There’s a certain intrigue to snipers–and the airsoft world is no different.
Being able to stalk the enemy and take them down from a distance appeals to many players, but before you start practicing your kill shots, you need to know a few things about the most important part of sniping–staying out of sight.
Sniping involves a lot of stealth and creativity, so if you want to learn how to blend in with your environment to maximize the element of surprise… keep reading.
We’re going to get into some tips to help you use a ghillie suit effectively, but first, let’s talk a little bit about ghillie suits. We’ll also give you some recommendations for the best ghillie suit pieces.
Dress for Success: Ghillie Suit Basics
Chances are, you’re familiar with the fluffy, outline obscuring costume that is a ghillie suit. The point of these suits is to disguise a prone sniper, break up the shape of their easily-recognized outline, and help them to disappear into the landscape.
Effective ghillie suits will match the colors and textures in the environment you’re playing in–think greens, greys, browns, and tans. For snowy conditions, you may even want to wear a white ghillie suit.
In an urban environment, such as a mil-sim game, even things like newspapers, plastic bags, and other garbage can be repurposed into your disguise.
Your goal is a varied, natural-looking pile of materials that doesn’t look terribly out of place on the field.
Tips for Blending in with a Ghillie Suit
The coolest ghillie suit in the world won’t help you stay hidden if you don’t know how to blend in. If you want to hunt the opposing team, you’re going to have to play it smart.
Now that you know how a ghillie suit works, let’s talk about some tips to help you stay out of sight.
Match Your Surroundings
There’s a pretty wide variety of colors that work for most situations, such as dark browns, greys, and tans. Even if your color palette isn’t 100% matched to the field, you’ll still be able to hide… so long as you pay attention to what’s around you.
Look for similar colors and textures when choosing your spot. Granted, you can make a green ghillie suit on a rock ridge look natural, but it’s a lot less work to blend into a tall grass field.
Incorporate leaves, branches, grasses, and other materials into your hide to further blend in. Weather your ghillie suit with dust, light shredding or fraying, painting, or other distressing techniques to take the “new ghillie suit” shine off your kit.
Camouflage Your Gear
Imagine you’re scanning your surroundings, looking for enemies, when you spot what appears to be a pristine, black airsoft gun laying on the ground, or a backpack leaning against a bush. You’d be instantly suspicious, right?
Well guess what–the enemy team is looking for things that stick out, and your uncamouflaged equipment is a dead giveaway. So, take time to conceal your gear. Break out the paint and burlap to make covers for your packs, your barrel, and other things not covered by your suit.
Change Your Shape
Humans are amazing at pattern recognition. How often do you see faces or human shapes in things that aren’t a person at all? Our brains are constantly looking for human-shaped things and filling in the details, so it stands to reason that you need to look the least human-shaped as possible.
Padding up your shoulders and neck is one good way to break up your shape and make yourself look less like a prone sniper.
You’ll also want to make sure that your face is well covered, since it will be much easier for enemies to detect. Sniper veils are one way to cover your face and head, since they can drape around your head and scope to help disguise you.
Covering your face and head is also a good idea to prevent the sunlight from reflecting off any of your gear, such as goggles, masks, headwear, etc.
Move Slowly and Thoughtfully
If you’re running from place to place, you’re going to attract attention. Instead, practice moving slowly and deliberately, and only moving when necessary. The less you can move, the less likely you are to be noticed.
Mind Your Surroundings
Bushes can easily get tangled up in your suit or make noise as you move. Dead leaves will rustle and crunch. Gravel will rattle and give you away. Part of being unnoticed is noticing your surroundings, and using them to your advantage.
Stay away from things that make noise. Use the wind, shadows, and ambient noises to cover up your movements, and time your motions to match the environment so you don’t stand out.
This also means you should avoid direct sunlight.
Pack Light (but bring water)
Laying around in a ghillie suit means that you can’t carry much. It’s hard to move silently when loaded down, but it also can be hard to disguise a giant backpack. Only take what you need to get through the match, but don’t forget to pack water.
It can get pretty warm inside a ghillie suit, and on hot days, you’ll be glad to have water with you.
Use Distractions to Your Advantage
Teammates are great for distracting enemy players, and can give you cover to take down opposing players while they’re busy trying to shoot your teammate. Other distractions, such as vehicles, distant shouting, and animals can also be helpful–as long as they don’t distract you too.
If you need a distraction, make one. Throwing pebbles, small sticks, and other debris can be used to direct attention away from you, giving you a chance to take a shot, hide, or escape.
Trust Your Gut
Slight changes in the environment, quiet sounds, or faint movements can be a sign that someone has discovered you and is closing in. Listen to your senses, and pay attention to what is happening around you. You may just be able to turn the tables.
Best Ghillie Suits
Now that we’ve got you all ready to become a master of disguise, let’s chat about some of the options out there to get you started. These are some of what we feel are the best ghillie suits on the market, but don’t forget–these are only a base. You’ll need to get creative to really make an effective suit.
To be quite honest, this is one of our favorite ghillie suits on our list. Not only does it go for that cool Call of Duty look, it’s thick.
The Arcturus Ghost Ghillie uses 6 lbs of thread in a 3-D, 7-color blend to create its ultra-dense, pattern disrupting shape. This means it’s pretty much ready to go right out of the box, but you do have plenty of space to add in your own modifications and really make it shine.
One of our favorite features is that this suit is mold resistant, which is great because mold can be a problem with thicker ghillies. All the threads and seams are double stitched to help
You’ll get the full kit with this package: a zip-up ghillie jacket, pants, headpiece, and a color-matched rifle wrap. Either the woodland camo or the dried grass color is a great choice, depending on where you play most often.
Arcturus builds their suits on a BDU mesh base, which helps increase the breathability of the suit and makes it easier to customize.
One downside to this suit is the weight, though. It’s just fine for airsofters, but know that your ability to move around will be hindered a bit by this wookie-looking suit.
If you’re working on a tight budget, or want to really customize your own ghillie suit, the Vivo 4-Piece Camo Woodland Ghillie Set is a great choice.
It’s not as dense as some of the others on our list, but it is a bit lighter, weighing only 4 pounds, and is built on a mesh base. This suit is a great started suit if you’re looking to save a little bit since it still is a pretty convincing disguise.
You don’t get as much material as say, the Arcturus suite above, but that means this suit is cooler, easier to move in, and much easier to customize. Break out the yarn or tie in some foliage before playing, and you’ll be in great shape.
This set includes a headpiece, a button-up jacket, elastic and drawstring pants, and a matching gun wrap–all of which fit into the included drawstring bag for convenient transport. It’s completely polyester, so it’ll shed water pretty easily (good for avoiding mold and heavy, soggy suits).
The quality isn’t on par with more expensive suits, but… you get what you pay for, and in this case, that’s still pretty decent.
What sets this suit apart from the Vivo one is that it comes in a wider variety of color schemes, so you get even more flexibility when it comes to creating the perfect suit.
The Jumpeak Ghillie Suit is a four-pieces set consisting of a snap-together top, elasticized pants, a gun cover, and a veiled hood, as well as a drawstring bag to stuff it all in.
You can find these all-polyester suits in Snow, Desert, and Woodland color schemes so you can have one for every match, no matter what the weather is.
This is one of the more popular ghillie suits for airsofters, since it’s a great deal for the price.
Red Rock Outdoor Gear’s ghillie suit is dense, 100% polyester, and comes in four color schemes: Woodland, Desert, Snow, and ACU. This set includes a drawstring storage bag, top, hood, jacket, pants, and a rifle wrap.
The pants are pretty neat because they feature snaps at the ankle, which makes it easier to get these on and off over boots. Anything that makes gearing up easier is a win in our book!
Some things we didn’t like is that the rifle wrap will barely cover a full-sized airsoft gun, and doesn’t offer a lot of space to modify it. You’re better off making your own and skipping this one. We also didn’t like that this suit arrives in a tangled mess, which means you have to spend some time detangling the rat’s nest before you can get to work on customizing it.
We also suspect that the durability of this suit may be questionable, but for the price, it’s not too bad.
Wrapping It All Up
Do you need a ghillie suit to be an airsoft sniper? No. Does it help? Heck yes. There’s a lot of options to help you conceal yourself and avoid detection, but a well-modified ghillie suit is probably one of the easiest and best ways.
Wearing a ghillie suit is only half the battle–though we hope we’ve directed you towards finding one you’ll love. Knowing how to use a ghillie suit and become one with your surroundings will start you on the road to becoming the ultimate airsoft sniper.
Good luck! We’d love to hear your best stories about how a ghillie suit helped you hide, or whether your favorite ghillie suit is on our list or not. Drop us a comment below, and let’s chat! Don’t forget to like Orange Tip Tactical on Facebook.