troperville

tools

toys

SubpagesLaconic
Main
PlayingWith
Quotes
SlidingScale

main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Cold Sniper

"(1) Emotional balance. The sniper must be able to calmly and deliberately kill targets that may not pose an immediate threat to him. It is much easier to kill in self-defense or in the defense of others than it is to kill without apparent provocation. The sniper must not be susceptible to emotions such as anxiety or remorse. Candidates whose motivation toward sniper training rests mainly in the desire for prestige may not be capable of the cold rationality that the sniper's job requires."
U.S Army Field Manual: Sniper Training

What happens when The Army employs a would-be serial killer: the cold, silent hunter with a scope, a rifle and a very good eye who can shoot you in the face from a mile away and not lose a wink of sleep over it.

A trope commonly applied to a lot of snipers, mostly the evil ones, what with loners being evil. Prevalent due to the allure and popularity of the idea of a lone, stealthy, and emotionless hunter. May overlap with Emotionless Girl and The Stoic, as well as The Hunter. Thankfully, the overlap with Psycho for Hire and Sociopathic Soldier is very rare.

See also Weapon of Choice. Compare with Archer Archetype in medieval/fantasy settings. Likely to find work as a Professional Killer. A common subversion is the Friendly Sniper, who is not only much more personable but also usually saner (and is more likely to be depicted as a good guy).


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Kain the Longshot from Trigun is a prime example of this trope, having without a doubt, the longest sniper rifle ever conceived by anyone's imagination. Then again, all of the Gung Ho Guns could be seen as examples.
    • While some of the other Guns occasionally display emotions, Kain doesn't - he doesn't even speak. When he is found by Vash, he calmly draws his backup piece, and shoots himself.
  • The Full Metal Panic! Light Novels introduce a Cold Sniper in the person of Wilhelm Casper, who trained Kurz and is now a member of the villain organization called Amalgam. The ending of Approaching Nick of Time reveals that after Casper chose to take a kill-shot which also critically injured an uninvolved eight-year-old girl, Kurz made up his mind that he didn't want to be a "real sniper" if it meant becoming a monster like Casper, and thereafter seems to have exerted himself to be a Friendly Sniper instead.
  • Limelda Jorg in Madlax starts off as a professionally Cold Sniper but gradually descends into the Psycho Lesbian zone due to her bitter rivalry with the show's eponymous lead (who is also a formidable sniper but in no way a cold one).
  • Golgo 13. So cold, the temperature of the room goes down when he walks in.
  • Lupin III's Daisuke Jigen. Outside of battle, however, he's a sardonic Deadpan Snarker - no-one can be completely serious around Lupin, after all.
    • Both sides of his characters are best shown in The Movie Lupin III Episode 0 First Contact: Jigen spent half of the movie being a cold sniper and trying to kill Lupin, then, when both are prisoners of the main villain, Lupin's latest way to humiliate their captor force Jigen to try and stifle a laugh before cracking up.
  • Subverted by Dieci of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. She's introduced as a sniper as emotionless as some of her cyborg sisters, but she's later revealed to be not as cold as she appeared, having second thoughts about their goals when she sees the six-year old Vivio in pain from being used to activate the Saint's Cradle, and showing hesitation when shooting down Nanoha as she arrives to rescue her daughter.
  • Simultaneously Justified and Subverted by Riza Hawkeye in Fullmetal Alchemist. She's the resident stoic, and expert sniper. When her old friend Roy Mustang is reunited with her after she saves his life during the war, Mustang notices that she has acquired the eyes of a killer. However, it's shown that her stoicism is a reaction against the horror of war. When Kimblee taunts her with the intent of getting her to admit to loving the moment of killing, she can't admit that, and is horrified. The reality is that under the stoic exterior, Riza is actually an extremely warm-hearted character.
    • She even mentions how guns detach one from the act of killing. Though, as a sniper, it's the exact opposite of detachment.
      Riza: I like guns. Because they're not like swords and knives, the sense of death doesn't linger on the hands.
      Roy: That's self-deception. Are you lying to yourself so that you may continue to soil your hands?
      Riza: Yes, sir. We soldiers should be the only ones with blood on our hands. No one else should have to go through what we did in Ishbal. If the world can be expressed through equivalent exchange as the alchemists claim, then for future generations to be happy, as payment, we must carry corpses on our back across a river of blood.
  • Van Auger, a member from Blackbeard's crew in One Piece, is extremely cold and obsessed with fate, armed with a sniper rifle, and is able to pick off seagulls from a distance that the island isn't even visible from.
    • And completely inverted with the main sniper of the series, Usopp, who is a loud, Cowardly Lion fighting with a slingshot and usually a hammer. His secret identity, Sogeking, however, is portrayed as a cool-headed hero who officially declared war on the world government without so much as split second of hesitation... But in battle he's usually just as cowardly.
  • Averted and played straight in Monster. When Nina asks for advice from a sniper he tells her that in order to kill someone she had to "forget the taste of sugar": The man in question retired specifically because he found himself empathizing with one of his targets (namely he started wondering how the man's coffee must be tasting because he'd poured so much sugar in it) and found that he couldn't be a Cold Sniper anymore because of it.
  • Mana Tatsumiya of Mahou Sensei Negima! is a slightly lighter version of this; she never actually kills anyone (maybe), but she's entirely unapologetic about using ammo that paralyzes people for days, even if it's the guy that she has a crush on.
  • Saito of Ghost in the Shell, although he's more 'professional' than 'psychotic' and appears to be no less mentally healthy than the rest of Section 9. He also doubles as The Quiet One, though he is occasionally sarcastic and openly breaks out in laughter in one of the novels. Granted, he's laughing at how pathetic someone is, so it doesn't really earn him any points towards Friendly Sniper.
    • He even has an episode for his own in which he tells about the only time someone managed to get past him and made him scared for his life. But in the end, it seems quite likely that he just made it all up with a completely straight face, just to show someone how unbelievably good he is at bluffing. Or did he?
  • When her glasses come off. Mey-rin of Black Butler goes from a clumsy Meganekko to a sniper easily capable of blowing your brains out. And with her extreme farsightedness, she need only the iron sights to snipe.
  • Author Hiroki Endo loves this trope, as demonstrated by Eden.
  • Reki from Hidan no Aria. Further emphasised in the light novels at one point when the protagonist mused to himself over rumours that she had once engaged in black ops for an organisation with a Thou Shalt Not Kill policy. And she is completely unperturbed at her acts.
  • In an episode of Area88, a sniper terrorises the entire base. He's never seen from anything beyond his own first person perspective, and never says anything, at any point. Cold's a good word for it.
  • YuYu Hakusho offers an interesting twist with the villain Kaname "Sniper" Hagiri. Per say, he doesn't actually use a real sniper rifle (he does use a pistol), but he can flick objects (marbles, dice, a tank truck filled with fuel) with insane force and accuracy. Moreover, his "territory" lets him imprint enemies with bulls-eyes that attract anything he throws with deathly speed. That said, personality-wise he fits the bill of the Cold Sniper quite well - out of all the Sensui Seven, he's the least emotional and crazy, and fights purely methodically. (Though he can also be Not So Stoic, and after Itsuki he is the most unfalteringly loyal to their leader Sensui.)
  • Tarantula aka Lundi's brother Jean Jacques Cortot in Honoo No Alpen Rose. He works for Count George de Germont, who is associated with Those Wacky Nazis. However, after the Count orders him to kill General Guisan, he refuses to work with the Count and almost shoots him to death after he finds out of his plan.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Green Lantern arc, The Sinestro Corps War, Bedovian is a Sinestro Corps member who had been numbed of all emotions after centuries of isolation and can snipe targets from three space sectors away. His shell also acts as an armor.
  • Little Sure Shot of Sgt. Rock's Easy Company is an antisocial Native American who tends to eschew teamwork in favor of working alone.
  • Cloud 9 of Avengers: The Initiative is jittery, compassionate, and easily shaken, in an almost complete inversion of this trope... but she becomes a straight example later on as she is forced to be more violent more often.
  • DCU Antihero/Villain Deadshot claims not to care if anyone lives or dies, including himself.
  • During one of Frank Castle's tours of Vietnam, he served as a counter-sniper, and occasionally puts those skills to use during his vigilante career. To say he's not emotional is an understatement.
  • Sin City: Hell and Back had a sniper assassin going after the main character. The man was very calm and collected, although apparently unbalanced considering he had just killed a woman simply so he could use her apartment as a stakeout.
    • Miho also counts as a bow and arrow Cold Sniper. Being the Voiceless, she never changes her blank expression and her aiming skills are second to none.
  • Lowlight in the G.I. Joe comic book was always there to make the little blue dots stop moving.
    • His COBRA counterpart Black Out also qualifies, though he has a sadistic streak and an extremely sour disposition. His motivation comes from being turned down by G.I. Joe due to some red flags popping up in his psychological evaluation
  • Inverted in Sturmtruppen: The resident sniper becomes so obsessed with scoring kills that he starts to shoot other soldiers and officers, until the Sergeant is forced to behead him with a machete.
  • In the IDW Transformers line, Perceptor becomes one after a brush with death convinces him that he needs to be more combat effective. He adds multiple upgrades to himself that give him superior targeting and weapon stability, then snipes the vulnerable spots on Monstructor.

    Fan Works 
  • In Project Ignition, there's Kroitchov, BFF's current top sniper. He's dark, somber, and does not care who or what he shoots. He hardly says anything, either in his NEXT or not. Curiously, he's a former Silent Avalanche pilot, trained for NEXT piloting during the course of For Answer and is the catalyst for the 72AN project (which is simply to retrain surviving Silent Avalanche Snipers into NEXT pilots). Contrasting him is Aerilynn, who's full on Friendly Sniper.
  • Nack from Prison Island Break talked about his job as a professional assassin as if it was a day job.
  • In Child Of The Storm the Winter Soldier shows no emotion about his kills. Mind, he's The Voiceless and doesn't show emotion about ''anything''. He's also confirmed as the man who killed Kennedy.
  • Lieutenant (JG) K'lak of Bait and Switch isn't exactly unfriendly, but he does have a very dour demeanor.

    Film 
  • Act of Valor: Weimy, who's completely silent except to confirm kills during a mission.
  • Saving Private Ryan has Daniel Jackson, who is a mix of this and Friendly Sniper. He believes that he is God's agent of justice, praying as he fires and sleeping like a baby every night. On the other hand,he socializes with the rest of the squad.
  • Erwin König in Enemy at the Gates the ruthless sniper who duels Russian hero Vasily Zaytsev. The film was based on the real-life Zaytsev's memoirs, which are now considered apocryphal.
  • The sniper from the film The Caller is a sadistically cold example of this trope.
  • The resident sniper of the Wild Seven in Battle Royale II never speaks a word and is shown as mostly blank. His character's expanded on a bit more in the movie's novelization — and is still mostly cold and emotionless.
  • Phone Booth's sniper does have feelings - but not exactly the expected ones. He has no problems killing a random pimp to provoke his target and a perfectly innocent pizza guy to avoid suspicion.
  • Ex-colonel Sebastian Moran is this in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
  • Played with in Full Metal Jacket, when the drill instructor exalts the marksmanship of two murderers, Charles Whitman and Lee Harvey Oswald, who were both Marines. The trope is ultimately subverted when a VC sniper turns out to be an adolescent girl using an basic assault-rife without even a scope fitted.
  • Dragan, The Dragon of the Serbian gangsters in Layer Cake turns out to be a cold sniper. Expecting to get the drop on Dragan, the "heroes" arrive early at a meeting spot and hide out, ready to shoot the Serbian as he arrives. Turns out Dragan had arrived even earlier and scoped the place out, allowing him to snipe the sniper.
  • Thomas Beckett from Sniper completely embodies this trope.
  • Tom Bishop in Spy Game (before he becomes a spy).
  • Bob Lee Swagger in Shooter showed no remorse over anyone or anything he ever shot at, not even innocent cans of soup. He has plenty of emotions; he simply does not regret killing people. He was rather attached to his dog though.
  • In Jarhead Swoff is drifting into this trope, and repeatedly references his need for 'the red mist'.
  • Sabotage features the married sniper team of James "Monster" Murray and wife Lizzy.

    Literature 
  • Maxim Sorel, a sniper from the Valhallan 301st in the first Ciaphas Cain novel, who ends up stabbing a man to death simply "because he didn't see any reason not to". Following the court-martial for the above infraction he is sentenced to death by taking on a suicide mission alongside the protagonist. In a subversion, he not only saves the protagonist's life but is one of two convicts who do not go rogue or are subverted by the enemy, despite (or perhaps, given that this is 40k, due to his) being an obvious sociopath.
  • City of Thieves: Vika, although she warms up a bit
  • Larkin from Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000: Gaunt's Ghosts. Quickly subverted once it's revealed that he's twitchy and occasionally suffers from fits. He's also extremely paranoid and possibly a bit of a coward.
    • Well, he nearly craps himself but so far he's managed to pull through and get the job done, albiet once he needed the help of a possibly fantasized Imperial Angel not to run away.
    • Saul, the Blood Pact sniper from the Gaunt's Ghosts novel Sabbat Martyr is this trope played straight. As a member of the Blood Pact he is very much a Card-Carrying Villain, but his pride in his skill means he prefers focused, clean kills rather than maniacal brutality.
      • Although Saul does fall into Honor Before Reason at one point, when he does reckon he can kill St Sabbat with his shot - but he would have to fire through Brin Milo to do it, which wouldn't be "clean". Moving to re-sight costs him his target and his head.
    • Vindicare assassins are the epitome of cold snipers, enhanced with a few extra handy organs and cybernetic implants and trained to be emotionless so as to be maximally effective killers.
      • The legendary Fan Fic "Love Can Bloom" emphasizes this. In it, the central character, a Vindicare assassin, falls in love with his target, an Eldar Farseer... and has absolutely no idea what he's feeling, short of "I can't kill her".
    • While Larkin may be a couple of lasrounds short of a full clip, the Ghosts have plenty of other snipers. Interestingly, most of them seem to come with the influx of female Vervunhivers after Necropolis.
  • Jared Kincaid in The Dresden Files, a honourable mercenary gunman (he doesn't skip out on a contract. On the other hand it is implied that he does horrible things to people who don't pay up) with Improbable Aiming Skills. This is the key to Harry working out that he isn't entirely human. He is seen using a very powerful sniper rifle to blow the heads off multiple demons. He also uses what is probably the same gun to kill Harry on Harry's orders as part of a (failed) The Plan against Mab.
  • The titular Jackal from Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal. Forsyth repeatedly mentions that the emotions he displays on his face never reach his eyes and his frostiness intimidates the underworld members he gets his supplies from. Arguably one of the most "classical" examples. Once flaws start showing up in his plan, however, he gets emotional and careless, going into Villainous Breakdown.
  • Mack Bolan, the vigilante super-soldier of The Executioner series by Don Pendleton, is a sniper. In the prologue of the first novel an army psychiatrist is quoted as saying that while most soldiers can be a successful sniper once, it's the ability to continue to do so (to see the difference between killing in the course of duty and murder) that separates Bolan from other men. He is described as "a man who can command himself."
  • In the alternative history novel series The Zone, the British sniper Clarence fits the trope of the cold, methodical sniper with personality problems (he is killing Russians to avenge his dead family, and suffers from a chronic phobia of body contact). The psychotic German beauty Andrea sticks with him only long enough to pick up his skills, but she kills out of sheer sadistic pleasure.
  • Gerald Seymour's novel Holding the Zero is about a civilian target shooter who goes to (pre-invasion) Iraq to help the Kurds. The book goes into detail on the history of sniping and the mentality needed.
  • Jack Ryan:
    • Inverted completely in Tom Clancy's early novels, most particularly The Cardinal of the Kremlin, which features the rescue of a kidnapped Army scientist from Russian spies by an FBI Hostage Rescue Team. The training and mentality of the FBI snipers is thoroughly explored, up to and including the emotional trauma that results from shooting another human being in cold blood. In a Continuity Nod, the same team shows up in The Sum of All Fears.
    • Clancy plays the Cold Sniper much straighter in later novels, possibly a result of Protection from Editors. Without Remorse has John Clark coldly assassinating drug dealers, including a memorable final shootout; Rainbow Six has a Cold Sniper as part of a Badass Army counterterrorist team formed from the elite of their nations' respective military forces; and The Bear and the Dragon features an old Russian sniper who comes out of retirement to kill some Chinese officers.
    • To be fair, John Clark, is usually nice, when he ain't killing drug dealers, or on black ops.
  • 1632:
    • Julie Sims: Cheerleader, county champion shooter, and aspiring biathlon candidate turned sniper. She has piled up kill totals well into three figures without any apparent emotional effect. By comparison, she cried like a baby when she shot her first deer. But as she says, "That deer hadn't done anything to anyone". Near the end of 1632, some of Gustav's Finnish troopers run into her at the end of a long sniping streak, and believe she is an incarnation of the goddess Loviatar "Maiden of Pain" (they give her a WIDE berth).
    • Mentioned in the training by Dr. James Nichols, who trained as a Marine sniper. When asked it about it, there is a whole conversation Julie has with her spotter where they discuss the reasons why they are so cold. If these guys win they'll rape us, so we kill them.
  • Myn Donos from the X-Wing Series seems like this at first. However, this has less to do with him being the Wraith sniper and more to do with him having some serious emotional issues stemming from having a squadron under his command obliterated. Still, after he gets Character Development and starts to get over those issues, he's still generally the most reserved Wraith.
    • Also, while he sniped three people out of the blue in his sniping career, he felt uneasy about not giving his enemies a fair fight or any warning, so he transferred to the starfighter corps and did well enough to be put in charge of a brand-new squadron. When they died he blamed himself and became cold - so he was a poor Cold Sniper when he was a sniper, a better one as a pilot-sniper, and then he defrosted.
    Donos: "Did I ever shoot someone in cold blood? Without giving him a chance? Yes. Three times I did that. I didn't much care for it; if I did, I'd probably still be doing it. But better to have dead enemies than dead innocents."
    • Most of the time, given his reputation and his behavior, you would think Wes Janson is a Friendly Sniper. But when he's killing people, whether in the cockpit or with his sidearm (it's not special—but every sidearm he has becomes a Sniper Pistol), he goes cold and emotionless. At least, if you're lucky and he's not angry.
  • Aleksander Hemon's short story "A Coin" describes the brutal reality of surviving in a war-torn Sarajevo, and features a bit about snipers who shoot at people trying to cross the street because they're bored.
  • Lasko from John Ringo's Paladin of Shadows series is one of these. In one book, his response to having his spotter shot in the face right next to him is to target the enemy sniper and shoot him while mentally considering the time and effort it will take to train another spotter. He is also rediculously skilled at his job.
  • Snake from Matthew Reilly's Ice Station. It also helps that he's the mole.
  • In the Halo novels, Spartan-058, Linda, is known as the foremost sniper specialist of the Spartans, with Improbable Aiming Skills taken Up to Eleven, and has been since about the age of twelve. She takes sniping as a challenge, even being shown to shoot pilots out of Banshees while hanging upside down by a single cord wrapped around her foot. And that was a day after she had been brought Back from the Dead. Once she gets into position, her mind enters a Zen-Buddhist state and her kills are reported in an icy-cold voice. She works better without a spotter, and fits the lone wolf description better than any other Spartan. Several of her fellow Spartans have noted that she makes sniping an art.
  • Colonel Moran, The Dragon to Professor Moriarty of the Sherlock Holmes stories, was a decorated soldier before turning to crime, and Holmes refers to him as "one of the best shots in the world." In one story, he baffles the police by killing a man with a revolver bullet fired through a partially-opened window by an air rifle.
  • Pleasantly averted in the Sharpe series, about a team of, ahem, sharp-shooters during the Napoleonic Wars, who are mostly treated as affable, fun-loving guys. The best shot in the regiment, Dan Hagman, is a cheery old poacher from Oop North who loves to sing.
  • Discussed in Barry Eisler's "John Rain" series. Former Marine sniper Dox is good at what he does, but was shunned by some in the Marines because his jovial, outgoing personality didn't fit their idea of how a sniper should act.
  • Arrow in The Cellist of Sarajevo at the very least, tries to be this.
  • The protagonist of Rogue Male believes that his only motive in stalking a dictator with his rifle was the pleasure of the hunt. he was kidding himself

    Live Action TV 
  • JAG: In "High Ground"; when a promise by his former CO not be deployed to Bosnia is reversed by the new Colonel; Gunnery Sergeant Ray Crockett shots the rear mirror of the Colonel’s car, when moving at 1 000 yards distance, as a warning before he takes off to the hills.
    • But he's also at the same time a Friendly Sniper, because he felt he was unjustly treated and never meant to harm anyone.
  • An episode of CSI: Miami had the typical cold emotionless sniper serial killer. So cold that they didn't even bother telling the audience what his motivation was.
    • More accurately, the investigator didn't care what his reason was when the sniper asked if he wanted to know. Thanks a lot, Horatio.
    "Don't you want to know why?"
    "I don't care. You're evil, you enjoy death, I hope you enjoy yours."
  • Averted/played straight (depending on your interpretation) on an episode of NCIS, when Ari kills Kate with a perfectly aimed shot between the eyes. As he lowers the rifle, he simply says "Sorry, Caitlin"
    • Gibbs is/was this too (he was a sniper in the Gulf War and he still has the ability), and Ziva is capable of being one too.
      • Both, however, are much nicer, more caring, and at least in Ziva's case, more personable.
    • A Villain of the Week was an aspiring sniper who was rejected from the Marines because he showed signs of sociopathy. Gibbs grudgingly admits that he was one of the best and most resourceful snipers he had seen.
  • Averted in Generation Kill: after one of the company's snipers scores (rather bloody) headshots on a couple of targets, he is seen looking visibly disturbed.
  • Criminal Minds had Philip Dowd, a sniper also called a "Long Distance Serial Killer". He started off in the military, but was discharged dishonorably, then kicked out of the police, and finally became a doctor who sniped people and then saved them later. He used an M-4 with .223 caliber rounds (which fragment on impact), shooting from the back of his van equipped with a retractable license plate.
  • Super Sentai: The Blue Rangers, either Red Oni, Blue Oni or The Lancer, is often the Cold Sniper. Dekaranger's Hoji is THE personification, being blue, obnoxiously cool and collected, and the team's resident sniper. Paralleled by Tsubasa, Souta and Gunpei.
    • None of the above are particularly emotionless or sociopathic, though. The best Sentai example is Cyclops, one of the Ten Infershia Gods, who spends two episodes shooting at the team from the comfort of a pocket dimension. Once Tsubasa finds his own way there, the two have a very satisfying snipe-off, with Legend MagiYellow one-shotting him. Unlike most examples, Cyclops has a nasty temper, but whenever it flares up his eye starts flashing in warning and he composes himself by stroking his chin.
  • All three main characters on Burn Notice are capable of this, with either Sam or Fiona usually taking on the role while Michael shows off his hand-to-hand or undercover skills.
  • Subverted in The Sandbaggers. Sandbagger three starts to crack after being forced to kill Sandbagger two in an early episode.
  • Subverted frequently in the Canadian-made police series, Flashpoint, beginning in its very first episode which follows the aftermath (emotionally and professionally) when a police sniper is forced to kill a man. The series continues to subvert it by establishing that use of deadly force in this fashion is considered a failure, and by a sympathetic female character as one of the snipers (played by the actress who used to play Pink Ranger in Power Rangers, yet). However, the trope is slightly supported by having one police sniper character being a seasoned war veteran with no qualms about pulling the trigger.
    • Said character, is revealed to have killed his best friend by accident in Afghanistan, and to have seen his younger sister die in an accident when he was a child.
  • Somewhat subverted with Seeley Booth in Bones. He was a sniper and it's implied he was a very good one but he doesn't really enjoy talking about it and went into the FBI to save as many people as he had killed. Might be played straight later in season 6. Some spoilers mention a sniper killing people.
    • The cold sniper in Season 6 turns out to be a former mentor of Seeley. The sniper himself points out that Seeley certainly isn't a cold sniper: as he sees it, Seeley's weakness is that he refuses to pull the trigger if there's any question about the target's guilt.
  • Richard Harrow from Boardwalk Empire, a WW1 veteran with a horrible facial injury, befriended by Jimmy Darmody. Proficient with all kinds of firearms and an excellent marksman. At first he comes across as a likeable, kind-hearted fellow (his physical appearance notwithstanding) but then all of a sudden there's this little bit of dialogue between him and Jimmy as they discuss how to get rid of the d'Alessios:
    Richard: Chalky — Mr. White —- heard back from his men in Philadelphia. Mrs. D'Alessio, the mother, is there; their sisters and another brother.
    Jimmy: Which one?
    Richard: Adrian.
    Jimmy: Never heard of him.
    Richard: He's a dentist. (...) I could go there, to Philadelphia.
    Jimmy: What good is that? They're lying low. Somewhere else.
    Richard (in his usual dispassionate voice): I could kill the mother. The sisters. And the dentist. That would make them stick their heads up.
    • His coldblooded nature is shown in his first episode when he kills a guy as his first job for Jimmy. He does not know the target and he only met Jimmy a few days earlier. He wasn't even a criminal up to that point. Jimmy simply offered him a chance to do what he is good at. After making that shot he packs up his rifle without showing any emotion.
  • Tujurikkuja parodies this trope in one of their clips where a sniper shoots everyone his instructor mentions.
  • The Kill Point features one working for a SWAT team. He also fancies himself something of a Warrior Poet.
  • Justified has Deputy US Marshall Tim Gutterson, a sniper who was with the Rangers in Afghanistan. He is a very friendly guy who likes to joke around but when he aims his sniper rifle at someone he is deadly calm and has no qualms about pulling the trigger. His boss is even concerned that Tim might like killing too much. However, it is strongly implied that Tim is suffering from PTSD and might be an alcoholic as a result of having to kill so many people.
  • John Casey on Chuck is a Cold Sniper beginning to defrost. How bad-ass of a sniper is he? He once took down about a dozen mooks converging on his exposed position at close range (he had a fallen tree for cover) while protecting an injured Sarah Walker, every one of them wre one-shot, one-kill. And then to one-up that, in a later episode he cleared a room of bad guys in an office building from a rooftop across the street. Doesn't sound that impressive? The blinds were closed, and his only visual on the targets was the hidden camera fit in the eyeglasses worn by his partner trapped in the room. He then wiped them out without looking through his scope and relying solely on the visual feed through a computer. All but one were clean one-shot kills, and the last was only because the target was trying to use his partner as a human shield.
  • Ernest Cobb from Alcatraz is one who uses his abilities for random killings
  • Koch from the German World War II drama Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter is a subversion. He's initially presented as cold and trigger-happy - at one point he's about to shoot a cute little kitty, prompting Friedhelm to snidely remark, "You like shooting, don't you?" Turns out the reason he goes after animals is because it reminds him of time spent hunting with his father as a child, and in any case, the first time we see him point his gun at a human is when he attempts to protect a Jewish girl from the Sicherheitsdienst.
  • Major Crimes: The team chase a cold sniper (with his loner status being continually highlighted) in the episode "Long Shot".
  • ''NUMB3RS: In most of his appearances Agent Ian Edgerton is the embodiment of this idea. Occasionally his lighter side shows, as in the finale, but not often. In an almost Batmanesque manner, he appears to value justice over law.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Vindicare in Warhammer 40,000 are born and raised to fulfill this trope. According to the fluff, their entire vocabulary consists only of words needed in the field. They are molded from childhood to kill without thought or feeling.
    • While many 40K armies sport snipers (and the Vindicare are the best), some mention must go to the Space Marine version - specialized Scouts. This doesn't sound to impressive until you realize that Scouts are teenagers who have yet to be promoted (and augmented) into full genetically-modified warrior-monks, but have already passed the trials... which tend to be extremely lethal.
      • On the less superhuman end of the scale, the Imperium also has the kleptomaniacal Ratlings as cooks/snipers for the Imperial Guard.
      • The Eldar Rangers and Pathfinders are some of the scariest and hardest to kill long-range infantry out there.
      • Tau Sniper Drones, pretty self explanatory.
  • Warmachine and Hordes each have their own cold snipers. Kell Balioch is a mercenary assassin whom asks no questions and gives no quarter, while the Khadoran Empire employs squads of emotionally detached snipers called Widowmakers. Grim Angus is an ex-bounty hunter whom decided to leave his old life to help his old kinsmen. He was once feared for his preference to take more bounties in dead than alive with his long ranged rifle, Headhunter. Now he is just feared for never leaving anyone alive.
    • A subversion comes in the form of Kara Sloan, who only acts cold around her troops out of guilt over the fact that she's in a relationship with one of her junior officers.
  • The Chem.IMN from Mutant Chronicles. Cybernetic assassins with long range rifles and chemical weapons who get dropped from orbit and look like the Terminator. Uh huh, THAT one.
  • The canon NPC Stanley Chang in Unknown Armiesnote  is a painfully shy, timid man; the only time other people don't make him nervous is when he's looking at them through his scope from a good distance away.
    • In the opening fiction of the Weep sourcebook, one of his "co-workers" recounts one time where Chang backshot a pregnant woman without so much as blinking.

    Video Games 
  • Metal Gear subverts this trope a lot.
    • Sniper Wolf in Metal Gear Solid tends to get obsessed with her targets and would not think about anything else until she killed them. At the same time, she's by far the nicest member of Foxhound and became friends with Otacon before they took over the base and the staff as hostages. He claims that she was always very nice to him and defends her as a good person because she just adores dogs and wolves.
    • The End in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, who is over a hundred years old and just wants to spar off against Naked Snake in a climactic sniper duel before he kicks the bucket. He has an almost symbiotic relationship with his surroundings, and can also go for ages without drinking or eating. He's nourished by sunlight instead. And he's a surprisingly fast runner for a 100-year-old man. Justified in the sense that he allegedly invented sniping. Again, he's the least unsympathetic member of the team, in large part because he only uses tranquilizer rounds when fighting Snake, and when he does knock Snake out, just sticks him in a shed and waits for him to wake up to resume the battle. All he wants from that confrontation is the best fight he can have before his death.
    • And there's Crying Wolf in the fourth game. Naturally, her name is meant to be a Call Back to Sniper Wolf, to the point that they use similar tactics and is fought in the same area, a snowfield. She's anything but a cold sniper, constantly being tormented by the memories of her past and apparently unable to ever stop crying. For more than the last 10 years.
  • Subverted with the Sniper from Team Fortress 2, who is quite animated. However, he still remains the loner of the group. A quote from his Meet the Team video is a former page quote:
    "Feelin's? Look, mate, you know who has a lot of feelin's? Blokes what bludgeon their wife to death wif a golf trophy. Professionals have standards: be polite, be efficient, have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
    • Not only does he provide the (former) page quote in game the phrase is used in four of his achievements named "Be Polite," "Be Efficient," "Have a plan," and "Kill Everyone You Meet."
    • It's quite likely that he switches between this and Friendly Sniper depending on whether he's currently sniping, judging how being scoped makes him use colder, gruffer voice clips for the same lines.
    • The Spy is perhaps a milder and less obvious version, "Ambassador" spies often rely on precision shots and as someone defined by stealth he certainly has the personality. His interactions are usually cold and full of Bond One Liners .
  • Averted with the Sniper in Monday Night Combat, who is a complete and utter loon. Since he's a response and gag to the Sniper from Team Fortress 2, it's Rule of Funny.
  • Gage/Trak from Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. Although technically an army commander he is an artillery specialist and is commonly depicted with a sniper rifle. His Japanese/European leitmotiv is even called "Ice Warrior". While he is a prime example of The Stoic, he appears otherwise sane — his professionalism just leaves him more cynically slanted than the rest of team good.
  • Latooni Subota, however, is a straight example in Super Robot Wars Original Generation. She goes through a lot of Character Development to become better-adjusted and more outgoing, so naturally, in the sequel, she's lost all her sniping-specific skills (though she's still pretty good at it) and gets a melee-focused Ace Custom.
  • Sev from Star Wars: Republic Commando. This cloned special-ops soldier revels in this trope, making such remarks as "nothing better than a jungle hunt... hiding in the bush, putting a plasma bolt through a hostile's cranium... makes me feel alive."
    • This remark was made in response to Scorch complaining how the jungle in question is giving him creeps. After that, he quickly changed his opinion to Sev giving him creeps.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, Marina Wulfstan, one of the recruitable snipers, isn't quite evil, but very anti-social- to the extent that she gets a stat bonus for not having any friendly troops nearby. She does seem to have a weakness for cute animals though.
    • Conversely Valkyria Chronicles also has Cezary who is more similar to a Jerk Ass Sniper than entirely "Cold".
  • Sgt. Reznov of Call of Duty: World at War is implied to have been a cold sniper before you meet him in the aftermath of a massacre. Due to a hand injury, he can't aim his Mosin-Nagant anymore, so he gives it to you. As the Soviet campaign progresses, Reznov becomes more Ax-Crazy.
  • The player character in Sniper Elite and enemy snipers. Karl Fairburne is an extremely unemotional man, behaving almost like a robot in cutscenes.
  • An interesting variant is shown in Kingdom Hearts II, with Organization XIII's gunslinger Xigbar, who can merge his two guns into a sniper rifle to take aim at Sora from a (relatively) safe distance. While he does show signs of emotion throughout the game, as he is a Nobody, it's nothing more than an act, as Nobodies are incapable of actual emotion.
  • The sniper trio from Dead Rising subvert this, as Roger comes across as a Cold Sniper to the core, but in their short appearance, one of his sons instead seems potentially Hot-Blooded and the other like a Shrinking Violet.
  • Jagged Alliance 2 has two noteworthy ones. Reaper is a creepy Blood Knight fatalist, while Shadow simply never talks above a whisper, always keeping as quiet as possible.
  • Thane Krios from Mass Effect 2 was trained to be a Cold Sniper who killed for the greater good. He is rather personable and spiritualistic, if a bit quiet, when not on the job. Of the other sniper rifle users in the game, Garrus is a Friendly Sniper, Zaeed is a Psycho for Hire, and Legion is a robot and can't be judged by human standards.
    • Renegade!Infiltrator!Shepard, generally. Paragon!Infiltrator!Shepard would be a Friendly Sniper. Ashley in the first game is the only other squadmate who can use sniper rifles, but character-wise she prefers assault rifles so she can't be categorized here.
  • Clive and Elza in Suikoden.
  • Shinon from Fire Emblem Tellius is the bow-wielding variant of this trope. Even in the end when the character roll call comes up and every unit congratulates you for winning the war he calls you a "snot-nosed whelp."
  • No One Lives Forever casts the player in the role of female agent Cate Archer who, on her first mission, is tasked with sniper duty, and shoots down multiple targets without batting an eyelash. Possible parody of the trope, however, as the game is intended to be a parody of 1960s spy movies.
  • Sir Francis T. Woolridge aka "Duke" of the Commandos series.
  • Thoroughly subverted by the Monday Night Combat sniper, who is by far the most hot-headed team member.
    Sniper: "At least someone on this team's doing their job."
  • The two-man Sniper squads of GDI in Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars are sane, but quite professional, putting them in this category.However, if one man on the sniper team is killed, when you click the on the unit, the voice will sound more strained and pankicky.
  • Craig Boone of Fallout: New Vegas, a companion character who takes this trope to Game Breaker levels.
    • Also, Bitter-Root and Betsy from First Recon. To be fair, they all three have their reasons. Boone was at the massacre of Bitter Springs, and reluctantly picked off his share of innocent women, children, elderly, and sick Khans, as well as mercy killing his wife when she was sold to the Legion as a slave, when there was nothing else he could do. Bitter-Root was at Bitter Springs when he was younger, and, despite him feeling that the Khans had it coming, is still obviously haunted by it, and Betsy was raped by Cook-Cook of the Fiends.
  • Subverted in Final Fantasy VIII with Irvine who talks up how much of a cold sniper he is, but when he's faced with actually having to kill the sorceress Edea, he clams up and almost doesn't shoot, but it's unclear in the game whether she would have sensed the bullet and put up her magical shield even if he had shot when he was supposed to.
  • Jun from Halo: Reach is an odd example. He may be a deadshot sniper, but he certainly has quite the mouth on him. Also, he says "I kill the enemy, but do not hate them." However, he has been known for Post-Traumatic Stress. But, in his psychiatric evaluation, his doctor reported that he had an "unhealthy emotional detachment in regards to the consequences of his actions", though his commanding officer Colonel Holland considers this assessment to be faulty.
  • On a related note, the Halo novels have Linda, the Spartan II sniper, who is the quietest and most detached of the Spartans.
  • If you play as a sniper in any multiplayer FPS, chances are you'll become this.
  • Jade Face of Xenoblade is this all over. He prefers using his laser weapon more than other Faces seem to, especially at long distances. In fact, the first boss fight against him starts with a Corridor Cubbyhole Run because he's shooting at you from so far away. As for the "Cold" part, all of his emotions and memories were stripped from him when he was turned into a Face against his will. He used to be Friendly Sniper Gadolt.
  • Harridans, an alien race from Xenonauts, are the epitome of this trope: they are genius marksmen, but also completely oblivious to not only morality, but seemingly even reality itself.
  • Sola from Sunrider.
  • Speed Buster in No More Heroes uses a Wave Motion Gun in this way: It's extremely flashy, but with a weapon like that, she didn't become the #3-ranked assassin for nothing: Travis Touchdown is the only person who does not die from her first hit due to catching on to what she can do, and she is an inconspicuous bag lady who disguises her laser cannon as a shopping cart when not in combat.
    • In the sequel No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, Margaret Moonlight uses more ordinary weaponry (and is incapable of one-shotting Travis, unlike Speed Buster), but she has the ability to teleport, thus allowing her to aim at Travis and whittle his health down and warp elsewhere if he ever gets too close for comfort.
  • No. 8 in Mighty No. 9 has a sniper rifle attached to his left arm, which he uses to attempt to pick off his enemies.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • There's an image macro with a still shot from the music video from Jason Derulo's "Breathing" with a caption that quotes the line "I only miss you when I'm breathing." Immediately below it is a U. S. Marine Corps sniper in the desert looking downrange through the sight on his anti-materiel rifle, with another caption stating "I know that feeling, bro."

    Western Animation 
  • In the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "Hostage Crisis", a group of bounty hunters led by Cad Bane take over the Galactic Senate building. One of them, Aurra Sing, first takes out most of the Senate guards outside with a long range sniper rifle from a nearby building.
    • In "Duchess of Mandalore", a Mandalorian warrior is assigned to assassinate the Duchess Satine on Coruscant and stalks her in the lower levels of the city-planet. He misses her the first time but manages to kill an informant giving her important information.
  • "Our Newest Member, Calvin", a Robot Chicken sketch, plays with this. Calvin, a new sniper recruit for G.I. Joe, starts out extremely light hearted, but ends up receiving an embarassing codename after the Joes ridicule his overfriendiness. The humiliation prompts him to join COBRA for the mere sake of getting back on his former mates, effectively becoming a Cold Sniper by killing all but Duke in cold blood and with absolute precision.

    Real Life 
  • Real-life example and subversion: Simo Häyhä, the deadliest (and to be excessively literal, coldest) sniper in history, who killed more than five hundred Soviet soldiers in the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland, and then bagged another two hundred more with his submachine gun, all over a war that lasted only a hundred and five days. He aptly earned the nickname "White Death" thanks to that—despite counter-snipers and artillery strikes, the Soviets just couldn't kill him. However, it turns out that Häyhä was actually a small, quiet, and unassuming Finnish farmer who "did what he was told as well as he could" and quite amiable guy outside the battlefield. During his career, he avoided using a telescopic sight to present a smaller target and avoid revealing reflections from a scope lens, and kept snow in his mouth to keep his breath from being seen. In the end, he was shot in the head (with an exploding round) and lost a chunk of his face, but lived to the age of 97. He also shot the guy who shot him in the face.
    • The Winter War ended a few days before Hayha recovered from his injuries. This is probably a coincidence, and not that the Soviets were terrified of having to face him again. Probably.
  • The Shooter quote is taken from a false (but humorous) exchange between a sniper and a reporter. The reporter, understandably trying to get the sniper's insights into the emotional state needed to do the job, asked him, "When you see your target and pull the trigger, what do you feel?" The sniper shrugged and said, "Recoil."
    • This is also referenced in Secret Warriors issue No. 4 where Nick Fury is asked what he'll feel about killing former SHIELD agents who transferred to HAMMER in part because they have to take care of their families. As he pulls back the bolt on a sniper rifle he says "Recoil."
    • A similar apocryphal story has a somewhat more sociopathic interviewee reply to the question "How can you shoot unarmed women and children?" with "They don't run as fast, so you have to lead less."
  • Discussed in the book One Shot, One Kill by Charles W. Sasser and Craig Roberts (Roberts is himself a former sniper). The U.S. military originally simply issued sniper rifles to the soldiers with the best aim, but they're now selected for their mental state and personality, with aim being a secondary concern. It's easier to teach a decent soldier better aiming skills than it is to teach the wrong soldier how to cope with the psychological demands.
    • ... for a given value of "decent" - not the one you'd like applied to your neighbours.
  • There was a History Channel special on snipers, which included a somewhat-famous bit of rifle marksmanship that occured during the Vietnam War. On St. Valentines Day, just before midnight, 20 Vietcong soldiers were crossing a river, holding their rifles over their heads because the water went up to their necks. On the other side of the river was an American sniper who killed them all with one headshot apiece in about 30 seconds. An unpleasant, but necessary, part of war. We see a recreation of the shooting narrated by the original sniper. After the recreation, he discusses the shooting a little bit more before saying, "Yeah, that was my St. Valentine's Day massacre present to the Vietcong" and laughing. Brrr...
    • On the same special, there was a United States sniper from the Iraqi War. The main point of the segment was him killing an enemy sniper who had been terrorizing a town. At the beginning of the segment, he appeared to be reasonable. However, as the segment continued, he began to give off a decidedly... sociopath vibe. He repeatedly referred to using fellow Marines as "bait" for the enemy sniper without informing them of this. He also was talking about how he regarded the entire population of the town as possible terrorists, to the point where he would cover them with his rifle if he saw them doing anything "suspicious". When he finally found the sniper (after waiting for him to shoot twice at friendly troops to pinpoint his (the enemy sniper's) location), he wanted to use an airstrike in the middle of a populated town to kill the sniper. He said that his commanders (obviously) denied this, and proceeded to mock their rationale that it would lead to civilian casualties. Brr indeed.
  • Aside from the examples given able, in general snipers, at least military snipers, are trained in the "one shot, one kill, no remorse" philosophy and numerous media stories have been done on how snipers feel no remorse for killing other people. It may not be to the extent of the "would-be serial killer" described in the introduction to this trope, but nonetheless the very concept of a sniper requires cold-bloodedness. It helps that many snipers believe, often correctly, that their role in eliminating key targets quickly and precisely from a great distance is vital to protecting their fellow soldiers and is actually reducing total casualties for both sides.
    • Theres also the fact that often, the sniper will see his target's face, and then snuff his life out. It's a very different thing from shooting someone in the heat of battle, It's simply killing someone, holding the power of life and death over someone else and having to pick death because it's the sniper's job. These days most modern armies don't pick who's the best at shooting, they pick the ones who won't be mentally scarred from it.
  • Canadian Sniper Rob Furlong who got a 1.5 mile kill shot on a Taliban soldier. Just watch this video. [1]
  • The late Chris Kyle, came off as this in his book. Least concerning shooting insurgents. By most accounts, when dealing with his family, and teammates, he was a very nice guy.


    Sniper IndexFriendly Sniper
Ensign NewbieThe SquadFriendly Sniper
Click HelloGuns and Gunplay TropesConvenient Misfire
Child SoldiersMilitary and Warfare TropesColonel Badass
Clip Its WingsImageSource/PhotographyCrossdresser

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
110161
0