Tips for Snipers
- Your gearkit needs to be tuned for just one thing: stealth and concealment. If you can’t make one-shot kills consistently at thirty yards, you’ve got no
business being a sniper. So, you can get away with carrying very little paint and few other pieces of gear. A ghillie suit is a great idea and you’ll probably need
at least a partial ghillie before you can call yourself
an expert sniper.
- You’ll need an ultra-light sniping gun. Heavy guns make it too
hard to low-crawl so you will want to stay away from the heavier guns. Remember, you won’t be taking a
lot of super long shots. Rather, you’re an ace at one-shot kills within the normal range of paintballs (thirty
to fifty yards.)
- Again, paintball snipers don’t take very long shots because paintball guns don’t shoot very far (regardless of your barrel, gun, etc..) Paintball sniping is the art of ambush, concealment and stealthy movement. You take few shots and you do it from a hidden position.
- Every time you get taken out, take a few minutes to figure out why. Pick apart the situation and determine how your cover was blown. Then, figure out what you can do in the same situation next time to stay alive. If you’re having trouble figuring it out, go ask your Squad or Team Commander what he thinks you should’ve done differently.
- When a sniper moves, a sniper can easily be seen. Unless you’re pulling a slow, flanking low-crawl, you need to stay absolutely motionless on ambush. The human eye picks up even the slightest movement. You must have the patience and discipline to stay stock-still, even when you’re bored.
- Here are the keys to precision paintball shooting (in this order!)
- Use a sight or scope. Nothing will give you more accuracy on first-shot kills than a decent sight or scope. No barrel comes close to giving that kind of advantage. As a Sniper, “instinct shooting” or “walking the shot in” are not an option. Buy a sight and practice with it often.
- Buy premium paint. Paint quality makes a big difference to a sharpshooter. Save money by shooting less and plough those savings into the best paint you can find.
- Become a master of estimating range. All paintballs arc drastically over distance and that makes range estimation one of the keys to one-shot accuracy. Buy a range finder and practice guessing ranges between sixty and twenty yards. You can even find small range finders that can mount to a paintball gun (they’re made for bow hunting and they will add a little weight to your gun.) Learn your gun’s drop at 280 fps (or at your field’s maximum fps) and hold over to get your shot to drop right into target. Click here for a more complete discussion of range estimation and hold.
- Keep your barrel impeccably clean. Carry a squeegee and a swab and if you break a ball, clean the barrel until it’s spotlessly clean. Even a small amount of moisture in your barrel will blow your accuracy all to hell.
- Use compressed air (nitro) instead of CO2. This sucks because CO2 can be used in lighter packages than air. However, air is way, way more consistent than CO2 and it’s worth it to shoot air, even if you have to carry your air tank remote on your hip (recommended.)
- Dial your gun in to EXACTLY your field maximum fps. The faster you shoot, the flatter your shots will be. Flatter shots equal more accurate, longer shots. Set your range estimation, your sights and your drop estimates to this maximum fps.
- Build up a light paintball gun. A light gun will be easier to aim and easier to tote around the field on your belly. Think hard before you add heavy accessories to your paintgun.
- Buy a good barrel. Okay, fine. We know you want to do it, so buy a fourteen to eighteen-inch barrel. Tests do show that barrels over fourteen-inches long out-perform shorter barrels. Click here to check out a great test matching premium paint and barrels.
- Practice. Practice A LOT. This should be number one on this list, but we thought you’d probably already know it.
- We love the Tippmann Flatline barrel, but we don’t recommend it for Snipers. If you’ve ever seen a ping-pong player put backspin on a ping-pong ball, then you understand how the Flatline works. The barrel is roughened and curved and this causes the paintball to pick up backspin as it speeds out the barrel. Backspin, in turn, causes the paintball to “float” noticeably further than a paintball from any other barrel. But there are prices to pay for all that distance (other than the cost of the Flatline barrel.) Each paintball is slightly different, so the Flatline affects each ‘ball just a little differently than the last ball. That translates into decreased consistency and decreased accuracy. Standard paintball barrels put the paintball in the same place with greater frequency than the Flatline. Also, the Flatline’s roughened interior surface is slightly more apt to shred weak paintballs than smooth-bore barrels.
Field Tactics for Snipers
- You have three basic choices of sniper style: Ambush Sniper, Ghost Flanker and Longbow Sniper. Each style utilizes different tactics:
- When the team plan is to reduce enemy numbers before launching the main assault, you must put up an ambush-style defense. The objective of the ambush-style “D” is to suck the enemy in where they can be methodically wiped out.
- A good ambush defense is more about where you leave gaps
then it is about where you position your defense. If you leave one
side completely open, for example, the enemy is likely to fill into that side.
- Since the main assault is waiting to reduce the enemy numbers before attacking, you should have a ton of extra players to place in ambush positions. Decide where your gaps will be and place your defenders in a wide “U” shape to encircle the op-force attack elements. Make sure the gap is wide enough for the entire attack squad to fit inside. Otherwise, they will make contact with the tops of your “U” too soon and simply bog down trading shots. Often during capture the flag games, the “U” shape will span the entire field – giving the attackers a huge gap to fill in.
- It’s often a good idea to bury the legs of your ambush along the deep side boundaries of your half of the field or along natural boundaries. Then, when the attackers fill into the middle, your side players can collapse on them and gain target-rich, side-door angles.
- Ambush D is all about patience and holding your fire until they are in your trap. If you shoot too soon, they will bunker up way before wandering into the kill zone. Unlike a survival-style defense, you want to wait to shoot until you have lethal range.
- The Ambush Sniper should conceal himself on the very tips of the “U” formation, where his concealment gives the trap its greatest chance of success.
- However, the Sniper must wait patiently, if at
all possible, for the entire op-force to enter the trap before picking off players. If the
Sniper springs the trap too early, then the enemy attack force will hold up outside of the perimeter and concentrate its efforts on eliminating the Sniper (which is easy to do when the Sniper is alone on the tip of a formation.)
- Any time, in fact, that a Sniper is on ambush, he should wait until the op-force is on its way out of his kill zone. By waiting, the Sniper will have easy shots on the tail end of the attack element and he will have the option of rolling in from behind the enemy. Being fired on from behind is very unusual in paintball and it will thoroughly confuse the enemy – giving the Sniper a prolonged opportunity to execute the entire op-force.
- When the team plays a “survival-style defense,” the Ambush Sniper’s job is very similar to an ambush-style defense. A survival-style defense is constructed to hold the enemy off for as long as possible. This gives your assault force the maximum possible time to hit the enemy flag base, take the flag and back-door anyone who’s hitting your defense. In a survival-style defense, you will keep back the MINIMUM number of defenders that you possibly can and still hold your flag for the entire game time (but just barely.) By keeping only the bare minimum, you free up as many men as possible to hit the opposition’s flag. By strengthening the attack force, you speed the end of the game. If the game ends and you still have a big posse of defenders, then you probably held back too many.
- On a survival-style defense, the Sniper ranges out and away from the main area of attack (that usually comes from the center and center-sides.) One of the best natural hides for the Sniper is along the deep sides of the field, around mid-field. From this position, the Sniper can slide behind an attack force without fearing that someone has gotten behind the Sniper. Often, the Sniper buries himself and the Defensive Squad Leader will call him up via radio when the enemy have filled in around the flag and the trap is ready to be sprung.
- The Sniper’s side should always be the side that your friendly attack force did not move up. If you fill in behind your attackers, the chances of you seeing any enemy are very slim. Rather, conceal yourself on the weak side of the field so that the odds of an enemy encounter are higher.
- Don’t forget to cover the back routes to your flag. A smart opponent will send attackers around to encircle your flag base from behind. If that happens, you’re toast. A Sniper might wish to place himself in a position to interdict a flanking maneuver around his flag. Still, the Sniper should wait until the op-force has passed before making his attack.
- If you fire on enemy and they dig in and stop, sneak or belly crawl away, back toward your flag, unseen by the attackers. They will spend precious minutes trying to figure out if you’re still where they saw you last. You can then slide to another ambush location and reset yourself.
- Once your squad has the enemy position engaged
and trading fire, the flanking elements are released
to one or both sides. To flank, move cross-ways to
the enemy and push a little up-field. The idea is to get angles on the side of the enemy shooters. When you begin to pummel them from the side, and your squad’s hitting them from the front, you will have them in a cross fire and they will need to retreat or
- A Ghost Flanker spends a lot of the game flat on
his belly. Creeping into flanking position is extremely effective since most woodsballTM fields provide plenty of low ground cover. Also, nobody expects
a belly crawl in paintball, since paintballers are typically too lazy to get their cammies dirty.
- A very low, slow crawl will get you shooting angles that any other player could only dream of. Practice
a slow, quiet creep until you’re virtually invisible to observers.
- Beware of other elements of the enemy force. You may be flanking right into another piece of the op-force. If you do encounter more resistance, radio your Squad Leader and have him dispatch another Medium or Heavy Rifleman to set another base of fire in front of the extended force. Then, begin a new flanking move.
- Remember, if your guys and theirs’ are trading fire, you can use the noise as cover. Also, you have the security of knowing that the shooters, at least, are totally focused on their little firefight. You can probably creep quickly without them noticing. Paintballers usually scoot to a firefight like moths to a flame. A fully engulfed firefight will draw attention and should give you a clear crawl into side-door position.
- Look for chances to creep all the way around back of the enemy’s flag base. Sometimes, this will require that you pass up on kill shots. Getting in behind the flag is worth it. Think hard before you take gravy shots at enemy players. Achieving a superior position on the flag is often more valuable than one or two kills.
- Again, there is no huge ballistic advantage from one paintball gun to another. If there were, we’d sell you that super-long-shooting gun. Anyone who tells you that longer
barrels, etc. make your paintball gun shoot like a sniper rifle are dreaming. Longer barrels can give you slight advantages. With that said, the Longbow Sniper makes the most
out of any ballistic advantage he can wring out of his gun.
- Firing from a tower or high hillside, the Longbow can extend his ballistic advantage to make long hits. Concealment isn’t as great a priority for the Longbow, since connecting on long shots requires more tries and makes more noise. It’s just harder to hide as a Longbow Sniper.
- Longbow is a good alternate position for a Commander since it gives him a commanding view of the field without the requirements of silence (the Commander needs to talk to his team.)
- The Longbow should carry more paint and air than the other snipers since he’ll need shot volume to make up for the distances he’s shooting. No matter how good you are at shooting, long shots are still very hard in paintball. There’s nothing you can do to completely remove some of the variables in long shooting: wind, paint shell imperfections, inexact distance estimations, etc..
Ideal Attributes for Sniper
- Patient and Disciplined. Few paintballers have the will or the patience to play Sniper. Some games, the Sniper won’t see an enemy player. Other games, he’ll need nerves of steel to allow players to walk within yards of his hide. He’s a meticulous person who loves a job well done.
- Decent physical fitness. He doesn’t need to work real hard at being a Sniper, but he must be able to spend long periods creeping on his belly without freaking out.
- Iron-will and giant reserves of stubbornness. To out-wit the competition, he must be very committed to winning (his way.) And, yet, he can’t be a total lone wolf. The Sniper is useless unless he’s part of the team’s larger strategy and willing to take direction from the Commander.