Best Airsoft Sniper Rifle: 2018’s Expert Buying Guide
Whether you’re an airsoft newbie, a mom or dad looking to buy the best airsoft sniper rifle for your kid, or a veteran trying to learn more about snipers; you’ve found the #1 best airsoft sniper rifle buyers guide on the interwebs!
My name is Liam & I’ve been playing airsoft for over a decade. Let me share my expertise and save you hundreds of dollars, many headaches and hours of your time!
Buying an awesome airsoft sniper rifle shouldn’t be a regretful experience, ending with buyers remorse. Check out my recommendations below and join the ranks of an airsoft expert!
Best Airsoft Sniper
Each of these rifles will give you the ability to reach out and touch someone, the features table below should help you decide which is the ideal rifle for you.
|Runner up||Best Airsoft Sniper||Best All-rounder|
|200ft Range||260ft Range||170ft Range|
|All Plastic w/ Metal Parts||All Plastic w/ Metal Parts||All Plastic w/ Metal Parts|
|5.3 lbs||7.4 lbs||5.5 lbs|
|27rds Magazine Capacity||30rds Magazine Capacity||25rds Magazine Capacity|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
UTG MK96 Review
The UTG Shadow Ops sniper is the real deal. It’s based on the L96 7.62mm sniper, used by the British Army from 1985 and built to deal with treacherous weather conditions. UTG have done a great job in ensuring that it looks and feels like the real thing, and I think it’s the best airsoft sniper on the market for under $200.
This is a full-powered spring action airsoft gun, allowing you to fire at up to 480 FPS. This sniper is a great performer, getting all the fundamentals right. It has a 32.5in barrel and combines power, accuracy and quality.
The Shadow Ops has the potential to live up to the performance of a much more expensive sniper rifle. After set-up, the sniper fires cleanly and accurately, hitting up to 260ft away. There’s certainly potential for a skilled sniper to hit some crack shots over 250 feet, with 0.20g or 0.28g BBs. The UTG sniper receives consistently good reviews from fellow airsoft fans and is generally seen to be a great gun.
The rifle comes in three colors; camo, green and black, with the latter two NOT including a scope. This is perfect if you already have a scope or are buying an upgraded one outright.
The body is constructed from weatherproof ABS (a composite plastic) but all the important parts are metal, including the barrel, trigger, bolt, bolt handle, magazine release, bipod and sling mounts. A one-piece precision brass barrel is not just more durable, but will also improve the accuracy of your marksmanship. The included stock hop-up is sturdy and adjustable. This is a big help in increasing the precision of your shots with different weights of BB. The two included magazines are also pure metal, reinforcing the quality feel of the sniper.
The large, tactical frame also minimizes recoil. At around 7.4lbs, this sniper is heavy enough to feel extremely solid and sturdy in your hands but not too heavy for teenagers and young adults.
A bolt action spring powered (‘springer’) rifle comes with several advantages. Springers react better to different weather conditions and are quieter, perfect if you’re lying low in the rough. They also better mimic the feeling of a real steel effect.
If you believe that you might be playing airsoft in sub-optimal conditions, a springer will be a reliable choice. Springers don’t suffer adverse effects in the same way that an electrical might freeze up or a gas piston may start leaking. You also won’t have to worry about charging batteries or bringing spare batteries to the field.
The downside is that the bolt-action cocking mechanism means that you must manually cock your gun each and every time you want to fire a shot but, as a sniper, this is a limited downside. The first few shots will be pretty loud but this sniper really begins to quieten after the first dozen shots.
The camo sniper package includes a scope and an adjustable bipod. It also includes a speed loader, which should help alleviate the problem of manually cocking the gun.
Since there’s a standard picatinny mounting rail system, the sniper has a strong level of customizability for attaching your choice of optics. We’d recommend that you may want to upgrade the scope as you start to polish your sniping skills, but it’s perfectly fine as a starter option.
The same goes for the bipod; perfectly fine as a starting option but easily upgradeable. Some people have reported minor issues with the mount, but this is a pretty basic fix with inventive use of tape.
There are a couple of very minor problems with this sniper, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. First, the sniper only comes with a 30-day limited warranty. That’s short if you run into any technical problems, but these are rare and UTG has a reasonable reputation for reliability. Second, the barrel has a black matte finish that is prone to scratching. This may not bother you or you may want to pick up a sleek camo wrap to protect it.
If you’re in the market for a sniper rifle, the UTG is my number one choice. The UTG Shadow Ops sniper looks and feels fantastic and you’re not going to get a much better combination of quality, looks and performance at the $200 mark. Most importantly, the Shadow Ops will consistently deliver clean, accurate shots.
Verdict:This is a sniper rifle that offers pro performance for a SUPER reasonable price.
Well SR-2 Review
The Well SR-2 sniper rifle is a beauty. It has a sleek, all black matte weatherproof design, crafted precision metal barrel and feels just right. It’s capable of 475 FPS and an effective range of up to 200 feet. I believe that if you’re an expert sniper who takes the time to zero in, you could push the SR-2 to nearly 250 feet, similar to the UTG M96.
The SR-2 resembles an assault rifle and sniper rifle mash up. One of the major selling points of the Well SR-2 sniper rifle is that it has a much smaller and lighter profile than many of the other sniper rifles on the market. This gives you more flexibility out in the field to move around and reposition. At just 4.4lbs (unloaded) or around 5.3lbs with scope and bipod, that’s light enough to chuck it in a pack and get on the move.
In terms of the look and feel of the gun, the Well SR-2 delivers. The retractable LE style stock, pistol grip and trigger are all AR-15 style. If you’re usually an assault rifle kind of person, the familiar pistol grip is a helpful step to improving your sniping skills. There’s also an adjustable hop up, allowing you to fiddle with the amount of backspin of your BB and therefore adjust the trajectory of your shots; a standard & useful feature.
The SR-2 also ticks all the boxes with customizability. It’s available to buy with a sturdy bipod and scope, mounted on a picatinny rail mount. This means that there’s room to upgrade your optics in the future so you’re not limiting your sniper progression. If you’re interested in future custom upgrades, the SR-2 uses APS / Type 96 systems meaning there’s good compatibility for future customization.
As you’d expect with a quality airsoft sniper rifle, the main internals are metal. The barrel is a tuned, precision aluminium. If you’re investing in a sniper, it’s well worth paying the extra for a metal barrel as it can make a lot of difference to the accuracy of your shots. It’s a far more important consideration than barrel length.
But don’t let the SR-2’s lightness deceive you. This sniper still packs a serious punch, at an average of 475FPS and the kind of accuracy you’d expect from a more expensive airsoft sniper. It shoots hard, it shoots accurately, and it shoots quietly. The lightness means that it is a little more sensitive to the weight of ammo; .20g or .28g should do the trick.
The scope here is a 3-9×32 zooming tool, and is surprisingly good for an included scope. It’s constructed from high quality glass and metal, but lacks anything to focus with. They also throw in a speed reloader.
Again, the Well sniper is a fully spring loaded machine. That means all the benefits mentioned above; reliability and versatility in different weather conditions. The SR-2’s bolt action is nice and smooth, minimizing disruption in between shots.
The MB06 SR-2 is a very solid sniper rifle which looks and feels amazing. For me, the reason it comes second best is that it suffers from some slight reliability issues with the magazines. This, of course, is easily alleviated by picking up a spare mag to go with the sniper.
UTG Airsoft Gen 5 Master Sniper
The Gen 5 Master Sniper from UTG features a classic design you usually see in movies. Equipped with a bipod from the box, the gun is highly accurate and can cover very long distances. Of course, if you want more, it’s best to add a scope, especially if we consider the fact that it comes with metal Picatinny rails from the box.
Speaking of out of the box, the rifle comes well-equipped and can be used as soon as you get it. Besides the sniper rifle, you’ll also find a cleaning rod, an adjustable metal bipod, 3 butt pad inserts (for adjustment purposes), two magazines, one-speed loader, and a sling.
The gun comes in Styrofoam and it is delivered in two pieces that need assembly (which can be a bit of a pain).
The Gen 5 Master Sniper is a full-size, bolt-action gun so beginners may have some troubles adjusting to it. However, once you do, you’ll appreciate the realistic weight and feel it brings. While the body is plastic, the barrel, trigger, and inner mechanism are metal which makes the gun sound great when you load your shot.
In terms of performance, the gun features a zippy velocity of 460 FPS, with a 30 rounds mag that is completely encased in the body. To release the mag, you have a button on the bottom of the front body, which can be triggered accidentally if you’re not careful. The mag is plastic, so it’s easy to break it if you release it accidentally over a hard surface.
I like the fact that the rifle is durable – besides all the cool metal parts, it also comes with a metal bolt handle that won’t break too soon. The handle is covered with a rubberized sleeve so you can use it even if you’re not wearing gloves and your palms are sweaty or you’re playing in low temperatures. Finally, the ABS plastic used for the body and buttstock is very durable.
The metal barrel is sticking out, just like with most high-accuracy, long-distance riffles and it end with the orange tip we all know too well in airsoft. The rifle supports a 6mm caliber and comes with reinforced safety which will protect from any accidental discharges (a fantastic feature for beginners). The gun works well with .25 and .20 BBs but you have to be prepared for a bit of curving giving the FPS it features. If you want the perfect BB size, I recommend a .28 or higher
When it comes to usage, once you get used to the size, the gun is pretty straightforward. As I already mentioned, it comes with a sling which you can mount using the metal hook attached to the front of the body and one at the end, it also comes with three different butt plates so you adjust the stock to your needs. I’m not particularly happy of the fact that the stock is not collapsible, but it’s not a deal-breaker. I like the fact that the part that comes against the shoulder is rubberized, this way you don’t run the risk of the stock slipping on your coat.
I am also not really happy with the grip which is just plastic – no rubber insertion to improve your adherence. Still the pistol grip is easy to grab and fits comfortably in your hand. Finally, the magazine loading process is a bit sensitive as you have to avoid unloading it the first round while you mount the magazine. If this happens, the gun will jam and this is not something you want happening in the field!
Overall, the gun is quiet and doesn’t produce recoil, which is a nice touch for beginners. However, you should know there’s a difference in accuracy between using it in cold weather and using it in the summer. Because the barrel gets colder in cold weather, the accuracy is not 100% on the spot.
I also don’t recommend using the UTG Gen 5 Master Sniper rifle without a scope (which you’ll have to buy), because it is highly inaccurate. The gun doesn’t have iron sights besides the rail (which doesn’t work) so it is very difficult to aim without a scope. Finally the top and bottom rails are not as sturdy as you’d want them to be and they may come loose after a while.
At the end of the day, the UTG Airsoft Gen 5 Master Sniper is a fantastic entry level gun and a great fit for beginners who want to test the waters in sniping.
Game Face GF529 Sniper Carbine
This is a beautiful spring powered, bolt-action rifle that can shoot up to 400 FPS using .20 BBs and above. This means that you won’t need any alternative power source (like a battery or gas) because the rifle is powered by a spring. However, this also means you will need to cock it for each shot by pulling the bolt back.
It is recommended for beginners because it is sturdy and the accuracy level is quite high, especially if you pair it with a good scope. To adjust the accuracy of your BBs, you have the possibility to adjust the hop-up from Normal to Hop (placed on the top of the gun), and the safety is easy to reach with your thumb while you’re holding the rifle.
The gun is ready to use from the box (some assembly required) and it is delivered with a sling, a speed loader, and Picatinny rails for scope and sight mounting (one on top and one at the bottom). However, you should know that the sling mounts are plastic and quite cheap so they may break off easily. Otherwise, the body is designed with durable ABS plastic and the barrel is metal.
I don’t really like that there’s more plastic than metal in this gun, but the construction is sturdy and, with a good bipod and scope, the accuracy is spot on. As you can expect, the magazine is plastic too so I recommend avoiding any accidental drops on concrete or stepping on it by mistake. The GF529 uses the same magazine loading system as the UTG Airsoft Gen 5 so it’s easy to press the release button by accident.
You can use a speed loader to speed up the loading process, but when it comes to the types of BBs used, I recommend ditching the .20 BBs that come with the gun. The lighter BBs will tend to curve to the left or right after about 30 feet, but if you use 0.25 or 0.28 BBs the projectile will keep a straighter trajectory.
When it comes to ease of use, the GF529 sniper rifle is perfect for both beginners and advanced users. The bolt is easy to pull back (which is great for younger kids). Still, this is a realistic replica of a real sniper rifle so new players should break it in before starting a game, to get used to the length. On the other hand, because of the ABS body, the gun is lightweight and quite silent so you don’t have to worry about not having any upper body strength.
I love the sound it makes when you cock it and the fact that it’s quite easy to shoot. The butt plate does a great job when you shoot from standing position, but it is just as useful for when you shoot using the bipod.
The reloading process is pretty straightforward, but you’ll notice that, if you remove the battery before it is empty, one BB will always fall out. Also, you may experience some jamming problems if you don’t know how to mount the mag the right way.
You should also know that the gun is fully upgradeable using VSR-10 parts, which is also one of the reasons I think this to be so great. Basically, you have the possibility to build an advanced sniper rifle starting with the default body, which is quite affordable. If you’re not sure what an upgrade can do, you should know that, after the upgrade, your GF529 will be capable of shooting at 425+ FPS with .20BBs. Now that’s impressive power!
At the end of the day, the GameFace GF529 is a nice-looking rifle, with cool features, and a fantastic potential for upgrade. I definitely would recommend it to a beginner who wants to make sure they like sniping as it allows you to grow as you make the upgrades.
Best All-rounder Sniper
Well L96 Review
Ultimately, if we had to choose the best airsoft sniper rifle based on all of the different factors, this would be the winner. The Well MB01 L96 is an extremely solid sniper choice, and one that is on the lower end of the pricing spectrum. Well have done a great job with combining a sturdy ABS body with a powerful, precise metal barrel.
This L96 airsoft replica is based on the reel steel design of the L96 Arctic Warfare Police Sniper, created by Accuracy International (a British company). Even more, the reel steel gun is still in use by British and the German military so you can see your airsoft sniper in action in real life. As with any successful replica, Well have mimicked the weight and feel of the real gun, which means that the Well L96 weighs in at a manageable 5.5 lbs.
As yet another L96 replica, Well have successfully mimicked the weight and feel of a real Arctic Warfare Police sniper. The Well L96 weighs in at a manageable 5.5 lbs.
You may recognize the distinctive design from Counter Strike or Call of Duty but the L96 actually has a fascinating history. It was designed for snipers who would have to wait for days in harsh Arctic conditions. It was important that the sniper rifle could withstand the conditions and did not freeze at the all-important moment. The sniper was specially adapted for marksmen wearing thick gloves and had heavy-duty internal mechanisms.
There are a couple of noticeable cost compromises in the build of the MB01. The ABS body is solid, but slightly shiny, lacking the matte-black finish of its competitors. Another thing I would change is having a metal trigger unit, not a plastic one. However, the shape and actual feel of the sniper in your hands trumps any disappointment with the slightly “meh” finish. It’s also a great sniper for beginners because of the light weight and design that promotes a set of basic features you want to get accustomed to before you spend more money on an advanced model. First, the body has slingshots on both sides so you can mount the sling as you need it (on the right or on the left). Next, you can mount two different types of bipods on this gun: a hairstyle bipod mounted on the back or a frontal one (the gun has a detach button that can be used).
It comes with all the bells and whistles that you would expect from any good quality sniper rifle. The cheek rest and butt plates are fully adjustable (although you will need a special key to adjust the butt plate). It also features an adjustable hop-up on the bottom of the body. This allows you to look down the sight while adjusting the hop-up, which is a nice feature for beginners. The pistol grip is comfortable and a good fit for lefties, and the rubberised butt plates are also noticeably secure. Finally, the Well L96 is also equipped with a rail that allows you to attach scopes and sights for better aim (a great feature for beginners).
The impressive metal magazine holds 25 rounds, and feeding issues are rare. The package also includes a speed loader, which is slightly flimsy but ultimately effective.
Although it ticks all the physical boxes, the Well L96 unfortunately does not quite manage to replicate the polished, immaculate look of a higher-level model.
In terms of performance, this is a very good sniper with an effective 430 FPS rate. Testing of effective range shows it to max out at around the 170-200 feet region. The sniper rifle benefits a lot from diligent set-up, but it won’t be long before you reach an impressive performance level with .28g BBs.
The brass barrel is nice and tight, improving accuracy. The bolt action pull is nice and smooth and the MB01 fires cleanly and consistently.
The sniper also comes with a starter scope and bipod. These are in a similar vein to competitors; fine for a stock unit but ripe for an upgrade.
The Well L96 also really shines with customizability. Once you catch the sniper bug and consider the options for upgrading your sniper, you’ll be pleased with the options available. The Well L96 has a lot of potential to get even better. It may not be as polished as the UTG Shadow Ops or the Well SR-2, but is still an extremely capable sniper rifle.
Buying a sniper is an awesome opportunity to get the chance to try a different role in your airsoft team. Again, we’ll repeat the caveat that you shouldn’t buy a sniper as a beginner’s first gun, but an airsoft sniper rifle is a fascinating addition to any experienced player’s arsenal. It will help you to develop your marksmanship and think more carefully about game and team strategy.
Make sure you check out our detailed sniper section of our comprehensive airsoft guide for more information about airsoft snipers. We’ve also just launched a new guide on sniping for those of you interested in taking up this stealthy role.
With that in mind, any of these guns are great buys. However, I encourage you to splash out on the UTG. It’s a borderline pro-level sniper at a very intermediate price. With plenty of room for customizability, the UTG will blossom into a one of a kind awesome sniper rifle!