Intro – The Truth About Airsoft Sniping
Amidst the cover of the forest, you’re laying down in the prone position peering through the lens of a 3x scope hidden within thick layers of bushes.
The barrel of your M40 sniper is pointing downrange at a target wielding an M4 assault rifle alone in the open dirt floor, wondering where the rest of his teammates are. He believes he is safe but is unaware that you are watching him from more than 200 feet away.
He’s vulnerable, you pull the trigger, and watch as the BB flies toward its target in a straight line. The unlucky victim gets struck as the pellet ricochets off his goggles.
He raises his hand up high in response, saying “Hit!” aloud as he retreats back to his team’s spawning point in shame.
The reality is that playing with airsoft sniper rifles is a difficult and challenging affair. In addition to developing the proficiency required to operate them, you would need observation skills just like real-life snipers as you would often serve as an advance scout to recon enemy positions or provide fire support for your teammates to defend a vital area in the field from being overrun.
Being a sniper also requires a great degree of patience and proper training, something that new airsoft players will need in order to be effective in the field.
That being said, one is forced to wonder if getting a sniper rifle is worth the price of admission when playing with and against people who own primarily M4 and AK platforms.
Sniper rifles are cool to play with on occasion, but they do not replicate the same of level of glory compared to Call of Duty or the Sniper Elite series.
On the other hand, being a sniper has its merits – it’s essentially playing hide-and-seek against other grown-ups.
Novritsch and Silo are the most famous snipers in the global airsoft community. Hailing from Austria and the Netherlands respectively, they have played in numerous fields across the European continent, recording their exploits via their action cameras as they shoot down their victims with uncanny precision.
Whether you love or hate them, there’s no denying that their videos on Youtube and knowledge in the subject of airsoft sniping provide a great deal of value for players looking to try it out.
It’s easy for new players who brought sniper rifles to get caught up in the mindset that they think they will get the most kills out of all the players in their team when in fact the complete opposite is true.
These weapons are not recommended for players that are new to airsoft. However, once you have mastered the skills necessary to operate them, being able to shoot while undetected offers its own reward.
GreenTieCommando offers insight from his perspective as a sniper pertaining to the challenges of operating an airsoft sniper rifle.
What is an Airsoft Sniper?
An airsoft sniper is exactly what the title itself entails: a 1-for-1 replica of the real-life counterparts they are meant to imitate.
They capture the mechanics of the weapons themselves down to the smallest detail. Airsoft snipers are available to be purchased as either spring, airsoft electric or gas blowback rifles.
Sniper rifles are different from other airsoft weapons due to their lower rate of fire. When it comes down to it, matches typically involve players that are wielding assault rifles, submachine guns or machine guns (all with higher rates of fire than sniper rifles).
Again, if you are a beginner at airsoft, I will emphasize that it is not recommended that you have a sniper rifle as your starting weapon since you would need to develop a certain level of proficiency before you actually use them in-field.
Let’s take a deep dive into the advantages that sniper rifles offer over other airsoft weapons and instances in which they wouldn’t be ideal to use.
What are the Advantages of Airsoft Sniper Rifles?
Airsoft sniper rifles have great utility in the hands of experienced players. Like their real-life counterparts, anyone who’s confident and proficient enough in playing airsoft can use sniper rifles to provide long-range fire support during a capture the flag match while friendly members make an aggressive push to the target objective.
They are excellent weapons capable of providing long-range fire support (90 meters is a ridiculously long distance), giving operators the ability to hit isolated targets with ease.
Their FPS between 400-500 puts them well above the majority of players that use M4 and AK platforms, which are rated between 300-400 FPS on average.
Many of the airsoft sniper rifles that are available to the public have the ability to have upgrades installed to them at minimal cost to enhance their performance.
Sniper rifles can be purchased online or offline without having to break your bank too hard. They are usually good to use out of the box to shoot with .20 BB rounds since they’re the lightest round that’s allowed in airsoft fields.
What are the Disadvantages of Airsoft Sniper Rifles?
Some folks do it, but to be frank, snipers should not be used in CQB fields at all, including the tiny ones.
I recall a time when I was playing back in Japan at a field in Yokohama (formerly called SAT) where one speedsofter had the audacity to bring a VSR-10 within a tightly enclosed space that was less than 30 meters in length and 20 meters in width.
By the time he brought the rifle to bear, I took a snapshot at him by firing my USP Compact to his torso and he tapped out.
The ammo capacity of sniper rifles is generally less compared to assault rifles and submachine guns, the latter two which supports ammo capacities of 50+ and above.
Assault rifles and submachine guns are typically sold on the market with high-capacity magazines (usually 200 rounds) out of the box.
You do not want to be put in a situation where you have a weapon with a low ammo count and lack the reserve ammunition necessary to keep you in the fight.
Airsoft stores will usually sell high-capacity magazines to store large amounts of BB to compensate for this deficiency. This only applies to certain rifle models, however.
The length of sniper rifles themselves can make them unwieldy at times. In adverse weather conditions, thick gusts of winds can throw your shot off unless you’re using heavier BB grades.
You’ll need to calibrate the hop-up mechanisms of your rifles as well as your scopes in order to keep your shots firing in a straight line.
Weight can also be a problem depending on which sniper you have. A case example is the AWP/Type 96 sniper’s base weight being 8 pounds, which makes it heavy to carry.
Since sniper operatives will need to change locations regularly, this is something that new players will need to adjust to quickly if they want to survive.
Some fields might not allow you to run sniper rifles that go over their FPS limit. When it comes to choosing sniper rifles, you’ll need to pick one that is suitable enough for use on the field.
What Are the Range of Airsoft Sniper Rifles?
Firefights for airsoft games in general usually take place between the 10-50 meter range (11-55 yards) since the majority of players will be using close-medium range weapons. These include pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, and submachine guns.
Airsoft sniper ranges should be able to shoot between 60-90 meters (66-99 yards). They are meant to give you superior distance advantage if you’re in a concealed position where you are able to shoot targets with impunity.
It is your responsibility as a player to find out if your rifle meets the regulations laid out in your local field. The last thing you’ll want is having to waste money on a sniper rifle that a field won’t allow you to use.
Airsoftcore’s guide here will give you an idea of what to expect on ranges and how to get the most out of airsoft sniper rifles in particular.
How Much Do Airsoft Sniper Rifles Cost?
Like other weapons within their respective categories, the actual cost of the airsoft sniper rifle varies depending on the model you wish to purchase.
This comes with the fact that the models available on the market have different accessory options. Different accessory options that are offered for the sniper rifles include scopes, bipod mounts for stabilization.
As a baseline, you can expect to shell out at least between $100-$300 for the rifles themselves along with any associated accessories, including bipod mounts and scopes.
This is a conservative estimate at best, as it doesn’t include consumables like BBs, batteries or gas propellants. If you’re looking for a rifle to start with as a sniper, the VSR-10 is the ideal choice.
Companies such as Tokyo Marui, CYMA, and HFC all manufacture the VSR-10. They are sold on Amazon, Evike, Airsoft GI, and Redwolf Airsoft as well as brick-and-mortar retailers.
There are plenty of players in fields across the country that bring their own sniper rifles wherever they play. Ask them if you can try out their guns before you opt to purchase them outright.
Understand this: no sniper rifle will do you any good unless you make it a point to yourself to master the behavior patterns of what it takes to be a good sniper.
How Long Are Airsoft Sniper Rifles?
Airsoft guns, in general, are meant to be 1 for 1 replica of the real-life firearms they imitate. You can find full-scale airsoft versions of actual sniper rifles such as the VSR-10, PSG-1, M40, and plenty of other rifles sold at brick-and-mortar as well as online retailers.
They usually average at 45 feet in length, which makes them fairly long as opposed to assault rifles and submachine guns.
Sniper rifles have long barrels to assist in precision shooting and give you the extra distance in order to get your BBs to reach their intended targets.
They are unwieldy to carry due to their long lengths compared to their AEG and GBB counterparts. They’re best slung behind on your back so that they do not impede your movement when you’re changing positions.
Why Are Airsoft Sniper Rifles Bolt Action?
As I mentioned before, airsoft sniper rifles are meant to imitate their real-life counterparts down to the smallest detail, including the bolt action feature.
Having to retract the bolt before every single shot goes with the territory. You are going to need to learn stealth, patience, and lots of gameplay in-field in order to get the most out of your airsoft sniper rifle.
If you do not have the patience and would rather spray BB volleys at your targets, get yourself an assault rifle or SMG instead.
Bolt Action vs Semi-Automatic
Bolt action sniper rifles require you to pull back the charging handle of the rifle in order to load a round into the chamber.
This is done for every single shot, as opposed to semi-automatic rifles. Examples of semi-automatic rifles are the M4, M16, SCAR and Masada assault rifles.
When firing semi-automatic, your weapon will fire a single shot but is limited based on the design of the rifles themselves.
The springs in the bolt action rifles are meant to give the BB extra range. When you charge the bolt back, the BB is stored within the chamber of the rifle until you depress the trigger.
The internals of bolt action rifles, in general, are constructed in such a way (in conjunction with the barreling of sniper rifles) to help snipers reach up to at least 90 meters.
What You’re Going to Need
Airsoft rifles might not necessarily be sold with scopes attached to them. You’re going to need a scope that provides 3-9x magnification in order to extend your line of sight.
In addition, you’re going to need a bipod mount for stabilizing your shots and ensure that your rifle stays straight.
When playing in a forest-like field with dense bushes and treelines, you’ll also need a ghillie suit that helps conceal your presence when you’re hiding within the confines of a natural environment.
The suit’s patterns should help you blend in perfectly, as they come in forest or woodland patterns to throw your opponents off-balance even when they’re standing right next to you.
If your position is found out, you’ll need a secondary firearm like a Glock or 1911 as a backup weapon with spare magazines and retreat to another location of safety or if contact happens to walk upon your position and poses a risk that he/she may detect you. Continuous movement is a must when it comes to sniping to ensure increased survivability.
I mentioned before that the conservative estimate of the amount of money that you’re going to spend is $100-$300 as a basic sniper rifle.
All of the points that I have noted above will bump up your costs a little bit if you want some more accessories and have extra money to burn.
How Long Are Sniper Bullets?
Airsoft snipers do not use ‘bullets’ compared to their real-life counterparts. Instead, they use small spherical BBs as projectiles instead that are stored in magazines. They measure 6mm in diameter and come in grades of .20, .23, .25 and so on.
As far as BB grades are concerned, .20 BBs are the cheapest and also the fastest. However, they are not always ideal when it comes to consistency as they have the potential to miss compared to heavier BB grades.
Heavier BB grades can hold better on their own against adverse weather conditions, and they also are better at punching through think layers of natural cover like bushes and tree leaves where enemies could be hiding.
Like any other airsoft weapon, you’ll need to calibrate the hop-up of your weapon in order to keep them shooting in a straight line consistently.
You can calibrate your rifle at field ranges starting with the targets at the shortest distances first and continue making adjustments until your sniper consistently hits center mass at every single target up to your weapon’s maximum range.
What Airsoft Sniper Should I Buy?
Just like choosing any other airsoft weapon, choosing a sniper rifle for yourself boils down to a matter of preference.
You’ll need a sniper rifle that is reliable in the field that does not jam easily (which is typically what happens to AEG and gas blowback weapons in general after constant use). It should be comfortable enough for you to use without too much difficulty.
Any sniper rifle that you buy should (ideally) have a bipod mount to help stabilize your weapon on the when you lay it on a solid surface.
You’ll also want to get yourself a magnification scope that you can mount a Weaver or Picatinny-style rail as they are the most common rails that are compatible with many airsoft guns.
If there is a brick-and-mortar shop that you can drive to, you can talk to the staff and ask them if they can help you with selecting your sniper rifle.
Going to stores in-person gives you an opportunity to take a look at the rifles themselves up close and allows you to see details that aren’t necessarily shown on-line.
Best Airsoft Sniper Rifle and Accessories
The product reviews that are listed here are by no means an exhaustive list of airsoft sniper rifles and accessories that are available on the market.
This list is extremely basic but will help give you an idea of what you need to look for when it comes to purchasing your sniper rifle.
Scopes are also included as part of the product reviews to give you the option of choosing your own scope in the event that you already have a sniper but have not added on a scope upgrade to it yet.
The first set of reviews are snipers that you can buy online through Amazon and Evike. You can search for other retailers such as Airsoft GI, Redwolf Airsoft, Ehobbyasia along with other stores to see if they have the kind of sniper rifle that you want.
Cheapest Rifle – CYMA VSR-10 Sniper Rifle
Based on the Remington 700, the VSR-10 is a popular starting sniper rifle for airsoft players to this day and is ideal for those that are trying out the sniper role.
Due to its low cost ($120), you’re getting the value that makes it cheaper than starter gas blowback pistols or AEGs (which are typically priced above the VSR’s tag).
You can get yourself the VSR-10 as a test run if you really want to commit yourself to partake the sniping portion of airsoft in general.
- Good rifle to start out with if you’re new to playing as a sniper due to its price alone ($120 and above).
- Offers high FPS straight out of the box; very ideal to use with .25 BBs.
- Has difficulty pushing higher grade BB rounds out of the barrel.
- When shooting with .20s, they have a tendency to veer off a little bit due to their lightweight.
Best Selling Rifle – AGM Type 96 Sniper Rifle
AGM’s Type 96 is featured across numerous popular media, in particular, Valve Software’s famous first-person Counterstrike series, where it’s referred to in-game as the AWP.
The Type 96 sniper rifle is a replica of the famous L96 used by the British Army, the British Royal Marines, and other military units under the operational control of the United Kingdom.
The AWP/L96 is a rifle that is able to one-shot its targets with supreme accuracy. While that doesn’t hold true for its airsoft counterpart, with heavier grade BB rounds the Type 96 is able to strike targets as far as 200 yards.
It’s a fairly weighty rifle that, in the right hands, will dish out a lot of punishment and pain out in the field.
- Rifle packs a powerful punch, able to lob BBs at incredible distances (400-500 FPS with .20 BBs)
- Easy to assemble out of the box; comes with an Allen wrench to connect the rifle into one piece.
- A good rifle to use by intermediate snipers.
- Occasionally has a tendency to jam.
- You’ll need to get yourself a stronger sling, as the one that comes with the rifle will snap after constant use.
- It has a plastic body, so it’s easy to scratch.
Evike PDI Custom S&T USMC M40A3 Bolt Action Airsoft Sniper Rifle w/PDI Internals – Multiple Options Available
The M40 in real life is a sniper rifle that has been in service in the United States Marine Corps for more than five decades.
Its origins date back to the 1960s with the M700 manufactured from Remington Arms serving as the baseline for the renowned weapon.
The A3 variant of the rifle is the latest of the M40 family, seeing extensive use of extensive use in the late 90s and early 2000s in conflicts such as Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
This iteration of the M40 is made by S&T in partnership with PDI (a Japanese company) to create a durable and reliable sniper rifle that already comes with $150 worth of internal modifications.
The upgrades already implemented within the chassis of the rifle itself makes it an even more dangerous weapon. The value that this sniper rifle provides is immense and well worth the price.
- It comes in different configurations at reasonable price ranges ($199-$260), each with different accessory options that you can choose from.
- Has a rubberized cheek pad that eases comfort when aiming the rifle downrange.
- It is a robust rifle, able to take on high-tier upgrades.
- Some would consider the rifle expensive based on the price tag, though there are others that are far more expensive than this rifle.
Airgunplace Metal 3-9×40 Airsoft Sniper Rifle Scope with Free Mount Rings and Lens Cover
This particular scope is priced cheaply ($26), offering good value for the amount you’re shelling out for the scope. It consists of all-metal construction, able to assist in landing your BB hits with increased accuracy.
- Includes scope and mount rings for easy installation on your rifle.
- Offers good sight picture, wider than a lot of other scopes that are available on the market.
- As with any scope or reflex sight, you will need to purchase a plastic shield that will still allow you to see through it as you’re peering down the scope. Since sights in this hobby tend to break, this is a good way of protecting your investment.
- Also not ideal to mount on certain assault rifles as they could throw the balance off your shots.
Swiss Arms 3-9 x 40 Airsoft Gun Scope
Priced at $50, this scope has been discontinued production-wise but is still sold at online retailers (including Amazon).
It offers full 3-9 magnification to assist short and long-range distance shots. It’s aluminum construction makes it an ideal candidate to mount onto any airsoft sniper rifle.
- It can be used with any airsoft sniper rifle or AEG.
- Easy to adjust.
- It comes with a cover lens to prevent dust from clogging the sight picture.
- Swiss Arms discontinued production of the scope some time ago, with no information if it will ever be produced again in the foreseeable future.
OTW Rifle Scope 3-9X40 BDC Red & Green Illuminated Crosshair Reticle Optics Gun Scopes with Mount Rings
The OTW scope is a dual-coated optical instrument that is useful in helping your sight amidst low-light conditions.
It comes with red and green dual illumination to deliver a bright targeting crosshair to aim through. For $27.50, this accessory offers solid performance for its value.
- Ideal for tough weather conditions and doesn’t fog up.
- The reticle is easy to focus though; it comes with a tool to adjust your scope.
- You Need to Use a wrench to adjust the knobs on the scope.
- The scope itself is large and can be difficult to secure.
In closing, being an airsoft sniper is fun if you’re up to the challenge of shooting people without getting caught.
It requires a certain level of finesse that is developed playing airsoft games repeatedly to find out what works and what doesn’t.
Like any other airsoft gun, picking the right sniper rifle to use in the field becomes a matter of comfort and being able to wield it in a proficient manner.
I have attached Youtube videos of airsoft sniper information that will aid you in your search for an airsoft sniper rifle, as well as give guidance on being an airsoft sniper in general.
I have also included video references from both Novritsch and Silo, the former who is pretty much authority when it comes to airsoft sniping due to his previous military experience with the Austrian Army.
Silo comes in second since his channel hasn’t been around as long as Novritsch’s (the latter started a year earlier)
Both players have a strong passion for airsoft in general. In addition to watching their videos, you should make it a point to review your own gameplay videos to see if there are areas that need improvement. Only through continuous training can you master the skills necessary to operate as a sniper.
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The NOVRITSCH ACADEMY – How to be a SNIPER
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Compensating Wind in Airsoft – How it’s done