When we are playing with a sniper, the only other gun which we have to defend myself is the sidearm/pistol. But the sidearm is too weak and inaccurate. If I have an enemy close to me who has a rifle/sub-machine gun and try to flank me, the sidearm doesn't help me much. Is there a better defense strategy for a sniper?


  • This question is hardly specific to Cod UO, so you could possibly remove that tag and reword it slightly so it is valid for any common multiplayer FPS.
    – mafu
    Commented Sep 14, 2010 at 18:25
  • 1
    I am not sure the removal of the game specific tags is appropriate in this case. There are a number of fps games where the snipers get effective non-primary weapons. TF2 and CS are good examples.
    – Colin D
    Commented Dec 20, 2012 at 17:43
  • @ColinD There is zero mention of a specific game to this question, so there is no reason to limit any answers to any specific game by tagging it with that game. The original question did have call-of-duty, but that part of the question got edited out in the first revision. Regardless, the answers seem to be more general than referencing any specific game, so any answers you provide can list game-specific strategies.
    – Frank
    Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 23:15

5 Answers 5


In team games

In a team game, your job as a sniper is to support your team by protecting a single important area. Your team will rely on you taking out any enemy in that spot, so they can advance freely. At the same time, you have to rely on your team to protect the ways the enemy will go to take you out. It is impossible to protect yourself alone, as there is always a way to sneak up on you (unless the map is badly balanced), and neither should this be your goal.

If you are surprised by an enemy as a sniper, your team always made a mistake first. For instance, did you know where exactly your mates went, and which of your mates were taken out? Combine this with knowledge about the map and you can immediately see which ways opened up for your opponents to go. This allows you to predict where enemies are going to come from. If you are experienced, you can also accurately estimate the time when they'll appear (this works exceptionally well on higher levels, just watch a pro replay).

But even if you are not able to read into your enemy's movements (likely the case for most casual players), make sure to be alert, i.e. listen carefully - especially bad players will continue running even though they could be sneaking up to you from behind. Once you hear a sound (and know by the map that it's not from your teammates) just turn around and expect the enemy with your primary weapon in zoom mode.

If you can't take out the opponent in 1 shot, switch to your secondary weapon. Use the environment to your advantage (duck behind crates etc). If possible, throw a grenade to restrict his movement. Nobody expects a sniper to hold his liquor in a melee fight, so do what you can and be happy if you survive.

In deathmatch

1. General strategy
In deathmatch, on the other hand, it is difficult to defend as a sniper, so first of all you should try to have a high rate of kills to outweigh your high rate of deaths. This strategy means you will be in a dangerous spot most of the time. Instead of thinking about defending, think about killing.

The correct place to be is part-hidden (i.e. behind a wall, in a house or on high ground) so you are difficult to hit from far away. At the same time, you absolutely need a good view on the ongoing action - as many possible targets as possible (you have to be able to hit all of them quickly, of course - a sniper that misses every second shot is not really worth his salt yet and should practice aiming first).

2. Looking both ways
Now that your location is very offensive, you will obviously be attacked by those who noticed you (i.e. everyone with a basic sense of direction). You should, as stated above, listen carefully to hear nearby steps. Also, look around every 0.5 seconds. If this sounds weird, let me explain the underlying concept first:

Regularly look around for incoming enemies for a split second, and be prepared to kill them off immediately. If you just fired a shot from your primary, you obviously can't hit them right away, so switch to your secondary and hope to survive. Else (if your primary weapon is ready to be fired) just hit them. You need good close combat sniping skills for that, but that's easy to practice.

So basically your strategy is to be on lookout 95% and on defense 5% of the time. This requires you to act very quickly if you want keep the timeframe under half a second, but it pays off in that you are extremely dangerous for everyone in your field of view and difficult to surprise from behind at the same time. The surprise-timeframe is only 0.5 seconds if you do it correctly, so you have a fair chance to defend yourself even against skilled opponents.

3. Why it works
Your advantage is that your intruding opponent will always appear at a position that you know (e.g. a door) so you can aim at him without thinking or looking, just move your mouse in the position (takes less than 0.1 seconds), realize if someone is there (less than 0.1 seconds) and hit it (0.1 seconds, depends on your body). So on average, your time until reaction is only about 0.2 seconds all in all if you are in defense mode and 0.35 seconds on average if you are in offensive mode.

Your opponent, on the other hand, moves into a room without knowing where exactly you are (I hope you're not always directly behind a window!). He has to look for you, aim at you and hit you. The look and aim part takes a skilled opponent about 0.2-0.3 seconds, which is comparably close to your reaction time. This means you have a high chance to finish him off before he gets you if you are in defense, and a reasonable chance if you are in offense.


Your best defense is to be aware of where you are and how people attack that position. If you are in a location that has a back door, move to a position to get a drop on the guy coming in the back door to get you.

COD isn't a game where you can lay down in one spot and see all of the action and be safe. They work very hard to balance these spots with other ways to attack them. I would also suggest watching replays of other snipers to get ideas about tactics for a specific map. Snipers have to be more mindful of the level than other classes in my opinion.


then the best way to do is use your sniper without scope or use melee in close quarters, that helps to some level in any COD game or the best way would be abandon mission until the enemy is cleared.


Lay low or hide behind a barn or something, kill the nearest enemy with your sidearm - then use your enemy's weapon to take out the sniper, this will help?

  • You understood the question wrong! Here, I am the sniper. Someone tries to ambush me with his primary weapon (sub-machine gun or rifle). Me, being a sniper have only my pistol and sniper; both are weak in close-quarters. How to take out my enemy?
    – bdhar
    Commented Sep 7, 2010 at 19:25

If you're solo (by choice or because your "team" acts like a bunch of monkeys on crack), the general advice - in real life as in FPS games trying to convey a similar setting - for a sniper is to never shoot from the same position twice if you can help it.

The basic strategy is then to carefully prepare and scout out several places to shoot from as well as the ways between those places. If the game allows you to add additional obstructions so that you can move unseen, even if it's just parking a HMMWV in front of a doorway, do so. Tripwires and booby traps along the way are good too, but remember where you put them so as not to kill yourself.

The game will then consist of:

  1. several minutes of preparation time,
  2. waiting for a good solid target
  3. shooting once or twice in short succession
  4. moving to the next prepared place in anticipation of the enemy movement
  5. repeating from step 2

If you can learn the layout of the place by playing the map in single-player (or on an empty private server), it's highly advised to do so. Your main line of defence is the fact that nobody knows where you are, while you can navigate the area in your sleep. You should strife to keep it that way.

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