I know it’s actually Thursday but having been locked down for 7 weeks nobody really cares what day it is anyway. Progress on kit is still on pause because I want to be in the right environment to do the camouflage, and I don’t have a shooting range. Life had descended into drinking and gaming, with the weekly Sniperworks Live show one of the few things worth looking forward to. Like many, I’ve been leaning heavily on the online sniper community to try and further my knowledge. It’s been really helpful to be able to talk to other players too, from Dutch milsim players to Italian snipers and everyone inbetween, and there’s always something to learn from somewhere. I’ve even started delving into some YouTube vids, as well as a spot of online shopping…
My little office. Where I’ve been sat for 7 weeks now.
Unfortunately the majority of information out there now is become a little repetitive, especially within the confines of some sniper Facebook groups; same questions, same answers. Best rifle. Best bucking. Best camouflage. And because it’s the same answers being given, everyone seems to be buying leaf suits, gluing the same things on (I have too, I’ll admit), bought an SRS and a mk23, and that’s pretty much it. I wonder if a lot of it comes down to this “hierarchy” we have in some quarters where there is a well known player or group heading a community and everyone else just nods and agrees, to a point, and we’ve got this much narrowed view of the role and our equipment now.
That’s not to say that there is no innovation; certainly among the manufacturers, both big and small, there are some really great new products out, but the approach to camouflage and concealment is certainly stagnating and the lack of game time is frustrating for us all. Amid a growing pile of empty beer cans, I’ve had a few weeks of getting a bit bored with the cut-and-paste answers, unable to find enough to blog about. The one thing that has been keeping me going is the weekly Sniperworks Live shows with the team, which has been an excellent opportunity to get online with guests and seeing what they’ve been up to.
We were very fortunate last week to have an epic three hour show that gave an insight into the mind of arguably the world’s greatest camofleur, the man known as Le Covert Sartorialist. For anyone that hasn’t seen it, it will remain in the group and was a fantastic mix of stories and expert ghillie building advice, with some tips I haven’t heard of before and I’ve been following his work for quite some time. I know within the Sniperworks team there is certainly a feeling that we’ve been doing it all wrong and I can’t recommend watching it enough, even if it takes a chunk out of your day.
A new approach keeps things fresh and interesting, and in the last week I’ve had a chance contact with a newer player, and what struck me about them was that it wasn’t the usual questions about what the best rifle might be, or best upgrades, after which the conversation usually ends because the player thinks they’ve got all they need to be a top sniper by having a great gun. This player genuinely wants to learn everything, and I’ll admit it’s been both fascinating and refreshing to go back and look at things from a new player’s perspective. They want to be a good player and are willing to put the work in which is great, and it’s that attitude which will get them there.
While we were discussing camouflage, it struck me that it’s such a vast and open topic, that there aren’t really any definitive answers. There are thousands of environments out there and each will have different combinations of colours and vegetation. So how as a community have we ended up resorting to leaf suits, dyed dark brown, with fake maple leaves and ivy stuck on and assumed it will work for everyone? Why do we have manufacturers at best offering one “brown” and one “green” version of the same suit in the hope that it’ll be effective? Why do we do things the way we do them?
To go back to Le Covert’s Live show appearance, he was bombarded with questions at the end about “will X camo work in Y environment?”. As best he could, he answered, but what he’s trying to teach is a level above that. His work is about understanding camouflage, not just watching a video and copying somebody else’s work. I’ve managed to track down some documents he recommended by an American army officer on the development of camouflage, and how the army assess it. Although a bit old, and not the most digestable documents, there is a lot that we can learn from it yet it’s rarely brought up in discussion. There’s a science behind it, and a process to learn, as much as we look at camouflage patterns and think them a little basic.
Perhaps it’s time to start asking more questions, step out of the loop and look at things from a different angle. To not assume that we’ve perfected anything yet. And maybe to look to the newer players for ideas, instead of dismissing the inexperience. Never know where the next breakthrough might come from…
If anyone is interested in reading the US army camouflage studies, pm me and I’ll send them across. Do give Le Covert a follow. And feel free to join the discussion in Sniperworks