Cool Guns: Sniper Rifles

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    Accuracy International Arctic Warfare Series 
A series of bolt-action sniper rifles used by armies and police forces across the globe; variants are chambered in .243 Winchester and .308 Winchester / 7.62mm NATO (the standard Arctic Warfare (AW) and Arctic Warfare Police (AWP) models), .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum (the Arctic Warfare Magnum or AWM, with the .338 variant also known as the AWSM), and .50 BMG (the AW50 series, though not the AS50 which is a different weapon entirely). The most notable users are the British, German and Australian armies; the British use the designations L96A1 (for the AW) and L115A3 LRR (for the AWM), the Germans use G22 (for the AWM) and G24 (for the AW50), and the Australians use folding stock variants of the AW50 and AW called the AW50F (which is distinguishable from the standard AW50 by its Madco barrel) and SR-98 respectively (with the AW50F the Australians go the extra mile by using Raufoss Mk 211 bullets, which are armour piercing, explosive and incendiary). The AWC, a suppressed "covert" version of the AW with a folding stock, is used by both the British SAS and American Delta Force.

The "Arctic Warfare" name comes from the fact that the original model was designed for the Swedish Army and incorporated de-icing features allowing it to be used in temperatures down to -40 degrees without risk of freezing the action. Given that the vast majority of users of the Arctic Warfare series are nowhere near the arctic and its combat use has to date been exclusively in Iraq and Afghanistan (both significantly closer to the tropics than the arctic), it's very much an Artifact Title.

One of its variants, the L115A3 (chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum), currently holds the record of longest confirmed sniper kill, at 2475 m (2707 yd), superior to the previous 2430 m accomplished by a TAC-50 chambered in .50 BMG.
  • In the comic Hard Graft Bernadette Montez uses one as she "layeth the smacketh" down on the bad guys.
  • Counter-Strike features the AWSM (infamously mislabeled as the AWP) as the most powerful weapon in the game (One hit nigh anywhere on the body kills, regardless of armor). Despite endless nerfing, you will get called a noob just for using it - or worse if you can get any kills with it.
    • Cross-promotion with Team Fortress 2 resulted in this gun appearing in the game as the AWPer Hand. The controversy of its power and accuracy is mocked in its description (being described as "banned in thousands of countries") while actually not happening at all in TF2 itself—the AWP is merely a reskin of the stock sniper rifle and thus no more effective than anything already available to all players.
  • The AWC is available in Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield and the Playstation Portable version of Rainbow Six Vegas. Vegas 2 also features the standard AW.
  • A cowboy hat-wearing STARS officer in Resident Evil: Apocalypse uses one.
  • Used by the Response team snipers in The Negotiator.
  • The AWM (mislabeled L96A1) is available in Call of Duty: Black Ops. Modern Warfare 3 features the AWM as well (again mislabeled: L118A1 instead of L115A1); the same gun returns for Call of Duty: Ghosts with the mostly-proper L115 designation, though this time combining a right-handed bolt with a left-handed ejection port for some reason.
  • The Sniper Rifle in Far Cry is an Australian AW50F, identifiable by the fluted Madco barrel.
  • The sniper rifle often assigned to Unit 00 in Neon Genesis Evangelion is a scaled up AW.
  • Appears in 7.62 High Caliber in both the PM and Arctic Warfare variants in 7.62x51mm NATO. As expected, exceptionally accurate and expensive.
  • Available several times in Nightfire, both with a suppressor and white winter furniture and with standard green furniture and the ability to take armor-piercing ammunition. One level is mostly built around James Bond fighting various Phoenix snipers, all armed with the Arctic Warfare.
  • The standard AW is featured in Grand Theft Auto V as the regular sniper rifle.
  • A custom L115A3, modified with an intergrally suppressed barrel akin to the AWS, is featured as Sterben's rifle of choice in Phantom Bullet arc of Sword Art Online.
  • Shuichi Akai (an FBI agent that infiltrated the Black Organization) from Detective Conan used this rifle in the 425th episode.

    SVD Dragunov 
The classic Soviet Designated Marksman's Rifle, the SVD is a semi-automatic weapon designed to increase the attacking range of a squad past that offered by issued assault rifles. The SVD is issued with the distinctive PSO-1 scope, which has a graph-like stadiametric rangefinder and chevrons for ranging, and is one of the most recognizable rifle scope reticules. It's also one of the few sniper rifles which are not modified assault rifles but can mount a bayonet, along with being the first sniper/designated marksman rifle designed from the ground up instead of adapted from an infantry or hunting rifle. Although it externally looks like an oversize AK with a really cool scope and stock, and mirrors the control arrangement of the AK quite closely (which made it quite easy for any Soviet soldier who showed particularly good marksmanship skills to be trained on the SVD and become the squad's designated marksman), the internal mechanics are quite different. While all SVDs are chambered in the standard Russian military 7.62x54R caliber, there is also a civilian version, aptly named the 'Tiger', which can use many calibers up to the 9.3x64mm and for export purposes the common 7.62x51 NATO/.308 Winchester, but according to the experience of shooters and gunsmiths is slightly less accurate than a modern semi-automatic and slightly lesser quality than a military SVD. Commonly in movies and even some videogames, the SVD will be played by the visually similar but slightly less accurate Romanian FPK / PSL rifle, which is actually based on the RPK action, the Chinese Norinco NDM-86 clone, or by a modified AK or Valmet rifle, on account of original SVD rifles being very rare and expensive outside of the former Soviet Union (and mostly still in military service inside the former Soviet Union).
  • The SVD makes an appearance in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots features the folding-stock SVD-S.
  • In John Woo's The Killer, the title assassin uses a SVD to pull off the Tony Weng hit at the dragon boat festival.
  • A Romanian PSL is the sniper weapon of choice for Mona Sax in Max Payne 2.
  • Commonly used by Team Rainbow snipers.
  • Operation Flashpoint allows picking the SVD up from corpses of soviet snipers (or starting missions with them in the expansion packs.) It's a matter of preference if you want to use this rifle over the M-21, but at least you can pull headshots at 1000 feet.
  • Y: The Last Man. Russian agent Natalya carries one everywhere she goes.
  • Middle-of-the-road Sniper Rifle in Resident Evil 5.
  • The Hurt Locker. An insurgent takes out several Private Military Contractors with one, leading to a sniper duel between him and the protagonists, who are armed with a Barrett .50 cal.
    • Actually a Romanian PSL, which is a modified AK using the same long stroke gas piston system. Internally the SVD is very different using the short stroke system.
  • Balalaika can be seen wielding one in an Afghanistan flashback in Black Lagoon.
  • Appears in Jagged Alliance 2 and Back in Action as one of the sniper rifles.
  • Rico in Gunslinger Girl has this as her trademark weapon.
  • Available later in 7.62 High Caliber, providing a good use for all that cheap surplus 7.62x54mm ammo you probably have lying around for your sniper's old Mosin.
  • Common in the Modern Warfare games and Call of Duty: Black Ops. Always with the distinctive wooden furniture until MW3, which features the modern SVD-M.
  • The SVD appears in all 3 S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games where, for some reason, it is used by the Freedom faction, who prefer higher-end NATO weaponry.

    VSS Vintorez 
A specialized sniper rifle developed for use by the Spetsnaz, one of the most compact sniper rifles in the world with a conventional layout, it can be dissembled to fit inside a small briefcase (and the only semi-auto sniper rifle to feature selective-fire), and like the MP5SD it has an internal suppressor. It uses 9x39mm SP-5, a nasty, armour-piercing, subsonic cartridge that gives the weapon a lot of stopping power (more than an AK bullet) despite being silenced (one round can easily go through body armour at 400 meters and still have enough power to drop the guy wearing it). While the subsonic ammunition means its effective range is significantly lower than most sniper rifles, that's not really a problem because it's designed primarily for counter-insurgency/counter-terrorist operations in urban areas where the average shot range very rarely exceeds 300 meters.

  • One of the most powerful weapons available in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, though it takes some time to master due to the bullet drop.
  • Can be found in the second chapter of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and is one of the better long ranged weapons, with a powerful round and a silencer that never wears out.
  • Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain.
  • Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield.
  • Used by Balalaika's troops among many other Soviet weapons to take out Yakuza members in Black Lagoon.
  • In Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, the must-have weapon for night operations, although it (very inaccurately) uses the same 9mm ammunition as the Baretta (sic!) and Glock 18 (which would be 9x19mm rather than the 9x39m). It also, strangely, does not penetrate armor, so headshots are de rigeur.
  • As expected, available as a late game weapon in 7.62 High Caliber. Not as accurate or powerful at long range as the bigger and badder rifles and ammo is uncommon, but the silencer makes it very stealthy (especially for night firing, where it can be fitted with a night vision sight) and the large magazine and full auto capability makes it more useful in close quarters.
  • In Team Fortress 2, the Sniper's Hitman's Heatmaker seems to be this hard to say due to being a mixture of this weapon and the Walther WA2000.

    Barrett rifles 
Developed in the 1980s on a dare to create a .50-cal sniper rifle. The U.S. military found that the performance of the .50 BMG round (found in the M2 machine gun) was enough to warrant use in anti-materiel rifles. The weapon relies on its high penetration, although this makes it rare in other roles due to potential for collateral damage. It also has an effective range of over one mile, though the bullet can reach much farther distances: when you hear about a sniper making a shot from more than a mile away, chances are they were using a Barrett. The original M82 and its upgrades are semi-auto rifles, while the M90, M95, and M99 are bolt-action. Current production military M82 rifles are designated M107, but the actual changes are just some minor refinements (such as various parts being made of titanium instead of steel) to trim 5 pounds off the rifle's weight...and it still weighs almost 30 pounds empty. Other M82 variants include the XM500 bullpup and the XM109, a 25mm high-velocity grenade launcher version of the M107 which is probably the longest-range grenade launcher ever made. On account of some US states and European nations banning .50 caliber (or sometimes just .50 BMG specifically) weapons for civilian ownership, Barrett also makes versions that fire the proprietary .416 Barrett round that actually has even better long-range accuracy.
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six series has this weapon as the most powerful sniper rifle.
  • The M82 is seen in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare at one point. In this case, it wasn't for damage purposes, but for range purposes: the target was more than a mile distant, and a conventional rifle wouldn't be able to shoot half that accurately. It also shows up in the multiplayer as the last sniper rifle to be unlocked. Surprisingly, it didn't turn out to be a game-breaking supergun, thanks to the massive recoil and major damage nerfing.
    • In Modern Warfare 2, it's the first sniper rifle to be unlocked. Yes, that's right. First.
      • Also the case for MW3, where it is easily the most powerful sniper rifle in the game (tied with the AS50), and is also the most accurate among them.
  • Americas Army has this as the advanced sniper rifle.
  • Half-Life mod Firearms had this as the most powerful weapon, but you needed to deploy bipods in order to remain accurate.
  • The M82A2 makes an appearance in Metal Gear Solid 4 as Johnny's sniper rifle of choice.
  • Used for the sniper duel in The Hurt Locker.
  • Mr. Wong uses one in the final battle of Stranglehold, in addition to a good number of sniper mooks. They'd probably have a better time tagging Tequila without the easily visible laser sights though...
  • Appears in the Battlefield series as the most powerful sniper rifle available in-game and is typically the last unlockable sniper rifle.
    • Featured in exactly one mission in Battlefield 3; due to concerns that the gun would either be a Game Breaker or nerfed into oblivion in multiplayer, it appears only the one time in the whole game.
    • The M82 appeared as pickup weapon in Battlefield 4 multiplayer (thus it is not Game Breaker due to limited availability and non-replenishable ammo)
  • Bob Lee Swagger wields an M82 in the opening scene of Shooter, to bring down a moving helicopter.
    • Granted, he was aiming for the vulnerable rotor shaft, and having a very hard time doing it. It is ambiguous if he even managed to shoot it down.
  • The SRS99 series Sniper Rifles from the Halo series appear to be a hybrid of the Barrett M107 and the Denel NTW-14.5.
  • Appears in Jagged Alliance: Back in Action (under the German designation G82) as one of the sniper rifles. It is incorrectly designated as a bullpup design, where the action is located behind the trigger group. The picture for the weapon clearly depicts the action and magazine in front of the trigger group (depicting an M82A1 rather than the bullpup M82A2 as was featured in Jagged Alliance 2).
  • Hive's favorite weapon in the Whateley Universe. She owns one, and has even sighted it in for the windows in her apartment atop Kane Hall in the middle of campus.
  • The M107 is featured in the third and twelfth chapters of Max Payne 3.
  • Killing Floor added the M99 in the second Twisted Christmas update. Gigantic, incredibly powerful weapon which will kill nearly anything in one bullet, but you normally can't carry any other non-default weapons alongside it due to its weight, it's slow to reload if you're not a max-level Sharpshooter, and after a patch, the ammo costs a fortune.
  • Added (along with other .50 BMG rifles) in the Blue Sun mod for 7.62 High Caliber. Considering that all combat in the game takes place at ranges that real life sniper rifles can easily handle, it's a bit overkill.
  • Featured in Grand Theft Auto V as the "Heavy Sniper".
  • The "McManus 2010" from Saints Row 2 is the similar 25mm XM109.
  • The Barrett series has been a staple in several editions of Shadowrun, usually boasting incredible damage potential (in line with dedicated anti-armor weapons), a massive pricetag and a very, very high purchase difficulty. A Barrett also features prominently in the Nigel Findley novel Shadowplay, along with detailed descriptions of the effect it has on its targets.
  • The Barrett M82 features in A Certain Magical Index in the form of the "Metal Eater" series, of which there is a prototype variant called "Metal Eater MX" that adds a full automatic fire mode. While undoubtably cool, this feature is stated to have been removed for the mass-production version in-universe due to the excessively recoil... which can be counteracted by the Misaka Sisters using their electrokinetic powers (with some help from a supercomputer to solve a lot of complex mathematical equations, admittedly).
  • The Barrett M95 appears in PAYDAY 2, as the Thanatos .50 cal.

    CheyTac Intervention 
The CheyTac Intervention is a bolt-action dedicated sniper’s rifle designed by CheyTac LLC. It’s relatively recent, but made big waves when it was introduced in 2001. It fires either the .408 or .375 CheyTac, rounds designed to be the middle ground between the standard rifle-calibers like the 7.62mm and the massive anti-armor .50 BMG. The Intervention also has a long-range laser rangefinder designed to aid in the rifle’s primary function of long-range shooting. While not many military forces use it (currently Jordan, Turkey and Poland’s Special Forces units), it holds the record for the longest distance grouping of three rounds (16 and a half inches at 2,321 yards).
  • Mark Wahlberg's character Bob Lee Swagger owns one in Shooter, which is used to frame him for the assassination of a foreign delegate.
  • Default sniper rifle in Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer. Soap uses one in single player when he and Price attempt to infiltrate the Big Bad's base in Afghanistan.
  • The Rolins LRSS in MAG is an Intervention.
  • Richard Machowitz demonstrates one in Future Weapons. He manages to break the record for a long distance grouping, hitting three out of six shots on a human-sized target at 2,530 yards.
  • SOCOMUS Navy Seals Fireteam Bravo 3 has the CheyTac as the “C-TAC”.
  • In Angel Beats!, Yuri attempts to snipe her nemesis Angel with one. A stunned Otonashi asks “Is that a real gun?”
  • U.S Army and Resistance units use the CheyTac in Homefront against KPA soldiers. Comes with a nifty thermal sight.
  • Used in The Unit by Bob Brown and Hector Williams in the episode “Dark of the Moon”.
  • In Battlefield 4 it is called SRR-61, after the Jordanian 61st Special Reconnaissance Regiment.
  • Added in the Blue Sun mod for 7.62 High Caliber, along with its unique ballistic computer: have a soldier with the computer near the sniper, and his/her chance of a hit goes way up.

    Heckler & Koch PSG1 
The PSG1 is mechanically based on the G3 rifle, with a roller-delayed blowback action chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO, and features a low-noise bolt closing device (similar to the forward assist on many M16 rifles). It has a heavy free-floating barrel with polygonal rifling and an adjustable stock. Another notable characteristic of the PSG1 is that after firing, the cartridge casing is ejected with substantial force, reportedly enough to throw it up to 10 meters away (the SVD Dragunov has a similar tendency), greatly compromising the military use of the rifle, because it would easily give away the sniper's position and makes it difficult to sweep up the area after firing. Police forces over the world have adopted it, including the Spanish Grupo Especial de Operaciones, the Netherlands Dienst Speciale Interventies (DSI), and the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team (HRT). Its futuristic appearance has not hurt its position in media, especially in video games, where while less accurate and less damaging than bolt-action sniper rifles, its semi-automatic rate of fire make it a good trade-off. H&K no longer makes them and those that are still in circulation sell for over $15,000 USD.

Similar rifles based on the same G3 platform include the more militarized and cheaper MSG90 and the civilian version the SR9. The MSG90 is more popular with military groups, such as the New Iraqi Army, the Mexican Army, France's 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment and South Korea's Naval Special Warfare Brigade.

  • Cool Action: Like other H&K weapons based on the G3's action, this one can also utilize the "H&K slap" to charge the weapon.
  • Arguably, this gun's first appearance in popular media was in Metal Gear Solid. Most famously used in the battle with Sniper Wolf, it later appears in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty in both a lethal and fictional non-lethal tranquilizer variant.
  • Another famous appearance is in the animated portion of Kill Bill Vol. 1, where O-Ren Ishii uses it to shoot a Yakuza boss.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto IV have respectively the similar SR9T and an actual PSG1 as an upgrade to the bolt-action sniper rifle available earlier.
  • Available in Jagged Alliance 2's v1.13 mod and Back in Action.
  • The weapon you use exclusively in Silent Scope. It also has almost a full second refire rate, which is completely ridiculous.
  • In Lethal Weapon, Riggs uses one with a 20 round magazine during the scene in the desert where they try to get back Murtaugh's daughter.
  • Also used in Cube Zero, be it rather unrealistically as tranquilizer dart rifles causing Instant Sedation. Later also used as a very expensive club.
  • A Swiss Guard sniper team covers St. Peter's Square with these guns in Angels & Demons.
  • Shows up plenty in Rainbow Six, since just about the beginning of the series.
  • Gage/Trak from Advance Wars: Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict carries one on his shoulder, which is a dead give away to his indirect specialty.
  • The PSG1 is the third and final sniper rifle available in Resident Evil 5. It fills the middle ground between the Sako S75 and the Dragunov SVD by being a semi-auto rifle that significantly reduces Sniper Scope Sway (which is the SVD's problem) but not dealing as much damage as the bolt-action S75.
  • Obviously, it appears in 7.62 High Caliber as an extremely accurate rifle. It doesn't hurt that it's semi-automatic.
  • Used briefly against "them" in Highschool of the Dead.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 features the MSG90 as an alternative to the original Hunting Rifle, with double the capacity but a slower reload.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops features this a few years before it was actually designed.
  • This rifle was featured in Detective Conan in the hands of the Black Organization's female sniper, Chianti. It's basically her rifle of choice.
  • A PSG-1 can be found in the Chrysler Building in Parasite Eve.