View Full Version : Rant on SMGs Tangentally Related to Video Games

09-20-04, 12:18 AM
I was just playing Raven Shield and I realised how silly Tom Clancy is, so I decided to write this rather long rant about why SMGs actually suck:
Submachine guns - a select-fire, shoulder fired weapon in a pistol calibre - were pretty much a fad. They've gotten a lot of press and been put in a lot of video games, and many police departments and FBI offices picked them up. The facts are, however, that SMGs aren't all they're cracked up to be. Many police deparments are now going back to the carbine rifles, such as AR15s and HK's various compact .223 weapons. I'll try to shortly outline the reasons SMGs are a poor alternative to long guns and in almost any imaginable situation.

Rifle Advantages:
1. Range: This is obvious. The range on a rifle, due to better bullet shape, higher bullet weight, longer barrel and a greater powder charge is obviously going to have better range.
2. Accuracy: Same as above.
3. Penetration: 5.56x45mm, 7.62x39mm and 7.62x51mm (the most common 'assault rifle' rounds) can easily pierce heavy body armour.
4. Reliability: The lower cyclic rate and sturdier design of rifles makes them more reliable than SMGs.
5. Versatility: A rifle, for the reasons listed above, is very effective against opponents who are far away or wearing body armour. Rifles do not become 'less effective' at close range. At close range, that is within 30', the SMGs inferior charecteristics do become less pronounced. Hitting someone with a select fire weapon at that range is not entirely difficult, and 9mm bullets will generally provide adequate ballistic performance. The issue with inferior armour penetration, however, still remains.

Supposed advantages of the SMG:
1. Compactness: Compactness in a select fire weapon is often, first of all, a bad idea. It makes the foregrip shorter or non-existent, the weapon weighs less (increasing recoil) and it can be awkward to weild from a shouldered position. The 'maneuverability' issue would only exist in extremely limited situations: Hallways, small rooms. I will adress the extreme CQB issue below, but in most urban situations (a city street, a yard, an office building) a compact rifle such as an M4 Commando or G36C is going to be a better option.
2. Lower Recoil Impulse: This is a myth. SMGs have a rate of fire averaging 800+ rounds per minute. Certain examples (UMP) are as low as six to seven hundred rpm, but that is due to the increased recoil impulse. Automatic rifles, on the other hand, are better suited to shoulder firing, have more weight and generally superior stocks. Combined with a lower rate of fire, and the fact that they are fully effective on semiautomatic (whereas pistol rounds are unreliable stoppers without a 'burst') means that rifle recoil is going to be comparable or better to SMGs.

Supposed Problems with Rifles
1. Weight: The weight of a rifle is mainly an issue of long term carry. As long as the weapon isn't extremely heavy (like an M249 or such) the weight will probably have little negative impact on the operator in the extrent of a tactical mission. On extended deployment missions the general superiority of the rifle makes up for its increased weight (thus the absense of SMGs from as standard issue for any army in the world).
2. Cost: Rifles are not expensive, especially not compared to SMGs. Since rifles have a wide civilian market there are more producers for rifle parts, lowering costs. On the other hand MP5s and their ilk are LE and MIL only, meaning HK has to rely on such agencies for all it's sales and cannot 'spread costs'. This makes SMGs on average more expensive than rifles, especially considering repairs to common automatic rifles (AR15s) can often be made with cheap, readily avaliable parts on the civilian market and that a huge number of customizations of accessories will be already available.
3. Overpenetration: This is easily solved by using specialty rounds. While it is true 9mm rounds will rarely penetrate the human body, specialty expansion, glaser, frangible etc. rounds exist in .223 giving decent better AP and range than the SMG without causing excessive blowthrough on targets.

The Answer to ECQB: Although a rifle would be superior in anything down to and including a medium sized living room, there are some places where a rifle can be physically too bulky to be practical to use, largely due to barrel length. Shortening the barrel further would produce excessive recoil and muzzle flash. The SMG, however, is not the answer. It's problems have already been enumerated and, in addition, it's range of motion is only slightly higher than that of the M4 Commando or G36C (an MP5 would be next to worthless in a driver's cab of a truck, or a small bathroom, if you did not already have your gun pointed at the target). Fortunatly an answer already exists: The PDW. The H&K MP7 is probably the best example, but the FN P90 is another example. These extremely small weapons offer decent range, contrallability, armour penetration, and stopping power. By using a small, custom alloyed bullet driven by a medium powder charge these weapons achieve results comparable to the .223 at close range while lacking the recoil of the heavier round. Even smaller and lighter than the SMGs, these weapons still remain contrallable on automatic fire.

Conclusion: In the vast majority of situations a rifle will dominate as the best weapon and in the rare ones where rifles are unacceptable, such as VIP detail and entry, the PDW fills in.

09-20-04, 01:52 AM
Have you had a non-firearm related post in the past few weeks? :p

Well said though... but it in games SMGs can still be very usefull, mostly because they arent represented realistically. Armor penetration, stopping power, accuracy, range, price... all pretty much off in most games. But its alright... they may be inferior in real life but they fill in a needed space in most games' arsenals.

09-20-04, 02:17 AM
SMGs are not a poor alternative and the fact is that both have there advanatages and disadvantages but the rifle has for more by far. In a game it may be fun and easy running around with a rifle in tight spots but in the real world, NO! especially when your taught to hold you gun out and to the side of your face even when turning corners. So that there is one big disadvantage along with its limited ammunition. In many situations unless hunting ducks or in a open field chasing someone half a football field in front of you a rifle is at the disadvantage.

09-20-04, 02:25 AM
Well there are subguns and there are subguns. Cheap and crude weapons such as MAC-10 and Uzi are quite different compared to weapons like MP5 in all categories.

MP5 is very accurate. Unlike most submachineguns, it fires form a closed bolt. MP5 is capable of sub 2 MOA groups, which is accurate enough for military and police use. That means that in real situation accuracy is dependant on skills of shooter, not the capabilities of the weapon.

Yeah, assault rifle calibers are superior when possible target is wearing body armor. On the other hand, pistol round is less likely to overpenetrate and go thru walls and cause collateral damage. Thats pretty important factor in police operations. Submachinegun in also easier to silence.

I have seen some army lethality tables and 9mm round is lethal to suprisingly long distances. IIRC 9mm subgun round I shot when I was in the army had v0 of ~420 m/s, thats quite a lot more than any commercial 9mm round sold in the US has. BTW, In Europe 9mm x 19 caliber has higher pressure limits, so 9mm rounds sold in Europe are considerably hotter.

9mm x 19 round is also designed for selfloading weapons and is quite reliable because of that. i.e. 9 x 19 has tapered wall case, .223 has straight wall case and is thus less suitable for reliable automatic operation.

So, in police operation in confined space, I'd propably rather have an MP5 than an assault rifle. IMHO, of course.

09-20-04, 03:34 AM
Is it just me, or do people forget they are playing a game? In almost all, if not all, the deciding factor of weapons in games is gameplay balance, not real world stats :p

But as far as RVS goes, I always use an assault rifle, in coop I always use the M16 silenced on single shot, and in MP, mostly the FNC with scope. The thing you will notice in RVS though, is that the gameplay balance between all the weapons, is that there isnt only one favorite weapon that everyone uses, which is a good thing :)

09-20-04, 03:51 AM

Captain Tactics: After watching Full Metal Jacket 20 or 30 times, this fine young lad has learned everything there is to know about urban combat. Not only is he a military genius just waiting to be discovered and recruited by the Federal Bureau of Discovering and Recruiting Military Geniuses, but he is benevolent enough to share his foolproof battle plans with the rest of his team, and even inform all the other players whenever their strategies do not meet with his approval. Lucky them!
Signature move: Saying "rush right", charging off by himself into a hail of enemy gunfire, then repeatedly saying "u stupid lusers didnt rush w/me or id be alive. assholes"
Strategy: Take a shot at him with a pump shotgun from all the way across the map. You can easily dispatch him seconds later when he stops playing to type out a 500-word essay on why shotguns should not be used at long range.

Or perhaps

Gun Expert: Typically a 30-year-old male who grew up with guns, owned several guns in high school and graduated from the United States Institute of Guns. He has memorized the weight, muzzle velocity and warranty information for every gun that has been made since the early 1600s. Of course he believes that this extensive knowledge of firearms makes him a natural Counterstrike player, and any kills against him are a result of the game's glaring inaccuracies. So, basically he's a grown-up version of an annoying six-year-old kid who always plays cowboys & indians but argues whenever his friends say "Bang, you're dead."
Signature move: Messaging the person who just killed him and letting him know that the kill didn't really count because the muzzle flash from his AK-47 looked a lot more like the muzzle flash from an AR-10. Followed by huddling in front of his computer clutching a revolver, silently weeping.
Strategy: Declare that Counterstrike is the most realistic game of all time and there are absolutely no inconsistencies between the in-game guns and their real-life counterparts. The flash of uncontrollable anger the Gun Expert will feel should make his entire head explode, or at least enough of his head to seriously impair his motor functions. Either way, it's an easy victory for you!


09-20-04, 08:52 AM

Or perhaps


lmao :lol2: :rofl

EDIT: Holy crap, I just read all of those... freaking hilarious :lol2:... thanks vamp :rofl

09-20-04, 09:26 AM
vamp...those were friggin' hilarious... :lol2:

09-20-04, 09:42 AM
Cheimison, IMO you are comparing apples and oranges. Each weapon has its intended purpose and preferred environment. Hence, SMGs and various other machine-pistols definitely have a niche of their own.

09-20-04, 09:55 AM
In reality 99 percent of the people that play games don't give a shizzle about real guns and their real benefits and they could care less unless it effects their game...realism in games doesn't make a game fun...

but, concerning real-life application chemison could be making some valid points...but since this is in the gaming forum i'd say "who gives a shizzle" :p

09-20-04, 02:43 PM
Signature move: Saying "rush right", charging off by himself into a hail of enemy gunfire, then repeatedly saying "u stupid lusers didnt rush w/me or id be alive. assholes"

:lol2: sounds like me :retard:

09-20-04, 02:56 PM
:lol2: sounds like me :retard:
Ya Im sort of the same way in Desert Combat only its a larger scale... its more like:
(that really irritates me... 4 tanks in our base, 6 infantry, 2 planes circling, yet one freaking enemy solder can fire enough rockets at my SA3 on El Alamein to blow it up... what a useless team)