Scouts, snipers and spotters - Marksmanship - United Task Force (UNITAF) Arma 3

P4-35 Scouts, snipers and spotters

UNITAF / Arma 3 / Marksmanship Procedures

Version 1 / 8min read / Updated Sun 08 May 2022 / 1285 views / of verified

The role of a Scout/Sniper team is to both provide battlefield recon and intelligence and deliver precision shots on key enemy personnel. A Scout/Sniper team can be highly effective without ever firing a shot in some situations, whereas other scenarios will see them having a dramatic effect due to their ability to 'lock down' an area with precision shooting.

Spotter, kneeling, and his sniper buddy


Scout/Sniper Team Organization & Responsibilities

Each Scout/Sniper team consists of two people - a sniper and his spotter. They are typically outfitted in ghillie suits to assist in concealment, and tend to operate at a significant distance from any friendly forces. Their mission is primarily scouting/reconnaissance, though their marksmanship will often be called into play when things heat up. When operating in denser terrain such as urban operations or in theaters where the enemy presence is significant, sniper teams can be augmented with additional members. A common technique is to use two sniper teams, with two or more additional infantry coming along as a security element.

Regardless of the overall size of the team, the basic responsibilities of a sniper and spotter pair are as follows.


  • Sniper
    • Junior member of the team.
    • Carries and employs the sniper rifle.
    • Engages long-range or precision high-value targets and key enemy personnel.
    • Listens to his spotter's directions.
    • Provides intelligence and reconnaissance to the platoon.
    • Picks the specific 'hide'/shooting position(s) that will be used.
    • Plans the route that the sniper team will use to get to their 'hide' position.
    • Plans the exfiltration route from the 'hide' position.


  • Spotter
    • Senior member of the team.
    • Equipped with a rifle with grenade launcher as well as binoculars.
    • Provides security for the sniper.
    • Assists the sniper in locating, identifying, prioritizing, and ranging targets, as well as spotting the effects of the sniper's shots.
    • Frequently acts as the point man when moving to or from a position.



Scout/Sniper Guidelines

  • One Shot, One Kill. In an ideal environment, the sniper strives to fire only one shot from any position that he occupies. A single surprise shot is extremely difficult for the enemy to trace back to the sniper's position, and the morale impact that a surgical elimination of someone has is quite dramatic. If the enemy believes that they will be picked off if they poke their heads up or otherwise leave cover, you will have accomplished the suppression of an entire element with a single well-placed bullet.



  • Get on the enemy's flank.
    The prime place for a sniper to be is off to the side of the enemy. If the enemy is expecting to make contact to their front, they will almost always orient themselves so that they're in cover to their front yet are open on their flanks. Not only does this provide a nice, juicy target to you, but it has the added benefit of being very confusing for them, and typically has them looking in a direction that you are not in - namely, to the front - which naturally means that they are not likely to see any firing signatures from your position (ie muzzle flash, smoke). If you are observing an enemy element from their flank, and friendly forces engage them from the front, you will very likely find yourself faced with a great many prime targets in short order.


  • Be patient.
    Move slowly and deliberately into position. You'll be surprised at how safe you will be if you only use a bit of common sense in how you move. Stay low and slow and avoid sudden movements, as they draw the eye. Patience also comes in handy when it comes to shooting - waiting for a perfect shot on a valuable enemy person, like a machinegunner, Squad Leader, or similar, will pay off in spades in the long term. Wasting your initial shot on some poor FNG isn't going to have nearly the same effect as putting a bullet through the squad leader's head.


A sniper equipped with an M320 LRR observes enemy movements, waiting for a leader to make himself known


  • Target the important people first. 
    You want to shoot at leaders, enemy snipers/designated marksmen, machinegunners, radiomen, and other high-value targets. One decent way to tell if they're a leader is whether or not they have binoculars - if they do, they're likely someone of some importance. Another way is to observe who a formation is guiding off of. Less-coordinated groups will typically form a "tactical trailing blob" around their leader.
  • Relocate frequently.
    Depending on the tempo of the battle, a sniper may or may not be able to relocate between shots. When possible, snipers should move to a new shooting position any time that they can, or any time that they believe their current position has been pinpointed within a reasonable degree of accuracy. One tactic that can be used is to fire from a position, make yourself known, and then relocate to an adjacent position from which you can put fire on your previous location. In this manner you can engage any enemy infantry elements that might have been sent to flank you. As a general rule, always assume that the enemy will locate you significantly before you would think they would locate you. Playing it safe will pay off in survival.
  • Shoot from back to front.
    If you're on the flanks of the enemy (as you should be), engaging targets that are to the rear of the formation will cause it to take longer for the enemy to figure out that they're taking effective sniper fire. The last person in the formation can topple over from a shot to the head without anyone seeing him, after all, which gives you time to work your way from back-to-front until you've inflicted a number of casualties before they've noticed. Shooting from back-to-front can also make the front people think that someone is firing ineffectively and missing them, causing them to be more bold in their movements.
  • Take advantage of loud noises to mask the sound of your shots.
    Firing when the enemy is firing, or when explosions or other loud noises are happening, can make it harder for the enemy to notice the sound of your rifle (particularly if it makes a distinctive noise).
  • Consider what it looks like from the enemy's perspective, and try to shoot at deceptive times.
    For instance, if a player is advancing in cover, and then peeks his head around a corner and is shot, the natural assumption to anyone near him is that there was an enemy around the corner. If the reality is that a sniper shot him from the flank or rear, it is very unlikely that the enemy will figure it out before it is too late.
  • The 'sitting' stance can be used to maintain a high level of stability when grass or obstacles prevent target acquisition in the prone.



Narrow lanes of fire can minimize the angles that you can be spotted from. If you position yourself back from two large bushes and fire through a small gap between them, at a distant slice of ground, you will be far less likely of being spotted. The reverse side is that it will limit the area you can observe and engage targets in. Balancing out just how much of a field of view you need versus how much cover or concealment you need is an art that will take time to perfect.



Adjusting for Elevation Differences

When firing up or down at a significant incline towards an enemy target, one must be aware of the fact that their bullets will generally strike higher due to weapon ballistics. In situations like this, a player needs to use the horizontal - or "map range" - of a target to calculate drop, and not the actual straight distance to the target. This is a rough rule of thumb that works acceptably to most shooting distances that Arma3 portrays.

As you see in the below illustration, the direct range to a target when on an incline is further than the horizontal range. If you use the direct range to calculate your hold-over, you will inevitably end up firing over them. When in doubt, if shooting on an incline, aim lower than you normally would at the target.


UNITAF Standard Operating procedures (SOP)
are adapted primarly from US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Our written and audio procedures are a combination of the following primary source materials, as well as our own learnings, modifications and adaptations:
- US Army Techniques Publication, Infantry Platoon and Squad (ATP 3-21.8)
- Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks Warrior Leader Skills Level 2, 3, and 4 (STP 21-24-SMCT)
- The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills (FM 3-21.75 / FM 21-75)
- Leadership Development (FM 6-22)
- Dyslexi's Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures for Arma 3 (TTP3)

End of Section

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