Sniper Tricks & Tips - Sniper Training/Drills Before I start I want to state that you should keep a normal physical routine and stay in shape when sniping. 1. Observation 2. Shooting 3. Camouflage 4. Recon 5. Counter Sniping 6. Live Shooting 1. Observation is a great and needed skill as a sniper. Most people think of a sniper as a just a hunter of men, someone sitting waiting to ambush an un-expecting enemy. That may have been the case back during WW2 but that isn't the case anymore. A snipers main role is Observation and Recon. Most people don't recognize this attribute and it creates an incomplete sniper, thus bad snipers. Observation is one of your greatest perks as a sniper. So how do you train observation? Its actually a lot easier than you would think. The first thing to look at is target detection which is used to sharpen your skill to pick out what doesn't belong. Target Ids are anything or object that makes something stand out thus making it a target. You can very easily wear the wrong camo or have the wrong vegetation, move, or carry some gear that will be a target ID and cause you to stick out. To set up this drill you need two people, between 5 and 20 objects (non natural at first) that don't belong in the environment you will be observing. One person will hide these object and you have a time limit to find all these objects in the surrounding area. These objects can be 2 inches to a 100 meters away from you. The next step once they are hidden and you are looking for them is to keep a pad or piece of paper and pen next to you. Draw the landscape and when you find an object draw the object in and circle it, number it, and write on the bottom of the page with the number what the object is. You want to get to the point where you can find all the objects in about a 30 min window. This skill can help in location ambushes and enemy snipers on the field. Once you get good at this you can hide a ghillie suit in a wooded area or put fake plants mixed in brush as items to find. When you first start this drill you can look at the objects and know what they will be before hand. As you improve and get better you won't know what objects are being hidden. Also this drill is great to do with your partner AKA spotter or sniper (depending on your role). You would switch off on hiding the objects/ finding the objects. Also if you guys want to work as a team to find the object (suggested to build rhythm) have a third party hide the objects. Also when searching for the objects use optics that you would actually be using on the field. It doesn't help to practice with optics that have a higher magnification than what you will use when playing. A searching technique to find these objects is to do a 180 degree view span. What you do is start off looking maybe 6 yards in front of you and give observe that area in a 180 degree span across. Give it a few passes before moving to the next 3 yard section and keep repeating until you have viewed the entire area. 2. Shooting This topic can be a hard thing to practice due to airsoft not being the most accurate thing in the world, better than paintball but still. Shooting is something you want to be confident in when sniping. This will make taking the shot and knowing when to shoot easier. A simple drill to do is cut out cardboard profiles of people. These profiles should be mid torso to head profiles. Make a few (5-10) and place them at different ranges and angles for practice. Also try making some targets hidden more than others so their profile is smaller. Moving targets Now in a perfect world your targets would never move and they would pose for you to take a shot, but sadly this isn't Walgreens. So we need to practice on moving targets as well. To practice this might take a very fearless friend or at least one that isn't a “baby”. Have your friend start in a hidden position so you can see him/her. Then they will run to another point of cover at different speeds each time they go back and forth. If practicing with a spotter/sniper switch roles so you both are practicing shooting. Also change up the distance between the two bunkers so there is less or more time to take a shot. Another thing to change is the angle at which the person is running at, away, side to side. Lastly make sure you are shooting at moving target from both your weak side slide and strong side slide. What I mean by this is moving your rifle right to left/left to right. You will notice it will be easier to follow a target running away from your shooting shoulder(if you’re right shoulder has the stock on it a target moving right to left will be an easier target to follow). Also notice you have a larger angle to take the shot before having to adjust your body position (Something to try and avoid) when moving away from your shooting shoulder. Ranging With the range make the targets numbered 1- the max amount you have. Then place them at known ranges and shoot 10 rounds at each target and record where the BB hits, where you where aiming, the wind direction and speed, weather, and the range. This will show you your max range based on conditions. Also you will learn your rifle's shooting pattern. It sounds strange but even with airsoft the guns can have a pattern. I have an L96 C02 powered rifle. Every 6th shot is slightly more powerful and shots a little to the top right. I have noticed that spring rifles tend to do something like this too. Knowing this will allow you to adjust on the field to make shots count. The next drill for rage is finding the range. Now want you want to do is to learn how to range with mils on your scope. You might say this isn't needed for airsoft but I believe it is cause your gun might max out at 160 ft and your target is 185 ft away. With out ranging it you might think that person is in your range. This can cause a miss and loss of an otherwise great hide. Formula: (height of target(yards) * 1,000 = Range(yards)) / height of target(mils) Then for airsoft purposes you can convert the range to feet. (Mils are the Dots on your scope cross hairs) Once you have the ranges of your targets measure them out and see if you did it correctly. This will take practice to get use and accurate. Team Building When shooting with a spotter you want to have a rhythm with each other. This rhythm will make you clean and efficient. One thing to practice is short hand. You guys want to have a unique language (abbreviations etc) with each other. What I mean by this is having special calls for different situations and targets. Also you guys have to know each others strengths and weaknesses. 3. Camouflage This should become your bread and butter as an airsoft sniper. Without it you won't be able to observe an area, make it to a hide, and take any shots with out being spotted. Your surrounding is your friend as a sniper whether is woods, desert or urban. To practice camouflage you want at least two people. One to observe and the other to hide, plain and simple. Different drills A. No Ghillie observation. Your objective as the person hiding is to camo using any means besides a ghillie suit to get close enough to the target and see a letter or number card they are holding. This is done in the actual military as well (only with ghillie). But wait it gets better you aren't allowed to use optics of any kind just your eyes. The person with the card can either be stationary or patrolling. B. No Ghillie Observation with a shot. Now you take the same thing a drill A but you have to take a shot and go undetected after the shot. The observer is allowed 5 steps in the direction he thinks the shot can from. Then he/she has to call out your exact position before you move if he can't see you or calls the wrong spot you have completed it. You can add having to take two, three shots to how many have to be taken. Also the shot has to be a hit! *Makes sure to do A & B in different vegetation areas* C. Ghillie suits time! Yes now that the other two have been completed successfully at least 2-3 times(in each environment) you can add a ghillie suit. At this point you should be comfortable with camouflage and able to work in different environments. Now you just use a ghillie suit in those environments. This first drill is to break you into the ghillie suit. What you do it take all the time you need to properly camo the ghillie with vegetation to match the environment you will be hiding in then you go into that area. You and the person observing should plan an area you can hide in so they know the general area to look. Then once you are hidden the observer has 20 mins to find you using optics. To increase the difficulty of this drill start putting a time limmit on how long you have to camo the ghillie and increase the search time. Eventually the searcher should be able to walk around and not notice you. D. This drill is the same as A & B only combined and with a ghillie suit now. You have to move to your position and id the target letter or number and take a shot (hit the person) and remain undetected. But you have to camo the ghillie to match the environment. Also you can use optics for this one. At this point you have earned the ability to use them.