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TLM's Battlefield 4 Sniper Treatise Thing, Part 2 - The Sniper's Toybox

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  • TLM's Battlefield 4 Sniper Treatise Thing, Part 2 - The Sniper's Toybox

    TLM’s Battlefield 4 Sniper Treatise Thing, Part 2 - The Sniper’s Toybox

    In part 1 we analyzed the Recon and its strengths and weaknesses, and explored its applications and best uses in an organized, communicating squad. In part 2, we dive into the equipment and weapons of Battlefield 4s Recon kit. Part 2 is a building block off of part 1, therefore I highly encourage anyone who has not read part 1 to do so, as I believe the ground it covers is essential to effectively playing the role of a sniper. It can be found via clicking on this line of text. This guide will be more Battlefield 4 specific, and most of the information in here is subject to change as expansions and patches are released. I will attempt to keep this guide up to date, and revise sections as I have more time to play with the weapons and gadgets in question.

    My apologies if the writing quality is slightly less compared to my previous guide. My goal has been to bang this out within a week of Battlefield 4’s launch. As always, everything within this guide should be taken in the context of a TacticalGamer server. Overlap will happen and of course some things will hold true across boundaries, but this work should not be forced upon simulation or competition playstyles, or reality itself.

    I. So What Has Changed?

    There’s been a variety of changes in Battlefield 4 from past iterations of the franchise. Several of these changes and additions directly impact players of the recon/sniper kit. Here are the big ones:

    The scope glare introduced in Battlefield 3 has been turned down in intensity, however it still exists. Scope glare in Battlefield 4 is a flashlight-like effect applied on the end of your weapon when aiming down a scope with 6x or greater magnification. While not as blindingly obvious as in BF3, you should still avoid being scoped in for long periods of time. Scan for movement with your bare eyes, or search for targets with the PLD. Scope in when you have a target or see something you need a better look at. This helps prevent tunnel vision, and minimizes the amount of scope glare you give off, making you slightly harder to spot.

    BF4 has added vapor trails to bolt action rounds, similar to the sniper rifle of the Halo franchise. This trail forms a line through the air as the bullet travels, forming a semi-traceable path back towards where you fired that round from. Be aware of this whenever you fire, as most players will attempt to figure out your location (if it is not readily obvious) by back tracing your vapor trail and then looking for scope glare.

    Scope zeroing is now standard on all bolt action rifles and designated marksman rifles. The default key is “v” and can be rebound, and each press will cycle you through preset zero values, starting at 0m and proceeding to the next value with each press of the related key. The zeroing values and progression are such:
    0m -> 200m -> 300m -> 400m -> 500m -> 1000m -> reset to 0m.
    You can find the range to your target via the PLD, SOFLAM, or Rangefinder attachments. If you are using a DMR on the support kit, the XM25 can function as a rangefinder.

    Lean and peak functions have been added contextually when behind cover, and will show a -button- to peek prompt and point your weapon in the direction towards which you will lean. The detection is a little wonky with bolt actions, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Most of the time I just ignore it.

    II. The Sniper’s Toybox

    In Battlefield 4 we have a plethora of new and old gadgets available on the Sniper, and the ability to mix and match them into two gadget slots to suit our needs. Our gadgets in this iteration of Battlefield include the return of the BF3 TUGS, MAV, SOFLAM, and Spawn Bacon (extra crispy), the return of C4 and Claymores to the Sniper, BC2’s Motion Balls are back, and a new handheld version of the SOFLAM now exists called the PLD. This section will explore each gadget individually.

    II. - 1: PLD

    The Personal Laser Designator (PLD) is a new gadget in BF4, and serves as a handheld version of the SOFLAM from BF3. The tradeoffs are that it cannot be deployed to designate targets independently and you must be scoped in with it to mark a target, however by virtue of being a handheld device it allows the sniper more mobility.

    The PLD has a built in rangefinder, allowing the sniper an easy way to check distance to a target or landmark and change his scope zeroing accordingly. This is very useful if you aren’t using a rangefinder on your rifle’s accessory slot but have difficulty guessing or measuring range. You do lose some time measuring range with the PLD and then switching to your rifle to fire, but the time lost is usually a second or two and if you’re engaging from far enough away that you actually have to measure range, you probably can afford the extra couple of seconds. The PLD also ships with a zoom function and uses the “red/orange-hot” IRNV vision mode, making it a superb gadget for spotting enemies beyond 150m.

    The PLD is a great utility gadget that gives the sniper possibly the best spotting system in the game with the ability to lock enemy armor and aircraft, and throws in a rangefinder basically for free. However, it takes up a gadget slot, and sacrificing tools like the motion balls or C4 is a hard trade off. Unfortunately, without a Javelin/NLAW toting Engineer on standby to hit lazed targets, the PLD loses half of its functionality. Personally, I’ve found myself bringing one only if the squad leader calls for it.

    II. - 2: SOFLAM

    The SOFLAM as introduced in BF3 returns in BF4. Unlike it’s new cousin, the PLD, the SOFLAM is deployed on a low tripod and aimed via remote control. It will automatically laser designate enemy vehicles that enter it’s range and field of view, even when not being remotely aimed. It has a variable zoom function, and uses the “white-hot” FLIR vision mode.

    Typically the SOFLAM is used for locking targets for Javelin engineers, and as such is best placed on locations where enemy vehicles frequently move and can cover a long sightline. However, the laser sight effect that emanates from the device typically gives away its presence and it is very fragile. The main advantage for the SOFLAM over the PLD is that it has a maximum vehicle lock range around 400m to 450m. It also feels like it reacquires targets faster than the PLD after they pop smoke or flares, but this may be a placebo.

    The SOFLAM falls into the same pitfall as the PLD, but more so because of its lack of mobility. It is a gadget for a niche role. Most snipers tend to set it up and forget about it, or set it up and spend the rest of that life doing nothing but baby sitting it. Given the choice I’d take the PLD over the SOFLAM as I believe the SOFLAM has a tendency to induce tunnel vision in its users, or a loss of situational awareness. At least the PLD allows you to be mobile. Outside of vehicle heavy maps and SOFLAM + Javelin combos, I don’t see the SOFLAM being very useful.

    II. - 3: Motion Sensor

    The famous “motion balls” of Bad Company 2. These spherical devices can be thrown like a grenade, and for a limited amount of time will mark enemies on the minimap for your team and make an audible beeping noise.

    If you are constantly on the move, motion balls are your best friend. They sacrifice the permanency of the TUGS or MAV, but being able to throw them more than makes up for this when moving into a building, approaching a flag, leaving an alleyway, or just plain old doing anything that involves going somewhere else. If you have a support with ammo box in your squad, throw these around regularly and let his ammo box refill you.

    Originally posted by Reaperassault View Post
    I'll add one thing: get your balls out (and everyone's head out of the gutter). The motion balls are key to making assaults work or clearing an area or avoiding enemies all together.
    II. - 4: TUGS

    The TUGS is another gadget making a return from BF3. This device can be placed at your feet and functions similar to the motion balls. It will make a beeping sound when enemies and detected and mark them for your team on the minimap. It can be retrieved by looking at it and holding down the key which shows up in the prompt.

    While technically less mobile than the motion balls, I highly encourage you to experiment with the TUGS. It deploys quickly, stays around forever (unless shot or blown up), and is easy to hide, making it perfect for setting up a trap or guarding your back if you’re going to be near it for some time. I have had great success in BF3 by hiding it amongst boxes and on the metal shelving units in the garages on Strike at Karkand.

    If your squad is moving, either pick it back up or get another one from an ammo box.
    Each squad leader moves his squad around the map at a different pace. Whether you bring the TUGS or Motion Balls (or both ;) ) is a situational decision, and something ultimately determined by trial and error and personal preference.

    II. - 5: MAV

    The MAV also returns from BF3, fortunately with fewer roadkills to its name this time around. The MAV is basically a flying TUGS. Once deployed, you can fly it around the map to spot targets and zap gadgets deployed by the enemy with a lock-on EMP.

    Personally I’ve found the MAV to be very situational, depending on the pace of the squad. The MAV is a very communication intensive gadget by nature. Simply q-spotting and sensing targets on the minimap isn’t good enough. A MAV operator needs to quickly and accurately relay what he is seeing to his squad mates to make the MAV match the cost of not having an extra gun in a firefight.

    I classify MAVs in two ways. “dedicated MAVs” and “parked MAVs.” The dedicated MAV operator is that guy who goes prone in a corner and flies MAVs around all game to spot for his squad or team. I have seen a few instances of dedicated MAV users with superb communications, but the vast majority I’ve seen have been mediocre at best and utterly useless at worst. In the context of a squad, I think the extra shooter with motion balls is more useful than a MAV overhead nine times out of ten.

    EDIT Nov. 2nd 2013: The "parked MAV" concept apparently no longer works. This makes the MAV an even less desirable gadget choice, and restricts the Recon to motion balls and the TUGS for passive spotting. The MAV can still be effective in the hands of a communicative pilot, but parking one in an out of reach place as a flying TUGS no longer works. I have kept the parked MAV concept below in CODE tags so that it can still be referenced.

    The “parked MAV” was detailed well by Amplitudo back in BF3:

    Originally posted by Amplitudo View Post
    I was not happy with how I was using the MAV, no matter how useful the intel is I hate being taken out of the fight as an infantry soldier. So last night I began to experiment.

    As a SL I was telling my squad to attack a point, and then deploying the MAV, flying over them to the point, parking it somewhere the enemy was not likely to find it, and then advancing behind my squad. I discovered that even while parked, the MAV motion detection still works. It functions similar to an IDS from 2142. Any enemy that moves in range is displayed on the mini-map. The range is quite large, and unlike the TUG it is not limited by the enemy being on a different level of elevation.

    On defense I would park the MAV above the point and help defend.

    In both cases the intel the MAV provided was the difference between victory and defeat. My squad was instrumental in winning the games I used this tactic in.
    This is the “right” way to utilize the MAV in my experience. Drop off to the side briefly so you can fly the MAV onto a rooftop or into a window, then move into the area it is blanketing with your squad. Your squad now has a semi-permanent motion sensor that the enemy can’t easily destroy, and your squad is still at full strength. When you move out, either get a new MAV from an ammo box or just fly the old one to the new objective.
    II. - 6: Radio Beacon

    The last gadget to return from BF3. The Spawn Bacon is a deployable which serves as a static spawn point. Players who spawn on the player who placed the beacon, will spawn on the physical model of the radio beacon instead of on the player who owns that beacon. If placed in an open area away from objects, players spawning on the beacon will HALO drop and can deploy their parachute to drift onto distant locations or rooftops.

    It is highly discouraged to remain near the beacon once it is active, particularly if operating alone. The beeping noise the beacon makes is very distinctive, and even if you are keeping a low profile you are very likely to be found and killed if an enemy finds the beacon and you happen to be close by. Further, beacons are often prime camping targets for an opponent looking for a free kill or two in Battlefield and other games. (see also Tactical Insertion flares in the Call of Duty franchise)

    Despite its flaws, the beacon is always a solid choice within a squad as it allows a certain degree of “wipe-proofing.” Sneaky players can use this gadget to facilitate back-caps, such as in stairwells or middle floors on the map Flood Zone. Generally, it can allow a squad to spawn in close to the action or from a different angle than the nearest flag would. Ultimately, the beacon’s effectiveness depends on smart placement.

    II. - 7: C4 Explosives

    C4 is back on the sniper! These wonderful care packages of explosions and doom have seen a variety of uses going all the way back to the Spec-Ops class of Battlefield 2. You can use it to blow holes in walls, blow up certain bridges, turn the cap radius of a flag into a kill zone, trap a corridor, road, or stairwell, destroy armor/vehicles, and so it goes.

    The downsides to be aware of are that C4 charges can be spotted by the enemy, giving them a unique symbol on any players HUD. C4 is also easier to remove than in pre-BF3 titles, as it can be detonated by any other explosive. This is a weakness but also a blessing, as your squadmates can set off a C4 trap you set with any explosive or special weapon of their own. The idea of a C4 trap detonated by an XM25, 40mm grenade, or AT rocket springs readily to mind.

    The only limits to the effectiveness of C4 are how creative, sneaky, or daring you choose to be with it.

    II. - 8: M18 Claymore

    Another gadget of olden days returns to its rightful class. Claymores saw use on the sniper kit in Battlefield 2 and were present on the recon in 2142. The BF4 implementation is slightly different than past Battlefield titles. Upon placement, the Claymore will shoot out three black wires to the closest surfaces in a roughly 90 degree arc in front of it. These function as tripwires, and if an enemy passes through one, the claymore will detonate.

    It should be noted that on servers with Friendly Fire on, moving through the tripwire of a friendly claymore will cause it to detonate. Once you place it, avoid it, and warn your squad mates about it.

    Claymores are very similar to C4 in that their effectiveness depends on smart placement. Use the environment to your advantage by hiding them in foliage, around corners, inside a doorway. The key is to place them so that their wires cannot be seen until it is too late. The sneakier and cleverer you are, the better. Even if your enemy spots a claymore or its wires, you force them to expend ammunition or even a grenade or rocket to dispose of it, potentially giving away their position, or to take extra time and effort to avoid it.

    III. This is My Rifle

    Bolt action rifles are the exclusive primary weapon set of the sniper/recon class in Battlefield. As covered in Part 1 of this series and as we are all hopefully familiar, bolt actions are the strongest bullet based weapons in the game, offering potential one hit kill headshots with every round and significant burst damage at any range. (recall the MMO terms “sustained” and “burst” damage from part 1)

    In this section I will break the bolt action rifles down by damage model and highlight the quirks of weapons with special properties. As Expansion Packs and new weapons are released, I intend to add the new weapons both here and in stand-alone mini guides, and update existing weapons as they are tweaked. Additionally, I intend to add more details and updated opinions over time as I experiment with weapons and loadouts.

    All statistics provided here are thanks to the hard work and dedication of the people over at
    Link to complete sniper rifle comparison chart.

    III. - 1: “Smaller” Caliber Bolt Actions

    The bolt action rifles available in these calibers at launch are the CS-LR4, M40A5, Scout Elite, SV-98, JNG-90, FY-JS.
    In general, these rifles have 10+1 round magazines coupled with a higher rate of fire and slower muzzle velocity than the .338 and larger bolt actions. Most of these smaller caliber bolt actions deal 100 maximum damage and 59 minimum, with the damage falloff curve beginning at 15m and ending at 100m.
    The Scout Elite and FY-JS are the oddballs of the smaller bolt action category. They offer the highest rates of fire for bolt actions, and a different damage model, dealing 100 maximum damage and 36.6 minimum, with the damage falloff curve beginning at 12.5m and ending at 110m. Unfortunately, headshots at minimum damage for these rifles are non-lethal, dealing 86 damage. BF4s bolt-action headshot multiplier is 2.35, so 36.6 * 2.35 = 86.01. Fortunately, the high rate of fire of these rifles and their high muzzle velocity values makes follow-up shots easier.


    The CS-LR4 is the starting bolt-action, and has the stats to prove it unfortunately. Second worst bolt action muzzle velocity at 500 meters per second, and average rate of fire at 46 rounds per minute. It sports the fastest reload with a round left in the chamber, but has the slowest reload time of all bolt actions when empty. The CS-LR4 just isn’t particularly good at anything, and I recommend switching to any other rifle as soon as you can.


    The M40A5 hasn’t changed much from BF3 to BF4, but the muzzle velocity has been lowered from the BF3 490m/s down to 480m/s in BF4. This is disappointing, slowing down the slowest muzzle velocity bolt action even further, however the upsides of this weapon easily offset this. It has a superior rate of fire at 54rpm, making it the highest rate of fire 100max - 59min damage bolt action. (The FY-JS and Scout Elite match or beat its RoF though) The M40A5s combination of magazine size, damage, and rate of fire make it a good choice for a squads designated marksman, or any sniper who finds himself engaging at a variety of ranges.

    Scout Elite

    The Scout Elite is the mobile marksman’s rifle. It sports the fastest rate of fire out of all bolt actions and the second highest muzzle velocity next to the M98B. Unfortunately, the Scout shares the lower minimum damage model with the FY-JS, dealing 36.6 minimum damage past 110m, limiting its effectiveness at long ranges and placing an even heavier emphasis on headshots than usual. Unfortunately the Scout offers the smallest magazine in its class, 5+1 rounds. Like the FY-JS, the Scout is a niche weapon intended for close to medium range, but it fills that role very well and has the advantage of being the easiest to make follow up shots with. Still, if you find yourself engaging at long ranges where you often deal your minimum damage, bring a different rifle. Not doing lethal damage on headshots at long range sucks.


    The SV98 and M40A5 are rather similar, though the SV98 trades rate of fire off for a higher muzzle velocity. Clocking in at 520m/s the SV98 has one of the lower muzzle velocities in the bolt action category. Its 50rpm rate of fire is above average and definitely its strongest point, but still not the best in its class. The SV98 does bring better hip fire accuracy to the table, making it a little more dependable for no scope shots, especially when paired with a laser sight. However, the 338 Recon has better hip fire bonuses, albeit at the cost of a smaller magazine and slower rate of fire. I can’t call the SV98 “bad”, but there’s better options available.


    The JNG-90 is kind of your middle of the road, resoundingly average bolt action rifle. Good muzzle velocity at 560m/s, 41rpm rate of fire, and the second best reload times next to the M40A5. It isn’t the best at anything, but it’s actually really good. If you want a jack-of-all-trades rifle, the JNG-90 is a really respectable choice.


    The FY-JS is visually very similar to the CS-LR4, and in reality they are basically the same rifle but chambered in different calibers. But the similarities are mostly cosmetic. The FY-JS offers a fast rate of fire at 54rpm (identical to the M40A5) and great muzzle velocity at 630m/s, third best muzzle velocity behind the M98B and the FY-JSs stablemate, the Scout Elite. But the 100 max / 36.6 min damage curve isn’t pleasant to use at long distances and headshots are must with this weapon. Pretty much everything said about the Scout Elite applies to this rifle, and statistically the FY-JS is overall a worse alternative in everything but magazine size. The FY-JS is another “not bad” weapon, but falls short in comparison to the large caliber rifles and to the Scout.

    III. - 2: “Larger” Caliber Bolt Actions

    The bolt action rifles available in these calibers at launch are the M98B, 338 Recon, and SRR-61. In general these rifles have smaller magazines (the smallest being the 5+1 in the chamber) and have a slower rate of fire, slower reload times, and higher muzzle velocity compared to the smaller caliber bolt actions. These larger caliber bolt actions deal 100 maximum damage and 59 minimum damage, with the damage falloff curve beginning at 12.5m and ending at 150m.

    338 Recon

    The 338 Recon is the only bullpup bolt action rifle in Battlefield 4 at release, and as a bullpup rifle has a tighter hipfire spread than non-bullpup rifles. Coupled with a laser sight, no-scope firing with this weapon is a viable but still unreliable panic strategy at close range. It sports a 42rpm rate of fire over the 40rpm of the M98B and SRR-61, but unfortunately its advantages end here. The 338 Recon has the smallest magazine capacity of the larger calibers at 5+1 per mag, and the slowest muzzle velocity at 520 meters per second, a solid 100m/s less than the SRR-61 and more so against the M98B.


    The SRR-61 is just a solid, respectable rifle. Like the JNG-90, I can’t really say anything bad about it, but stats-wise it is slightly outdone by the M98B. 40 rounds per minute, 620m/s muzzle velocity, 7+1 magazine capacity. The big advantage the SRR-61 has over other bolt actions is that its rounds are affected less by bullet drop than all the other rifles. This makes it a little tricky to get used to at first, but well worth mastering. Plus it looks cool. ;)


    The M98B has changed slightly from BF3 to BF4. It now has a 10 round magazine, up from 5, and its rate of fire has been lowered to 40rpm from BF3’s 46.2. Compared to the SRR-61 and 338 Recon, this rifle is mostly upside. 650m/s muzzle velocity (fastest of all bolt actions), 10+1 round magazine, rate of fire equal to the SRR-61. The only real “downside” I can attribute to this rifle is the fact that its barrel is quite long and thus its large world model could potentially give away your location, but this can be counteracted with smart positioning. If you’re a stickler for optimal performance, the M98B is probably the most bang for your buck.

    IV. Customizing your Rifle

    BF4 gives us an unprecedented number of different possible weapon configurations. We’ll cover attachment options on the sniper’s primary weapons, bolt-action rifles. Each type of attachment in each slot available to these weapons will get a paragraph, with some brief notes on when or if they’re worth using on a bolt action rifle. Weapons and attachments in pub play is a matter of opinion and personal taste, so take this as my experience with each.

    IV. - 1: Scope Magnification

    Battlefield 4 offers us very high magnification optics, with the 20x Hunter and 40x Ballistic available to equip. Remember what we covered in part 1 of this guide series: the higher your scope magnification is, the more you will have to manually compensate to lead your target and accommodate drop. You will have to move your mouse more to adjust with a 20x than you would with an 8x. Personally, the 20x and 40x seem like overkill. 12x was enough (often too much) in Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3, and for me the 8x was sufficient for all ranges in BF3.

    Variable zoom is available on the accessory slot of sniper rifles in BF4. This attachment gives any high power optic a toggleable 14x option. If you feel you must have a higher magnification scope, I would recommend trying out a 6, 7, or 8x scope with variable zoom first. If that does not work out for you, then try the 20x or 40x sights.

    The lower powered optics are classified as close range (1x/2x) and medium range (3.4x/4x) in BF4 and are still available on sniper rifles. I typically prefer Holo or 3.4x sights on DMRs (and for screwing around on a fast bolt action like the M40A5) as they give enough magnification for long range engagements without sacrificing the weapons close range capability. I typically discourage anything with greater magnification than 6x on a DMR. The scope glare just isn’t worth it on the lower damage, less reliable / less accurate DMRs. Besides, if you plan on engaging at medium to long ranges primarily you really ought to be rocking a bolt action. The big advantage DMRs have over bolt actions is that they can mount IRNV and FLIR sights, whereas bolt actions cannot.

    I should note that scope magnification is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Most of this section consists of my personal findings, but I want to emphasize that what matters here is consistency. If you are consistently accurate with any given optic on a weapon at a variety ranges, then keep using that optic.

    IV. - 2: The Accessory Slot

    Now we’ll move into the accessory slot of your sniper rifle. We’ve already covered variable zoom in the optics section, but we also have access to the rangefinder, canted ironsights, laser sights, and flashlights.

    The rangefinder adds range to target and current zero displays in text on the sight picture of high power scopes. I would recommend the rangefinder when first learning the kit and the ranges on maps in BF4, as it takes the guesswork out of zeroing your scope. However, as you practice with your weapon and optic of choice, learn the maps, and just play the game you will gradually get a feel for ranges and appropriate zeroing or compensation by instinct without needing the rangefinder. Once you reach this point, I would recommend dropping the rangefinder in favor of another accessory.

    Canted ironsights are something every sniper should at least give a fair chance, especially if running an optics setup of 8x or greater. Knowing where the center of your screen is and being able to quickscope is still a necessary skill to cultivate for the mobile marksman, however some may find the backup irons to be easier on the eyes or they may simply be more consistent with them. If you find that you are more effective up close with canted irons, keep using them. If you can quickscope consistently with a high power optic, then canted irons probably aren’t worth taking up a slot.

    Flashlights are a little more useful with Levolution being a thing in BF4 than in BF3, due to features such as fuse boxes and switches for lights and dark parts of some maps. Flashlights no longer blind like they did in Battlefield 3, and if you leave the light turned on it can give away your position. Flashlights still offer no benefit to the weapon’s actual performance, so running a flashlight is very situational at best. If you feel you must have a flashlight, run it on your sidearm.
    The laser sights actually give us a tangible benefit by tightening the cone of fire of our weapon when “hip firing.” Set the toggle button to something easy to reach, and turn the sight off if you are worried about it shining in someone’s eyes or giving away your position. (I use F as my accessory toggle) Turn it on when you are on the move or doing anything in close quarters. The hip fire bonus can (and will) save your life. This is especially useful on bullpups and other weapons which already have tighter hip fire spread, such as the 338 Recon, SV98, RFB, and QBU-88.
    If for some reason you want both a laser pointer and a flashlight, there is a combination laser/light available via Battlepacks that lets you toggle between them, but does not have an off switch.
    An easy razor by which to determine whether you will like the laser sights and flashlights is this. If you see them as “one more thing to pay attention to”, you’re not going to like using them. If you have no problem remembering to turn them on/off at the right times, you won’t mind using them.

    IV. - 3: The Barrel Slot

    The barrel slot attachments of bolt action weapons is a little sparse. The choices here are the muzzle brake, flash hider, and various flavors of suppressor.

    The muzzle brake decreases the weapon’s recoil, but increases spread for following shots. We don’t have to worry about spread increase with bolt action rifles, and the recoil reduction could make getting an accurate interpretation of where your last shot landed easier. But you should be able to do this off of default recoil values anyway, plus a bipod just seems better if you are having trouble adjusting from your previous shot due to recoil. The only real use I see to the muzzle brake is on a DMR with high recoil, where you can make follow up shots relatively quickly and aren’t so concerned with long range accuracy.

    The flash hider hides the muzzle flash when you fire your weapon. There is no downside, thus there is no reason not to run the flash hider if you aren’t using any other barrel slot attachment. The flash hider removes one of the key ways by which many players spot snipers. If you have the flash hider unlocked then you should never have an empty barrel slot.

    BF4 offers several different sound suppressors, but they differ only in cosmetic appearance. They serve the same functions: muffling the sound of your shot and preventing your shots from lighting you on the minimap. Suppressors have a sharp disadvantage, they seriously restrict your effective range. BF4s suppressors slow your muzzle velocity and increase the rate at which the round falls, forcing you to compensate more for both drop and target lead. Essentially, they turn a medium/long range bolt action into a quiet medium/short range weapon. Most of the time you will want to equip the suppressor only if using a carbine or DMR. It is worth getting some practice in with a suppressed bolt action to understand how it handles, but most of the time it is just a bad idea. If you want a silent weapon for close ranges, get a suppressed sidearm or rock a suppressed carbine.

    IV. - 4: The Auxiliary Slot

    You have two options: straight pull bolt or bipod.

    Honestly, most of the time you are going to want the straight pull bolt, as it is simply too good. In past titles without this attachment, the bolt action rifles forced you to “de-scope” in order to work the bolt to chamber the next round. BF3 and BF4 offer the straight pull bolt, so that when you fire your character will automatically work the bolt even if you are still looking through the scope, although the movement of the weapon as you work the bolt does shake up your sight picture a bit. This maximizes your rate of fire by removing the delay of the human player in descoping.

    Alternatively, the bipod isn’t a bad attachment. It removes scope sway entirely and most of the recoil when deployed, meaning you don’t need to hold your breath before shooting and can adjust your next shot better due to the minimal recoil. Of course, your rate of fire slows down in comparison to the straight pull bolt due to human error, and follow up shots take a little longer due to the time delay of working the bolt and then reacquiring the target. If you know you’re going to be staying fairly stationary or firing from cover or prone frequently, the bipod is perfectly viable. DMRs are superb with this attachment letting you put out precise, medium damage fire at longer ranges. Use the bipod to get 100 kills on your weapon of choice, just so you understand when/how to use it.

    IV. - Additional: Rebind your Deploy Bipod Key

    On a control scheme note, I strongly recommend that every player rebind their bipod deploy key. By default, it is deployed by holding the right mouse button and has really bad detection. Most players I’ve encountered who don’t like the bipod don’t like it because of the auto-deploy. Instead, bind deploy bipod to a dedicated key, I prefer left alt. (I moved my voip to my mouse) I promise that it’s an improvement.

    V. Field Upgrades

    Field Upgrades from 2142 are back, and they’ve been combined with the perks systems of Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3. Field upgrades in BF4 give you you certain benefits as your squad works together and completes objectives. There are five upgrade trees for us to choose from: defensive, offensive, shadow, spec ops, and sniper. All upgrade trees hand you the level one perk for free, and up to level three can be gained with some relatively easy play like capturing one point in conquest.

    V. - 1: Defensive

    The defensive tree provides the following perks:
    1. Armor: Reduces incoming damage to the chest by 10%
    2. Cover: Decreases incoming suppression by 50%
    3. Flak: Decreases damage taken from explosives by 15%
    4. Quick Regen: Decreases time before out of combat heal by 20%

    I see no reason to choose the defensive upgrade tree when playing the sniper. The perks it offers are mainly inferior to the other trees. Armor is mostly irrelevant as we always want to have the drop on our opponent anyway and only keeps us from being insta-killed by a point blank range bolt action or shotgun. It’s just a wasted perk compared to our other first level options in the other trees: sprint, quick unspot, stealth, and hold breath. Cover is very useful, but the sniper tree provides it at the same level anyway with better perks for our kit at all the other levels. Flak is okay but again outdone by other perks in other trees, and Quick Regen is really a gimmick to compensate for poor positioning and lack of a medic and is completely useless on hardcore settings.

    Just don’t use the Defensive tree on a recon. Shadow is available at level 1 as well, and is better than Defensive in almost every applicable way.

    V. - 2: Offensive

    The offensive tree provides the following perks:
    1. Sprint: Increases maximum sprint speed by 10%
    2. Ammo: Increases maximum inventory of bullets by 50%
    3. Grenades: Increases hand grenade inventory by 1
    4. Reduced Fall: Increases height you can fall without taking damage

    I wouldn’t recommend this tree if you are playing as a squads designated marksman, since sniper and spec ops are just better suited for that role. What this tree does well is facilitate constant, highly mobile fighting. Sprint, Ammo, and Grenades allow a sniper to operate longer before needing to resupply, and Reduced Fall is a decent bonus for someone who moves around frequently. My gut reaction is to try this tree with a suppressed DMR or Carbine, Short 12 gauge, incendiary grenades, C4, and Claymores. Get in close to the enemy, keep moving, and kill everything.

    V. - 3: Shadow

    The shadow tree provides the following perks:
    1. Quick Unspot: Reduces time you are spotted by two seconds
    2. Sprint: Increases maximum sprint speed by 10%
    3. Reduced Fall: Increases height you can fall without taking damage
    4. Stealth: Undetected by motion sensors except when sprinting

    This tree has useful perks at each level, and is a solid alternative to each other tree available to the sniper. In general, the less often we appear on the minimap, the more effective we are, and Sprint with Quick Unspot and Stealth is a very good combination. For the sniper kit though, I envision the spec ops upgrade tree outdoing the shadow in most scenarios. Shadow remains perfectly viable, sometimes even preferable due to the early sprint perk in scenarios where you have to cover ground in a hurry. (such as 2142 Cerebere recon rushes)

    V. - 4: Spec Ops

    The spec ops tree provides the following perks:
    1. Stealth: Undetected by motion sensors except when sprinting
    2. C4 Explosives: Maximum inventory of C4 explosives increased to 6
    3. Motion Sensors: Increases maximum inventory of motion sensors to 5. Increases range of T-UGS and MAV by 40%
    4. Quick Unspot: Reduces time you are spotted by two seconds

    Compared to the shadow tree, spec ops seems mostly superior. C4 is a dead perk if you don’t have C4 equipped, but the motion sensors perk makes up for it so well that it doesn’t matter. Our minimap gadgets like the motion balls and TUGS are so useful that it is worth running the spec ops tree for the level three Motion Sensors perk alone. Think of the spec ops tree like the shadow tree. We get quick unspot and stealth anyway in spec ops, plus the best perk for our kit in motion sensors. I think sprint is a fair trade off there. Double our normal C4 capacity is an excellent replacement for Reduced Fall. Spec Ops will definitely be well suited for a closer range sniper/recon.

    V. - 5: Sniper

    The sniper tree provides the following perks:
    1. Hold Breath: Increases time you can steady your scope by 100%
    2. Cover: Decreases amount of incoming suppression by 50%
    3. Quick Unspot: Reduces time you are spotted by two seconds
    4. Advanced Spot: Increases the time your targets are spotted by 45%

    Hold breath is a dead perk if you are not using a 6x or greater scope. Unlike all of the spec ops perks, cover directly affects our performance in a firefight, making the sniper tree worth serious consideration. Sniper shares Quick Unspot with spec ops, giving us some amount of stealth in this tree, and Advanced Spot is an excellent perk for level four. This is the tree of choice for the marksman. While it hurts to not have the motion sensors perk, cover and advanced spot make up for it well.

    Overall, I think that the Spec Ops and Sniper field upgrade trees are going to see the most use for Battlefield 4’s snipers. Shadow and Offense will definitely see play but in a lesser capacity, primarily by players who have not unlocked the recon’s class specific upgrade trees. I think that the main deciding factor in selecting a tree for the sniper class is going to be how often you expect to be fighting at medium to long range. If most of your fighting will be closer in, take the Spec Ops or maybe the Offensive trees. If you’re fighting primarily at longer ranges, take the Sniper tree.

    VI. Even More Random Stuff

    VI. - 1: Sniper Rifles as Battle Pickups

    Originally posted by Zhohar
    We .50 cal now!!!
    There are two .50 caliber sniper rifles available as battle pickups in Battlefield 4, the M82 and the AMR-2. These rifles come in various flavors depending on the map/mode they are found on, and mostly differ in optics packages, ranging from 3.4x to 40x variable.

    Both the M82 and the AMR-2 come equipped with a bipod, rangefinder, and high powered optic. The rangefinder applies the same scope details as it does when equipped on any other rifle, the blue number is your current zero, the red number is the range to your target. The M82 is a semi-auto rifle and comes with 2 magazines totaling 22 shots, at 10+1 in the chamber per mag. The AMR-2 is a bolt action rifle and has 3 magazines totaling 18 shots, at 5+1 in the chamber per mag.

    These .50 caliber snipers do 110 damage per shot, and thus will kill any infantryman in one shot to any part of the body. They will deal some amount of damage per hit to lightly armored vehicles, such as helicopters and transport vehicles, and will not damage tanks or IFVs.

    If you want to snipe someone from across the map, these are the weapons you’re looking for. If you’re a squad leader and have a good marksman in your squad, let him/her take the .50 if it’s up, in most cases you won’t be disappointed.

    VII. Conclusion

    I hope that this has been helpful as a practical analysis of equipment for the Recon kit. In part three I hope to explore the Recon kit applied in close quarters, in the role of the old Spec-Ops loadouts of BF2 and 2142.

    As always, input, feedback, and constructive discussion is highly encouraged. Especially given the technical focus of this part of the series, I would be very grateful for any corrections, however I would ask that corrections have a verifiable source such as patch notes or symthic stats, and not “some guy on random server says its this.” :p

    Work hard. Play hard. And have fun!

    VIII. Changelog

    Nov. 2nd 2013: "Parked MAV" concept no longer functions. Quoted out the parked MAV segment and added a notice in place.
    Last edited by TheLancerMancer; 11-02-2013, 03:17 PM.

    "Over the din of battle could be heard Lancer’s maniacal laughter and it spurned us on to stay the course, not to give up, and enjoy." - Grimmfist

  • #2
    Re: TLM's Battlefield 4 Sniper Treatise Thing, Part 2 - The Sniper's Toybox

    The detection is a little wonky with bolt actions, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

    I believe you can't use the lean/peek system with a bipod equipped. That might be the causing the issue.

    Also, leaving a a dead MAV no longer works. The motion sensor is only active if it is being flown around by the player.


    • #3
      Re: TLM's Battlefield 4 Sniper Treatise Thing, Part 2 - The Sniper's Toybox

      Originally posted by Britt View Post
      The detection is a little wonky with bolt actions, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

      I believe you can't use the lean/peek system with a bipod equipped. That might be the causing the issue.

      Also, leaving a a dead MAV no longer works. The motion sensor is only active if it is being flown around by the player.
      Crap, you're right on the MAV section, just went and tested it. I've made the appropriate edits.

      I'm thinking of cleaning up the formatting and adding images to this thing eventually. I'll see what I can do over the next couple months.

      "Over the din of battle could be heard Lancer’s maniacal laughter and it spurned us on to stay the course, not to give up, and enjoy." - Grimmfist




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