds.

When I see other people turn up with snipers, I generally treat them as any other player. The guns cost so much time and money to make effective that the chances of anyone who has one having actually taken the time and money to make it so, is very slim indeed. Then the chance of them having the right mentality to cover their rifle's pitfalls is even slimmer still.

So as a result of that, I tend to just disregard them. They're no worse than another AEG, in fact in a lot of ways they are actually "worse" than another AEG. They might have a bit more range, they might be a bit more accurate, but their rate of fire is always going to be significantly worse, I can cover ground pretty quickly when I feel like it, and I have a gun that fires more shots than their's in a lot less time, and it's not even that much less accurate.

In short, I honestly think sniping is pointless. The only people it scares are new players who think snipers are as effective as they are in real life. I once had a kid scream "SNIPER!" so loud at me that I thought his lungs were going to explode and then I just told him to calm down, because they won't be any more of a threat to him than anyone else. Which as long as you know where they are, is true.

As others have said, snipers are just as useful for relaying information, as they are for doing anything else. But the thing about that is, you could relay information with an AEG and be just as effective at staying hidden and taking targets out at range, and you'd still be able to fight your way out of potentially sticky situations if it called for it.

I think the introduction of Polarstars have actually made the spring sniper rifles redundant. Fitting a P* to a DMR, a tightbore barrel and a flat hop will give you more consistent fps, higher rate of fire and more than likely better accuracy.

The only draw back is the cost, but then, to fully Laylax or PDI a VSR10 is going to cost you something in the region of £500+ so that's not exactly cheap either, if you have the disposable income to do one, you probably have the income to do the other, it'd just be more of a wait.

Perhaps someone might prove me wrong though. I guess sniping is kind of like heaven or the concept of god... I'd like it to be a real thing, a happy place to go, but realistically speaking I think it just seems a bit naive to think so.


I think the thread is interesting, and the points you raised are very good ones, I'm definitely book marking this to show to all the people who ask me what sniper to get as their first gun.

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Brain function poor. Will be back, so for now thanks ppl. But also yeah, Coldy. Plenty of times I've just given up on an entire flank because I know that somewhere unseen at the other end, Coldy is lurking.

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