The Division 2 PvP has seen many a sniper already but the very same marksman rifle weapon class gets overshadowed in PvE due to other more versatile weapons. This sniper build should make you a competitive DPS or solo PvE marksman though.
Crits and Giggles in this build refers to the fact that it doesn't completely forego Critical Hit Chance and Critical Hit Damage in favour of brute Weapon Damage and Headshot Damage bonuses. Once your headshot crits though, you will definitely giggle at the numbers.
Get Sharpshooter, this is a no-brainer. It provides Headshot Damage as one of the bonuses and additional stability for making sure you land your shots on the tiny hitboxes that are enemy heads. There are, however, a few other crucial talents too.
Flashbangs are invaluable when enemies are trying to close the gap between you and them. Pop one and shoot the stunned enemy in the head - easy peasy.
Digital Scope provides the biggest Headshot Damage bonus out of any sight modification. Avoid the armour modification like the plague.
Deft Hands will increase reload speed, an essential upgrade for Model 700. Speaking of which...
Your first primary weapon will be Model 700 since it is the best marksman rifle around, plain and simple. The active talent on this weapon should be Optimist if you have five or less red mods, which will likely be the case until you can get the perfect gear rolls mentioned further down in this guide.
Model 700 reloads one bullet at a time which will allow you to chamber one or two bullets, interrupt further reloading by tapping the melee key and then you can fire your weapon and maximise the damage bonus from Optimist.
If you don't like all the additional work you need to do with Optimist, you can always get M700 with Ranger talent, which will make you do more damage the further you are from the target. It is also advised to switch to this talent as soon as you get six or more red mods and attributes in total as Optimist will no longer work.
Modifications should all prioritise Headshot Damage, then Damage to Elites and finally Critical Hit Chance. Use Stability or Accuracy mods if you are having trouble landing headshots but never ever change the Digital Scope.
The second primary weapon should be Sweet Dreams Exotic shotgun. You won't be using it with this build, but the Holstered talent provides 25 per cent of your M700 "magazine" each time you roll. It can be used as an alternative to getting two bullets in, instead of manually loading them and then cancelling the animation.
Once you get Nemesis, it should be an obligatory switch. In case you can keep aiming at enemies long enough, it will be superior to M700 so use it. If you like popping behind cover for quick shots, just let Nemesis sit holstered for the bonus 25 per cent headshot damage.
If you don't have any of the two Exotics, it could be a good idea to have a good Rifle on hand for close encounters. Mk 17 or SIG 716 should do the job as they will still benefit from the headshot bonuses you stack on armour due to being rather precise. Ranger or Optimist should do fine on these weapons too.
M1911 variations are my personal favourite sidearms in the game but it is not essential to have one. If you are not using an Exotic in any other weapon slot, get Liberty since it will reload 20 of M700 "magazine" whenever you destroy a weak point or an armour piece.
You may be thinking three piece Airaldi Holdings is optimal and it usually is but this build will offer a little advantage to Douglas & Harding since that will be the set you will complete and use only two Airaldi pieces. Also the general rule in the build will be to focus on offensive attributes and gear mods since defensive and utility ones are appreciated but not nearly as crucial.
The only thing to keep in mind about the latter two is that you should have at least seven defensive (blue) mods and attributes combined at the end due to the chest piece talent requirement.
D&H mask is the way to go with a Damage to Elites roll, get is as high as possible. If you can't get a DtE roll, try recalibrating it from another mask. If that is not an option either, get Critical Hit Chance on it. If a yellow attribute happens to be on the mask as well, it doesn't matter whether it's Skill Power or cooldown reduction. Just make sure there is a red slot as well as the common offensive talent Hard Hitting that will grant flat 15 per cent increase in damage to Elite enemies.
Chest piece will be the only one not belonging to D&H or Airaldi. Gila Guard is optimal here since it can roll Unstoppable Force active talent along with an offensive attribute slot which should be reserved to Headshot Damage. If you get a Gila Guard chest with a common talent though, you can just add another Hard Hitting for more damage to Elites.
Gloves you need are Airaldi Holdings. If you get Heracles gloves, go for the Opportunistic active talent to get a damage boost upon wrecking a weak point. In case you get the Persephone variation, the gloves will have a common talent so go for either Hard Hitting (DtE) or Precise (Headshot Damage). You should prioritise Marksman Rifle Damage or Critical Hit Chance on the red attribute.
The holster will be D&H brand and specifically the "Morar" Holster System variation since "Awe" variations don't roll with talents. Common offensive talent will need to be either Hard Hitting or Precise. The red attribute slot should be occupied by Critical Hit Chance. In case the holster rolls an active talent, go for Bloodlust or Reassigned. Bloodlust is especially good if you have M700 in one slot and Nemesis in the other. The rest of active talents are useless.
Airaldi Holdings will be the brand of your backpack, with the Demeter Quick Stash variation since this is the only one that can roll a common talent, which should be, once again Hard Hitting. Weapon Damage or Critical Hit Chance on the red attribute slot. Active talents are useless with this build.
Kneepads are D&H with Critical Hit Chance roll on the red attribute slot. The common talent should be Hard Hitting for more Damage to Elites and the active one should be Entrench. This talent will make you into a super tank since you will be regenerating five per cent armour each time you land a headshot.
It's pretty obvious that you should always go for headshots, whenever it's possible. The few exceptions to this rule are the exploding drones of Black Tusk faction, RC cars of True Sons and weak spots on heavily armoured enemies.
You should shoot drones and RC cars down as soon as the enemy soldier pops them up. This will cause the drones to either deal massive damage or outright kill the owner.
Every sniper build is weak against heavily armoured hostiles so let your group members with LMGs and assault rifles pop a piece of their armour, after which you can place precise shots and quickly dispose of the juggernaut.
Same goes for Black Tusk's Warhounds - your DPS will be weak against these foes as long as you are hitting the armour plating. If they expose their backs though, that's another story. You will be able to ruin their mechanical lives with a handful of shots to their from your trusty marksman rifles.
If you are playing solo and face a juggernaut, you can pop a flashbang and land a few headshots while he's flailing helplessly. Once he breaks out of it, find a bit of cover, kite a little, pop another flash, rinse and repeat until that helmet breaks. It shouldn't take more than one shot to kill him after that. In the case of Black Tusk minigun wielders, you can shoot their ammo pack for the same effect - it is located just behind their left arm (it is always the outstretched arm).
As for Warhounds, they will move unpredictably around the battlefield but their shots are heavily telegraphed by both the red laser visual cue and the wind-up sound. Stay in the cover before it shoots and leave this enemy for last. Once there are no other enemies on the battlefield, outmanoeuvre it and shoot it in the butt.
While the red mods and attributes are the highest priority, it is highly important to have at least seven blue ones as well so you can proc Unstoppable Force. You should have around 200,000 armour which will mean about 40 per cent damage increase for a few seconds after killing an enemy. In other words - shoot an enemy with a red health bar in the head and then shoot whatever you want, you will hit like a truck.
If you are playing in a group, keep some healthy distance between yourself and the enemies. They will turn their attention to your teammates in front more often, exposing themselves for easy headshots. Even if they stay in cover, you will still be able to do massive damage from a safe position due to marksman rifles' damage dropoff being the most forgiving in the game.
On top of that, what little damage enemies manage to do to you, a few headshots should fix, literally.