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The term sniper comes from a name given to hunters that specialized in hunting an elusive game bird called a "snipe." These birds were notoriously hard to hunt, due to their keen eyesight, and general wariness. Hunters who were skilled enough to hunt these birds came to be known as "snipers." In the seventeen-seventies, British troops began to use the term "to snipe" to mean "to shoot from a hidden location"

A sniper is a member of the infantry division of an armed force, who has undergone special training, and, as a result, specializes in long distance marksmanship. Most times, a sniper will be equipped with a special rifle which has been modified for increased range and accuracy, as well as a sniper ghillie suit , which is a special suit that the sniper uses to decrease visibility. As well as marksmanship, a would-be sniper must also be extremely skilled in the art of camouflage.

Other skills must be learned as well to be an effective sniper, such as, the ability to live for an extended period of time in the field without supplies. A sniper in the field, most likely will be without the support network enjoyed by the rest of the armed force. This means that besides the supplies that a sniper carries on his person, he is completely dependent on his environment for shelter and food.

The surrounding environment is a sniper's best friend. He not only uses it for survival, he also imitates it to make his kill. As the environment changes, the sniper will change his camouflage to match it. This is accomplished by breaking off bits from surrounding trees and grasses, and attaching them to his ghillie suit, as he moves towards the point from which he will make his shot.