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Paintball Sniper Strategy: 3 Movement Mistakes That Will Get You Dead

Your ghillie suit will only get you so far. Here's what you need to make the shot.There I was, sitting under a tree during a 24 hour scenario.  I had actually plopped down, in somewhat of an out of the way place, but making no big effort to camo in.  I had posted up along a popular trail however, just in case I caught a wandering soul unaware.  I took a minute to down a juice box and as I sucked the last of the sugar off the bottom, movement caught my eye to the far deep left of my peripheral vision.  Immediately, I drew a bead and let him come in closer.  He was solo.  Beautiful.  What I didn’t expect was for him to step slightly off trail and head straight for me.  I settled my breathing, feeling the adrenaline dump into my system knowing that my tango was on target to step on me.  He got down to the 10 yard mark…the 7…the 5…and finally, as he stepped into the 3 yard mark, oblivious to me, I popped one from the hip square on his chest.  And we had a brief conversation.  He said he absolutely did not see me or perceive me in any way.  I shared with him a few observations.

Moving Too Fast

When you move too fast, two things happen.  First, your awareness goes down.  Typically, a fast mover has their head down, looking at the ground immediately in front of them.  At all times, move with your marker at a low-ready position with your head up, scanning your zones.  Second, when moving too fast you attract visual attention.  This should be a no-brainer but honestly, I can’t count how many times I’ve seen people ratted out just because they reached up and adjusted their mask too quickly.  If you have to move, particularly when you are camouflaged in waiting, do it slowly, very slowly.

Moving Too Sloppy

We are a society of the 7 second attention span.  Studies show that if a website, commercial or video doesn’t grab you in the first 7 to 14 seconds, you’ll move on.  If things sit still for much more than that, our attention wanders to something else.  When sitting in wait or when moving in a high-ready stalk, limit your movements to the bare necessities.  Get used to letting mosquitoes bite you.  Get used to sweat dripping in your eye.  Build up your tolerance.  It’s a huge mental game.  And most people aren’t willing to go the distance to play it.  Limit your movements.  Get efficient.

Moving Too Much Like You’re Wandering Aimlessly At The Mall With A Double Scoop Waffle Cone In Your Hand

This one has been drilled into me and I can’t emphasize it enough.  Put on your tactical paintball sniper mindset.  Get your game on.  I like to call it “stacking the real”.  You ARE in danger.  You ARE the only thing that stands between harm and your teammates.  Make it even more real.  When I’m out there, I’m the only thing standing between harm and my three daughters.  You wanna see the game get going?  Take it to that level.  The more you can convince your mind of the reality of your training, the more your mind will direct your body to respond.  In the words of the cruel but deadly tactician, Ghengis Khan: “As you train, so shall you fight.”  Stack the real!

I’ve seen tons of people dressed like a “paintball sniper”.  I’ve seen tons of people put on the camouflage and wander the trails of the woodsball field thinking they’re invisible but moving like orangutans.  I’ve seen very few people with the discipline to do what it takes to really play a tactical paintball sniper game.


  1. Posted January 11, 2011 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I myself have gone through this on numerous occasions. Once, in my ghillie suit I actually had a guy trip over me. We shot each other at the same time, but the real bummer is he kicked my radio out of my vest and I never noticed it until after the game.

    Another time I was in my MultiCam, laying prone on the side of the road waiting to ambush a patrol with my team, the wild geese, when one of the other guys on our team stopped and crouched across the road from me, took a look around and did a double take. He eventually commented that I ‘quote’: “Scared the cr*p out of him”.

    In short, lay down, and don’t move… you don’t even need good camo to blend in!

  2. Freight
    Posted March 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I was playing a CTF with five friends, and since one of our members had to do some gun cleaning back at the house (a hundred yards away or so), and my other teammate probing the enemy position, I was left to defend the flag (an orange pool-noodle). It was in a clearing full of broken brush, and with my friend off to the right the only way to the flag was through a clearing or to the left. I laid down prone at the base of a tree on the bottom left of the clearing, broken branches hanging about five feet on the trunk rested on the ground a couple feet to my right. Nice, dark spot, I in my black helmet and marpat, with my A-5 and 14″ barrel pointing at and within range of the only way to our flag.

    I heard shooting going off, leaves crushing. I knew he was going to fall back to about parallel me on the other side (he didn’t know where I was). I decided to wait and see if the enemy team was going for a push, if I moved I would have been caught in the open if they did. He fell back about fifty feet to my right, at the edge of the clearing. I heard more leaves crushing behind me, and knew it was my other teammate coming back. He walked closer and closer, and walked within a few feet behind me. He went over to my other teammate and started talking, then called out it was time to wrap up. He also shouted, “Where are you!”. I stuck my hand through the branches and waved, yelling once. I hear “Holy crap, I didn’t even see you.”

    Too bad he wasn’t the opposing team.

  3. futureSEAL
    Posted May 17, 2011 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    i am basically just starting paintball, i’ve played on farms with rentals for a while, and recently purchased a T98 with a 14in Sniper barrel, which has worked wonders for me. i was wondering what i can do to camo more. im 15, almost 16 and planning on going to boot camp, SPS, then BUD/S after High School. im pretty tactically sound, not to be cocky, nut i was just looking on ways to improve camo outside of my spray painted clothes and sheet, which i can email or something to show if anyone is interested.
    Storm G.

  4. Glacier22
    Posted August 26, 2011 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    I remember one day (I wasn’t paintballing, but it was funny anyway) I was weeding in my front yard, wearing forest camo pants (because they are tough, and I was trying to get them dirty, because they still look new) and a white T-shirt, (dead giveaway, right?).
    There was grass and dirt all around where I was kneeling, and a white bucket right next to me. There are two short apple trees right in front of me, (one to my right and one to my left) filled with buds and small leaves. My neighbor was walking up the driveway in front of me and my brother walked out of the house to meet him. Didn’t realize it at the time, but I sat very still and silent, just watching and listening.
    Broad daylight. My neighbor passed by me. (I thought he saw me, you know, white T-shirt.) As the guys were talking I piped up and said “hi”. He turned around and was like “Whoa, I never even saw you! Out of the corner of my eye I thought there was just the white bucket.” I was a little surprised at first, because I wasn’t even trying to hide, even though I had all the ingredients I needed, and the right surroundings. Of course, he wasn’t looking for me either.
    But the only paintball course around is like half speedball half woodsball, with barriers everywhere, and a big castle. There are a lot of pine trees, but not a lot of underbrush. Makes it difficult for anyone to actually hide well enough to snipe. Also there are branches, and twigs all over the floor, making the going noisy, most of the time.

  5. Master Chief
    Posted September 1, 2011 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    To Glacier22

    Dealing with noisy twigs and branches or gravel.

    1 Move slowly – very slowly
    2 bend your ankle so that the outer edge of the soul is first to touch the ground and lower it slowly to take full weight
    3 gradually move soul of shoe over to be flat on the ground
    4 when soul is fully flat on the floor with full weight on it start to move the other leg

    It is sudden movement that causes the harsh crack of a twig or crunch of gravel. Do it slow – real slow and the sounds are diminished and blend in with the background noise.


    I can get up to my family on a shingle beach without them knowing where I am coming from and without them knowing that I am there. If you see stones start slipping then pause and wait for them to settle – same with branches that start to move too fast.

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