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I suggest this page is split into different pages. I'm seeing at least three separate ideas presented here, so how about 3 pages? 1) comparison of rifle to laser pistol, 2) general analysis of % to hit per turn by calculating miss %, 3) Project to redo the game mechanics to balance the weapons into niches, and 4'ish) stuff to be folded into the main Rifle page. I have no idea about page names. except I vote "Rifle" for the last one.--Brunpal 03:22, 2 October 2008 (CDT)

We have strayed a bit. But that's okay at the very least it's on the discussion page.
1 and 2 can be put together into an entire weapon analysis section. That would be fun. That way we can showcase a variety of weapons (or pit them against each other) and pretty much jibber jabber to our hearts content while presenting some hard numbers to back up our reasoning (I'm sure someone out there loves the TFTD dart gun as much as I do the UFO Laser pistol, and I'm sure with good reason). The rebalancing discussion I think is covered a little in Seb76's wishlist page, so much of that discussion can be moved there. -NKF 03:30, 2 October 2008 (CDT)
Agreed. The only bits that should stay here are the "strengths/weakness of Rifle" and maybe the on-topic core of the "is Rifle obsolete when you get Laser Pistol" discussion. Spike 04:11, 2 October 2008 (CDT)

Right, I've created a Weapon Analysis section and have moved the original discussion in its entirety to Rifle vs Laser Pistol. I'm sure there are other weapon discussions and comparisons throughout the site that deserve a home of their own too. Well at least we now have a starting point.

Since I moved the discussion in its entirety, we'll have to cut all the relevant bits from there and bring them back here or even incorporate some of the information into the main article. -NKF 00:56, 8 October 2008 (CDT)

Guys, I read an X-COM fanfic and I have found a lenghty, yet interesting musing about the Rifle. If you are interested, here it is:

In the 1960s, the US Department of Defense authorized research into using flechette-based weapons - rifles which fired small steel darts weighing a fraction of heavy bullets, but doing much more damage because of their drastically increased velocity. The project was completed in 35 months, but only a small contract was awarded to Aircraft Armaments Incorporated (AAI) to further this research. The next step took place from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. This was the three hundred million project under the Advanced Combat Rifle (ACR) heading. However, the project only flared briefly before being cancelled. Under the development team, only a total of four basic prototypes were produced. The Heckler and Koch G11 was a result of this project. Heckler and Koch later ditched the technologically more advanced G11 in favour of their current assault rifle model, the G36.

The actuality of the situation was far different from the face that Congress presented to the world; in a feat of political maneuvering, X-Com had requisitioned the research data for its purposes, simultaneously managing to eradicate most records from existence, thus explaining the paucity of available data on the ACR project.

Each of the ACR prototypes had boasted a unique design; for example, the AAI ACR used a triple chamber breech, whipping the unit past the barrel to fire rounds in rapid succession, and the Colt ACR fired Duplex rounds - bullets which split in two prior to impact - for a shotgun-like pellet effect. Head weapons scientist Dr. Moira Taggart had spent the past decade or so homogenizing all these features into a single weapon.

The result was the X-Com Combat Rifle.

Integrating the triple chamber breech of the AAI ACR with the superb cyclic rate of fire of the G11, Dr. Taggart created a weapon with a 1,800 rpm rate of fire; not particularly exceptional, but still high enough to maintain the almost recoil-less burst fire of the G11. Using specialized munitions, the XCR also provided for bullets with a muzzle velocity so high, it eliminated the need for sophisticated targeting sights since the projectile trajectory was virtually flat for the entire operational range of the rifle. Its advanced muzzle break and improved compensator reduced felt muzzle recoil, similar to the G11 and Colt ACR. For convenience, the magazine was transparent, so the operator could tell at a glance how many rounds were left.

The XCR fired a special 6.7mm high-powered round that was a variant of the special Duplex rounds created specifically for the Colt ACR. Colt ACR Duplex rounds fragmented into front and rear portions, with the front round impacting normally while the rear round careened off a-ways. XCR ammunition was similarly fractured. The front part would make the entry wound, and the intermediate wound medium would subsequently destabilize the flight path of the second part. This would cause very grievous wounds very much like those inflicted by hollow point bullets, but also provide for a modicum of armour penetrating power. Unfortunately, this made the bullets very large, and the magazine could hold only twenty projectiles.

The XCR also featured an integrated laser sight. The barrel-mounted bipod could be extended to improve firing stability when appropriate. Its folding stock also allowed for easier transportation. All this came at a price, naturally. The XCR weighed in at a hefty 8.3 kilos, comparable to some of the assault rifles under ‘official’ development by the US military. Following the tradition of the M16 series of rifles, the XCR could also be mounted with an underslung 40mm grenade launcher for greater explosive firepower. Unfortunately, this rocketed the weight up to over ten kilograms, making it a real burden to carry into battle.

In my opinion, this all makes sense except the underslung grenade launcher. The allegedly "hefty" 8.3 kg also explains why the weakest soldiers are overburdened from a mere Rifle.

Interesting speculations about the ACR and G11, but I doubt X-COM would field experimental small arms without any good reason. The initial alien menace are not that hard to hit and kill. Standard, proven weapons used by existing special forces is a safer bet. Something like a 5.56mm M16 type of weapon. Any explanation of the Rifle has to account for its only marginal advantage over the Pistol (whatever that is in reality). Therefore we should look for a weak weapon as the Rifle, not a strong one like the G11 or other ACR candidates. Spike 15:50, 29 December 2008 (CST)

Rifle Rebalancing

Based perhaps on existing military doctrine, Commanders often equip troops with Rifles at the beginning of the game, but they really shouldn't, based on the stats for a fight against aliens. They could take Pistols, or Autocannon, or Heavy Cannon - any of these unfortunately are more effective than the lowly rifle. Outclassed by the Pistol in lethality vs light targets, by the Autocannon in shock firepower, by the Heavy Cannon as a sniper weapon and for all-round firepower... whither the humble Rifle?

A rebalancing of the Rifle would be along the lines of:

  • Increase clip size from 20 to 30rds, more in keeping with a M4 carbine type of weapon. This gives it real "Assault" capability, sustained bursts without worrying about ammo conservation until the target is dead. Kind of what you would expect from a 1999-era special forces close quarter battle weapon.
  • Increase damage from 30 to 32, below the midpoint between the Pistol and the AC-AP (the AC-AP should remain a class above the Rifle in penetration still).
  • Drop the TUs per aimed shot to 50% from 80%. Is it really quicker to aim a Rocket Launcher (75% and 115% accuracy) than a Rifle? Is it no quicker to get off an aimed shot with a Rifle than it is a Heavy Cannon or an Autocannon (all 80%)? Remember those expensive laser sights on this $3,000 Rolls-Royce weapon, they must be good for something.
  • You could object that the Laser Rifle has no recoil and should have the edge in aimed fire rate. In which case say 55% TUs for the Rifle, but I think that would be a shame, since for a pre-positioned sniper it drops the gross fire rate per turn from 2 to 1. The Laser Rifle has many other advantages, not least raw firepower, so leave the Rifle this one dispensation of 2 aimed shots per turn when the shooter is totally prepositioned and static.

These steps would make the Rifle worth carrying again. It would at least be a respectable all-rounder in all roles.

At the same time it would be good to increase the Aimed TU% of the Pistol from 30% to at least 50%. Firing snap shots with pistols is easy but firing proper aimed shots should arguably be slower and more difficult (or not easier) than with a Rifle, laser sighted or not. The Pistol damage should be dropped to 24, vs the Rifle at 32. I think this +33% bullet-power difference is a minimum (currently only +15%). Problem is if you push the Pistol down much further, to say 20, it begins to get too unreliable even for killing Sectoids, and then you have another useless weapon in the inventory - no good. If you push the Rifle up much more, you encroach on the territory of the AC-AP and HC-AP, potentially undermining them because of the Rifle's better effective rate of fire.

As there is not much weight difference between a Rifle and a Pistol with about the same amount of ammunition, you might want to increase the total weight of Rifle or decrease the total weight of the Pistol.

A simple step would be to drop Pistol Clip weight to 2, which is reasonable, and perhaps drop Pistol weight to 4.

Pricing, hmm. In "realism" terms, the Rifle is still overpriced at $3,000, even with a laser sight chucked in. The Pistol, if it is a Mk23 SOCOM, is still underpriced at £800. In game balance, value for money terms, the price difference is way too great. I would be happier with something like $1,800 for the Rifle and $1,200 for the Pistol. But the amounts are small so it probably does not matter and is not worth changing.

Spike 20:23, 22 February 2010 (EST)

Rifles fire 7 rounds per turn, the most of any starting weapon. They're roughly equal with Pistols at range against all targets and substantially better close-up. AC-AP doesn't have any real advantage over Rifles except close-up, and AC-HE destroys loot. HC-AP tends to overkill the first month's enemies; Rifles already have a 30% chance to one-shot Floaters and a 44% chance to one-shot Sectoids, so the extra damage is clearly pointless in that fraction of cases. The Auto-Cannon and Heavy Cannon also weigh too much for half your rookies. So Rifles are actually pretty damned good. But the real reason to use them is because you start with 8 of them, cannons are expensive, and you're getting Laser Pistols in a hurry anyway. Magic9mushroom (talk) 06:28, 5 June 2015 (EDT)