Yes I’m in there somewhere. Being hidden is your biggest weapon. Unless you have a really big rifle.
Recently I was asked about what sort of kit I would run for a weekend event as a sniper. Good question. What do you need to stay in the field for 24hrs plus? I’ll do this as a two parter, firstly looking at the combat side of things, and a follow up with some thoughts on camping.
First off then, I’ve had the great privilege of doing a few very different weekend events here in the UK, but not all of them as a sniper. Unfortunately not all events are entirely suited to the lone bolt action player. Some for example may be in urban environments, like army training villages, where there is a pressure on to take and hold objectives. I have such an event this December (Stirling Airsoft England vs Scotland at Catterick FIBUA), where objectives are hard fought every hour with some hard house-to-house fighting. Although I’ve attempted this one as a sniper in the past, and sat and picked off opportune targets, it’s a bit of a waste of a player. A lot of big events such as the AI500, do end up with a lot of players crammed into a smaller area at times and again may not be suitable for a sniper. At least, not at his most effective. Try to research the event first and use Google maps to get an idea of the site before you book on. There are a lot of events still that are at perhaps a slower, less cqb-oriented pace and that’s where a good sniper can be an asset to his team. Provided he’s properly equipped for it…
Anyway, assuming you’re booked in to the right event and raring to go, here’s my weekend combat loadout, which is based off the Sniper Ops Midlands 2017 event, which I think was probably the most capable sniper kit I’ve so far put together. Although a pure sniper mission, the thinking is that if your kit can get through one of these and perform well, you can count on that loadout to see you through anything.
No, nothing clever like a mk23 carbine or £1500 m4 hpa dmr. This is my trusty VSR. Despite people telling me to hpa it, or buy a top end gas rifle like the Tanaka M700, I stick to a simple spring powered rifle. This means that it will perform no matter what the weather or time of year and with the same consistency. There are no worries about leaks or failing o-rings, resulting in trips back to the safe zone or early retirements. A spring weapon doesn’t need a supply of gas, or carrying plenty of spare batteries. It just runs and that gives the sniper the ability to go out, and stay out.
As good as you are as a sniper, there will always be moments where you will have enemy forces getting too close to engage with a 500fps sniper rifle. Almost all sites and events will insist that snipers carry a secondary, sub-350fps weapon to engage inside 20-25m or whatever the minimum engagement distance (MED) is. I know some players take AEG’s, usually the more compact submachine gun style like the mp5k or beta AK. Their argument, reasonably, is that if surrounded by enemy, they would rather have enough firepower to dispatch the whole team. Personally, I don’t know how realistic it may be to expect to outgun a number of other players in a straight firefight with a noisy, full auto weapon. Additionally, it won’t be the easiest of things to carry on your person without becoming a hassle, and I would rather be able to spend the rest of the event being able to move quickly and easily without a slung submachine gun battering around or being caught on vegetation. My sidearm of choice, like many others, is the Mk23 pistol. Non-blowback, no gas is wasted recoiling the slide and disturbing the shot. It remains quiet, and more gas efficient. Being near silent means you could feasibly get a few rounds off before your position is given away and may even let you remain hidden after disposing of a couple of players. It isn’t much to carry, and I don’t carry spare mags for it. I try not to use it to engage anything unless it’s an emergency and I really have to.
I’m a huge fan of baselayers. Depending on the event and time of year, I’ll either put a layer of thermals on in case I have to spend a lot of time out in the cold, or I’ll wear some other form of sweat-wicking polyester baselayer because it’s not nice overheating and getting soaked with sweat. It’s a comfort thing, and thats an important thing in any game. Your performance levels will drop if you’re uncomfortable. On top of that, I’ll wear some BDU’s, and unless there’s uniform restrictions at the event, I run some of the Begadi BE-X combat trousers in Dpm pattern. These are without a doubt the best combat pants I’ve ever owned. They come with built in gaiters, knee pockets for neoprene inserts (more comfortable and quieter than those plastic hard shell pants) and have a really nice waistband that is really high on the back, which stops your arse hanging out in a game. Bonus.
Of course, the clothing is topped of with a ghillie suit, leaf suit or cloak depending on the environment.
Rig + Contents
I have two parts to my rig for a longer game. But on the whole, I run pretty much the same as what I do for a standard skirmish, which may surprise some people. As I’ve covered in a previous article, I have the old school Dutch DPM rig which has a Viper universal holster on the left side (it’s easier to draw when prone. Try it). On the right I have two double 5.56 mag pouches which have kydex dividers. In one, I carry four 55rd vsr mags (and two spare in a stock pouch mounted on the rifle). Playing properly, this is more than enough ammo for a full day. In the other mag pouch, I carry some clippers for cutting vegetation, and two filled speedloaders. I have about ten speedloaders which I’ve wrapped masking tape around, onto which I write the weight of BB it’s for, from 0.25 to 0.45, so I don’t end up putting the wrong weight into the wrong gun. One therefore is for the VSR, and the other for the Mk23. If there’s a need to reload on the field, I’ll duck into some quiet cover somewhere and refill all my mags.
The second part of my rig is a British Army DPM Respirator Pouch, which is a really good sized waist pack style pouch, either belt mounted on the back of my waist, or it comes with a shoulder strap and is just slung. Into this goes food and drink for the day, usually a British army ration pack which saves lots of space and a 58 pattern water bottle which I add hydration tablets into; this is assuming I can refill from my main bags while camping overnight. If not, the respirator pouch is big enough to carry more if need be. I carry a couple of food bags containing extra ammo, because bottles rattle, and carry gas for my Mk23. As a top tip, Abbey do a canister of Predator maintenance gas, which is green gas plus lubricant, and comes in a can that’s less than half the size of one of those monstrous green gas cans. Ideal for a weekend. There’s a small first aid kit in an easily accessible side pouch. And that’s pretty much it. Far less than most airsoft operators carry, but I just focus on my rifle and being able to feed it ammo and send that ammo towards the enemy. No grenades, no drone surveillance, no tripwires, no toolkits (like you would ever do that in the field), nothing. Keep it simple, concentrate on your job which is staying hidden and picking unsuspecting players off. The kit required to do that job doesn’t take up much space which means we can remain mobile and difficult to detect.
If needed, I’ll carry a radio in a pocket on my combat shirt and run a headset connected to that, with the wires tucked away so they don’t catch on things. This can be useful if you’re part of a bigger force and providing Intel, but make sure its not giving you away. Talk when you can, not when your teammates want you to! If it’s a big event, I have a wrist mounted admin pouch which I can put a map in along with any takings or other information.
I wear the X800 style goggles because they just won’t fog up. If you can’t see, you can’t shoot. A pair of Mechanix gloves and some tan Miltec combat boots are the only other things I take into a weekend game. Apologies if you were expecting lots of cool little gadgets, but the lighter the better and nothing too complicated.
I’ll do a second article on the camping side of things. In the meantime I hope this helps if you’re planning to do a weekend event anywhere. If there’s anything you recommend taking, drop it in the comments!
Quick kit list
– VSR with 3-9×40 illuminated mildot scope. 4x55rd mags, 2x21rd mags.
– MK23 Pistol with one mag.
– Baselayer top and bottoms, season dependant
– Begadi BE-X DPM pants
– British Army DPM temperate shirt
– Ghillie cape or leaf suit
– Dutch Army DPM assault vest with Viper universal pistol holster and two ALICE type DPM 5.56 twin mag pouches.
– Two speedloaders, typically 0.36 for the mk23 and 0.45 for the vsr
– Cutting tool for vegetation
– British Army DPM respirator pouch
– British Army 58 pattern water bottle
– British Army ration pack
– Abbey Predator maintenance gas
– Viper arm panel
– Mechanic original gloves
– Miltec tactical boots in tan
– X800 Goggles
– OneTigris mesh mask