What are the different types of snipers

The markings on your scope are not just for looks — learn the fundamentals behind being effective with holdover values. We cover the five different types of sniper scopes and their reticles featured on the sniper rifles of Arma 2.

Mil-Dot Reticle

The mil-dot reticle is the standard for most of the sniper rifles in Arma 2. Mil-dots are a versatile tool in the sniper’s arsenal and are used as references to gain precise adjustments when shooting in between or past a rifle’s zeroing range. For example, the reticle below has 10 mil-dots from top to bottom, and counting the thick horizontal and vertical lines. Be aware, though, each rifle has its own “mil-distance” and is different in the way it acts resulting in unique hold over adjustments that must be learned. Head to our Sniper Weapon Range Charts for all the data you need to adjust for holdovers various ranges.

There are a variety of websites that offer history and explanations of how to read mil-dots on a sniper scope. While range-finding can simply be done with just a formula and a mil-dot reticle, we cannot assume that the dots graphically represented in Arma 2 are geometrically accurate, nor can we determine if they are standard Army or USMC mil-dots …yes there are actually two different types of this reticle style. It is because of this that we cannot reliably use mil-dots to range targets in-game like you can in real life.

With that said, for the purposes of referencing your shots in Arma 2, the most important aspect to understand is that the generic distance between the mil-dots translate to one mil. Furthermore, the distance between the centers of the dots can be visually broken down to fractions such as a 1/2 or even 1/3 mil, equating to half the distance or one third of the distance from the center of one dot to the next dot, respectively. Again, in our Arma experience, trying to translat mil-dots into a distance such as “x meters”, is an unreliable practice that cannot easily be quantified or derived as it can in real life.

P4 Reticle

The Mk17 Sniper variant does not use a mil-dot reticle for aiming, but instead has what is referred to as a P4 type scope; it has tick marks instead of mil-dots. This styled sniper scope is used the same way to adjust zero range using the same keys, but you will have to grow familiar with the distance of each. You will notice it has many more hash marks in the scope when compared to the mil-dot reticle, which is helpful to fine-tune your holdover.

PSO-1 Reticle

The SVD and KSVK rifles share the same PSO-1 type reticle. This type is unique in the fact that you are unable to adjust your zero with these weapons. They do have a built-in range estimator: an added function of this style reticle. By simply fitting the height of your target within the sloped lines, you can approximate the range.

The “1,5” next to the curved line means the slope of the range finding reticle is calibrated for a target 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall or the average size of a person; this means the “0,5” sloped line is for ranging targets standing at 0.5 meters (20 inches). Since there is no elevation adjustment or zeroing capability with this scope type, you must use the chevron (^) shapes which are aligned vertically as the point of aim to adjust for ranges.

This reticle has been around for a long time and is featured in many games other than Arma. After a considerable amount of training and experience, it becomes a fun challenge to use and the benefit of range-finding without leaving the scope can be realized. The data we provide in our Weapon Range Charts tool offers holdover values for shooting PSO-1 scope-mounted sniper weapon systems.

Night Vision (NV)

There are several night vision capable sniper systems available in Arma 2. Certain variations of the SVD and other assault rifles do have this capability. However, the M110 and VSS are the most versatile because their optics have the ability to switch from day to night vision.

You can switch between the two modes by using the default <N> key while looking through the scope, the same key used to activate your night vision goggles of course.

Thermal Weapon System (TWS)

The Thermal Weapon System optic, simply referred to as TWS, adds a new layer of dimension to a sniper’s arsenal. A sniper scope with TWS capability can see through both day and night with equal clarity. Though displaying the thermal signatures of objects will not give you the accurate resolution or colors you’re used, you benefit from a decreased target acquisition time.

With a TWS sniper scope, you get two different flavors: White Hot or Black Hot and you can switch between the two by using the default <N> key; neither view is particularly better than the other, and both can help you acquire targets extremely quickly especially over a vast territory. You should use extra caution to identify friendly forces vs. enemy targets when using TWS optics. Friendly fire is unacceptable under any condition!

Guides & ToolsTopics: Arma 2, Arma 3