Sniping is an art. Picking off people at long ranges can be quite fun. It takes quite a bit of skill too which, fortunately, comes with practice. If you have access to a rifle range and you own a rifle you will find that shooting in America's Army is much easier than you will have experienced it. You don't have to cope with the weight issues or the disassembly and cleaning of the rifle. However, the developers have done a fine job and have approximated the problems associated with proper breathing while shooting.
While America's Army does a reasonable job of simulating the various aspects of real world marksmanship, it can never provide a complete shooting experience. For example, breathing discipline, proper posture and weapon drill discipline are some of the core Principles of Marksmanship which will probably never be addressed in the game. For the real deal, you can't beat a day at the ranges.
There are two main approaches to sniping: Camp-sniping and Mobile-sniping. Every sniper rifle has it's special uses and functions.
The Sniper Rifles are:
- The M24 Weapons System
- The M82 Semi-Automatic Anti-Material Rifle
- The Special Purpose Rifle
- The Mosin-Nagant Sniper Rifle
- The SVD Sniper Rifle
- The VSS Vintorez
Arguably, anything from an RPG-7 to an M9 can be used for sniping, it's just that the aforementioned are better at what they do. In fact, a scope is not really necessary for sniping (although it helps). For example, an M16A2 can be a perfectly suitable sniper weapon for distances of anything up to about half a kilometre - using iron sights only.
Sniping is not for CQB (Close Quarters Battle). Though the Vintorez has a full auto function, it's meagre ten-shot magazine makes it inferior to the M9 Berreta in terms of CQB. However, if you're planning an ambush in very cramped spaces, you might consider a one-hit kill weapon like the M82.
Camp-Sniping is when someone sits in a fixed place for a long period of time (with bipod down if he has one), 'camping' and waiting for someone to pass by. This is actually quite safe, as long as you pay close attention while watching your target area. You are vulnerable from enemies outside your field of vision so you should choose an inconspicuous area to camp, where enemies are unlikely to go. This is why you should never camp in a building unless you have a death wish! The advantage to not moving at all will be that people from far away might think you're just some staionary shrub or structure and never see you. It doesn't matter if you've 'camed up' perfectly - if you move you can be seen! The downside is that if someone sees you, you have to get up fast (yes, STAND UP! If you've been seen, crouching or staying prone won't help you and you can move much faster on your feet) and move away quickly.
Camping is often looked on with disdain by online players and sometimes server administrators make 'No Camping' rules to discourage people from doing it. In reality, however, disciplined camping is considered the only way to stay alive when on sniper duty (except for very special circumstances or if you're expecting enemies from behind).
Mobile Sniping is defined as moving from place to place, setting up the rifle, and possibly the bipod, for a short period of time before moving on. In this way you won't be able to watch one single area very effectively, and yes, it increases your visibility. If you are seen while on sniper duty, remember: Dash, Drop, Observe, Fire.
I do not recommend Mobile Sniping unless it's absolutely necessary; when in doubt: camp!
The M24 Weapons System
The M24 Sniper is an ideal weapon for sniping at long ranges (half a mile to a mile away). The M24 can be fired with great accuracy in prone or crouched position without a bipod and experienced players can even fire while standing (though this is not recommended as you will be making a perfect target of yourself). A shot in the chest or head is usually an instant kill, but a shot in the hands or legs will only slow enemies down. This is a good rifle for beginner snipers. More information can be found on the M24's page.
The Mosin-Nagant Sniper
The Mosin is the OPFOR equivalent of the M24. It has no bipod and is better suited for medium-range sniping as it does not have a very powerful scope. More information can be found on the Mosin's page.
The M82 SAAM Rifle
The M82 is one of the most used rifles in the game. It's high-kill ratio comes mostly from the fact that a single shot in the chest is enough to kill. The M82's power is accompanied by some smoke and a bang when it is fired. Also, you will be forced out of your scope after every shot. It is good for camping, as the bipod will negate the breathing problem and the 'one shot one kill' policy of the M82 is good for this purpose. It is not recommended you use this rifle while standing or moving. It is also not a bad tool for rapid sniping (taking quick shots in rapid succession) as it can shoot eleven times before having to reload. More information can be found on the M82's page.
The SVD Sniper Rifle
The SVD is the OPFOR equivalent of the M82. It comes with less recoil, but a less powerful scope and no bipod. Ideal for medium range engagements and rapid sniping. More info on the SVD's page.
The Special Purpose Rifle is essentially a modified M4A1 with a strong scope and a cute 20 shot magazine. It is also equipped with a silencer, and a bipod. This rifle will do little damage, so shots in the chest and other areas will require extra hits to kill. However, due to it's low recoil, high accuracy, strong scope, and a 20-shot mag, you should always aim for the head when holding this rifle. It is much easier to pull off a headshot using the SPR. More info on the SPR's page.