"The Sniper" has a small cast of characters. There are two snipers in the story, a man in the turret of an armored car, and a woman in the street. The man in the armored car and the woman in the street are two characters that are quickly identified, shot, and killed. They are in the story for a total of three very short paragraphs. The rest of the story is about the duel happening between the two snipers.
When "The Sniper" begins, readers are introduced to a country in the middle of a civil war. We are told that the story is taking place in Dublin, and the war is between the Republicans and the Free Staters. The next paragraph introduces readers to the story's protagonist. He is a sniper that fights for the Republican side of the conflict. His face is thin, he has eyes that gleam like a fanatic's eyes, and he is a man that is used to looking at death. That final detail hints to readers that the Republican sniper is good at his job, and those thoughts are confirmed when he expertly shoots and kills the woman in the street and the man in the turret. The Republican sniper is able to do so with one shot apiece while coming under fire himself from an enemy sniper. The Republican sniper emerges from the battle "victorious"; however, he has also lost a great deal. The Free Stater sniper that the Republican sniper kills was his brother.