Snipers have been and still are essential parts of military units. They are target specialists using sniper rifles who can fire accurate shots from a long distance. Snipers are camouflage specialists with supreme accuracy in aim, great survival and camouflage skills and tremendous patience augmented by near-perfect calculation powers. They operate singly, sneaking up on the enemy and eliminating them one by one while remaining completely invisible. They usually operate by eliminating commanding officers of enemy units.
So, we can see that camouflage is a key to a sniper, second only to his shooting abilities. Thus after the sniper rifle, the sniper ghillie suits they use are of utmost importance to them as these are what they depend most for camouflage. Such suits are also used by hunters for remaining invisible to game. In fact ghillies were first developed by Scottish game keepers for hunting. The British Lovat Scouts’ Snipers are known to be the first military unit to use Ghillie Suits. The suit was used in the Boer wars.
Blending into the surroundings is of utmost importance for snipers. Since they have to get in close to the opponent unit they need all the camouflage that they can get. The success of a camouflage means life or death to a sniper. For a hunter ghillies are very essential for getting close to a prey. Game like deer, have very keen senses and fast reflexes and running abilities. To hunt them it is essential to get close. However, ordinarily game is able to sense a hunter moving in. Camouflaging allows the hunter to sneak in without the game taking notice. Sniper ghillie suits are made to resemble the vegetation of the area where they operate. The specialist snipers make their own suits picking up vegetation on the way to attach to their suit.
The Special Ops Sniper Ghillie, is made of synthetic thread, nylon or similar durable material with netting sewn to it. The netting forms the base of the suit. The suit is then weathered by soaking it in mud. As the sniper moves in his track, he keeps adding the vegetation of the area to the suit. Snipers spend most of their time laying or crawling on the ground. For this reason the front of the jacket and pants have to be left open. The sewn on Jute thread covers the back of the jacket, tops of the arms, and shoulders and thumb loops are sewn into the cuff of the sleeves for crawling.
Sniper ghilies can get very hot and heavy. Even in moderate climates, the temperature inside a ghillie easily reaches 120 °F. The material of the suit is also flammable, unless treated with fire retardant. The suit as a result, is prone to catching fire from smoke grenades or white phosphorus. To enhance safety, the US Army Soldier Systems Center has developed a fire resistant ghillie fabric to replace the jute or burlap. This new material self extinguishes itself as the fire resistant material is inherent in the suit. This is enough to allow a sniper turn into the most lethal and stealthy enemy for both its human victim as well as game.