Competitive airsoft games are a mixture of tactics, luck, skill, and chaos. The guns most often employed during an airsoft game are close to medium-range, rapid-fire guns like assault rifles or machine guns. There is, however, another contender. The sniper rifle. Designed for keeping their distance and single, well-aimed shots, are airsoft snipers worth it?
An airsoft sniper rifle is worth the money and the learning curve for an experienced player. If, however, you are a beginner in the sport, it is not recommended to start with a sniper rifle. Sniper rifles provide distinct advantages under the correct circumstances but require practice.
Airsoft guns' selling point is that they mirror the original firearms as closely as possible. However, just because an airsoft sniper rifle looks and feels like an authentic sniper rifle, it still may not tick all the boxes. So what sets an airsoft sniper rifle apart from a well-calibrated assault rifle? To whom would a sniper rifle appeal? And in what situations would an airsoft sniper rifle benefit you?
What Makes Airsoft Sniper Rifles Worthwhile?
Airsoft sniper rifles are manufactured to mimic the real thing. Although their learning curve is higher than assault rifles and other airsoft guns, your value as a player exponentially increases once you have mastered using an airsoft sniper rifle.
Some of the prominent advantages of using an airsoft sniper rifle include:
Airsoft Sniper Rifles Are Long Range Guns
Airsoft sniper rifles take their functionality from their parents in that they are designed for long-range use. The maximum legal range (when shooting at other players) an airsoft sniper rifle should reach is approximately 110 yards. This distance is usually regulated down to between 47 and 73 yards, depending on the game played.
Sniper rifles are designed with better hop-up mechanisms made of solid metal. These parts cause a BB to “backspin,” allowing the projectile to travel further in a straight line without dropping in height.
Note: The effective range of an airsoft sniper rifle is not the same as the maximum range. While you'll still strike the target up to 100 yards effectively, other players may not feel the BB at further distances.
Airsoft Sniper Rifles Shoot Fast Projectiles
An airsoft sniper rifle launches projectiles (BBs) at an average rate of 400 to 500 feet per second (fps). In many games, this speed will need to be reduced; however, in open fields and other locations where there is a large amount of space between you and the target, the maximum fps allows you to hit a target further away, quickly, before they can evade.
A faster flying BB also strikes a target with more force, so the amount of power at the top-end of the effective range is still high enough to sufficiently strike a target, hard enough to let them know you hit them.
Airsoft Sniper Rifles Are Accurate
Over a distance of 100 yards, many forces attempt to blow a BB bullet off course. These small plastic balls are usually around 6mm (0.24inches) or 8mm (0.31inches) and are made of solid plastic. Their total weight is usually between 0.12 and 0.40grams. The most commonly used weight is 0.20grams.
Heavier weighted BBs (0.4g), coupled with the round, aerodynamic design of the BBs and the force that the sniper rifle ejects the BBs at, results in projectiles that hit their mark to an effective range of roughly 40 yards, in their stock form. You should hit targets up to 70 yards with a few minor upgrades. However, these rifles could reach 100-yard accuracy and higher
with the correct customizations.
How these guns are accurate is by the barrels' length and inner diameter size. An airsoft gun’s barrel is slightly larger than the projectile (the BB) inside it. This limited space allows the most air to build up behind the BB, producing more force and, therefore, faster projectile speeds.
Most airsoft sniper rifles have longer barrels (400 to 500mm), which keeps the BB straighter for longer in the first split seconds until the BB exits the muzzle.
Airsoft Sniper Rifles Can Be Upgraded/Customized
The reality is, although airsoft sniper rifles, in their stock form, are good (depending on the brand and price), there are many upgrades to take the gun from standard to great performance.
Some of the parts to upgrade include:
- Hop-up mechanisms, which includes the rubbers and the housing
- Inner barrels (reducing the diameter of the inner barrel)
- Propulsion mechanism. Whether the rifle uses a spring or gas to launch the BBs, you can upgrade them
Airsoft Rifles Allow For A Unique Playstyle
Airsoft snipers (the people) tend to employ a different playstyle to regular infantry players. A sniper will generally scout an area while trying not to engage in heavy firefights. Airsoft snipers follow a similar tactic, observing areas from further away and relaying intel to their teammates.
They also provide long-range support by covering teammates that are pushing an objective.
There is no rapid firing with a sniper rifle, as they are bolt action and require patience to use. For this reason, most snipers remain a far enough distance away to ensure they are not flanked.
This distance means that snipers are often allowed to use higher-powered rifles, which push projectiles further and faster, so sniper rifles are also designed to use heavier BB rounds (0.30grams and higher). These rounds, in turn, allow sniper rifles to shoot further, more accurately and hit harder.
These heavier BBs are generally more expensive, but because a sniper only shoots a limited amount and tries to ensure that each bullet hits its mark, they are not wasted and are affordable.
Are Airsoft Sniper Rifles Better Than Other Airsoft Guns?
The truth is that an airsoft sniper rifle is not always the best choice. During an airsoft game, you could find yourself in a wide array of locations, terrains, and obstacles.
Sometimes a sniper rifle is perfectly suited for taking out opposing players from “afar,” while other times, you may be at a stark disadvantage.
What sets airsoft sniper rifles apart from other airsoft guns is their projectile speed (feet per second), range capabilities, and accuracy over that range.
The table below compares the average projectile speed, range, and effective range of sniper rifles, submachine guns, and assault rifles.
Type of Airsoft Gun
40 to 50 yards (but with proper tuning closer to 70yards)
300 to 400 fps
40 to 50 yards
Dual functionality (They excel in closer quarters and medium to long-range sorties).
Approximately 110 yards
Between 400 and 500 fps
Standard - 40 yards
Long-range support and scouting.
40 to 50 yards
250 to 360 fps
40 to 50 yards
These guns are great for closer (short-range) combat, especially as a secondary weapon and when many opponents are close.
It is important to note that stock sniper rifles that are not astronomically priced do not outshine other airsoft rifles in accuracy and range performance. To make a sniper rifle competitive and give you the superior edge during play, you need to upgrade the parts, which could cost you between $300 and $700, or even up to $1000, depending on your starting gun.
Often airsoft players who seek a ranged advantage over opposing players opt for an assault rifle with an additional scope. These guns have almost the same range as a sniper rifle (in airsoft) and have the added advantage of bursts, without the need to pull a bolt action back after each shot.
The player's skill and playstyle are the biggest difference between a sniper rifle and an assault rifle with a scope and correctly tuned to get better range. Either one can outplay the other, depending on if the rifle compliments your playstyle.
In Which Situations Are Airsoft Sniper Rifles Worthwhile?
Although they are not always the most practical, there are certain situations where airsoft sniper rifles provide you with a distinct advantage.
These situations include:
● The sniper rifle compliments your playstyle. If you enjoy a battle of attrition, have copious amounts of patience, and enjoy a more subversive role in combat, then a sniper rifle would appeal to you.
● When you are an experienced player who wants to try something different, if you have many hours under your airsoft belt and want to change things up somewhat, switching to a sniper rifle would be a pleasant change of momentum.
● When your team needs some diversity/long-range assistance, and you are an experienced player. Often in airsoft, as with real combat situations, the actions of an individual work best as part of a collective whole. If your team needs the long-range cover supplied by a sniper, then as an experienced airsoft player, you could fulfill that niche.
● When you play an airsoft match in an open area, with less cover for players with assault rifles and machine guns, although most airsoft games don’t have enormous open expanses, there are certain locations with bigger open areas. In these longer stretches, the sniper shines.
● It is highly recommended if you have the experience and budget to purchase a high-end airsoft sniper rifle to expand your capabilities. You will be able to use the gun closer to its integral capability.
In Which Situations Are Airsoft Sniper Rifles A Drawback?
Airsoft sniper rifles are often not a great pick in certain play situations. These situations include:
● This point cannot be stressed enough; an airsoft sniper might be a drawback when you are an inexperienced player. A new player, who needs to learn the game, and how to use a sniper rifle may find it too difficult or even unpleasant to use an airsoft sniper rifle.
● An airsoft sniper rifle may be a drawback when you play in a location designed for “close quarters” combat.
● You suffer the limitations of a stock gun when you don’t have the funds to purchase a good-quality airsoft sniper. Stock guns put you at the same range of capabilities as a well-tuned assault rifle.
● When you need an airsoft gun with a faster firing rate, especially in closer combat areas, the risk of becoming outflanked is high.
Who Would Find An Airsoft Sniper Rifle Worth It?
Airsoft sniper rifles are not for everyone. Some particular players would benefit from these rifles, and they include:
Experienced Players Benefit From Airsoft Sniper Rifles
When rolling out with an airsoft sniper rifle, experience is the most important attribute. The entire playstyle of using a sniper rifle is different. You’ll often be a scout and long-range support. Snipers (people) often lie in prone positions, taking out single marks.
The important thing is moving to another hiding spot with relative haste because it won't take long before an enemy "grunt" outflanks you.
Experienced players should be able to focus in the “heat” of battle, carefully aiming, downing their marks, and moving on to the next vantage point.
A person using a sniper rifle needs to be a good marksman.
The biggest drawbacks with sniper rifles are their slower rate of fire (bolt action) and low ammo capacity, which, although authentic feeling, does not help in a situation where players storm your position. For this reason, you'll need to be able to hit your targets with almost every shot to avoid being detected and surrounded.
A sniper will need to adjust their scope and hop-up mechanism to compensate for distances and wind/environmental conditions during play.
Those Who Enjoy Supporting Benefit From Airsoft Snipers
As a sniper, you would be less involved with directly pushing a point and more focused on scouting areas for teammates and providing cover fire as support.
If you like to have the highest "killstreak," an airsoft sniper is probably not for you. Snipers provide critical support in tough/deadlock situations, often quickly sneaking to flank opposing players.
Players who want to avoid the foray of pushing an objective but who want to add critical support to their team’s victory benefit from airsoft sniper rifles.
Most importantly, patience is quintessential. You'll probably be lying in wait for the majority of the match for your chance to strike. After patience, you’ll need to put in practice using the sniper rifle, adjusting it on the fly, and “field-crafting” as a sniper.
The reality is, using an airsoft sniper rifle should be a fun experience. If you find it boring or not enjoyable, it may not be the correct weapon.
Which Airsoft Sniper Rifles Are Worth It?
Airsoft sniper rifles that perform well range between $150 and $600. However, for a competitive sniper rifle, you can expect to pay around $1000, plus, after all the customization, etc.
What distinguishes a good airsoft sniper rifle from a poor one is related to :
● The quality of its manufacturing and the materials used in its construction.
● The power that is delivered behind each of the projectiles launched.
● The consistent accuracy of those launched projectiles.
These variables are almost directly linked to cost and accessories. With a better gun, your performance improves. Likewise, you may find airsoft rounds a struggle with a poorer quality gun.
The difference between spring, gas, or automatic electric guns also affects which guns are best.
Spring-powered rifles shoot at lower velocities but are consistent in their fps output (after upgrading). Due to the spring's resistance, they tend to be more difficult to cock.
Which Airsoft Sniper Rifles Are Worth It?
Purchasing a cheaper sniper rifle and not upgrading it is not recommended. Although it may be appealing to grab one of the less expensive snipers, you’ll be worse off for it in the long run.
They do not perform nearly as well as the more expensive, upgraded/customized rifles, and using them will most likely result in you no longer using a sniper rifle when playing airsoft games.
Airsoft sniper rifles have the potential to be excellent upgrades. There are several important qualifiers before purchasing one. Namely, you need to be an experienced airsoft player. Your play style should complement a sniper rifle. You need to be willing to spend up to $1000 on a gun and its upgrades, and paramount, you need lots of patience. Choosing a sniper loadout probably won't be simple, but once you have enough practice, it'll be worth it.
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