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 Blackjack's Sniping Guide:Sniping class 101(From ASR)

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PostSubject: Blackjack's Sniping Guide:Sniping class 101(From ASR)   Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:20 pm

Sniping in Airsoft



Well, the last guide did the job, albeit in a dirty manner. It didn’t quite evolve into what I had hoped – a guide for those who want to learn the art of sniping, and apply it to the sport and hobby of Airsoft. It evolved into a 7-page behemoth, and was relatively intimidating to the n00bie, so to speak.

In this one, although the feedback is good, please refrain from saying – ‘Well done,’ or ‘Bravo,’ etc. This needs to be short, as simple as possible and informative.

Keep in mind as you read this that this guide is not the solid benchmark for sharpshooting or stalking, but it will provide you with a battle-tested starting point. Once you complete this guide, use your own wit and know-how to work your way around problems, challenges and complexities in the field. This is just here to get you started on that process.

Also, keep in mind that great effort has been taken to separate the real world from Airsoft, and there is a fuzzy line in between. Many of the things you learn in this guide are incorporated from the real world – I also claim no liability to those who use this in such a manner as to violate the law, or have a negative impact on the Airsoft, real, and any community in general.

And lastly, keep in mind that this guide will only provide you with a vague impression of what weapon system you should be using. I may know plenty about the real thing, but there is a huge difference between a 175gr. SMK ( Sierra Match King ) going at 2,750 FPS, and a 0.2g BB traveling at a sedate 550FPS.

So, let us begin. Welcome to my world…

Sniping is a blend of art and science. Your purpose in life is to observe, and when needed, to strike fear into the heart of the enemy with one well-placed round, and delivered in such a manner that the bullet would seemingly come out of thin air. You are not a designated marksman – you will learn to utilize your surroundings so that you become part of that environment, blending in well enough that nobody can spot you. You will need a distinct range advantage over your enemy – distance is your advantage, your silence, your life. It is this capability, to engage a target at extreme ranges in complete safety that will make you a formidable weapon on the battlefield.

Let us break this down. First, we will cover what you will need to perform this job in a satisfactory manner. Then we will delve into basic field-craft skills such as stalking, range estimation, setting up hides, methods of communication, etc. Then we will get into TD, or target detection, and you will be provided with a series of practical exercises that will exercise this crucial skill. Physical standards will be dictated to you to ensure that you can handle any physical task that is thrown at you.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

1. Gear
a. Rifle outfitted with optic of some sort, and secondary weapon
b. Drag bag or rucksack, optional competition sling
c. Basic clothing/accessories
d. Optional spotting optics
e. Calculator, paper, pencil, misc. items
f. Radio

First, you will need a rifle outfitted with an optic. This, obviously, is a prerequisite of the job. I personally suggest a decent bolt action rifle based off the Mauser/Winchester or Remington actions ( i.e. – Tanaka K-98K, Classic Army M24 without the flutes, Sun Project M40/XB ), or possibly one based off of a foreign design ( H&K PSG-1, G-3SG1, or the Steyr SSG ). Stay away from semi-automatic actions, as they have less consistency from shot to shot – the PSG-1 ( in AEG form ) needs signifigant levels of upgrading to perform on-par with slightly upgraded bolt rifles. All of these weapons ( in Airsoft form, from here on out, unless mentioned otherwise ) will hit targets reliably out to 50 yards in stock form, which is a reasonable start – Most M-16s, MP-5s, AK-47s and other generic assault rifles commonly used by enemy forces have trouble beyond 40 yards unless upgraded – but, this is only a 10 yard margin of difference, so I suggest sticking in a stronger spring, bolt handle, sear, and a more efficient piston head as well as a tight bore barrel and a better hop up ( optional ) to increase your useful range and accuracy. As for optics, stick with something simple – I personally suggest low powered scopes of 4 and 6 power in fixed models, to 3-9 ( Leapers Accushot mildot ) or 3.5-10 ( G&P Leupold clone ) power scopes for variable power models, all preferably with a mil-dot reticle. Scopes with powers higher than 10 can be relatively useless within 60 yards at times, as the target can easily move outside of your field of view. Also, stay away from scopes with a huge objective – the light gain is not worth the giant black spot that can be spotted from a million and a half miles away. I would stay away from coin-adjustable turrets unless you really don't care about small changes in point-of-impact ( POI fro here on out ). Finger adjustable ones help, especially for non-hopup guns, but a coin adjustable one is meant to have one zero for the majority of all ranges. I suggest low-mount rings, and possibly a tapered base to add usable elevation to your scope, thereby enhancing the maximum range of the rifle. Additionally, stay away from bipods, because they have a horrible habit of snagging on every piece of brush there is, and they tend to bounce around on solid surfaces when fired.
( M40 - Vietnam style )


( M24 - Modern US Army style )


( K98K Mauser - WWII style )


( Steyr SSG - Modern European style )


( PSG-1, similar to G-3, Modern European style )


As for a dragbag or ruck, there are very good reasons to have one or the other. With a dragbag, you can carry your rifle underneath you, while keeping it away from the harmful and often abusive elements. But your hands will remain free to carry your secondary weapon if need be. The disadvantage, is that you must rely on the ground and your sling, if you have one, to provide a stable firing platform. The advantage to a ruck, is that you can carry very heavy loads a long distance, yet use it as a stable firing platform if necessary. The downside, is that it is less mobile than with a dragbag, and presents a very bulky profile, which is easy to spot if careful precautions are not taken. Or, you can pull it all off Blackjack/Hathcock style, packing everything you need into your BDUs and combat webbing/assault vest if you have it. The advantage to this, is that you are extremely mobile, extremely concealable, but your weapons are all exposed, and must be manipulated with your hands at all times. Also, you must rely on the terrain to provide that good, firm firing platform. However, this method is not recommended unless you try the others out, and see what works best for you. This method should only be used by experienced snipers or by those that express extreme levels of caution, preferably both.

As for your basic clothing, this is self-explanatory. A good set of BDUs or cargo pants/safari vest ( sounds weird, but it works ) are needed – make sure that your camouflage works under the majority of conditions. Up here in New England, all the seasons play havoc with your ability to camouflage yourself – I have decided that plain olive drab or MARPAT BDUs work in almost all conditions very well. For a desert location like Nevada or California ( some places ), I suggest the 3-color desert camouflage currently in use by the US Army. As for the friendly Canadians up North, CADPAT as well as MARPAT works very well, but when it snows, switch to plain white or light grey uniforms. Realtree also makes some fantastic products, but beware, they cannot replace the ghille suit. They just assist in hiding you, while the ghille when used like it should, can completely mask you to the outside world. A good set of combat boots is always good to have, but there is a downside. SEALs operating in the Mekong Delta ( Vietnam ) during 1964/65 discovered that the boot tracks were a dead giveaway to where and who they were. So, sometimes they went barefoot or with sneakers, which completely baffled the NVA and the Cong. Beware of doing this, because sprained ankles are common when using normal shoes in a combat situation. And going barefoot in the snow isn’t the easiest thing to do ( been there, done that, have no desire to repeat it unless the world is ending ). A good cover is optional, and I prefer it, because you can always tuck in foliage to compliment your ghille. It also breaks up the outline of the human head, which face paint also does well. When using face paint, remember that dark areas should be shaded lightly – and vice versa. You are trying to become a two-dimensional image to your enemy, and utilizing and contorting shadows makes your life easier, and you safer. A good watch with NO ALARM feature works best. Choose a cheap analog model with NO ALARM feature, and lightly glowing hands – only leave a watch behind when extreme levels of stealth are required, and the tick of the hands can give you away ( such as in nighttime situations ). As for socks, choose something warm, like wool for cold weather, and something water resistant like neoprene ( all dark colors ) for any rainy days.

As for spotting optics, I suggest a 10-20 power spotting scope, or a good pair of binoculars made by Bushnell with a zoom of 15 power minimum. Such a commodity is a Godsend when the visibility is low, or when the target is beyond your effective range – the best advantages, is that you can use them to scan for small tricks and traps, like the heel of a boot, or a claymore at the base of a tree or rock. You can even judge the wind with them if you put it out of focus and watch which direction heatwaves radiate ( mirage ). That heatwave distorts an image, making range estimation difficult – a common trick to avoid it is to rise up off the ground a tad.

Now for misc. items. A calculator and paper/pencil are a necessity for use with a mil-dot scope. The formula is as follows : Width of the target in yards ( decimal value ) multiplied by 1,000, and divided by the number of mils ( distance from each dot on the reticle, which will also end up in a decimal value ) that the target takes up. This will give you your range in yards, and will only work in a scopes highest power – since we are shooting at no further than 110 yards, this CAN be done by eyesight, but if you have a non-hopup gun, then this is how you are going to hit the target. If you can do that in your head, get your head out of your ass, get out of the field and into a school, and go teach methematics. Anyways, another useful tool would be a penlight with a red and green filter, for signaling use and to read maps/charts without giving off a distinct signature to draw fire. Keep shiny, reflective things out of the field – keep your dogtags, necklaces, rings and other ding-dongs at base. Regarding secondary weapons, this depends on what you are using in the way of gear. If you have a dragbag or rifle bag, I suggest you step it up to an M4A1 carbine or perhaps the G36 with a slightly shorter barrel. In a stalk or patrol, this will be your primary weapon, in the event you need some rapid firepower to break contact with your enemy. If you are just carrying a ruck, you still can carry a rifle, but I suggest a pistol, such as the Beretta M-9 or the Colt 1911A1 ( specifically the TM HGHU with .25g BBs or any of the KWC pistols with .2-.25g BBs ). Remember, this is a last ditch weapon. Do not even THINK of pulling it out unless shiite has truly hit the fan. If you get to the point where you need that pistol, you are better of ditching your rifle and running ( heck, this is Airsoft. You can always go back and get it later ).


Last edited by on Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Blackjack's Sniping Guide:Sniping class 101(From ASR)   Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:23 pm

PART 2This is most of the old Blackjack's sniper guide (text only, no pics):

Well, the last guide did the job, albeit in a dirty manner. It didn?t quite evolve into what I had hoped - a guide for those who want to learn the art of sniping, and apply it to the sport and hobby of Airsoft. It evolved into a 7-page behemoth, and was relatively intimidating to the n00bie, so to speak.

In this one, although the feedback is good, please refrain from saying - ?Well done,? or ?Bravo,? etc. This needs to be short, as simple as possible and informative.

Keep in mind as you read this that this guide is not the solid benchmark for sharpshooting or stalking, but it will provide you with a battle-tested starting point. Once you complete this guide, use your own wit and know-how to work your way around problems, challenges and complexities in the field. This is just here to get you started on that process.

Also, keep in mind that great effort has been taken to separate the real world from Airsoft, and there is a fuzzy line in between. Many of the things you learn in this guide are incorporated from the real world - I also claim no liability to those who use this in such a manner as to violate the law, or have a negative impact on the Airsoft, real, and any community in general.

And lastly, keep in mind that this guide will only provide you with a vague impression of what weapon system you should be using. I may know plenty about the real thing, but there is a huge difference between a 175gr. SMK ( Sierra Match King ) going at 2,750 FPS, and a 0.2g BB traveling at a sedate 550FPS.

So, let us begin. Welcome to my world?

Sniping is a blend of art and science. Your purpose in life is to observe, and when needed, to strike fear into the heart of the enemy with one well-placed round, and delivered in such a manner that the bullet would seemingly come out of thin air. You are not a designated marksman - you will learn to utilize your surroundings so that you become part of that environment, blending in well enough that nobody can spot you. You will need a distinct range advantage over your enemy - distance is your advantage, your silence, your life. It is this capability, to engage a target at extreme ranges in complete safety that will make you a formidable weapon on the battlefield.

Let us break this down. First, we will cover what you will need to perform this job in a satisfactory manner. Then we will delve into basic field-craft skills such as stalking, range estimation, setting up hides, methods of communication, etc. Then we will get into TD, or target detection, and you will be provided with a series of practical exercises that will exercise this crucial skill. Physical standards will be dictated to you to ensure that you can handle any physical task that is thrown at you.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

1. Gear
a. Rifle outfitted with optic of some sort, and secondary weapon
b. Drag bag or rucksack, optional competition sling
c. Basic clothing/accessories
d. Optional spotting optics
e. Calculator, paper, pencil, misc. items
f. Radio

First, you will need a rifle outfitted with an optic. This, obviously, is a prerequisite of the job. I personally suggest a decent bolt action rifle based off the Mauser/Winchester or Remington actions ( i.e. - Tanaka K-98K, Classic Army M24 without the flutes, Sun Project M40/XB ), or possibly one based off of a foreign design ( H&K PSG-1, G-3SG1, or the Steyr SSG ). Stay away from semi-automatic actions, as they have less consistency from shot to shot - the PSG-1 ( in AEG form ) needs signifigant levels of upgrading to perform on-par with slightly upgraded bolt rifles. All of these weapons ( in Airsoft form, from here on out, unless mentioned otherwise ) will hit targets reliably out to 50 yards in stock form, which is a reasonable start - Most M-16s, MP-5s, AK-47s and other generic assault rifles commonly used by enemy forces have trouble beyond 40 yards unless upgraded - but, this is only a 10 yard margin of difference, so I suggest sticking in a stronger spring, bolt handle, sear, and a more efficient piston head as well as a tight bore barrel and a better hop up ( optional ) to increase your useful range and accuracy. As for optics, stick with something simple - I personally suggest low powered scopes of 4 and 6 power in fixed models, to 3-9 ( Leapers Accushot mildot ) or 3.5-10 ( G&P Leupold clone ) power scopes for variable power models, all preferably with a mil-dot reticle. Scopes with powers higher than 10 can be relatively useless within 60 yards at times, as the target can easily move outside of your field of view. Also, stay away from scopes with a huge objective - the light gain is not worth the giant black spot that can be spotted from a million and a half miles away. I would stay away from coin-adjustable turrets unless you really don't care about small changes in point-of-impact ( POI fro here on out ). Finger adjustable ones help, especially for non-hopup guns, but a coin adjustable one is meant to have one zero for the majority of all ranges. I suggest low-mount rings, and possibly a tapered base to add usable elevation to your scope, thereby enhancing the maximum range of the rifle. Additionally, stay away from bipods, because they have a horrible habit of snagging on every piece of brush there is, and they tend to bounce around on solid surfaces when fired.


As for a dragbag or ruck, there are very good reasons to have one or the other. With a dragbag, you can carry your rifle underneath you, while keeping it away from the harmful and often abusive elements. But your hands will remain free to carry your secondary weapon if need be. The disadvantage, is that you must rely on the ground and your sling, if you have one, to provide a stable firing platform. The advantage to a ruck, is that you can carry very heavy loads a long distance, yet use it as a stable firing platform if necessary. The downside, is that it is less mobile than with a dragbag, and presents a very bulky profile, which is easy to spot if careful precautions are not taken. Or, you can pull it all off Blackjack/Hathcock style, packing everything you need into your BDUs and combat webbing/assault vest if you have it. The advantage to this, is that you are extremely mobile, extremely concealable, but your weapons are all exposed, and must be manipulated with your hands at all times. Also, you must rely on the terrain to provide that good, firm firing platform. However, this method is not recommended unless you try the others out, and see what works best for you. This method should only be used by experienced snipers or by those that express extreme levels of caution, preferably both.

As for your basic clothing, this is self-explanatory. A good set of BDUs or cargo pants/safari vest ( sounds weird, but it works ) are needed - make sure that your camouflage works under the majority of conditions. Up here in New England, all the seasons play havoc with your ability to camouflage yourself - I have decided that plain olive drab or MARPAT BDUs work in almost all conditions very well. For a desert location like Nevada or California ( some places ), I suggest the 3-color desert camouflage currently in use by the US Army. As for the friendly Canadians up North, CADPAT as well as MARPAT works very well, but when it snows, switch to plain white or light grey uniforms. Realtree also makes some fantastic products, but beware, they cannot replace the ghille suit. They just assist in hiding you, while the ghille when used like it should, can completely mask you to the outside world. A good set of combat boots is always good to have, but there is a downside. SEALs operating in the Mekong Delta ( Vietnam ) during 1964/65 discovered that the boot tracks were a dead giveaway to where and who they were. So, sometimes they went barefoot or with sneakers, which completely baffled the NVA and the Cong. Beware of doing this, because sprained ankles are common when using normal shoes in a combat situation. And going barefoot in the snow isn?t the easiest thing to do ( been there, done that, have no desire to repeat it unless the world is ending ). A good cover is optional, and I prefer it, because you can always tuck in foliage to compliment your ghille. It also breaks up the outline of the human head, which face paint also does well. When using face paint, remember that dark areas should be shaded lightly - and vice versa. You are trying to become a two-dimensional image to your enemy, and utilizing and contorting shadows makes your life easier, and you safer. A good watch with NO ALARM feature works best. Choose a cheap analog model with NO ALARM feature, and lightly glowing hands - only leave a watch behind when extreme levels of stealth are required, and the tick of the hands can give you away ( such as in nighttime situations ). As for socks, choose something warm, like wool for cold weather, and something water resistant like neoprene ( all dark colors ) for any rainy days.

As for spotting optics, I suggest a 10-20 power spotting scope, or a good pair of binoculars made by Bushnell with a zoom of 15 power minimum. Such a commodity is a Godsend when the visibility is low, or when the target is beyond your effective range - the best advantages, is that you can use them to scan for small tricks and traps, like the heel of a boot, or a claymore at the base of a tree or rock. You can even judge the wind with them if you put it out of focus and watch which direction heatwaves radiate ( mirage ). That heatwave distorts an image, making range estimation difficult - a common trick to avoid it is to rise up off the ground a tad.

Now for misc. items. A calculator and paper/pencil are a necessity for use with a mil-dot scope. The formula is as follows : Width of the target in yards ( decimal value ) multiplied by 1,000, and divided by the number of mils ( distance from each dot on the reticle, which will also end up in a decimal value ) that the target takes up. This will give you your range in yards, and will only work in a scopes highest power - since we are shooting at no further than 110 yards, this CAN be done by eyesight, but if you have a non-hopup gun, then this is how you are going to hit the target. If you can do that in your head, get your head out of your ass, get out of the field and into a school, and go teach methematics. Anyways, another useful tool would be a penlight with a red and green filter, for signaling use and to read maps/charts without giving off a distinct signature to draw fire. Keep shiny, reflective things out of the field - keep your dogtags, necklaces, rings and other ding-dongs at base. Regarding secondary weapons, this depends on what you are using in the way of gear. If you have a dragbag or rifle bag, I suggest you step it up to an M4A1 carbine or perhaps the G36 with a slightly shorter barrel. In a stalk or patrol, this will be your primary weapon, in the event you need some rapid firepower to break contact with your enemy. If you are just carrying a ruck, you still can carry a rifle, but I suggest a pistol, such as the Beretta M-9 or the Colt 1911A1 ( specifically the TM HGHU with .25g BBs or any of the KWC pistols with .2-.25g BBs ). Remember, this is a last ditch weapon. Do not even THINK of pulling it out unless shiite has truly hit the fan. If you get to the point where you need that pistol, you are better of ditching your rifle and running ( heck, this is Airsoft. You can always go back and get it later ).
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PostSubject: Re: Blackjack's Sniping Guide:Sniping class 101(From ASR)   Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:23 pm

2. Stalking
a. 4 methods
b. Tips and hints
c. Areas of danger
d. Patience

In the official US Army Scout Sniper manual, there are about 5-6 different methods of stalking, all different speeds. I have simplified it to the essential ones. First, is the ?Walk? - you have probably seen this on the Discovery Channel ( Entertain your brain! ), where a bunch of fellows are walking about, hunched over, and going very slowly. This is the basic concept - you are on your feet, knees bent, head low. This is a basic patrolling position, best used if plenty of cover or limited light is available. Make sure that the side/rear of your foot touches the ground first, and roll the rest of your foot down. This reduces your balance, but it enables you to feel for something TOO firm or loose, such as a landmine, trip wire, pitfall, or even a stick. Keep your head down, but let your eyes look around - keep your eyes on the trail for the most part, and let your spotter handle the task of scanning for the enemy.When crossing open areas, try to cross in shadows in a low stance, move smoothly and watch the edges of the shadow to make sure that your own does not leave this perimeter. When crouching or standing, avoid letting the "v" of your armpits or crotch area show, it is very unatural and a trained eye can spot these quickly at up to considerably long ranges. Practice moving quickly and smoothly, with minimal up and down body travel. Practice can come by going out on a quiet night and moving over various types of surface cover, such as dry grass, gravel, etc. To keep a minimal noise while walking on gravel, lay down each step by making as much of the surface area of your footware contact the ground at a time, this makes for a less constant grinding noise. When the foot is coming down, try to eliminate as much under foot twisting or sliding as possible. It sounds simple and basic, but someone with skill in this movement can move quickly over gravel with very little noise to be heard. Stop and listen, smell and observe after every few steps. Your ears serve a giant purpose in this, because you will not always be looking into the brush, instead relying on sound to let you know that something is there, whether it be an animal, or some third-world terrorist with a ski mask and an AK-47 hiding behind a tree trunk, who just accidentally nudged a stick. Also, train your eyes to look for movement ( only for patrolling in a semi-hostile area ), rather than individual shapes. Next is the knee shuffle. You are basically on your hands and knees, advancing at half your patrolling speed. Your arms are in a half pushup position ( one arm if not using a dragbag ), using the blades of you hand to contact the ground. This minimizes contact, enabling you to relocate sticks, feel around effectively, and possibly avert disaster by avoiding a mine, for instance. Make sure not to drag your knees, as this leaves a distinct trail. The next position is what I call the Ninja, and is a very advanced stalk. This is better for urban terrain, where you have the option to move quicker than normal under most circumstances. Imagine you are Spiderman, just crawling on level ground like every other normal person - that is what you are doing. You cannot perform this for very long, as it requires extensive use of your abs, and shoulder-located muscles. You hug the ground, but your stomach does not touch. This was a custom-made stalk made just for relocating yourself in a hurry or in the dark, all the while not rising high enough to be seen. Do not attempt this stalk unless you are nimble. A much more common variation of this involves making contact with the ground, and slowing down a bit. The advantage is that you may move faster than the sniper crawl. The final is the Sniper Crawl - everybody knows it. You are on your front, using your toes to push you inch at a time towards your destination, without causing excessive movement that could be translated into brush movement, which will spell your doom is spotted. Make sure to take at least 10 seconds in between every small push, and do not use your hands to help. You need to have your relative area in your mind, because in some circumstances you may not be able to turn your head and look up. Make sure to stay away from easily-bendable brush when doing this, because it can leave a distinct trail. This and the Ninja are the two stalking positions that make the best use of depressions and elevations in the ground, such as a shallow trench or something of that nature. These two positions rely completely on individual patience, and the adaptability of the ghille suit. But both are susceptible to dry brush, and make a lot of noise while doing it.

Now for some practical hints and tips. One area that most snipers overlook is the area between their thighs, and their boot heel. Make doubly sure that you have ?vegged? up properly in those areas before you go out. Also, watch out for your armpits, eye sockets/depressions, ears and the area under the brim of your cover. They all are areas that present a dark figure that sticks out under almost any circumstances. Make sure to use light paint to brighten them up to match the background. Also, get a honeycomb filter or something to cover the objective lens on your telescope - this presents such a dead giveaway that it could get you killed more than almost anything else short of dressing up in a glowing pumpkin with an Mk-19 as your sniper rifle. Stay low to observe. A low silhouette makes it difficult for the enemy to see a sniper team. Therefore, the team observes from a crouch, a squat, or a prone position. Avoid shiny reflections. Reflection of light on a shiny surface instantly attracts attention and can be seen from great distances. The sniper uncovers his rifle scope only when indexing and aiming at a target. He uses optics cautiously in bright sunshine because of the reflections they cause. Avoid skylining. Figures on the skyline can be seen from a great distance, even at night, because a dark outline stands out against the lighter sky. The silhouette formed by the body makes a good target. Alter familiar outlines. Military equipment and the human body are familiar outlines to the enemy. The sniper team alters or disguises these revealing shapes by using the ghillie suit or outer smock that is covered with irregular patterns of garnish. The team must alter its outline from the head to the soles of the boots. Observe noise discipline. Noise, such as talking, can be picked up by enemy patrols or observation posts. The sniper team silences gear before a mission so that it makes no sound when the team walks or runs.

As for danger zones, this seems pretty obvious, but you would be surprised what little clues could save you. Look out for heavily used trails, thick broken sticks, cleared leaves and things of such. This usually means that somebody is there, and more often than not, that somebody is waiting for you. If you see such things, GET OUT OF SIGHT. The same thing applies to random soft spots in the ground, exposed ground on both sides of a trail or clearing ( sometimes an indication that somebody took leaves from the outside, and used them to conceal something on the inside ) etc. Watch for random clearings - if it looks too easy, it is. Paranoia is your blanket of protection when you are not ready to fire - count on your gut instinct. Always assume that something so suspicious will be there, meant for YOU.

One of the most difficult things to deal with in this line of work is the speed. You must slow everything down tenfold - the reason is simple. Quick movement attracts the eye. For this, one of the greatest excercises is to eat your dinner at 1/10th of 1/20th the speed you normally do. Make sure not to eat anything before that. The result, is that your stomach instills a reminder into your brain - you want the water or ammunition or food, but if you go to fast you will be detected. This will also allow you to figure out how to best manipulate your muscles for extended periods of time ( taking 5 minutes to raise a fork to your mouth, or to even reach down for a round of ammunition can wear your arm muscles down severly ). The cause of speeding up is that feeling of impatience in your gut that screams, 'Speed the %^&* up!' When in the field, the best way to counter this mental bind is to remind yourself that when you made your plan, you were in healthy state of mind. But now, you are not, and deviation from plan results in failure. You just have to suck it up and push yourself one more inch, one more minute, and just never give up. When that feeling of patience is overwhelming, try to relive a moment from your past in the greatest detail - I am unsure of how this works, but it takes your mind off of the problem at hand and gives you something to think about. It removes a healthy portion of fear and impatience. All of these methods combined are still no match for the mindset that you need. You must believe that you are unbeatable, unbreakable, that you are the toughest sonuva***** out there and that you run the war. You control the battle, and the minds of the enemy. This, however, is a necessary aspect that cannot be taught to you - this is one hurdle you must overcome on your own. When it all comes down to it, all you can do is reach deep inside yourself and push on. An old SEAL one told me, 'It's all in your head.' He was right.
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PostSubject: Re: Blackjack's Sniping Guide:Sniping class 101(From ASR)   Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:24 pm

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3. Other Field Craft Skills
a. Range estimation
b. Communication
c. TD
d. Hides

One of the essential skills to being an effective sniper is range estimation. With a real rifle, say an M24 SWS in .308, the bullet will drop several feet as it heads downrange - if you can?t figure out how far the target is, then you can?t dial in the correct zero to the scope so that it intercepts the flight path of the bullet at that range, therefore you can?t hit the target. With Airsoft rifles, it is slightly different. Most of them have hop up, which removes the factor of trajectory for the most part. However, range estimation still have a part in Airsoft - because after all, hop up only aggravates the windage problem. The main usage for the mildot scope is for non hop up guns, mainly because you need to have set zeros for different ranges - you have a trajectory to deal with. Aside from using a mil dot scope, the only other way to range a target is thru practice. Go out into the field one day, and compare the thickness of your crosshairs to a human-sized target. Compare the size of rocks, trees etc. next to him, and take a guess. The mil dot is the only true way to figure out how far away they really are. The formula for using the mil dot is actually found in the introduction.

Communicating with the rest of your team is essential.- remember, the primary job of a sniper is to collect intelligence on enemy troop movements and strengths, to assist in counterinsurgency operations, and to take out high-profile targets with unparalleled precision. For this critical role, I suggest those small radios you can get at Radioshack for $30, Cat. No. 21-1863. These small radios must be handled carefully, as they do have the option of an audio tone with every transmission, but they provide private channels, channel scanners, a strong belt clip, and easy controls as well as clear transmission over a long range, up to 2 miles, plenty for an Airsoft game.

Now for one of the most essential skills a sniper must have - TD, or target detection ( one of the 2 million military acronyms ). This is among the top 3 most essential skills - if you are not observant, you can perish very easily. This skill is relatively obvious as to what it is used for - you can look for traps, look for suspicious areas and activity, and you need to be able to spot your target regardless of camouflage. To start off, you must know how to scan with the naked eye. Here is what to do - section off a 50 yard space of land, and scan. Do not sweep the area looking at everything, but instead focus on specific objects, like a rock or a tree stump, or a very dark area that sticks out. Do this again for another 50 yards until you reach about 150 yards. This will basically do two things - it allows you to seek and remember areas of cover, possible danger zones, and it will immediately expose unhidden human - shaped objects or, of course, people. However, this is just a rough scanning technique, but it also gives you a rough guess as to how far away your target is if you can readily spot it. Next, section off that old 50 yard area into 10 yards, and now look for smaller objects, or anything that doesn?t naturally blend in to the environment, or follow its lines. Look for blocky, shiny, and irregular lines. One example would be this - in a field of tall grass, the grass grows vertically, or at a slight slant. So if there is another sniper in that grass, you should be looking for horizontally places stalks of grass, which would signify a ghille suit ( unless the sniper put the stalks lengthwise, in which case you need to look for something else ). Another example would be this - if you are looking at the base of a tree, the roots should not be overly jagged in most cases. So a squarish or circular object like a Claymore mine or a grenade would stick out. A shiny object in a small clearing might indicate a piece of tin foil from a soldiers lunch, or maybe a watch that he left behind. Crushed grass in a wood line ( or firm soil ) would indicate that either a bunch of people walked thru there to cut across the field, or that somebody crawled through there. These are basic things that you can see with your eye - go outside one of these days, and look for small things like this. The point, is to get you to THINK - why would stalks of grass be horizontal in a field of vertically growing grass? Why would the soil be more compact in this place rather than there? Keep in mind, that your binoculars and optics do the SAME job as your eyes. They just allow you to see further in this role. Also keep in mind that the purpose of sectioning off an area in yards is to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed ( seeing a few hundred yards of bush, some people don?t know where to start, and just look in a rather haphazard manner ). The same principle applies to the spotting scope.

Posted - 02/02/2004 : 10:35:51 PM Show Profile Visit Blackjack's Homepage Reply with Quote
3. Other Field Craft Skills
a. Range estimation
b. Communication
c. TD
d. Hides

One of the essential skills to being an effective sniper is range estimation. With a real rifle, say an M24 SWS in .308, the bullet will drop several feet as it heads downrange - if you can?t figure out how far the target is, then you can?t dial in the correct zero to the scope so that it intercepts the flight path of the bullet at that range, therefore you can?t hit the target. With Airsoft rifles, it is slightly different. Most of them have hop up, which removes the factor of trajectory for the most part. However, range estimation still have a part in Airsoft - because after all, hop up only aggravates the windage problem. The main usage for the mildot scope is for non hop up guns, mainly because you need to have set zeros for different ranges - you have a trajectory to deal with. Aside from using a mil dot scope, the only other way to range a target is thru practice. Go out into the field one day, and compare the thickness of your crosshairs to a human-sized target. Compare the size of rocks, trees etc. next to him, and take a guess. The mil dot is the only true way to figure out how far away they really are. The formula for using the mil dot is actually found in the introduction.

Communicating with the rest of your team is essential.- remember, the primary job of a sniper is to collect intelligence on enemy troop movements and strengths, to assist in counterinsurgency operations, and to take out high-profile targets with unparalleled precision. For this critical role, I suggest those small radios you can get at Radioshack for $30, Cat. No. 21-1863. These small radios must be handled carefully, as they do have the option of an audio tone with every transmission, but they provide private channels, channel scanners, a strong belt clip, and easy controls as well as clear transmission over a long range, up to 2 miles, plenty for an Airsoft game.

Now for one of the most essential skills a sniper must have - TD, or target detection ( one of the 2 million military acronyms ). This is among the top 3 most essential skills - if you are not observant, you can perish very easily. This skill is relatively obvious as to what it is used for - you can look for traps, look for suspicious areas and activity, and you need to be able to spot your target regardless of camouflage. To start off, you must know how to scan with the naked eye. Here is what to do - section off a 50 yard space of land, and scan. Do not sweep the area looking at everything, but instead focus on specific objects, like a rock or a tree stump, or a very dark area that sticks out. Do this again for another 50 yards until you reach about 150 yards. This will basically do two things - it allows you to seek and remember areas of cover, possible danger zones, and it will immediately expose unhidden human - shaped objects or, of course, people. However, this is just a rough scanning technique, but it also gives you a rough guess as to how far away your target is if you can readily spot it. Next, section off that old 50 yard area into 10 yards, and now look for smaller objects, or anything that doesn?t naturally blend in to the environment, or follow its lines. Look for blocky, shiny, and irregular lines. One example would be this - in a field of tall grass, the grass grows vertically, or at a slight slant. So if there is another sniper in that grass, you should be looking for horizontally places stalks of grass, which would signify a ghille suit ( unless the sniper put the stalks lengthwise, in which case you need to look for something else ). Another example would be this - if you are looking at the base of a tree, the roots should not be overly jagged in most cases. So a squarish or circular object like a Claymore mine or a grenade would stick out. A shiny object in a small clearing might indicate a piece of tin foil from a soldiers lunch, or maybe a watch that he left behind. Crushed grass in a wood line ( or firm soil ) would indicate that either a bunch of people walked thru there to cut across the field, or that somebody crawled through there. These are basic things that you can see with your eye - go outside one of these days, and look for small things like this. The point, is to get you to THINK - why would stalks of grass be horizontal in a field of vertically growing grass? Why would the soil be more compact in this place rather than there? Keep in mind, that your binoculars and optics do the SAME job as your eyes. They just allow you to see further in this role. Also keep in mind that the purpose of sectioning off an area in yards is to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed ( seeing a few hundred yards of bush, some people don?t know where to start, and just look in a rather haphazard manner ). The same principle applies to the spotting scope.

Now, for hides. Folks who need a concealed position for extended periods of observation rely on these. They have roots back to the foxholes and trenches of WWI. Basically, it is a depression or hole in the ground with extra camouflage to compliment your ghille. It also provides extra protection from the elements. There are several ways to make one, but I will only focus on one - the hole method. This method requires you to dig a bit, but it is only suggested for LONG games, where you will be staying overnight, and shooting at your maximum range. Generally, you should select a location away from larger trees, but behind many bushes about 10-50 feet into a treeline. The extra shadows and possible morning fog can actually conceal the bulk of the hide, even if you add too much brush. I suggest finding a slight depression in the ground, as you speed up the digging process. Dig a coffinsized hole ( deep enough so that you cannot be seen from the side ), and get some pine boughs ( more flexible, and therefore not able to snap as easily as others ) or other flexible branches. Make sure that these branches form a slight canopy over the hole, and make sure that it cannot be seen from behind, either ( hence the location around other brush ). Have a small hole in the brush at the rear, so that you can escape quickly wihtout disturbing the brush ( causing movement, and then giving your position away ), and make sure to pack the soil down at the front of the hole, as to provide a stable firing platform. I do not suggest using your pack for a support, because it elevates you, and will cause severe discomfort, as well as creating a dark figure that can be spotted ( because a random shape darker than the rest of the woods becomes suspicious ). If you are in an area of hostile activity and you have the time ( provided the enemy is expecting you ) and a few hours between patrols, try and make a decoy hide about 200-400 yards to your side if in a woodline, and about 50-150 yards if in the deep woods or in an urban situation. This will serve the purpose of drawing fire should you shoot. Additionally, if you are in position, take some time to range objects like trees, large rocks etc., and figure out the come-ups needed to hit a target out to that range. In a hurry, you won't have time to adjust that scope, and you will have to hold off. This technique works wonders. It could save your life.


Now we will focus on the methods that you will utilize to fire the rifle of your choice. This section is not by any means one that will tell you everything - almost EVERYTHING in this was found thru personal experimentation. Oddly enough, EVERYTHING that worked for me, happened to be in the US Army S/S manual. Also keep in mind that I am a competitive shooter, and a very good one at that - you CAN trust me when it comes to advice on shooting positions. To begin with, you need a good grip on your weapon. The hand that is in a pistol grip should be grasping it with a firm, handshake-tight grip. This will assure that the weapon remains in your control at all times, and also that you will not grip too hard, causing your muscles in your hand to twitch, and thereby throw off your aim ( at 100 yards, this CAN happen if combined with a few other factors ). You free hand has an option - depending on the situation, you can either hold it by the forearm/handguard ( while shooting offhand, or in supported prone fire with a sling ), or with the use of a pack or platform. If shooting offhand, stick to the forearm. Take a look at your thumb and forefinger when relaxed. See the natural V shape that occurs? That is where the forearm should rest in.

In both cases, observe that the underside of the supporting arm is tucked against the ribcage. This offers excellent bone support, and will enable you to relax your muscles ( this is a key point - bone support over muscles. Steel over chicken ). Also observe that the body is at a 45 degree angle to the target, the back straight, knees bent ( locked knees rotate and shift around, kind of like you kneecap. Bones are not clean-cut ). If you find you eye a long way back from the scope, this means that the length of pull ( distance from trigger to buttplate/pad ) is too long, and should be shortened. There are ways around this, but they should not be used for anything but competitive shooting.

Next would be the sitting position. Once again, grip the weapon firmly, and place yourself on the ground. You can either cross your legs ( each opposite foot actually holding your lower-leg up, or not, depending of your flexibility ), or put your feet in a butterfly-type position, and extend them outwards ( your toes can separate. The sides of your feet will be resting on the ground ). Rest your supporitng elbox ABOVE YOUR KNEE, not on or below. Too much bone is there, and your elbow will tend to slip - you will have an automatic tendency to steady your arm with muscles, and this will cause shaking after an extended period. Your firing elbow will go correspondingly to the opposive leg, except that you will have your forearm tucked in to hold the pistol grip. When going crosslegged, sit at a 45 degree angle to the target. When doing the butterfly method, go at a 25-30 degree angle.

Next is the prone position - this happens to be the most versitile of positions, and the easiest, mainly because you don't HAVE to support the forend of the rifle in all positions. Simply put, you lay down of the ground with your stomach, a 15-30 degree angle to your target, and draw up the leg on your firing side.

This is where your options begin. You can either hold the forearm of the stock ( using that natural V shape between your thumb/index finger, you can hold it in your palm, normally, or you can not hold it at all, instead resting the forend on a bipod or a pack, instead drawing your non-firing hand back and supporting the rear of the stock.)
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