Airsoft Basics: What is a Sniper?

Airsoft Basics: What is a Sniper?

What is a Sniper?

The word "Sniper" finds its origins in British India, deriving from the verb "to Snipe". The "Snipe" is a fast moving bird which is very alert and known for its erratic flight path, which meant a hunter had to be extremely skilled in both marksmanship and stealth to successfully bring one down. Snipers of this era used flintlock muskets, which meant either you get the kill with your one shot or the opportunity is gone for good.

Fast forward 250 years and you arrive at the modern era, where a Sniper is an elite marksman who is adept with camouflage and fieldcraft and is tasked with intelligence gathering and taking out targets of the highest priority with a single shot at long range.

An Airsoft Sniper rifle is a single-action rifle, usually, a bolt action, which shoots 6mm BBs at Airsoft safe velocities. Airsoft Sniper rifles are usually visually accurate replicas of real-world Sniper rifles, though there are also some which are original Airsoft designs. 

Sniper rifles usually shoot at a higher velocity than their semi-automatic and fully-automatic counterparts which gives the Sniper additional range, though this comes at the price of having to manually cock the rifle before each shot. Sniper rifles are also subject to a minimum engagement distance (M.E.D) due to their higher power level, which can vary depending on the skirmish site. 

Skirmishing with a Sniper rifle may sound sweet, sitting back at long range and getting kills with impunity, but in reality, Sniping is an incredibly challenging playstyle. Only the most dedicated Airsofters will stick it out with a Sniper rifle and avoid the temptation to get an AEG and charge into the maelstrom, and we always recommend starting with an AEG and moving up to a Sniper rifle when you feel the need to challenge yourself and add some variety to your gameplay. 

Airsoft Sniper Rifle Types

Before you zero in on target you will first need to decide what type of Sniper rifle suits you best. Allow us to spot for you and give you the intel you need to take the shot! 

Spring Bolt Action Sniper Rifle

Gas Bolt Action Sniper Rifle

Why use a Sniper Rifle?

So, why would you use a Sniper rifle when they are slow to shoot, challenging to use and require loads of upgrades to shoot like Novritsch or KickingMustang? Because they are fun, of course! 

Sniping is challenging, and not for every player, but nothing beats the thrill of getting hits from an unknown location and escaping before being seen, especially if you have had to work very hard for those few hits, planning your advance and waiting for the perfect moment. 

Sniping without an upgraded setup is perfectly doable as well, it just requires that you get a little closer and maximise your field craft skills, which makes the kill all the sweeter!

Any Sniper will need to be content with taking home a lower number of kills than most skirmishers and must be ready to get hit a fair amount while exchanging fire with AEG users wielding their uncivilised fully automatic guns. 

For a Sniper, quality beats quantity, and if you are the type that wants to brag about their kill count you will have more to boast about using an AEG, as a big part of Sniping is waiting for the perfect shot, and having the patience to decide when to pull the trigger. 

With that in mind, if you are new to Airsoft and you are considering a Sniper rifle as your first gun, we recommend instead starting the game with an AEG, and moving on to a Sniper rifle when you have had a taste of the playstyle and you want the full dish. 

It is absolutely possible to play like a Sniper with an AEG, focussing on concealment and restricting yourself to semi-auto so you can have a taste of what it feels like to Snipe amongst high rate of fire speed demon setups in outdoors skirmishes. Before taking the plunge and buying a Sniper rifle we recommend giving this a try, as it could save you a lot of money if you find out Sniping isn't for you. 

Another option is to befriend a Sniper at your local woodland site and ask if they need a spotter for the day. This will give you a leg up on how an Airsoft Sniper operates and save you from beginner mistakes. Getting advice from experienced players can be a far quicker way to develop your skills on the field, and most will be more than happy to share their knowledge. 

If you are the type of player who enjoys a challenge and prefers a stealthy playstyle over an aggressive setup, Sniping could be your poison. Challenging though it may be, playing as a Sniper is one of the more unique aspects of our sport and is a great option for those who have the patience and skills, and have done the research. 

So now you know a bit more about Airsoft Sniper rifles, and hopefully enough to decide the type of sniper which suits you. With the intelligence gathered and your sights zeroed, click the button below when you are ready to pull the trigger!

Show me the Snipers