Take a look at the results of our last poll and what people valued as the most important attribute for a sniper.

In your opinion, what is the most important trait a sniper must posses?
  • Patience 33%, 189 votes
    189 votes 33%
    189 votes - 33% of all votes
    58 votes 10%
    58 votes - 10% of all votes
  • All the above* 7%, 42 votes
    42 votes 7%
    42 votes - 7% of all votes
  • The unbiased ability to objectively kill another human being. It doesn't matter how well you shoot. If you can't do that, you are not an asset to those you are assigned to protect.* 7%, 42 votes
    42 votes 7%
    42 votes - 7% of all votes
  • all of the above* 6%, 34 votes
    34 votes 6%
    34 votes - 6% of all votes
  • Wisdom 5%, 30 votes
    30 votes 5%
    30 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Intelligence 5%, 28 votes
    28 votes 5%
    28 votes - 5% of all votes
  • a willingness to learn* 5%, 27 votes
    27 votes 5%
    27 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Fieldcraft in General 4%, 25 votes
    25 votes 4%
    25 votes - 4% of all votes
  • Common Sense* 3%, 19 votes
    19 votes 3%
    19 votes - 3% of all votes
  • The ability to think outside the box* 3%, 19 votes
    19 votes 3%
    19 votes - 3% of all votes
  • Superior Marksmanship 3%, 19 votes
    19 votes 3%
    19 votes - 3% of all votes
  • A large bank account 2%, 13 votes
    13 votes 2%
    13 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Excellent Stalking Ability 2%, 9 votes
    9 votes 2%
    9 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Exceptional Eyesight 1%, 7 votes
    7 votes 1%
    7 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Posess what I call the switch. You can feel when it is on.* 1%, 5 votes
    5 votes 1%
    5 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Discipline* 1%, 3 votes
    3 votes 1%
    3 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Situational awareness* 0%, 2 votes
    2 votes
    2 votes - 0% of all votes
Total Votes: 571
November 6, 2019 - January 8, 2020
* - added by visitor
Voting is closed

Remember, its only your opinion

While the winning option, patience, was not a surprise, it was a surprise by how much it out paced the others. It had more than 3x as many votes as the second place answer, which we have to say was more of a cop out. “All of the above”, while it is true they are all important, was straying away from the intent of the poll. But hey, we all can say we have selected the “all of the above” option on a multiple choice test at some point in our lives! Actually, if you look at the results, the “all of the above” option was put in there three times by different voters, but even if you add them all together, it still is nowhere near the votes for patience.

Ieyasu Tokugawa, the first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, is quoted as having said that “patience is the key to any battle”, and that is perhaps even more truthful with sniping than any means of warfare. During some training our team received an anecdote from an experienced sniper running as an OC. His thought was that the ideal sniper should be perfectly content with setting on a porch all day whittling on a stick. A sniper needs to be able to stay focused and attentive for long periods of time while doing very little, as if whittling. It makes sense.

The two answers “a willingness to learn” and “intelligence” ended up right next to each other in the voting and we thought they were good answers as well. There are expert snipers, and even legends, but there is no single sniper that knows everything and has moved beyond any additional need to learn. Our craft is constantly changing, whether through new technology, equipment or techniques, and we must be willing to learn along with the changing world. Just watching the dramatic shift in how snipers are utilized over the past 20 years has been remarkable. Intelligence helps in learning new things, but also helps with figuring things out when it all goes down the tube quickly. It also helps with the math involved with sniping.

The other answer worth noting, and one we had not considered, was the 4th highest vote getter: “The unbiased ability to objectively kill another human being.” When you consider it, this really is an import attribute. If a sniper cannot morally justify what they are doing, it will eventually tear them apart to the point that they can become a danger to themselves or others. This was one of the things that really set Chris Kyle apart. He never second guessed his moral compass or the kills he made.

The other answers were the typical ones and none of them really stood out from the others, though they are all important. So to conclude this discussion about the poll results, we will end with one of our favorite quotes here at Sniper Central to so eloquently describes snipers.

“Beware the fury of a patient man.”

This is patience…



You might not be a “sniper” in the first place if you didn’t have the other attributes.


Patience was the first item on the list, so that might have influenced the outcome. But I was a patience voter and in fact, I was looking for the word to be in the list before I saw it in the list. I think “patience” encapsulates MANY aspects. Including “don’t panic”. And “discipline” … and “never give up” …
I would also rate “field craft in general” higher than “superior marksmanship” … if you do everything right … most of the shots should be easy-ish … i.e. < 1.2 MOA type shots … of course not all will be .. but knowing your limits … and not firing unless you think you've got a first round hit … well that rolls up to patience. There are exceptions to every rule of course!
Words like "intelligence" and "wisdom" are pretty undefined … but for me … "patience" could also encapsulate much of the relevant "wisdom" … like when to move and when to not move, etc.
Even go ole "willingness to learn" … well that is certainly critical .. .and not just sometimes … but ALL the time. I learn ALL the time … especially when I don't expect to be learning 😀 But recognizing that you just learned something … "conceptualizing" the events you experience … maybe that at least overlaps with "patience" … because you have to relax and assimilate everything … all the time.
So for me, "patience" really is the one word, I would first think of … hence I voted for it !! It wasn't just because it was the first choice on the list 😀


Agreed. Fieldcraft in general always rates higher in my mind than marksmanship as well. So much more to sniping than shooting.


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