Team Fortress 2 Sniper Weapons Guide

Speed up your headshots with this comprehensive weapons guide for all of the primaries, secondaries, and melees available to Sniper in Team Fortress 2. Along with a thorough breakdown of stats, it also is organized by effectiveness and observed usage within the community.

Team Fortress 2 Sniper Weapons Guide

While the goal of this guide is to provide a thorough analysis of all weapons Sniper has access to in Team Fortress 2, it also serves to grade the weapons in the most objective manner possible. A similar guide is available for those interested in learning about Scout’s weapons. Sniper remains to be one of the most popular classes played in Team Fortress 2, and it is no surprise as to why. Not only is his playstyle a lot closer to traditional FPS gameplay, but you are rewarded with insane damage for headshots.

Sniper’s Primary Weapons, Fastest Killing Power in Team Fortress 2

Bazaar Bargain

With its body modeled after a Middle-Eastern jezail rifle of the 19th century, the Bazaar Bargain is one of the two strongest weapons the Sniper has access to in Team Fortress 2. The Bazaar Bargain starts with 50% reduced charge rate, and gains 25% charge rate per headshot, capping at 6 headshots. The headshots are lost on death, restarting back to 50% reduced charge. This places a larger penalty on death than normal, but traditional sniper gameplay is normally very passive and careful. If you stick to this careful playstyle, you will soon have max charge at 6 headshots. At this point, your sniper will be charging up twice as fast as stock, giving you 150 dmg bodyshots about as fast as you can aim.

This is tremendously faster than stock, and at 0 heads it is only slightly slower than stock, and only a small amount of charge is required to register a headshot. Given the fact that only a small amount of charge is required for a headshot, the reduced charge drawback at 0 headshots is not much of a detriment for experienced players.

Stock Sniper Rifle/AWPer Hand

For snipers who either do not like having to deal with 50% reduced charge on spawn, or play a little too aggressively to care about dying, the best option is the stock Sniper Rifle. While all of the other primaries can be viable options, the stock is objectively the best in the majority of situations. The stock weapon being ideal in the majority of situations appears to be at the core of the weapon balancing philosophy in Team Fortress 2, with the other sidegrades rarely being more effective outside of a unique and specific niche. The Bazaar Bargain is the Sniper’s only exception to this rule in the category of primary weapons, which has more positives than negatives for most experienced players. The AWPer Hand has identical stats to the stock sniper rifle, only offering a different weapon model and different firing sound, replacing it with the old AWP firing sound (pre-2016) from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Huntsman/Fortified Compound

The Huntsman is an enigmatic option for the Sniper, replacing your regular sniper rifle with an extremely generous bow and arrow. While some will certainly argue it is the best primary, it is tough to beat the precision and speed that guns have. However, due to the fact that the Huntsman shoots projectiles and that Team Fortress 2 is a very unusual game, it does make a case for going back to more primitive means. The Fortified Compound functions identically, except for the fact that it has a broken taunt animation. However, you are still able to taunt kill nearby enemies, it just does not play the animation that you see for the Huntsman taunt, you just stand still.

After seeing the hitboxes highlighted, it is no question why the Huntsman seems so forgiving.

After seeing the hitboxes highlighted, it is no question why the Huntsman seems so forgiving.

If you are wondering why you’re getting a headshot with an arrow so mercilessly around corners before you even peek, this is why. Projectiles do not have to hit the hitbox on the body to count as a hit, they have to hit the bounding box. The bounding box is the large rectangle that covers the entire player, and because it extends outside of the regular hitbox, it makes all projectile hits significantly more likely. In an arrow’s case, after hitting the bounding box, it teleports 16 units to the nearest player’s hitbox. This is why the “Lucksman” is so incredibly generous. Thanks to YouTuber “shounic” for this visual, he created all of it based on game data, but it is only possible to see so clearly due to his effort. His video, “tf2’s huntsman hit detection is “magnetic”; how “misses” still count as hits; huntsman hitboxes :)” is the most full explanation available on the matter.

tf2’s huntsman hit detection is “magnetic”; how “misses” still count as hits; huntsman hitboxes 🙂

Machina/Shooting Star

The Machina can be very effective on 24/7 instant respawn 2Fort/Turbine community servers. However, without that level of insanity, getting collateral kills is pretty unlikely unless you have mastered your positioning and have especially good luck. This is really the only upside to the Machina, and it comes with two pretty detrimental downsides. Firstly, you cannot fire while unscoped. Being able to “no scope” body shot for 50 damage every 1.5s is a bit of a lifesaver. If you have to zoom-in in order to get even a body shot, you must wait an additional 1.3s before you can shoot, nearly halving your speed.

Also, it is worth noting that in order to get a headshot with all snipers except the Huntsman, you have to wait an additional 0.2s after zooming in. It could be argued the Classic is the exception as well, but it will have to wait much longer to charge up all the way for a headshot. The Machina also produces a visible tracer when fired. Of course, the Shooting Star functions identically to the Machina aside from the different models.

Hitman’s Heatmaker

The Hitman’s Heatmaker is a weird option that introduces something new, but unfortunately, it has slightly too many cons. It has a comparable playstyle to the Bazaar Bargain but is less effective at speeding up your sniping and has weaker damage than the Bazaar Bargain as well. It deals 20% less damage on body shots or 40 damage on an uncharged body shot as opposed to 50 damage.

To explain it as simply as possible, the Heatmaker has a Focus meter that needs 9 points to activate (manually by hitting reload key). 3 points are awarded for a kill and 1 for an assist. Once activated, for 10 seconds, you do not have to un-scope after shots, your zoom charges 25% faster, and charges during the reload animation. This means the instant you can shoot, you are already charged enough to get a headshot. While this is a bit wild and allows for explosive moments, the Bazaar Bargain is still more effective at speeding up overall gameplay, which charges 100% faster at 6 headshots, or 25% faster at 3 headshots.

This cosmetic set was also added with the addition of the Hitman's Heatmaker.

This cosmetic set was also added with the addition of the Hitman’s Heatmaker.

Hopefully, the Hitman’s Heatmaker will get a buff at some point, because it is one of the cooler snipers to use. It looks very aesthetically appealing, and is the only silenced sniper, with a unique silenced sniper sound, although it is still pretty loud and recognizable to be fair. It also is the only sniper rifle (aside from the bows) to decapitate your enemies on headshot, in a similar manner to the Demoknight’s melee weapons. Despite the coolness factor, using this rifle is a bit detrimental to gameplay.

Sydney Sleeper

The Sydney Sleeper essentially sacrifices the ability to headshot for the utility of increasing all incoming damage to the affected target. The amount of charge determines the length of the Jarate effect, for as little as 2 seconds or as long as 5 seconds. The Jarate debuff makes all damage to that target mini-crit, or receives 35% additional damage. If you do hit a headshot while scoped in with the Sydney Sleeper, you will do mini-crit damage, and your Jarate cooldown will be reduced by 1s if it is your equipped secondary and is currently on cooldown. You also have the utility of being able to extinguish burning teammates by simply shooting them, even an unscoped shot will do. If you are very committed to playing this unique playstyle, it can be somewhat effective.

However, this playstyle is very different from a conventional sniping playstyle. Your positioning will be a little more aggressive due to needing to throw Jarate by hand frequently. Additionally, since headshots are pretty risky and offer a weak reward, you probably will not improve your ability to land headshots. Using the Sydney Sleeper can be a fun change of pace but it takes a lot of effort to get even close to the damage you would get from just killing your opponents with a single charged headshot. For this reason, it falls below all other options in terms of effectiveness. But do not let this stop you from experimenting with this unusual and alternative playstyle, because fun and effective are not necessarily the same.


The Classic is an incomparably bad Sniper Rifle. It is horribly slow and a bit ridiculous to even try to justify using it. Despite all of this, it is still incredibly fun to use. This weapon comes with 10% reduced body shot damage and the inability to headshot without a full charge. This means it takes 3.3 seconds to get a headshot, which is significantly slower than a regular sniper rifle. This weapon design is based on the Sniper Rifle from Team Fortress Classic, which also functioned in a similar manner.

The Sniper Rifle from Team Fortress Classic (top) and the Classic from Team Fortress 2 (bottom).

The Sniper Rifle from Team Fortress Classic (top) and the Classic from Team Fortress 2 (bottom).

It is able to charge shots independently of scoping. When charging, you have reduced movement speed and all the other stats during the normal state of charging your scope. Scoping no longer starts charging, so you are able to move at regular speed while scoped in if you are not charging. Charging also creates a visible laser from you to your target when fired, giving away your position. This laser is less noticeable than the Machina tracer but still gives away your position. In order to be prepared for fights you will need to charge your Classic preemptively. Unfortunately, this means you are the most immobile version of the Sniper. The Classic’s ability to no-scope body shot many classes at full charge makes it very enjoyable and risky to use at close range, but the complete lack of movement makes it a suicidal strategy if you miss your single charged shot.



When it comes to secondaries, nothing compares to Jarate! As previously stated, the Jarate debuff makes all damage to the target mini-crit, or increase by 35%. When hit by the Jarate bottle, the debuff is applied for 10 seconds, and the radius of the bottle’s explosion is 200 hammer units, which is almost as big as it sounds. For those unfamiliar with hammer units, they are the units used for measurement in Source Engine games. Here is a visual from a map that you are most likely familiar with to visualize 200 hammer units. Credit to “Grazr” of for this handy visual.

This visual quantifies the hammer unit distance between locations within the yard on 2Fort.

This visual quantifies the hammer unit distance between locations within the yard on 2Fort.

While this is a very effective debuff and it can soak an entire team if they clump near an objective, it does have a 20-second cooldown, so patiently waiting for the correct moment is important. The right Jarate toss can change be a gamechanger, and unless you are in a very good position, being hit by Jarate almost always forces you to retreat for safety. Extinguishing burning teammates with the Jarate is an additional utility it offers, and the cooldown is reduced from 20 seconds to 16 seconds. Like most projectiles, it can also be reflected by an enemy Pyro. Another important utility is finding invisible and/or disguised spies, or soaking spies to prevent them from going invisible and escaping. Since Snipers rarely leave the backline, they will often hear the audio cue of a spy de-cloaking after finally sneaking into your backlines.

Stock SMG

The SMG is a reasonable alternative for the Sniper, but it does not offer as much as the Jarate, nor does it out-damage your primary weapon. For close-range encounters, Jarate combined with the Bushwacka is a guaranteed crit for 195 damage, making the SMG look pretty weak as a close-range option. Damage fall-off is pretty strong on this weapon, meaning you will do about half damage at long range. Bullets will spread randomly as well in a small radius, with inaccuracy increasing after the first shot. Given all of these cons, the DPS (damage per second) from the SMG is very weak and inconsistent compared to Sniper’s other options that allow kills with a single hit.

Cleaner’s Carbine

The Cleaner’s Carbine is a bit more enjoyable to use than the SMG and has some interesting gameplay options if you are creative with it, although it is not necessarily a better option, and it does not compare to Jarate. The Cleaner’s Carbine offers a 25% slower firing speed and 20% fewer bullets per magazine, with the upside of guaranteed mini-crits for 10 seconds. This effect can be activated by right-clicking and activating the “CRIKEY” meter, which is filled by doing 100 damage (with this weapon specifically). It also has a silencer on the barrel which makes the firing sound much more dampened and appealing than the default SMG sound, although the noise does seem to travel about as far. It has an identical spread to the regular SMG, but the slower fire rate likely makes it seem easier to control.

When mini-crits are active, damage falloff based on distance is no longer active, which does give the Cleaner’s Carbine an edge over the SMG in ranged combat. However, in ranged combat, all of your primary weapon options are still better. Still, doing 11-16 damage per shot with mini-crits is not bad. But this increased damage is not very dramatic, and it only lasts a mere 10 seconds. For this reason, the default SMG is likely a better option for most people. Still, both guns do not compare to the effectiveness of Jarate.

Cozy Camper

The Cozy Camper is the most reliable option out of the backpack-type secondaries, but that is not saying much. Normally, when you are shot while charging in scope, or charging your Huntsman shot, it slows down your charging speed temporarily. The Cozy Camper negates this effect, and also offers 20% reduced knockback while aiming, and regenerates 1 health per second. This regeneration slowly speeds up to 4 health per second, but this is interrupted and restarted to 1 health per second if you take damage. While these buffs are strong, the Jarate is still so much more helpful. But if you are bent on not using your secondary whatsoever, then this is probably your best option.

Sniper's three backpack-type secondaries.

Sniper’s three backpack-type secondaries.


Razorback time! Spy has some powerful options for his primary weapon, so preventing a backstab will only save you from amateur spies. However, being shot in the back and doing a 180 body shot with a charged-up Classic no-scope is very satisfying. It is a pretty niche and unlikely scenario, but you will get the opportunity if you use the razorback. If you get good at reacting quickly to this, spies will have trouble with you. But if you are paying attention to your surroundings, Jarate will likely be a more effective countermeasure against spies while also offering a lot more utility.

Darwin’s Danger Shield

The Darwin’s Danger Shield is another backpack that only offers protection against one class out of nine, which is pretty ridiculous. But if you are the type of player that switches your loadout based on every death, then the Danger Shield and Razorback are both for you. This backpack removes all afterburn from fire and reduces fire damage by -50%. So if you keep getting counter-sniped by a Pyro’s flare gun, you can equip this to make your life easier. But really, you should just headshot him before his flare gets to you. Your bullets go much faster, so just use a better secondary.

Sniper’s Melee Weapons, Strongest and Weakest in Team Fortress 2


In the melee category, one clearly stands above all. The Jarate + Bushwacka combo is feared in the Team Fortress 2 community for good reason, it is instant death for anyone who dares think Sniper is defenseless at close range. The Bushwacka converts mini-crits into crits, and your Jarate will make any target take only mini-crits for 10 seconds. Isn’t it beautiful? It has the downside of taking an additional 20% damage from all sources while you have the Bushwacka out. This is a pretty minor downside, as it is only active when it is being used, and it is less damage vulnerability than even mini-crits. It is worth mentioning that a friendly soldier with a Buff Banner can turn you into a crit machine for 10 seconds.

Unfinished promotional materials for the Bushwacka, released in the 2010 Mann-Conomy Update.

Unfinished promotional materials for the Bushwacka, released in the 2010 Mann-Conomy Update.

Stock Kukri

The Kukri, or stock melee weapon, is a consistently good option. If you are determined to not use the Jarate, then this is your most effective melee in most situations. Dealing 65 damage per hit and 195 on crit, it functions identically to the stock melee of most classes.


The Shahanshah is often favored over the Kukri, but its effectiveness is entirely dependent on your situation. If you have over 50% health, you will deal 25% less damage. If you have less than 50% health, you will deal 25% more damage. This is a pretty minor increase in damage, but you will often have less than 50% health if you are being rushed and need to use your melee. This is a risk-taking weapon, dealing either 48 or 81 damage on a regular hit depending on your health. Given the amount of Team Fortress 2 crates being opened daily for $2.49 each, it is safe to say that the Team Fortress 2 community likes gambling. So it makes sense that this melee is a community favorite amongst those who do not use Jarate.

Promotional material released by Valve for the Über Update.

Promotional material released by Valve for the Über Update.

Tribalman’s Shiv

Widely regarded as Sniper’s worst melee, it may also be the worst weapon in Team Fortress 2. It deals 33 damage on hit and 48 damage from bleeding over 6 seconds. While the combined damage of 81 is larger than 65, most opponents will find healing before 6 seconds pass. Once healed, bleeding is interrupted. Bleeding can also be interrupted by a number of different things, such as charging with a Demoman shield.

The only upside to using the Tribalman’s Shiv is being able to track spies in a similar manner to burning them. They are unable to maintain visibility with either debuff, so one hit is enough to make sure the enemy Spy will not get away unseen. If you really dislike spies, this might be worth using. But the length of the bleed debuff is so long that you will rarely do more damage than one swing from a Kukri, making it easier for opponents to escape. Being killed by someone and then killing them by bleeding is mildly entertaining, and that will happen often since your initial damage is so low.

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