From Halopedia, the Halo wiki
The Sniper Rifle, sometimes shortened to just Sniper or Snipes, is a human precision power weapon featured in all major Halo games, starting with Halo: Combat Evolved. It is a long-range weapon which typically has two levels of scope, and is best used to pick off enemies at a great distance. The Sniper deals a large amount of damage per shot, but has a slow rate of fire and usually only carries four shots per magazine.
Universe and lore
- Main article: Sniper rifle (fiction)
Most of the sniper rifles seen in the Halo games belong to the SRS99 family, a series of rifles produced by Misriah Armory for the United Nations Space Command armed forces. The original SRS99 AM rifle entered service in 2460 with the UNSC Army, and the SRS99 series was eventually adopted by all remaining branches in 2521, thanks to its impressive modularity and continuing support on behalf of Misriah. Having gone through at least four further revisions since its initial adoption, the series remains in service as of 2558, with the Series-5 model being in mass production at that time.
Another prominent sniper rifle is the M99 Stanchion, a now-defunct weapon that has been out of production since 2521. The Stanchion bears more resemblance to a coilgun or railgun than a traditional chemical propellant-based firearm, using electromagnetism to launch its projectiles. It was used by the crew of the UNSC Spirit of Fire during the Second Ark Conflict, along with another sniper rifle known as the signature-suppressed anti-materiel rifle. Additionally, an Insurrectionist group active on Harvest and Arcadia was known to equip its soldiers with an as-of-yet unidentified sniper rifle.
The following is a list of all sniper rifles in Halo lore that have appeared in the games:
Halo Wars 2
The Sniper Rifle is a powerful precision weapon, featured in every notable Halo game since the series' inception in Halo: Combat Evolved. Typically dark grey or black in color, the weapon features one of the longest barrels of any weapon, as well as a large boxy scope and a prominent stock, making it very easy to identify. It is capable of killing enemy players in as little as one or two shots depending upon accuracy, and deals a large amount of damage. To compensate for this, it has a slow rate of fire compared to most weapons, usually only carries four shots per magazine, and is very rare.
Unlock and acquisition requirements
In the majority of Halo games, the Sniper Rifle does not need to be unlocked, and is simply acquired by finding it on the map, or, in the case of some game modes or campaign missions, spawning with it. However, there are three notable exceptions:
Halo 5: Guardians
However, in Warzone, the weapon can only be acquired via the REQ system. To unlock the Sniper Rifle, the player must acquire a Sniper Rifle certification, an Uncommon REQ card that can be found randomly in all types of REQ packs. Upon receiving the certification, the player will also be given a number of Sniper Rifle REQ cards, and will begin to randomly receive more when opening future packs. Each of these cards can be redeemed in a Warzone match to spawn a Sniper Rifle, at the cost of energy. Doing so will consume the card. Alternatively, the cards can be sold for 75 each.
Halo: Spartan Assault
In Halo: Spartan Assault, the Sniper Rifle can only be acquired via the loadout screen. It does not need to be unlocked, but costs 50 or 1,000 to equip. Once equipped, you will spawn with the Sniper Rifle at the start of the level and every time you die, so long as you do not quit back to the menu. It is single use - that is, it will not carry over to the next level, nor will it be available next time you play the level on which you purchased it.
Halo: Spartan Strike
Halo: Spartan Strike is similar to Spartan Assault; the Sniper Rifle is unlocked by default, but costs 500 to equip for a single play session. The Sniper Rifle will not carry over to subsequent missions, and you will no longer spawn with it on that mission after quitting to the menu or beating the level.
However in Spartan Strike, the Sniper Rifle also spawns in the campaign itself, exclusively on the final mission: E-6: Hold the Line. In total, four Sniper Rifles spawn on this mission, along with four Spartan Lasers and four Rocket Launchers, the two other previously loadout-exclusive weapons.
End of the Line
- Main article: End of the Line
- "All good things must come to and end. Improved Sniper Rifle with reduced recoil, but emphasis on faster rate-of-fire has slightly reduced damage."
- — REQ description
End of the Line is a Rare REQ variant of the Sniper Rifle, featured in Halo 5: Guardians. It boasts a faster rate of fire and significantly reduced recoil, but deals slightly less damage per shot - though it is still capable of killing an enemy player in two body shots or one headshot. Should the player have an End of the Line REQ card, the weapon can be acquired in Warzone via the REQ system for a cost of energy, or alternatively the card can be sold for 100.
Arrow of Time
- Main article: Arrow of Time
- "There's no going back. Advanced Sniper Rifle with extended magazine and heavy-duty cyberlink that prevents descope. Unfortunately, the weapon does have extra recoil to compensate for."
- — REQ description
Arrow of Time is an Ultra-Rare REQ variant of the Sniper Rifle in Halo 5: Guardians. It features a larger magazine than the standard Sniper, with 6 shots instead of 4, and the player will not be descoped when shot whilst zoomed in with the weapon. However, it also has increased recoil compared to the normal Sniper Rifle. Its REQ card costs energy to use in-game, or can be sold for 150.
- Main article: Nornfang
- "A master-crafter instrument of death and destruction. Mythic Sniper Rifle firing high explosive armor piercing (APHE) rounds that increases overall damage. In addition, Linda's modifications ensure the Motion Tracker is visible even when using Zoom."
- — REQ description
Nornfang is a Mythic, Legendary REQ variant of the Sniper Rifle in Halo 5: Guardians, and is the personal sniper rifle of the SPARTAN-II Linda-058. The weapon fires rounds that explode on impact, dealing damage to any nearby enemies, and instantly killing them if hit directly. Additionally, when scoped in, the motion sensor will not be hidden while using Nornfang. To balance this out, the player gains the Damage Boost visual effect when they equip the weapon, making them very easy to spot. Nornfang can be requisitioned in Warzone for energy, provided the player has a spare Nornfang REQ card, or alternatively the card can be sold for 200.
Nornfang also appears in Halo 5: Guardians' campaign. It can be found abandoned in the troop bay of the ONI Acrisius on the level Unconfirmed, and on the Blue Team missions in co-op, the player playing as Linda-058 will spawn with the weapon at the start of the level (but not upon respawning). However, in campaign, the weapon is significantly less powerful, retaining none of its bonus abilities from the multiplayer.
The most prominent counterpart to the Sniper Rifle is the Covenant's Beam Rifle, a long-range weapon with two levels of zoom, which is similar in operation to the Sniper Rifle. The Beam Rifle was first introduced in Halo 2, but has reappeared in several games since. It fires a beam of light with a practically instant travel time, which behaves similarly to a Sniper Rifle bullet; a hit to the body will remove an opponent's shields, whereas a headshot will instantly kill them. Unlike the Sniper, however, the Beam Rifle uses a battery system for its ammo, typically with ten shots in total, and the weapon cannot be reloaded. In most games, the weapon will overheat after two or three shots in rapid succession.
Another Covenant counterpart to the Sniper Rifle is the Focus Rifle, first introduced in Halo: Reach. Unlike the Sniper Rifle and Beam Rifle, the Focus Rifle fires a continuous beam not unlike that of the Sentinel Beam, which deals heavy damage to enemy units, but will overheat if fired continuously for too long. However, the Focus Rifle takes longer to kill enemies than the Sniper Rifle does, and the brightly colored beam will expose the location of the player. Like the Beam Rifle, the Focus Rifle uses a battery ammo system, and cannot be reloaded. It also has two zoom levels, similar to the Sniper and Beam Rifle.
The Forerunner counterpart to the Sniper Rifle is known as the Binary Rifle. This rifle operates using a similar ammunition system as the Sniper Rifle, albeit with two shots per magazine rather than four. It features two levels of zoom, just as the Sniper does, however with one major difference: whilst zoomed, a distinct red targeting laser will shine out from the barrel - even before the weapon is fired - which will alert enemies to the fact they're being targeted, and will also highlight the user's location. The projectile fired by the Binary Rifle varies by game. In Halo 4, it fires a bolt of light that travels instantaneously and will always immediately kill an enemy player regardless of where it hits them. In Halo 5: Guardians, it fires a continuous beam for a brief period of time, which deals very heavy damage and can easily kill an enemy player if held on them for long enough - though the strong recoil can make this difficult.
Gameplay info here
- Main article: First-person shooter
FPS info here
|Zoom levels||2x, 10x||5x, 10x||5x, 10x||5x, 10x||5x, 10x||?, ?||5x, 10x||4x, 9x|
|Shots per trigger pull||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|Reserve ammo (reserve mags)||24 (6)||20 (5)||20 (5)||20 (5)||20 (5)||24 (6)||16 (4)||16 (4)|
|Headshots to kill||1||1||1||-||1||1||1||1|
|Shots to kill||2||2||2||-||2||2||2||2|
|Headshots to break shields||1||1||1||-||1||1||1||1|
|Shots to break shields||1||1||1||-||1||1||1||1|
|Red reticle range (Hip fire)||0m||0m||15.94m||15.94m||22.89m||38.5m||0m||38.0m|
|Red reticle range (Zoom level 1)||106.6m||-||63.21m||63.21m||91.45m||152.7m||122.0m||152.4m|
|Red reticle range (Zoom level 2)||426.6m||-||141.87m||141.87m||228.51m||343.1m||274.4m||342.9m|
Tactics and strategies
- Main article: Twin-stick shooter
Twin-stick info here (Spartan Assault, Spartan Strike, etc)
|Spartan Assault||Spartan Strike|
|Shots per trigger pull||1||1|
|Reserve ammo (reserve mags)||-||-|
Tactics and strategies
Real-time strategy games
- Main article: Real-time strategy
Wars info here
Changes from Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo PC
- Maximum telescopic zoom reduced from 10× to 8×.
Changes from Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo 2
- Minor cosmetic changes and shorter overall length.
- Decreased the maximum reserve ammunition capacity down from 28 to 24.
- Medium telescopic zoom increased from 2× to 5×.
- Night vision function has been removed.
Changes from Halo 2 to Halo 3 and ODST
- Overall higher damage and slower fire rate.
- New muzzle brake with front iron sight.
- Handguard, body, and stock has been altered.
- The scope now shows real-time with an LCD screen and infrared vision.
- It now has a trigger guard.
- The Sniper Rifle now has a new flat matte black color finish to it.
- Recoil now affects accuracy.
Changes from Halo 3 and ODST to Halo: Reach
- Increased damage against vehicles, destroying them with four to six rounds.
- Has a thumbhole stock rather than a pistol grip.
- Updated colors.
- Scope is smaller.
- Can neutralize a Scorpion tank in two shots, one to destroy the canopy, and a headshot to kill the now-exposed driver.
Changes from Halo: Reach to Halo 4
- Spare ammunition reduced from 20 rounds to 16 (without ammo).
- Reticle bloom reduced marginally.
- Reloads slightly slower.
Changes from Halo 4 to Halo 5: Guardians
- Zoom reduced to 4× and 9×.
- While scoped in, the weapon's scope will glimmer bright white, giving away the user's position.
- Noticeably higher bullet magnetism, increasing ease of use.
- Anti-vehicle properties reduced.
Skins and coatings
The Sniper Rifle has seen many equipable weapon skins and coatings across the various games it's been featured in.
Halo: Combat Evolved
- Main article: Skins (Halo: Combat Evolved)
Halo: Combat Evolved for Halo: The Master Chief Collection features weapon skins for all its weapons, including the Sniper Rifle. These were added into the game with an update on July 14, 2020, alongside the beginning of Season 2: Spark and the launch of Halo 3 for PC.
|Golden||Bling on the ring.||Season 2 Challenge: Zero Five Eight|
Defeat 150 opponents with the Sniper Rifle in any game mode.
|Woodland||Camping is a legitimate strategy.||Purchase for 1 at Season 2, Tier 52|
|Desert||Looks very stylish with a poncho.||Purchase for 1 at Season 2, Tier 10|
|Great Journey||Don't worry... I know what the aliens like.||Purchase for 1 at Season 2, Tier 42|
|Avalanche||Like Sidewinder, but with more polygons.||Purchase for 1 at Season 2, Tier 80|
- Main article: Skins (Halo 3)
- Main article: Weapon coatings (Halo Infinite)
The following medals are exclusive to the Sniper Rifle and its alien counterparts. The Sniper Rifle does also inherit some other precision weapon and power weapon medals such as Headcase and Power Player, but these are not listed here.
Halo 3, Halo: Reach:
Halo 5: Guardians:
|Sniper Headshot||Halo 5: Guardians||Kill an enemy with a Sniper Rifle headshot.|
Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST:
Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST:
|Be the Bullet||Halo: Reach||Kill 15 enemies with the Sniper Rifle without dying.|
||Kill an enemy with the Sniper Rifle, Binary Rifle or Beam Rifle while not zoomed in. This is commonly known as no-scoping.|
|Airborne Snapshot||Halo 5: Guardians||While airborne, kill an enemy with the Sniper Rifle, Binary Rifle or Beam Rifle while not zoomed in.|
|Hat Trick||Halo 5: Guardians||Kill three enemies with Sniper Rifle or Beam Rifle headshots in a row.|
|Snipeltaneous||Halo 5: Guardians||Kill two or more enemies with a single Sniper Rifle shot.|
|Snipunch||Halo 5: Guardians||Shoot an enemy with the Sniper Rifle, then finish them off with a melee.|
|Buckle Up||Halo 5: Guardians||Kill the driver of an enemy vehicle while it is moving, using the Sniper Rifle.|
The following achievements involve the use of the Sniper Rifle:
|Sniper Kill||Halo 2 for Windows Vista||Kill an opponent with the sniper rifle or the beam rifle.||10|
|Headshot Honcho||Halo 3||Killed 10 enemies with headshots in a ranked free for all playlist or in campaign.[Note 1]||5|
|Close Quarters Combat||Complete the level "Truth and Reconciliation" with at least four rounds left in your Sniper Rifle.||25 (CEA)
- "Robert McLees is definitely the go-to guy for the gun stuff. I wanted to come up with an animation for the sniper scope, an 'idle cycle'. If you activate the scope, and then sit too long without doing anything, the animation would kick in periodically, just to keep things interesting... Simple, right...? He replied, 'No way. If you adjust your scope in the field, you're dead. Snipers don't do that.' That's how detailed his weapon designs are -- not just guns, but how they work, and how a sniper would fire them. Amazing."
- — Animator William O'Brien, regarding the Robert McLees and his weapon designs for Halo 2.
The earlier games' depictions of the Sniper Rifle, notably those from Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST, bear significant resemblance to and were likely inspired by the real-world Denel NTW-20, an anti-material rifle developed in the 1990s by Denel Mechem.
Robert McLees was known within Bungie for being the expert to consult when doing work related to the games' weapons during Halo 2's development. At one point, animator William O'Brien sought to create an idle animation for the Sniper Rifle, in which the player character would adjust the scope if the player zooms in and then remains idle for a while. McLees shot down this idea, claiming that in reality, no sniper would ever adjust their scope on the field.
- In the original Xbox 360 version of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary the Sniper Rifle's reticle is far larger than it is in the original Halo: Combat Evolved on Xbox and PC. In the Halo: The Master Chief Collection version of Halo: CEA, the reticle returns to its original size.
- In the Halo: Reach Multiplayer Beta, the scope shows the identity of the weapon's user as "ID-NOBLE6", regardless of who wields it. This is not present in the final build.
- Main article: Sniper Rifle image gallery
A player holding the Sniper Rifle on Blood Gulch.
Master Chief holding a Sniper Rifle in a Halo 2 promotional image.
A first-person view of the Sniper Rifle, on Guardian in Halo 3.
A player holding a Sniper Rifle in the Halo: Reach campaign mission Nightfall.
The Sniper Rifle in first person in the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta.
Two players with Sniper Rifles on Ragnarok, in Halo 4.
A player with the Sniper on Lockdown.
A player crouching with the Sniper Rifle on Shrine.
List of appearances
- Halo: Combat Evolved (First appearance)
- Halo 2
- Halo 3
- Halo Wars
- Halo 3: ODST
- Halo: Reach
- Halo 4
- Halo: Spartan Assault
- Halo: Spartan Strike
- Halo 5: Guardians
- Halo Online
- Halo Wars 2
- Halo Infinite
- Although not mentioned in the official description, the Headshot Honcho achievement can only be acquired using the Sniper Rifle or Beam Rifle.
- Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 179: Sniper Rifle
- Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 66: Sniper Rifle
- Halo Graphic Novel, page 122
- Halo Waypoint - Universe, Railgun
- Halo Waypoint - Canon Fodder, The Art of War(s)
- Halo Wars 2, campaign
- Halo Wars, multiplayer
- Halo 5: Guardians, campaign
- Halo 5: Guardians, multiplayer
- Halo 5: Guardians, requisition system
- Halo 5: Guardians, REQ card: Sniper Rifle
- Halo: Spartan Assault, loadout screen
- Halo: Spartan Strike, loadout screen
- Halo: Spartan Strike, campaign level E-6: Hold the Line
- Halo 5: Guardians, REQ card: End of the Line
- Halo 5: Guardians, REQ card: Arrow of Time
- Halo 5: Guardians, REQ card: Nornfang
- Halo Waypoint - News, Halo 3 Now Available for PC (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
- The Art of Halo: Creating a Virtual World, page 100