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Paintball Sniper Interview with DownRange Magazine

I hammer home some CRITICAL skills and attitudes that make an excellent paintball sniper in this short interview I did for DownRange Magazine.

DR: Please tell us a little about yourself (your name or callsign, your team if you are a part of one, your marker setup, etc.):
My mom and dad call me Doug.  That works.  My kids call me daddy but that’d be a little weird.  You can just call me Doug.  I don’t play on a team typically.  My oldest son and I play weekly as a two man team.  Just scenario ball.  I run an A-5 with 3 position collapsible stock and a 14″ J&J barrel.  I play with tank on the marker and still run CO2 only because HPA tanks are so danged expensive.  I’m going to be testing out the Ninja 12 cubic inch high pressure tank this year.  It’s small and will only require me to sell one kidney on eBay.

DR: When did you discover your passion for being a paintball sniper?
It was never really the “paintball sniper” that was my passion per se.  It was the art and science of camouflage, stealth, reconnaissance and awareness that became part of my life through many incredible experiences and some awesome instructors.  As I played paintball, there was never any other way I wanted to play it.  And the paintball sniper role was just one way I could exercise those skills against real human opponents.  It’s so sweet to use the skills to get within a couple of feet of deer and other critters but to ply the trade against humans is just a different level.  Now, if you can get within a few feet of deer, humans are actually pretty easy.
DR: Out of all the equipment you’ve used, what’s been your favourite and why?
I rely on my Tippmann A-5.  It’s a workhorse.  Louder than heck unfortunately but I have literally, in 7 years, never had a ball break in it.  Anywhere.  I’m not sure what other “equipment” I really use honestly.  A good pair of shoes.  I use the Merrell Pivot-Lace with a Vibram sole.  Wicked shoe.  Doesn’t have the higher ankle support that I would recommend but it’s light and very durable.  And it comes in a brown and tan color scheme, which is a fine base for camouflage.  Um, I always have my beef jerky and Jelly Belly gourmet jelly beans close at hand.  And I drink G2 Gatorade through the day.  But I cut it 1/2 and 1/2 with water.  Otherwise that stuff will actually dehydrate you more.
DR: Do you have any pre-event rituals or habits that you’d be willing to share with the paintball sniper community? If any, is it or are they a significant part of your game?
Getting camouflaged is a big ritual for me.  It’s like donning battle armor.  When you settle yourself down and really pay attention to the details of your camouflage, you’ll sink into that zone where nothing escapes your notice, your attention.  Then I just carry that into the field. And I believe in helping people be better people.  So I socialize before the game.  I look for the players that look like they want to be paintball snipers.  I help people with their gear.  Especially younger players.  I ask questions, joke it up.  And I’ve always got it in my mind “How can I leave this person better than when I first encountered them?”
DR: As a player with years in the craft, are there any words of wisdom that you would wish a skilled player would have told you when you first started out as a paintball sniper?
Go slow!  That’s just SUCH a critical concept.  Your camouflage can be half-baked but if you’re going slow and getting low you’ll slip under the radar of the majority of people.  Sometime I’ll have to share the time when I nearly got pee’d on by a gal.  Sheesh.
DR: Given the chance what is the biggest misconception that you would want to clear up about the paintball sniper?
The paintball sniper, as much as players want to believe it, is NOT a long distance shooter.  Sorry.  You can do a few basic things to increase your distance and, by all means, I encourage that, but by and large a paintball only goes as far as a paintball goes.  Focus on being an ACCURATE shooter.  A stealthy, invisible, accurate shooter who’s primary tool, next to his marker, is his cunning and his ability to cause hesitancy, incite confusion and decimate morale.
DR: With the 2011 paintball season looming, what is the newest paintball technology that you are the most excited about? Why?
Technology?  Paintball technology?  Nah.  I’m probably still going to be shooting my camo’d A-5.  Still gonna wear my Borderwalker ghillie jacket.  I might (and that’s a big “might”) try out a pistol or two.  I like the freedom of movement.  When you get into the close-range zone, moving around a 14″ barrel is a huge liability.  So I might give a TPX or Tiberius pistol a spin.  A paintball sniper does not rely on technology.  Give me my old PMI Trracer, a small hopper and 10 balls and I’m going to be effective.  You definitely don’t need expensive gear.  In fact, that’s the freedom of the paintball sniper.  Light, fast, mobile and invisible.
DR: Do you think newer paintball snipers starting out are experiencing the same difficulties/issues that you ran into when you first started? Can you give us an example?
Yep.  The same issues are still there.  The world still moves too fast.  Then when you try and get on the field and slow down, you can’t do it.  You’re twitchy, impatient, because you’ve been moving a hundred miles an hour, in and out of malls, traffic, high speed interweb, phones.  Try and sit still, perfectly still, in a chair in your living room for thirty minutes.  Better yet, try it outside in your yard or the local park.  Bet you can’t make it past five minutes before you get itchy.  Slow down.  The pace of the western world is literally killing us.
DR: As a paintball sniper, which of the 5 main of being a paintball sniper components (marksmanship, patience, observation skills, stealth and concealment and counter-sniper skills) do you think have the most relevance on the field? Why?
Patience.  Hands down.  And no one wants to face that fact.  Why?  Because playing a “patient” game can also be a very boring game.  Potentially.  But the patience will put you into positions that NO OTHER player will get into.  Like having a 4 man squad pass you and give you access to their unprotected backs.  Combine patience with impeccable camouflage and cunning stealth movement.  Deadly.
DR: We would like to take this chance to thank you for your time and effort in answering our questions, in closing, as a paintball sniper; what is a good venue,  organization or event that you find is furthering the paintball sniper community?
Well I’ve got two huge suggestions.  One is our site.  No jokes.  I’m not tooting my own horn.  The web is largely devoid of concise, clear, actionable content for paintball snipers.  That’s what we’re bringing.  Articles, videos, interviews, photos.  And there are some HUGE surprises to come in the next two months, before the season gets started.  For early bird access and to download our “10 Keys to Killer Camo” training module, go to http://www.tacticalpaintballsniper.com.  Send us your e-mail and we’ll get you hooked up with that module and weekly training articles and videos.

The other is a gear site that I highly recommend.  I did an interview with the owner, Dan Klaas at http://www.rockstartactical.com.  He specializes in gear for the paintball sniper along with all other manner of tactical paintball equipment.  Dan knows his stuff, runs a great online store and I highly recommend him as an information source too.

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One Comment

  1. Posted March 25, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Simple and short with useful info. I agree trying to be quiet is hard. Like deer hunting, just letting yourself become still both physically and mentally. Haven’t played in years and going to a season kick off at a field near me. Going to be a great time and I plan to play the sniper role, got a ghillie suit all ready and going to make a rifle wrap like you showed us as well as get something for my masks lens.

    Great work Doug.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Doug Kramer on March 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Did a short interview for DownRange online magazine – Read it here -… http://fb.me/w4ARdlDq

  2. By Doug Kramer on June 4, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    RT @sniperpaintball: Paintball Sniper Interview with DownRange Magazine http://t.co/6TyR0PB

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