Sniper Tactics – “Machine Gun Theory”

OK, so I haven’t published a paper on this theory or anything, so it’s not official. But it might help you in picking out some good positions to shoot from.

Bubba on the GPMG, England vs Scotland

So, at some point as you travel around the site, you’ll end up finding a position to set up in to shoot from. Knowing where to put yourself makes the difference between being effective, being ineffective, and being dead. One of the easier ways I’ve found to explain this down the years is what I’ve since called “Machine Gun Theory”. Basically, every site will have really good firing positions, a little bit like the photo above; Bubba in the picture has a clear line of sight down a busy road which leads to a spawn point. There’s a constant stream of enemy players trying to advance down this route and it’s easy pickings for someone with a support weapon.

The space to the left of the barricade in the foreground here offers a great position to open fire on the building at the back.

At my local site, there’s a “Sniper Tower” in the middle of an urban arena which is a superb vantage point. Often at sites there will be raised vantage points, possibly fortified. Perhaps a junction on a road, or a rooftop that gives you a hundred yards unobstructed view in all directions. These are all great positions to put a machine gun – you’d be able to hose down people and get plenty of kills. But these are not good positions for a sniper.

Why not? They seem like obviously good places to shoot from. And they are, and will attract the sort of player who turns up to airsoft purely to see bb’s hit people – the types who care only about kill scores at the end of the day. The problem is for the sniper however, that they are obvious positions. These are the places that people set up in week after week and everybody knows it. They’re expected positions, and if people nearby are getting hit, they are the positions that they’ll immediately look at for the shooter. The sniper should be playing a game of stealth, staying hidden and striking from unseen locations. Not boldly putting themselves forward in the hope of grabbing a couple of kills before they get shot to hell. Having said that, we don’t want to end up in a position far away from the action, preserving ourselves purely for the sake of not dying but then having zero impact on the game. The machine gun is the opposite of the sniper – lots of ammo, very aggressive, noisy and looking for lots of kills. The sniper rifle is more surgical, with few shots expended but each one carefully placed, with the sniper ghosting around the site without trace.

What we should be looking for is a position maybe ten metres either side of the obvious one, making good use of camouflage and cover. Perhaps a few metres back into the vegetation, using the long rifle barrel to protrude from dense cover but keeping the sniper hidden. And somewhere we can move into and out of. Rooftops and towers present another problem in terms of escape routes – every position needs an emergency exit in case you need to quickly retreat to stay in the fight, so avoid anywhere that boxes you in. Eventually at your local site, you’ll get to know all the good positions but do make sure you rotate them otherwise people will figure you out (a bit like when you upload gameplay vids to show everyone where you are). If you travel, it’s not always easy to work out where enemy players are going to come from but do look out for paths or roads, as airsofters generally are lazy and don’t like getting dirty. Once you figure out where they’re coming from, you need a way to work out where you’re going to put yourself to counter the enemy. So, my quick and easy way to assess where I’m setting up is :

Would I put a machine gun nest here? If the answer is yes, then it’s a bad position.

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