Cool Guns/Sniper Rifles

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Archaic Rifles

Pretty much any military rifle was a sniper rifle before the widespread use of percussion caps and conical bullets, making up for the loss in rate of fire with increased range (and before magazines actually made it possible to get a rifle that fired faster than a musket). This applied to hunting rifles adapted to war and purpose-built military rifles alike. Rifles were almost always relegated to sharpshooting, commando operations, and what modern day-people would call "sniping" in general. That said, there are some iconic rifles:

  • The Pennsylvania and Kentucky long rifles were the favorite weapon of American backwoodsmen.
  • The Fergusson Rifle was the British answer to American rifles; the most interesting thing about it was that it was an attempt at a breechloader (muzzleloaders were preferred for most of history because of various technological difficulties).
  • The Baker Rifle was used by British light infantry in the Napoleonic Wars.


  • The Pennsylvania and Kentucky long rifles mentioned above are enshrined by the writings of James Fenimore Cooper.

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 incinderary). The AWC, a suppressed "covert" version of the AW with a folding stock, is used by both the British SAS and American Delta Force.

Anime and Manga


Video Games

  • Counter-Strike features the AWM (infamously known as the AWP) as the most powerful weapon in the game (One hit nigh anywhere on the body kills). Despite endless nerfing, you will get called a Noob for using it.
  • 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.
  • The British L96A1 is available in Call of Duty: Black Ops.
  • Modern Warfare 3 features the AWM as well.
  • The Sniper Rifle in Far Cry is an Australian AW50F, identifiable by the fluted Madco barrel.
  • 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 James Bond 007: 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.

Web Comics

  • In the comic Hard Graft Bernadette Montez uses one as she "layeth the smacketh" down on the bad guys.

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. While all SV Ds 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, 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 video games, the SVD will be played by the similar Romanian FPK / PSL rifle, which is actually based on the RPK action, the Chinese Norinco NDM-86, or by a modified AK or Valmet rifle.

Anime and Manga

  • Balalaika can be seen wielding one in an Afghanistan flashback in Black Lagoon.
  • Rico in Gunslinger Girl has this as her trademark weapon.

Comic Books


Video Games

  • The SVD makes an appearance in Metal Gear Solid 3 and Metal Gear Solid 4.
  • A Romanian PSL is the sniper weapon of choice for Mona Sax in Max Payne 2.
  • Commonly used by 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.
  • Middle-of-the-road Sniper Rifle in Resident Evil 5.
  • Appears in Jagged Alliance: Back in Action as one of the sniper rifles.
  • Available in 7.62 High Caliber later in the game,[please verify] providing a good use for all that cheap surplus 7.62x54mm ammo you probably have lying around for your sniper's old Mosin.

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, in addition to this it uses nasty armour piercing 9x39mm SP-5 subsonic cartridges, which give the weapon a lot of stopping power (more than an AK bullet) despite it being silenced (one round can easily go through body armour at 400 meters, and still have enough power to drop someone with one hit).

Anime and Manga

  • Used by Balalaika's troops among many other Soviet weapons to take out Yakuza members in Black Lagoon.

Video Games

  • One of the most powerful weapons available in the STALKER: Shadow Of Chernobyl 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, and is one of the better long ranged weapons, with a silencer that never wears out and a powerful round.
  • Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain.
  • Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield.
  • 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 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.

Barrett M82, M95 and M107

The U.S. military found that the performance of the .50 BMG (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. The M90 and M95 versions are bullpup versions.


  • Used for the sniper duel in The Hurt Locker.
  • 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.

Video Games

  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six series has this weapon as the most powerful sniper rifle.
    • Sergeant Fred Franklin uses this in the novel version of the same, and it's likely the M82 variant based on descriptions of it's capabilities in the story.
  • 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 MW 3, where it is easily the most powerful sniper rifle in the game (tied with the AS 50), but is definitely the most accurate among them.
  • America's 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 accurrate.
  • The M82A2 makes an appearance in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots as Johnny's sniper rifle of choice.
  • 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.
  • The SR 99 series Sniper Rifles from the Halo series appear to be a hybrid of the Barrett M107 and the Denel NTW-20.
  • 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 M 82 A 1 rather than the bullpup M 82 A 2)

Web Original

  • 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.

CheyTac Intervention

The CheyTac Intervention is a bolt-action dedicated sniper’s rifle designed by CheyTac LCC. It’s relatively recent, but made big waves when it was introduced in 2001. It fires either the .408 CheyTac or the .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 CheyTacIntervention also has a long-range laser rangefinder, designed to aid in the rifle’s primary function; 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).

Anime and Manga

  • In Angel Beats!, Yuri attempts to snipe her nemesis Angel with one. A stunned Otonashi asks “Is that a real gun?”


  • Mark Whalberg's character Bob Lee Swagger owns one in Shooter, which is then used to frame him for the assassination of a foreign delegate.

Live-Action TV

  • Richard Mackowitz demonstrates the use of 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.
  • Used in The Unit by Bob Brown and Hector Williams in the episode “Dark of the Moon”.

Video Games

  • Default sniper rifle in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer. Soap uses one in single player when he and Price attempt to infiltrate General Shepherd's base in Afghanistan.
  • The Rolins LRSS in MAG is an Intervention.
  • SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 has the CheyTac as the “C-TAC”.
  • U.S Army and Resistance units use the CheyTac in Home Front against KPA soldiers. Comes with a nifty thermal sight.

Heckler & Koch PSG 1

The PSG 1 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 PSG 1 is that after firing, the cartridge casing is ejected with substantial force, reportedly enough to throw it approximately 10 meters to the side (the SVD Dragunov has a similar tendency) which greatly compromises the military use of the rifle, because it would easily give away the sniper's position. The brass is also difficult to find for clearing the area of usage marks afterwards, due to the wide area in which it could have landed. Police forces over the world have adopted it, however, including the Grupo Especial de Operaciones of the Spanish police, 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 single-shot sniper rifles, its semi-automatic rate of fire make it a good trade-off.

Video Games

  • Grand Theft Auto games have this as the upgrade to the generic sniper rifle.
  • Available in Jagged Alliance, Back in Action as one of the sniper rifles (The others having been mentioned above already)
  • One of the more famous and wide-spread appearances is in the Metal Gear Solid series, starting with the very first one. Most famously used in the first game's battle with Sniper Wolf, appears in Metal Gear Solid 2 in both a lethal and fictional non-lethal tranquilizer variant.
  • Shows up plenty in Rainbow Six, since just about the beginning of the series.
  • Obviously, it appears in 7.62 High Caliber as an extremely accurate rifle. It doesn't hurt that it's semi-automatic.

Back to Cool Guns