Payday Wiki
Enemy Type Sniper
Health 40 (Normal)
40 (Hard)
80 (Very Hard)
120 (Overkill)
240 (Mayhem/Death Wish/Death Sentence)
Headshot Multiplier 2 (Normal)
2 (Hard)
4 (Very Hard)
6 (Overkill)
4 (Mayhem)
3 (Death Wish/Death Sentence)
Internal name sniper
Achievement(s) Bullet Dodger.jpg I'm Not a Crook!.jpg Let Them Watch.jpg A Taste of Their Own Medicine.jpg Clay Pigeon Shooting.jpg Keep Clear of the Windows.jpg Nothing Personal.png Let Them Fly.png

The Sniper is a special enemy in PAYDAY 2. They tend to appear on rooftops or in windows with a good vantage point. The Sniper can be easily identified by his bright red laser and the loud report of his rifle. Sometimes in certain missions before Bain announces their arrival, they can be seen running to a building or being dropped off by a police chopper.


"Police snipers often deploy at a distance and high up. They pack a serious long-range punch with their special Gewehr 3 tactical laser sight sharpshooter rifles. They’re lightly armored, but their high vantage points can often make them hard to target.

My Notes: Surrounding an area with well-positioned snipers is a well-tested tactic, but we’re losing too damn many. The Payday gang sure know how to shoot, and our snipers are vulnerable. Hell, if the field reports are to be believed, these guys have been taken out at 300 yards with a sidearm! Update: At least now they have begun to use better rifles. This should help.
—FBI Files Description.

Similar to Shields, Snipers have 2 different models, the SWAT variation and FBI variation. FBI Snipers seem more likely to hit their target, however there is usually only one brought in at a time, and they are only employed in certain heists, such as on a rooftop of Rats Day 2, above the van in Garage Escape, and Election Day. However, it is possible for FBI Snipers to appear later in heists, such as Nightclub, if the heist lasts long enough. Otherwise, SWAT Snipers are employed, most often in groups of two, although more can be brought in at once, as shown in The Big Bank if the C4 tunneling escape has been chosen. Their attributes besides that are identical.

Damage Output[]

The following table details the damage outputs of Snipers on all difficulties over range. Note that on all difficulties besides Death Wish, Snipers deal only half their usual damage if their target is more than 30 meters away from them. Whilst this is usually the case, a few jobs have close-range Sniper spawns, most notably Hoxton Breakout Day 2.

Sniper Damage Output
Difficulty 0-1m 1-5m 5-10m 10-20m 20-30m 30m+
Normal 100 100 100 100 100 50
Hard 140 140 140 140 140 70
Very Hard 160 160 160 160 160 80
Overkill 200 200 200 200 200 100
Death Wish 240 240 240 240 240 240

It is especially important to keep in mind that, unlike every other enemy, the Sniper's damage spills over to health if it exceeds the player's current armour - if a player has 20 armour and is hit by a sniper that is 10 meters away on Hard, their armour is obliterated and they take 120 points of health damage. As base player health is only 230, Snipers can very easily incapacitate unsuspecting heisters who are already wounded and have low armour.


Pre-Hoxton Housewarming SWAT Sniper (left) and FBI Sniper (right)

Snipers have the simplest behavior of the special enemies. Each Sniper will spawn and move to a specific position, staying there and firing at any player within their line of sight. Their shots deal moderately high damage (depending on difficulty). Snipers are the only enemy capable of piercing a player's armor, meaning any excess damage done after the target's armor is broken is carried over as health damage. When this happens, a loud metallic "clang" is heard. They are especially dangerous when the crew is transporting heavy loot across an open area, and so it is advised to either clear any Snipers overlooking the area before moving loot, or take it through a less open area, if possible.

Snipers have the same health as gang members and will always use pre-designated spots around the map. It is thus possible and useful to memorize common sniper perches.

Snipers tend to miss their first shot if the players are moving, giving ample time to locate and shoot them. Players should be very cautious of Snipers when they are within their view. The first shot they land will nearly always take down a player's armor only, regardless of what type they are wearing. Follow-up hits will translate into health damage, with critical hits capable of taking off approximately a third of the player's full health bar.

They also have a very fast reaction rate to heisters and thus should not be underestimated. As such, they are incredibly dangerous if an incapacitated or electrocuted player is in their view.

One thing to keep in mind is that Snipers cannot shoot till they reach their perch, and their distinctive red beam sight does not activate until they are in position. This time can be used to safely dispatch them, provided players notice them. This is especially useful for heists where Snipers take longer routes to their perch, like Hoxton Revenge.


Always remember the Snipers' locations, as well as where you have cover from them. Once Bain reports Snipers to the players, either kill them quickly, avoid them, or shoot from cover. There are only a few possible Sniper perches in each heist, so if players can memorize these locations then Snipers can be taken out quickly. Remember that you can follow their distinctive red beam sight to more easily pinpoint their location and call it out to your team.

By far, Snipers are the most deadly when the heist area is expansive but lacks adequate cover. Maps with little to no cover or with multiple objectives for the crew to undertake out in the open are especially frustrating as they often come with a hefty complement of these units, perched on top of the many surrounding buildings/cliffs. Examples of such maps include Hotline Miami (Day 1 and near the end of Day 2), the roof and crane of The Big Bank, Transport: Crossroads and the Transport: Train Heist.

Unusually, Snipers are at their most dangerous when at relatively close range - as noted above, Snipers deal half their normal damage if their target is over 30 meters away from them (unless playing on Death Wish difficulty). This means that Snipers that appear on indoor/close-quarters maps such as Mallcrasher, Nightclub, Day 2 of the Hotline Miami job, Day 2 of Hoxton Breakout, and The Alesso Heist are by far the most dangerous and should be treated accordingly. Conversely, Snipers that appear a very long way away (such as those on Day 1 of Rats and The Bomb: Dockyard) can be given slightly lower priority.

Snipers can be taken out quickly with any accurate weapon, ideally one powerful enough to kill in a single body hit, and ideally all players in a crew should come equipped with such a weapon for any heist where they can expect to encounter Snipers.

Many of the assault rifles make strong counter-sniping weapons, offering sufficient damage along with high accuracy and the ability to rapidly fire a second shot if the first misses. Certain pistols and SMGs can be modified to reach the power and accuracy required to rapidly eliminate Snipers too.

If counter-sniping using a sniper rifle, the Theia Magnified Scope's ability to automatically highlight special enemies may prove useful over longer distances and in dark conditions where the Sniper may otherwise be hard to see, such as in Day 1 of Rats and certain spots in the Train heist.

The Arbiter grenade launcher can be an effective weapon against Snipers due to its less pronounced projectile arc compared to other grenade launchers, assuming it does not have any incendiary grenades. It can instantly kill a Sniper without too much trouble even if the grenade does not directly hit the Sniper and as long as said enemy is within the blast radius. Rocket launchers like the HRL-7 and Commando 101 can also serve this purpose thanks to their complete lack of a ballistic trajectory, although it may be better to save their limited ammo for more significant threats.

Long-range counter-sniping with shotguns is typically ill-advised; even with flechette munitions and skills like Far Away they are largely incapable of hitting Snipers beyond 20-30m and deal little damage when they do hit at these ranges thanks to their spread. Still, if there is no other option, a few lucky or well-placed blasts can at least stall the Sniper long enough to allow you to get to cover or grant a more accurate ally an opportunity to take the shot. A shotgun loaded with AP slugs, while technically capable of killing a Sniper in one or two hits on most difficulties, is particularly ill-advised, as they are functionally equivalent to a shotgun blast with only one pellet, making it highly unlikely that the Sniper will be hit at all on any given shot.

Despite their low accuracy, light machine guns, especially the Buzzsaw 42 and KSP, can be an effective choice when taking down mid-range Snipers, as the fast fire rate allows you to hold down the trigger and get enough hits in to stunlock and eventually kill a Sniper before it has a chance to shoot you. However, keep in mind that Snipers lock on quickest to stationary targets, so setting up a bipod is not advisable when trying to deal with several Snipers at once with an LMG.

Due to their comparatively low accuracy and stability, inability to use sight modifications, and somewhat non-intuitive iron sights, akimbo weapons are less than optimal for dealing with Snipers for long range. Still, most have enough magazine size and firing speed to lay down suppressing fire, usually staggering the Sniper or forcing him to hide for a few seconds if the player isn't lucky enough to kill him outright.

If taking out a Sniper seems impossible because of your current situation, suppressing them can work just as well. Continually firing at a Sniper's position will cause them to duck and cover, preventing them from shooting back, and a stray shot may get lucky enough to kill. Even a non-fatal hit may be enough to force them to stay down for some time, as their low health means they are easily knocked down.

If a Sniper has you pinned down but you know where they are, moving into sight and then back to cover quickly can cause them to waste a shot trying to hit you. You can then jump out of cover and fire at them before they can fire another shot.

Unlike other special enemies, Snipers CAN panic briefly from near-misses from a heister with Disturbing the Peace from the Muscle Perk Deck, with the right weapons. This causes them to hesitate and can relieve Sniper pressure on the team for a few seconds.


Bullet Dodger.jpg Bullet Dodger
In the Street escape, complete the escape without killing any enemy snipers.
I'm Not a Crook!.jpg I'm Not a Crook!
While wearing the "37th" mask, destroy 69 snipers using the Commando 553 rifle.
Let Them Watch.jpg Let Them Watch
Finish the Train heist without killing any snipers.
A Taste of Their Own Medicine.jpg A Taste of Their Own Medicine
Kill 25 Snipers using only the Rattlesnake sniper rifle. Completing this achievement will unlock the Tactical Aluminium Body for the Rattlesnake sniper rifle.
Clay Pigeon Shooting.jpg Clay Pigeon Shooting
Kill 10 snipers using any shotgun and flechette ammo. Unlocks the Long Barrel for the Raven shotgun, "Clint" mask, "Leaf" material and "Monkey Skull" pattern.
Making a Statement.png Making a Statement
Finish the Slaughterhouse job on the OVERKILL difficulty or above without anyone killing a single sniper.
Keep Clear of the Windows.jpg Keep Clear of the Windows
Complete the Undercover job without killing any Snipers. Unlocks the "Hans" mask, "Red White" material and "Luse" pattern.
Nothing Personal.png Nothing Personal
Kill 30 snipers with the Desertfox sniper rifle on the OVERKILL difficulty or above. Unlocks the "Mustang" mask, "Tire" material and "One Shot" pattern.
Let Them Fly.png Let Them Fly
Kill 50 Snipers with the Arbiter Grenade Launcher while using the standard ammo type.
Compact Confrontation.jpg Compact Confrontation
Kill a Sniper from a distance of 40 meters with the Compact 40mm Grenade Launcher.
Matrix With Lasers.jpg Matrix With Lasers
In the Big Bank job, open the vault by using the "Beast" drill and escape using the C4 Tunneling asset without killing any snipers on Death Wish difficulty or above.
Does not require drilling. Snipers behind the C4 tunnel wall can be killed without failing this achievement.
Snipe This!.jpg Snipe This!
Kill a Sniper with a melee weapon.


  • Occasionally, killing a Sniper will not remove the red laser heist for the rest of the heist day. This may confuse players in which natural instinct is reacting to a laser sight coming from a higher ground.
  • If a Sniper is suppressed by gunfire from the player after he takes a shot, there is a chance he will crouch and quickly shoot again, ignoring any cooldown between his shots.
  • If a Sniper spawns in an area that isn't hidden, and thus can immediately spot players, there is a chance he will shoot immediately, ignoring his AI logic that he must be in his designated area before starting to shoot.
  • Snipers seem to be incapable of dealing damage to AI teammates and gangsters.


  • Like Shields, Snipers are silent, this can be observed by getting close to one on Day 2 of the Hoxton Breakout heist.
    • However, they will still scream in agony after being engulfed in flames.
  • Prior to the Housewarming Party Event Update where Snipers begun carrying Gewehr 3s in DMR config with Theia Magnified Scopes attached, Snipers did not appear to use a sniper rifle of designated marksman rifle despite the distinctly high-caliber gunshot sound. Instead, they used the same ultra-short CAR-4 often used by other law enforcers which, with such a short barrel and small caliber, would not qualify as a marksman's or sniper's weapon. This is similar to the sniper unit in PAYDAY: The Heist, who wields an AMCAR-4.
    • The reason is presumably due to the fact that since sniper rifles hadn't been developed in game at the time, the developers had little to work on.
      • An oddity, considering how the developers have gone out of their way to give the special unit his own unique character models unlike in the first game, but not a proper weapon model, though seeing how the unit is often situated at a great distance from the player, and how the unit model is still perfectly visible at range while the weapon is not, it was probably meant to go unnoticed.
      • According to the FBI Files, the Snipers were in fact, equipped with modified CAR-4s. Their rifles have been tuned up to fire high-caliber ammunition semi-automatically instead of rapidly like other law enforcement units. This could mean that the real-world equivalent of these rifles are Mk 12 SPRs.
        • They could also have been using some sort of DMR kit (caliber, barrel, and internal mechanism change for long-range use) on their weapons, similar to the ones shown in-game.
      • A Sniper stunned with the Electrical Brass Knuckles or Buzzer will fire his rifle automatically.
    • Though the "A Taste of Their Own Medicine" achievement requires a player to use a sniper rifle (Rattlesnake) to kill them, they don't ever wield a weapon of such type in-game, despite the moniker. This is likely, however, a nod to the fact that the player has killed a Sniper with a sniper rifle, the very weapon that gave the enemy its traditional name and reputation.
  • The Sniper's Tactical Laser Module emits a red laser sight instead of the players' green, like the SWAT Van Turret. This was done to avoid confusion.
  • As noted by Commissioner Garrett, the mortality rate of Snipers in Washington is at an all-time high, mostly due to the units' wafer-thin armor and habit of remaining stationary during combat.
  • The Sniper is one of the only two types of special units to not have an April Fools "joke" upgrade alongside the Taser and the then-undeveloped SWAT Turret and Captain Winters.
  • Jacket is the only playable character to exclusively refer to Snipers as "marksmen".
  • The Goat Simulator heist is the first heist to feature Snipers on helicopters.
  • During Beneath the Mountain and The White House, FBI Snipers are stationed on the map, despite Murkywater being the primary military presence and the fact that they have their own Snipers. The former changed from regular police enforcement to Murkywater in Update #195, after the release of Hell's Island and Henry's Rock which do have Murkywater snipers, and the latter is released after those heists, making it very odd that they do not use the already existing Murkywater sniper models.
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