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The Best Sniper/Marksman Class/Setup in Call of Duty: Black Ops

Updated on June 27, 2011

The Best Sniper/Marksman Class/Setup in Call of Duty: Black Ops

There's no denying how deadly a good Sniper can be. Though most of time they are loners, often looking out for themselves, the fact that they can build up steady and consistent kill streaks because of their camo and stealthiness means a UAV for the team is never far away.

Of course, without the right setup to suit the conditions of the game, i.e. the map, and whether or not it's a hardcore game, a Sniper is next to useless. This is especially true if he's a mercenary, in other words, not a team player.

So with that in mind, here is what i suggest you use when it comes to being a Sniper. This is a comprehensive list, with specific choices for each map and will take into account whether you're playing Core or Hardcore. With each choice I will of course explain why a particular setup has been chosen. Remember this is just my opinion, but it is based on my extensive experiences of being and taking on enemy Snipers in Call of Duty: Black Ops.

NOTE: For all maps that do not feature snow, the camo used for your rifle should be ERDL. The camo used for your face should be Stalker. For snowy maps, the camo used for your rifle should be Yukon, and the camo used for your face should be Smoke. Explanations for these choices are given in the Core section. Thanks.

If you like what I've written, please click the "Like" button at the top-left of this page. It's the thumbs-up icon, just underneath the big orange title. Thanks.


Primary Weapon: L96A1

Attachments: Extended Mag + Variable Zoom

Camo: Maps with snow = Yukon. Maps with no snow = ERDL

Secondary Weapon: Python

Attachment: Dual Wield

Lethal Grenade: Semtex

Tactical Grenade: Decoy

Equipment: Claymore

Perk 1: Ghost Pro

Perk 2: Warlord Pro

Perk 3: Hacker Pro

Face Paint: Maps with snow = Smoke. Maps with no snow = Stalker

With damage being reduced in Core modes, Snipers are at a big disadvantage if follow-up shots are needed to kill an enemy. As soon as you hit your target, but do not kill them, you lose the element of surprise - a Snipers best friend. Your chances of survival are significantly reduced if you do not kill in one shot, especially if your enemy is facing you when you fire. With this is mind, you need to trade stealth with one-shot kill capability. This is unfortunately how it goes in Core modes if you hope to get a high kill/death ratio. The L96A1 has the highest damage capability of all the sniper rifles in Black Ops, and therefore has the highest chance of killing your enemy in one shot. Although the main point of being a Sniper is to remain silent and out of sight, to remain effective in any Core game, using a suppressor is just not an option. Damage is reduced so much that the chances of getting a one shot kill (even with the L96A1) are very unlikely. Also, having the suppressor equipped increases the length of the rifle significantly (as if the weapon wasn't long enough). This increases your outline, therefore increasing the chances of your barrel sticking from a window, and sticking out behind a wall or crate.

Extended Mag is chosen because the L96A1 normally only has five rounds per magazine. This perk increases it to ten, decreasing the amount of time spent reloading.

Variable zoom allows for three different zoom settings, which is much better than having to cope with all ranges of combat using a single setting. This gives the rifle much more adaptability, allowing you to accommodate for all areas of a map. Depending on whether you're covering an open, distant area, or a cramped, enclosed space; you can adapt accordingly.

For all levels that feature a snowy environment, Yukon is the best camo to use. Yukon blends in best with the outside areas of snow maps. This is where you'll probably be sniping the most, as it's these areas that give you the biggest space between you and your enemy.

For all levels that don't feature snow, ERDL is most useful camo to use. With its random pattern and various earthy and muddy shades, it does a good job of breaking up the outline of a weapon and blending in with most areas including foliage, bare ground, and unlit buildings. Of course no matter how well you and your gun are camouflaged, running around and not paying attention to your surroundings will negate any benefits camouflage gives.

The Python is selected for its power. Dual Wield is chosen to maximise firepower. Being that your primary weapon is bolt-action, has a poor rate of fire, and relies on a scope to be accurate, you are going to have to rely on your secondary weapon when moving around the map. Of course if you're a Sniper, you're aiming to avoid close range combat as much as possible. But when it does happen, in order to stand any chance against an enemy with a fully automatic weapon, you need to lay down as much firepower as possible, and a single pistol just isn't going to cut it. In these situations, speed for you is everything. If you were using one handgun, ninety percent of the time you just wouldn't have the time to bring it up and aim down the sights. Not to mention the fact of how many hits it usually takes to kill someone with a pistol on Core modes. With this in mind when using two Python's, the higher rate of fire, higher damage, and time gained by not aiming down the sights, far outweigh the loss of accuracy you get when dual-wielding. The fully auto CZ75 isn't chosen here because unlike hardcore mode where one shot will usually kill, the fully-auto CZ75 usually needs multiple hits, and the heavy recoil it produces when fired on automatic makes getting multiple hits very tricky.

Semtex is chosen mainly because it takes less time to explode than a standard grenade. When you've sighted an enemy, and find that throwing an explosive is more effective or suitable than firing bullets, the less time you give your enemy to move off or react the better.

I feel Decoy grenades are often overlooked by most players, but they are especially effective for Snipers to use. Rather than exposing yourself by moving to engage your enemy, throw your decoys and let the enemy come to you. I've used them for ages, and you'll be amazed how many people (even your own teammates) are attracted to them. They are essentially bait for the run-and-gun type of players - the type who let their guard down the most. If possible, throw two at the same time to make it sound like a firefight. This entices opponents even more, in the hope they can scavenge a kill from someone who is pre-occupied fighting someone else.

Claymore's are a Snipers best friend. They act like your own personal bodyguard. They allow you to concentrate on what's in front of you, and for the most part, not worry about what's behind. Even if an enemy survives the blast, the sound of the explosion and the voice telling you your equipment is gone, should give you enough time to prepare for an attack.

Ghost Pro is essential for being a Sniper. It means you don't have to worry about clumsy teammates who get killed and give the enemy UAV's, sentry guns, and choppers. None of them can see you, and so you can concentrate on attacking rather than having to suddenly defend. The ghost perk also gives you the best camouflage, as your character often wears a ghillie suit, depending on what force you're playing as.

The Warlord perk is needed for you to have both the Extended Mag and Variable Zoom attachments. It also gives you three decoy grenades and an extra Semtex grenade. If your first attempt with the decoy grenades failed to attract an enemy, you can have another go with the extra ones you're given with this perk - perfect! Also, for people who think the Scout perk goes hand-in-hand with being a Sniper, I personally have never used it. It only enhances one part of your play - holding your breath. I feel the amount time you're given to hold your breath without the perk is long enough. The pro aspect of being able to switch your weapon faster really isn't that useful either. If you have your sniper rifle equipped you should be stationary, out of sight and out of mind, with no need of having to switch quickly to your Python's. If you're moving about, your Python's should be equipped, and switching back to your L96A1 should be done when you've safely reached your new hiding spot.

Hacker pro is by far the most useful perk in the third category, regardless of whether you're a Sniper or not. It shows enemy claymores, useful for when you need to move to a new location safely but don't know what's around the corner. It also allows you turn an enemy Claymore friendly. This is great for when you've used your Claymore, and find the Claymore placed by the enemy is in a good enough position to cover you. Another important aspect of this perk is that it makes you invisible to motion sensors, making you truly invisible to all the enemy's detection equipment - except if you walk straight into a forward facing claymore!

For face paint, on maps with no snow, the Stalker paint is best. It has a large amount of black, essentially shadowing your face, and the green helps you blend in with plants and earthy areas.

For snow maps, the Smoke face paint is best. The large white areas obviously blend in with the snow, and the patches of black help break up what would otherwise be a completely white face. Useful for when you're not in a snow covered bush or on snow covered ground.


Primary Weapon: PSG1

Attachments: Suppressor + Variable Zoom

Camo: Maps with snow = Yukon. Maps with no snow = ERDL

Secondary Weapon: CZ75

Attachment: Fully Auto

Lethal Grenade: Semtex

Tactical Grenade: Decoy

Equipment: Claymore

Perk 1: Ghost Pro

Perk 2: Warlord Pro

Perk 3: Hacker Pro

Face Paint: Maps with snow = Smoke. Maps with no snow = Stalker

Obviously in Hardcore mode, damage is increased. Therefore, using a suppressor becomes a viable option, as hitting your target with a silenced PSG1 will almost certainly result in one shot kill. The PSG1 has been chosen over the other sniper rifles for many reasons. Firstly, it is semi-automatic. This means that if you miss your first shot but still remain undetected, you'll be able to fire another shot quicker than if you used a bolt-action rifle such as the L96A1. Also, the PSG1 has predictable recoil, meaning it will always kick off in only one direction, which helps to get your sights back on the enemy quicker, by roughly knowing where the ridicule will reset to after each shot. None of the other semi-automatic sniper rifles have this trait. Also, it is more easily camouflaged than the WA2000 and Dragunov. The wooden finish on these rifles is harder to camouflage, and if I'm not mistaken, the wooden finish on the WA2000 is not camouflaged at all when selecting a camo for the weapon. Although not a major issue, it will not blend in well if you're sniping in grey, concrete, industrial areas. The PSG1 does not have this problem. It has a relatively dark finish to it as standard, and most parts of the rifle will receive the appropriate colour change when a camo is selected. One final note is the length of the rifle when a suppressor is attached. Obviously you want the weapon to be as short as possible, so as to not increase your outline and stick out from behind your cover. Only the WA2000 has a shorter barrel length with a suppressor attached.

The same reasons for using Variable Zoom in Core modes apply to Hardcore as well. So please read the explanation for this attachment above.

Again, the reasons for using ERDL or Yukon camos are explained above in the Core section.

The fully automatic CZ75 is chosen because it's the only pistol that can be transformed into a sub-machine gun type of weapon. For a Sniper, having access to any type of fully automatic weapon greatly increases your effectiveness and versatility in battle. By using the fully auto CZ75, you stand a much better chance of surviving a sudden, head on, close-quarter firefight. This is because you can get more rounds down in shorter space of time than with a semi-automatic handgun, and still only need one hit to kill in most cases. Also, if you're already aiming down the sights anticipating an enemy's appearance (which is what you should be doing), you'll have better accuracy than if you chose to dual-wield.

All the grenade, equipment, perks, and face paint that apply to Core modes apply to Hardcore as well. So please refer to the explanation given in the Core section.

Comments and Feedback - A place to share your thoughts.

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    • profile image


      11 months ago

      What about Scorestreaks? What's your choice on those?

    • profile image

      Hardcore gamer 

      3 years ago


      Attachment: suppreser, variable zoom

      Perk: ghost pro

      Perk 2: warlord pro

      Perk 3: hacker pro

      In sniw maps use smoke. It helps stay hidden without being detected and with the suppresser you wont be detected if you miss. But on the bad side it decreases power. Try to get a headshot with the suppresser to get a one shot kill

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      hey just gave you a like shoot me one back please...

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Chris Moran do u know Sean Moran and thx for the info

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love it!!! Great lens. I must get me some of these.


      claymore sword

    • Chris Moran profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Moran 

      7 years ago

      @enter3: Yeah it took a while to write all the COD guides, but if they help people out then it's all worth it i guess. Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      you put a lot of time into this i can tell.


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