My Guide to the Art and Science of Airsoft Sniping
When most people think of sniping, they think of Call of Duty 4 or the movie Shooter. But these things portray sniping as an exciting, action filled position that would end you up with the most kills on the field. In reality, however, sniping is just the opposite. It is very dull for the most part, and when there is action, it is usually very short-lived. Instead of having the most kills on the field, you will probably end up with the least. So to actually enjoy sniping you really have to enjoy fieldcraft too.
Skills and Techniques
In sniping, there are several things that you have to keep in mind as you play. These are commonly known as the “Five S’s”; Shape, Shine, Shadow, Silhouette, and Sound. As these are very good things to remember, but I would like to add a few more. Movement, Position, and of course, Shooting are also vital things to keep in mind as you play. So, we will start with Shape.
Shape and Silhouette
The outline of a human body is one of the most recognizable shapes to the human eye. Ironically, it would actually be an asset for a spotter to be colorblind as the focus should be more on shapes than colors. Therefore we must deny the enemy any such shape. The best way, in my opinion, of doing this is with a ghillie suit. The ghillie suit gives the wearer a large advantage over his opponent by disrupting the shape of the user and misleading the enemy. In addition to wearing a ghillie suit, a sniper can also put a few simple tips into practice.
1. When you walk, stay hunched over and take small steps.
2. If you are prone, keep your head as low to the ground as possible.
3. Carry your rifle in a drag-bag so you don’t have to worry about its shape exposing you.
One thing that many people overlook is shine. No matter how well you are hidden, if something glares, you’re as good as dead. The most common thing that glares in a sniper’s load out is probably his rifle, especially the scope’s objective lens. The best way to prevent this would be using a sunshade or killflash. A sunshade is an extension of the scope that casts a shadow over the objective lens of the scope. A killflash is a cover consisting of multiple tubes that each cast a separate shadow and over the objective lens. These can work wonders for a sniper.
Another thing that can also glare is your skin. A good way to prevent this is wearing gloves and face paint, or covering your hands in face paint. But gloves would be better because knuckle hits hurt like crazy.
Shadows have a good side and a bad side. They can give you good concealment, or they can give your position away. First of all, you should always stick to the shadows whenever you can. It’s a lot easier to make out a sniper in broad daylight than in the shadows. You if you are out of the shadows, make sure you are not casting any conspicuous shadows. These things should help you when choosing a position.
Sound is one of the most important things to consider when sniping, especially in airsoft. Sound is VERY easy to track and is one of the most common reasons that snipers are spotted. Here are a few guidelines to help lower noise:
1. If you can quiet something, do so.
2. Walk by putting your heel down first and then using your toes to sweep away anything that might make noise.
3. Strap everything down to your body so that nothing clanks around as you move.
4. Only take what you need. The more you take the more noise you will make.
These are just a few things among many that you can do. There are many DIY mods that you can do to your rifle to make it quieter. For starters you could fill your stock with “Great Stuff”. This cuts down on the echo from the hollow stock. Like I said there are many ways to make things quieter. We even have a thread here full of this kind of mods. Just look it up.
Everything draws attention when it moves, including a walking bush. When you move, everything needs to be done extremely slowly. Carlos Hathcock said “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” That is a very good lesson for snipers to learn. Here are a few more tips:
1. Only walk or move quickly if you know there are no enemies around.
2. If are not sure about the presence of enemies, then crawl slowly on your hands and knees.
3. If you know there are enemies in the area, then stay still or crawl in you belly.
Your position needs to be the most unlikely place that you would hide. But it still must give you cover. Choose a field of high grass instead of a thick bush. You should also think ahead and make sure you have good retreat route. What good is it to be camouflaged beyond belief and have no way out? Add vegetation from the area around your position. Don’t stop until you think you have over done yourself.
There are three parts to this section; Skills, Rifles, and Ammo. So… let’s get started.
What good is an amazing rifle if you don’t know how to use it? Here are some tips to make sure you DO know how to use it.
1. Use proper breathing technique. Take a full breath, let out half, hold, and fire.
2. Squeeze the trigger, don’t slap it.
3. Use the tip of your finger on the trigger, not the joint.
4. Keep your trigger very light, but not so light that it wobbles.
5. Make sure you have a good sight picture.
6. Don’t fire if you can’t make the shot.
There are many choices for your rifle. The main Choice is which power system. Well you have three choices; Gas, spring, and Electric.
Gas is going to give you the highest FPS out of the box. They will also be more realistic than spring and electric. But they can be terribly inconsistent which is not good for snipers. It really depends on where you live. The gas in a gas gun is sensitive to temperature, meaning; you could be shooting 550fps in 75 degree weather and then in 25 degrees, the gun may shoot 250fps.
This is the most consistent choice. It is great for hot or cold weather and is my personal choice. (Therefore it is automatically the right choice ;D) Spring guns are also less expensive than gas. But these guns usually do not have near the same power as the gas guns. They require a lot of upgrading and tinkering to get to the same level as a gas gun. But they can exceed the level of a gas gun in the end because they are so upgradeable.
This route is definitely going to end up being the most expensive because it takes a TON of upgrading to get an AEG to the same level as a bolt action. But a quick follow up shot can save your “life” sometimes.
All in all, I can’t tell you which is better. Only you can determine that. All I can do is give you the specs on each one.
This section is much like the rifles section. I can’t tell you which ammo you should use. There have many cases where two of the same rifles work best with different ammo. I can, however, give a rough estimate of what weight BB's would work well with what fps.
Now, I can’t promise you these will always be correct. For someone to ask me what ammo they should use would be like me asking them “What’s my favorite color?”
I just can’t help there. But here are some things to look out for;
First of all, you should use nothing but high polish BB’s in any sniper rifle: especially in highly upgraded ones.
Make note of the color of the BB. If the color is dark, it will very difficult to see your shot. But this is sometimes worth it.
I would say use the lightest BB that works for your gun, because if you have a heavy BB and low FPS, your target may be able to duck before the BB hits him/her.
The last thing is to try many different BB’s. You may find one is better than the one you have been using.
Well I hope this guide helped you on your journey to becoming an airsoft sniper. After all, we always have something new to learn every day.