How to Become an Expert Airsoft Sniper
Becoming an expert Airsoft sniper is challenging, but it can be rewarding if you’re willing to put in the work. Many people are attracted to the idea of being a sniper without fully understanding what they’re getting themselves into. Movies such as American Sniper and Jack Reacher have glorified the role of the sniper in combat. However, you must understand the patience, gear and tactics involved in this important position.
Are you prepared to spend hours in the woods crawling on your belly in the hopes of getting the perfect shot? Are you willing to spend money on a quality airsoft rifle and other airsoft guns so you can make those accurate long distance shots? Equipment needed to be an effective sniper can be heavy and expensive. A ghillie suit can be extremely hot during the summer and many frustrating hours can go by where you see no action at all. Just lying in wait while the sweat trickles down your face.
But don’t let these facts discourage you. The airsoft sniper is still an incredibly important part of any team. It can be a lot of fun as well. All those hours of patience can pay off big when you land that perfect shot on an enemy target. In this article we’ll cover the weapons, gear list and tactics you need to become an airsoft sniper.
The Role of an Airsoft Sniper
The role of an airsoft sniper is similar to the role of a sniper on any real battlefield. Their main goal is usually infiltrating enemy territory to gather intelligence. The sniper may be called upon to eliminate a high value target if they can get a clear shot. They can also provide specific point security for teammates. Snipers are especially valuable in large areas of operation. A good sniper in a wide open battlefield can easily turn the tide in your team’s favor.
Choosing a Quality Airsoft Sniper Rifle
If your goal is to become an airsoft sniper, you will have to choose your weapons and airsoft gear accordingly. You don’t need to spend big bucks to be an effective sniper, but any old cheap airsoft rifle won’t cut it. You get what you pay for. You want the long range and accuracy that will put you one step ahead of your competition. There are endless options for airsoft sniper rifles. You can go with a semi-automatic or the traditional bolt action. You can get spring fired, CO2, green gas, HPA or electric. Understand the pros and cons of these options. Gas rifles are a lot of fun because of the power and recoil they provide, but they come with a bit more maintenance and ongoing costs. Spring airsoft guns are lot less hassle and cheaper over time. They also perform reliably in a variety of weather conditions.
Similar to a real, one unique feature of a good airsoft sniper rifle is a precision barrel. Precision barrels offer tighter tolerances which give the rifle better accuracy. 6.01 +/- barrels are a popular choice and they’re available from every major airsoft retailer. The only downside is you will have to clean your rifle more often than one with a standard non-precision barrel. A quick cleaning after each game should suffice. It’s a small price to pay for the increased performance.
One popular airsoft sniper rifle is the Well MB13 Heavy Weight Sniper Rifle. The rifle ships from AirsoftStation.com with a pistol grip, a bipod and a scope already mounted. Highly rated and reviewed with many satisfied customers. This package has everything you need to get started as an airsoft sniper.
Airsoft Sniper Scopes
Airsoft sniper rifles such as the Lancer Tactical M82 have a much shorter range than real sniper rifles so you don’t need to spend a fortune for a high-end scope. Many think bigger is better when it comes to scope magnification, but that is not the case. You want your scope power to match the range at which you will be using it. A 3-5x magnification scope is more than enough to make accurate hits with an airsoft rifle.
Best Airsoft Pistol
A good backup weapon is an important consideration for airsoft snipers. A lot of snipers go without a sidearm because it’s extra weight to carry around all day. Also, it can be cumbersome crawling through the forest on your stomach with a holstered pistol snagging onto tree branches and foliage. However, it’s usually a good idea to pack a sidearm if you can manage it.
Airsoft sniper rifles tend to be powerful with a minimum engagement distance (MED) of 75-150 feet. The higher the feet-per-second (FPS) your rifle shoots, the farther your MED will be. If you ever find yourself within very close range of an enemy, you may want to draw your secondary weapon and engage. An effective sniper might be so good at hiding that an opposing team member will come incredibly close without seeing them. At this point, the sniper is too close to take a safe shot with their powerful rifle. The most popular option for a backup weapon is a semi-automatic pistol. These tend to be lightweight and easy to carry on the sniper’s belt. They are handy when you need them, but out of the way while you are crawling through the battlefield. Remember, the backup weapon is for fast, close range engagements so it should have a very low MED or none at all. Be sure to check this number before making your choice of sidearm.
One popular sidearm is the KJW M9. The pistol is a replica of the Army’s previous sidearm, the iconic Beretta M9. The KJW M9 has an extremely realistic feel and is built with durable materials that can hold up to rough use in the field. This isn’t some plastic toy that will break during your first match. The only plastic part on the pistol is the checkered grips. In the event you do experience a failure, spare parts are widely available. The pistol is available in both CO2 and green gas, making the KWJ the ideal airsoft sniper sidearm. Be sure to buy a quality holster to go along with it. The kydex Raptor USA holster is affordable, durable and designed specifically for the M9.
The Airsoft Sniper Ghillie Suit
Camouflage is one of the most important pieces of equipment in the sniper’s kit. While your typical airsoft player will wear camouflage fatigues, a sniper will typically take it a step further and invest in a ghillie suit. The ghillie suit is a full body camouflage suit that is tailored to match the environment around them. The suit is usually made of synthetic moss and vegetation, woodland textures, timber or desert colors. The ghillie suit breaks up the human silhouette and allows the sniper to blend in to their surroundings. You want to evaluate the airsoft battlefields in your area to determine which pattern works best for you. Also, size your suit to accommodate any cold weather clothing you might wear underneath it. Comfort is extremely important. You will be spending long hours in your gear and you don’t want to be overheated or restricted by tight clothing.
Airsoft Sniper Rifle Gear
How long is your game expected to last? You want to pack light as possible so you can be comfortable for long hours. You also want be quick and mobile if you need to make an escape. The general rule is, bring everything you need for the fight and nothing you don’t. It may be tempting to pack all your favorite tactical gear, supplies and endless spare ammo, but in most cases this will only slow you down and get you shot. A standard elimination game typically involves 10-20 players and it won’t last much longer than 30-60 minutes. Pack the bare minimum.
However, some military simulation battles could last all day. For the longer skirmishes you want to add a hydration system to your kit and perhaps a few snack bars. It’s easy to overlook hydration out in the field. It’s also extremely dangerous to do so. Long summer days crawling through a forest in a heavy ghillie suit can lead to heatstroke and dehydration. Not only is dehydration dangerous to your health, it can effect you on the battlefield as well, making it much harder to concentrate and make those accurate game winning shots. It’s not something to play around with. Airsoftstation.com has some excellent hydration packs for airsoft.
Eye protection is another thing you don’t want to skimp on. If you follow the MEDs designated for your airsoft weapons, the sport is generally safe. But you want to protect your eyes at all times. Safety goggles are comfortable and lightweight, but many prefer a full face mask for added protection. Another optional piece of equipment is a two-way radio. A radio can come in handy for snipers who head out behind enemy lines and want to report intel back to their team. When choosing a radio, you want something that is quiet with minimal static. You also want decent weather resistance and an effective range of at least 2 miles. Many radios come with a hands free piece, which is critical for airsoft snipers who need to keep their hands on their rifle at all times.
Best Airsoft Sniper BBs
Airsoft BBs come in a variety of weights. Different weights will have different results in terms of accuracy. Airsoft snipers should choose the heaviest BBs their gun can handle and stick with it. Buy a few smaller bags and try running them through your gun. Once you find your sweet spot it’s best to stock up and continue training with it. Just aim for the heavier weights. As long as you have a high quality airsoft sniper rifle you should be running .30g or heavier. The most popular weight for sniper rifles is .40g, so go with that if you rifle can handle it.
Airsoft Sniper Tactics
Gear shopping is fun, but spending money on quality camouflage will not make you an effective sniper. You must learn the proper tactics to remain undetected by opposing team members. Stillness is key. You can blend in with your surroundings perfectly but the slightest movement will alert others to your position. Snipers must have a great deal of patience on the battlefield. Staying low and moving slow like a turtle is the way to succeed.
Airsoft sniper tactics are very similar to real life sniper tactics, but there are some notable differences. Obviously, you are using an airsoft rifle which shoots a 6mm plastic pellet rather than a powerful .308 full metal jacket sniper round. Therefore, wind and foliage will have a much bigger effect on the airsoft sniper’s accuracy. If you’re in a position to legally shoot a real firearm, you may consider learning how to shoot a hunting rifle. The same basic skills apply, and becoming a better shooter with a rifle will make you a far more effective airsoft sniper.
In all things, practice makes perfect. You should spend plenty of time training with your rifle to get a feel for the range and accuracy. A good sniper knows their rifle like the back of their hand and understands how it performs in all environments. Learn how to adjust your scope on the move, and learn where to hold your crosshairs at different ranges. Breath control, proper trigger squeeze and follow through will allow you to land those precious shots that could win the skirmish.
How to Be an Airsoft Sniper
The airsoft sniper’s number one job is observation. You will be responsible for navigating enemy territory and observing their movements. A good sniper will study the terrain. If aerial maps of the battlefield are accessible the airsoft sniper should evaluate it for potential ambush points, escape routes and fall back positions. The battlefield terrain as well as the season of year are important considerations when choosing the right camouflage. For example, in summer months the ghillie suit with foliage green might be great. In winter months the sniper may want to choose a more woodland pattern or even snow white.
Comfort is important. As a sniper you may remain in the same position for an hour or more. Be sure to get used to this prone position prior to any skirmishes. Some people spend hours a day hunched over staring at their computers or smart phones. This unhealthy sedentary behavior can cause bad posture and tight muscles in the neck, chest, shoulders and back. The airsoft sniper will be lying in the opposite position, on their stomach with their head up like a snake. It can be a tiring and painful position if the person has not acclimated himself to it. You can start training at home by lying in this prone position while reading or surfing the web. Remember, any slight movement can get you spotted and quickly taken out of the fight. Especially if you are behind enemy lines. A cramp or a muscle spasm could force you to adjust your weight at the worst possible time, drawing enemy fire into your hiding spot.
Stretching in preparation of the skirmish is one thing, but it’s even more important to train how you fight. Be sure to put on all of your gear and practice your movements in the field. You not only want to move slow, you want to be completely silent as well. Pay attention to any noises coming from your gear. Rifle slings and swivels may rattle. Your sidearm may click against your rifle stock. You need to work out any of these potential issues prior to hitting the battlefield. A little black electrical tape is a great way to wrap up any sling swivels or zippers that rattle.
As you move through the field, always evaluate the terrain for potential escape routes. If your tactics are not good enough, you will be spotted by the opposing team. But there’s still hope. If the enemy is a good distance away they might have a hard time hitting you. Use the terrain and foliage for cover as you make your escape. Running in a zig-zag pattern can help you escape incoming fire. If you find yourself too close and you’re taking fire, you may have no choice but to stand and fight. Remember your minimum engagement distances for your weapons. You may have to draw your sidearm if the enemy is too close for the sniper rifle.
Practice makes perfect. Learn your weapon systems, get comfortable in your gear and evaluate your terrain. All of this will make you a better airsoft sniper. However, at some point you will have to suit up and hit the battlefield. You will make mistakes. You will take some losses. You will discover what gear works and what doesn’t. Be sure to get out and train with a team of like minded individuals who will challenge you and push your skills to the next level. Going up against skilled opponents can be an eye opening experience. You will learn a ton about the sport in the process. Learning, improving and having fun with friends is what it’s all about.