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Overview

The sniper rifle is a gun that is used to hit targets accurately from long distances and is often most damaging when shot at the head. It can often kill in one shot, but has a slow reload time to make up for its power. Sniper rifles come in numerous variations, such as bolt-action and semi-automatic. The defining feature of a sniper rifle is its telescopic lens which allows for high levels of zoom and accuracy.

While sharpshooters and long-range riflemen have existed for centuries, it was only during the First World War, and onwards, that the full potential of the sniper rifle was realized. During the grueling trench warfare of the First World War, soldiers with a keen eye were often chosen as sentries or watchmen to ensure that any night attacks were thwarted. While sources may contradict each other,  it is generally accepted that the Germans were the first to attach the telescopic lens to their rifles. While snipers were incredibly lethal in the trenches and mud of the First World War, it wasn't until the Second World War where the sniper rifle would truly shine.

While sniper rifles were used by all nations and on all fronts, it was the Soviet Union that demonstrated the true power of the sniper rifle. One of the most lethal snipers in the world, Vasili Vaytsev, used a scoped Mosin Nagant rifle during his deadly work. In wartime Russia, everyone from factory workers to peasants took up a scoped rifle and defended their nation. Even to the present day, snipers are one of the most valuable soldiers available to a military commander.

Use in Video Games

Sniper rifles are often used for defensive purposes and watching over a battlefield. In many games, they are used as binoculars to watch over a battlefield and assess the situation. They are often associated with the annoying, though legitimate strategy known as "camping", in which a player will "camp" out in the same advantageous spot on a map and pick off opponents from afar. Although some players with quick reflexes learn to "no-scope" meaning quickly headshotting an enemy player without even bringing up the scope.

There are three types of sniper scopes in video games:
 Sniper scope in Battlefield: Bad Company

  1. Where the scope is completely steady and can easily be aimed with, e.g. the Unreal-series.
  2. Where the scope wobbles around and the character must steady it by holding their breath, e.g. Call of Duty, or by using muscle relaxant, e.g. Metal Gear Solid.
  3. Where the scope wobbles around but cannot be steadied, e.g. Battlefield: Heroes and Worms 4: Mayhem.

Depending on the skill of the player operating the sniper rifle and his/her proficiency with their sidearm and equipment a sniper may be used to devastating effect in an attack or supporting role or even in one versus one situations.

Snipers are often heavily fought over and team killing is a definite risk for some snipers in the world of video games.

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