The Sniper Triangle

Airsoft sniping is a balance of three core components. It’s something I wrote about a few years ago but last week had a question about so I thought I’d go into a little bit more detail on it.

“If you had a piece of paper. Wrote “airsoft Sniping” at the top, then under that wrote out the core principles or parts as like a title. then assigned a percentage to them up to a value of 100%. What would that look like to you?”

1. The Gun

Let’s face it, without a gun you’re not actually going to be able to do anything in the game other than walk around and look creepy. You have to have a means to launch bb’s at enemy layers to take them out. I know there’s a case here for playing a recon role without a weapon, and simply scouting the enemy, but that role doesn’t need a sniper as such. The key is to have a reliable weapon, and that’s something that a few players miss. When you buy a new, stock bolt action, it might not have amazing performance but it will shoot every time. The problems start to appear with upgrading, or replacing parts (not every new part is actually an upgrade on your existing setup). Mismatched or poorly fitting parts can cause a host of issues, which can result in you pulling the trigger and having nothing come out, resulting in missed opportunities or breakages in the field that require a return to respawn. However, it is important to have a gun that is set up correctly so that when you put crosshairs on the target and pull the trigger, you know you’re going to score a hit.

2. The Camouflage

Your camouflage, usually in the form of a ghillie or similar, is the defensive complement to your weapon system. It’s what will keep you hidden and undisturbed to take the shots, and with practice will stop others shooting you back. It should match the environment that you’re in, which is an art in itself. It isn’t unfortunately a case of just buying something of the shelf and expecting it to work – there are some overpriced solutions out there that have absolutely terrible colouration (a certain green leaf suit that actually looks turquoise and yellow and is about as useful as a hawaiian shirt springs to mind). Still there are far too many strongly coloured suits out there.

As camofleur Le Covert Sartorialist puts it;

Reflectance trumps colour, colour trumps pattern

Reflectance is all about how your suit reflects light in an environment, and is easily the most overlooked aspect of camouflage. Large amounts of shiny plastic elements like cheap tulle or untreated leaves as an example. Colour is obviously key and very easy to adjust using spray paints. I did see a video review recently of some camouflage fabrics where the guy stated that the material he had was much more saturated, and richer in colour. I’ve watched a hell of a lot of snipers down the years and honestly, the very colourful and saturated stuff really stands out. In Observations from Sniperworks One, I pointed out that elements in nature are exposed to sun and rain, and are dull, bleached or weathered as a result. Those luminous green elements might look nice but in the UK at least do stand out a mile off. It can be difficult to judge from marketing photos online because a lot are either photoshopped or have filters applied. Lastly, pattern is least important on this list, but I would include shape here because having leaves in a grassy environment or vice versa will stand out as being different. Macro pattern break up is also key to disrupting your overall shape and presenting yourself as one big mass. Camouflage is a much bigger art than I can fit into one article in here, but there’s plenty of further reading in the menu section.

3. The Mental

Everything from tactics, to the knowledge of your kit and how it works (or doesn’t). If a player simply throws their wallet at an expensive rifle and camouflage suit, and expects to walk onto a site and ‘be a sniper’ then they’re going to be quickly and ruthlessly exposed. Just as cqb skills and drills make a difference, the sniper must be practiced and prepared. Indeed, good skills can make up for a lack of camouflage and a problematic rifle, but the reverse is not true; too often you see leaf-suited players standing next to trees believing that simply throwing shots at the enemy makes them an effective adversary. It does not.

Obviously good tactics are important, and I was going to label this bit “tactics” but so too is an extension of the basics of understanding camouflage, how to interact with the environment but also to modify where needed, and in shooting technique. Knowing your rifle inside and out, how to maintain and clean it to keep it running smoothly, where to aim to guarantee a hit an how it behaves in different weathers is important. It’s more than just the tactical side, it’s the whole knowledge and application behind the other two parts of the triangle too.

Ideally, you will want to be adept on every side of the triangle equally, rather than rely on one. Spend equal amounts of time on each; 1000 hours of making camouflage will give you a good defence, but then taking just a couple of test shots through a chrono with a gun you’ve just taken out of the box to check that the fps is site legal isn’t going to do much for your offensive capabilities because you’ll find you can’t hit shit first time. And then turning up to game briefing not really knowing what you’re doing, so that you just wander about with your aeg friends aimlessly, reduces both defence and offense to almost nothing.

Practice makes perfect, but there must always be a balance in the force…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s