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Jul 16

Battlefield 1: Weapons Performance In The Closed Alpha

One great thing about the Battlefield 1 closed alpha is the amount of time we have had to test out the weapons and vehicles. This has given DICE a lot of feedback on how they work and how well they are balanced. Even so, I am going to get into the performance of these weapons here. Just remember that this is from the alpha, and is subject to change even by the time of the open beta, let alone retail release. There will also be more weapons in the full game, and I’ve discussed what may appear.

Bullet velocity is one of the very big changes from Battlefield 4. Guns now use their real world muzzle velocity, with drag slowing the bullet down as it travels, just as in the real world. In previous games, average velocity was used for the entire travel time, which made the bullet slower than reality at close ranges but faster at very long ranges. This is more realistic, and thus more intuitive for players familiar with real world weapons and physics. It also makes close range combat easier, especially for the longer ranged weapons, because the high velocity means less need to lead targets to compensate for travel time and bullet drop. Conversely, long range fire now requires adjusting for the change in velocity, but that is both something players will get used to and also will feel more realistic and challenging.

Weapons also come with variations now, which changes how customization will be done. So rather than getting a weapon and then modifying it with loads of attachments, the weapon comes with a preset of attachments. There will be additional customization, but you won’t need to worry about tuning the basic weapon performance by putting on required attachments to do so, or messing it up by mixing add ons which don’t play well together. Each of the primary weapons in the alpha come with two variations, and in some cases they are more like two different models (design changes) of the same base weapon, rather than merely changing out some attachments. The weapons of the time did not come with mix and match add ons and rails to put accessories on, unlike modern weapons, and many things from Battlefield 4 simply were not possible at all.

Thanks to some nice folks at, we have some hard stats on the weapons in the game.

Let’s go over the weapons by kit.

First, a general description note. The alpha uses short two letter codes for weapon variants and doesn’t explain what they are. The full game will have better explanations (there is a short blurb when you unlock the weapons now, but players will want to know more).

General ones shared across many weapons:

TR — Trench variation. This is intended for hip fire and close range combat, so have iron sights and generally handle better when moving.

MA — Magnified Scope. A higher power scope (about 6x or so), used for long range combat.

SH — Short range scope, a moderate (about 4x) magnification optic, intended for medium range combat.

AR — Accuracy, precision iron sights and better aimed accuracy, usually at the expense of hip fire.

LI — Light Infantry?  Accurate fire at moderate range and nicer (but not high power) optics/sights.

MP18: Accuracy AR and Trench TR versions. With a 550 rounds per minute (RPM) fire rate and 32 round drum magazine for its 9mm ammunition, it was the first practical submachinegun used in combat. Very effective in the role of close combat, as in the trenches. Takes 5 hits to kill without a headshot at close range (under 15 meters), drops to 8 hits at longer ranges (38 m). SMGs in Battlefield 1 are not very accurate at range in full automatic fire, but careful tap fire (to get single shots) can help tame that, as the first shot can be more precise. The AR version has a nice sight and is better for these longer range shots, the TR version for close range and hip fire. Its 420 meter per second (m/s) muzzle velocity makes landing long range shots on moving targets difficult.

Automatico M1918: TR Trench and LI Light Infantry? versions. 900 RPM with a 25 round top (bar sticking up) magazine makes this beastly powerful in close combat, but harder to use in long range engagements. Takes 5 hits to kill in close range (under 4-5 meters), but the damge drops off fast and it will take 9 hits to kill at over 38 meters. Its inaccuracy will make landing those shots harder, and 380 m/s muzzled velocity, makes this weapon even more focused on close range combat than the MP18. Frankly, its magazine blocking the sight view makes using hip fire and only engaging in close combat a good choice for this weapon, in either version.

Model 10-A: Shotgun, HE Heavy and HU Hunter versions. The HE version uses slug rounds and is intended for more precise shooting, while the hunter version uses pellets (the usual style for a shotgun). With 6 rounds of ammo, and the ability to kill with one hit at close range (10 meters for the HE version, hard to measure yet for the hunter but it feels similar), it can dominate very close range fights, but requires careful aim. The hunter quickly loses effectiveness at range due to pellet spread. The heavy slug takes 3 hits to kill at over 60 meters, and the slow bullet velocity (380m/s, 333m/s for pellets) will make getting hits at that range difficult. Still, the HE version is the Assault kit’s best choice for long range shooting.  In practice in the alpha, I still found it hard to get good hits at longer range despite its theoretical lethality.


Cei Rigotti: AR Accuracy at range and FA Full Auto? versions. This is a select fire (semiauto and full automatic) rifle with a 299 RPM fire rate, and a 10 round magazine. This was the first automatic rifle developed for military use and was designed well before the war in 1900, but was never adopted by any military. Takes three hits to kill at 25 meters or less, drops to four to kill at around 35 meters. The small magazine and moderate fire rate makes automatic fire of limited use, but it is available if you want it. Its relatively light ammunition gives it a decent muzzle velocity of 660m/s. A good weapon for moderate range combat.

M1907 SL: TR Trench and AU automatic versions. The TR version is an iron sight single fire weapon, the AU has select fire and offers a 299 RPM fire rate in game. The French version used 20 round magazines (as in the game), which gives this weapon an edge in sustained close combat compared to the other semiauto rifles. 3 hits to kill from 10 to about 15 meters, drops to 5 to kill at around 30 meters. Combined with its moderate velocity of 570 m/s (due to its .351 ammo), it is best used from moderate ranges, but makes up for it with good hipfire accuracy, especially the TR version.

Mondragon: AR Accuracy with bipod, MA ranged with a magnified scope version. This is a semiauto weapon developed by Mexico, and uses the more powerful Mauser rifle ammunition. Its 257 RPM fire isn’t much different from the 299 of the other two weapons in practice. Three hits to kill at any range, and with 800m/s muzzle velocity, this is a fine weapon in either variant for longer range battles.


Lewis Gun: SU Suppression and AR Accuracy versions. A full auto LMG with its distinctive round pan magazine on top, with an impressive 47 rounds in it. Note that the SU version shows a 97 round magazine, which is true, but the barrel overheats in sustained fire anyway, so you will have to take breaks in fire. Definitely the gun to use if you want to hold a position and offer a steady hail of gunfire at the enemy. Its 480 RPM fire rate and 740m/s muzzle velocity makes it a solid killer in medium rangers. 5 bullets to kill up close (20 meters), dropping to seven at range (35 meters).

M1909 Benet-Mercie: LI Light Infantry? And GU General? versions — a more mobile, easier to shoot version and one meant for bipod use. Select fire with 31 rounds in the side loading strip fed magazine. Fires at 450 RPM, and takes 5 hits to kill, dropping to 6 at around 23 meters. With its 820m/s muzzle velocity, this makes it the ideal choice for longer range engagements.

Madsen MG: TR Trench and LI Light Infantry? versions. A select fire LMG with a 540 RPM fire rate, and a top loading magazine with 30 rounds, it is lighter and handier than the other two LMGs in the alpha. Does not have a bipod, but is much better for both hip fire and moving fire, making it a solid choice for a mobile support shooter. Takes 5 hits to kill up close (up to around 20 meters), drops to 6 beyond that, its 800m/s muzzle velocity and fire rate lets it still hold up at moderate ranges. Definitely the best choice for close combat in either version.


Russian 1895: TR Trench and MA Magnified Scope (long range) versions. The Trench variant uses .30-40 US Army (Krag) ammunition, while the MA version uses the Russian Mosin round. Both are magazine fed lever action (not bolt) rifles, with a 5 round magazine, but the TR version can fire faster and in practical game terms, is essentially an entirely different model weapon.

The Russian 1895 Trench version gets 580m/s muzzle velocity, and will take two hits to kill — one with a headshot — at moderately close ranges (around 8-23 meters), dropping to three hits to kill at longer ranges. Fills a unique role for the aggressive Scout, with high damage and precision up close.

The MA version gets the damage model of all the bolt action sniper rifles in this game. The damage at both close and very long ranges is the same, and will take two hits to kill (or one with a headshot at any range). But in the middle of the weapon range, the damage rises to a one hit kill for body hits as well. The MA version has its sweet spot between 40m and 100m, making 80 meters its ideal range to shoot for. At 820m/s and with a nice powerful scope, it is a great choice for longer range shooters.

Gewehr 98: SH Short Range and MA Magnified Scope version. Both have optics, with the SH model a less powerful scope. 5 round magazine. Its sweet range is between 60m and 120m, with 100 meters the ideal shooting range. Its 880m/s muzzle velocity makes it the best choice for all long range shooting, both within its ideal range and beyond. The MA scopes all face scope glint in sunlight, while the shorter range SH version does not.

SMLE MKIII: SH Short Range Scope and CA Close Assault? versions. The SH version has a moderate power scope, the CA version has marksman iron sights. Its best range is between 20m and 75m, with a good target range of around 57 meters. That makes this Lee-Enfield rifle the best choice for a more aggressive, closer range engagement. Its 10 round magazine also helps it out, able to keep shooting more in close quarters, and a 740m/s muzzle velocity is still fairly good for long range when needed.

M1911: A good short range sidearm, with 250m/s muzzle velocity and requiring 3 hits to kill at close range (about 10 meters), dropping to 7 at around 30 meters. 8 round magazine will make getting a kill at longer ranges very hard, but that was always going to be true with a pistol. Best up close backup weapon.

P08: A moderate range sidearm, with its 350m/s velocity and 9 round magazine. While it takes 4 hits to kill at up to around 15 meters, and 7 at around 30 just like the M1911, its higher velocity and ammo capacity makes it superior at longer ranges, better than the 1911 beyond 10 meters.

C96 Carbine: This is the primary weapon for the pilot and tanker kits in the Alpha, but despite its name it is still just a long barrel C96 pistol with an attached stock. Has a 20 round magazine and decent long range accuracy (no stats, sorry). Not as good at close range killing as the M1911, I would use that pistol like a primary for this kit for now up close, and use the C96 only for longer range shots.

Weapon Performance:

Battlefield 1 has changed not just the bullet ballistics by adding drag, it has also changed the weapon handling and damage models. The ideal range for sniper rifles makes them a poor choice in close engagements, but lets them stand off with greater effectiveness than in BF4 or BF3. Automatic fire weapons in general are less accurate than the more modern firearms of BF4. But on top of that, the pattern of that instability makes a big difference in how you should manage that.

The SMGs have decent single shot accuracy, and that is how you should fire them for precise longer range shots. If you are going to fire them full auto, the modern tap-burst fire where you use 3 to 6 round blasts — trying for the kill with the least amount of ammunition used — will suffer from the weapon’s inherent instability, and miss more than you might think. Sustained fire for 6-12 rounds will give more accurate fire. On top of that, for both hipfire rather than aimed fire is, as is the case for BF4 PDWs, a better option in closed combat, as they don’t gain enough accuracy from aimed fire to make that worthwile.

LMGs actually have negative bullet spread, so the longer you sustain fire, the more the weapon “steadies down” and can be controlled to hit accurately. On top of that, the BF1 bipods work very well to enhance accuracy with all weapons which have them, and you should always try to use them with LMGs – even for very short shots. Short bursts will be widely inaccurate, but the Madsen MG can make up for that with its fire rate in hip fire up close.

Semiauto rifles may have a full auto mode, but you are best off taking careful aimed shots and letting the recoil settle between them at longer ranges if you want accuracy. Up close, the 1907 SL TR version has potential in hip fire, but otherwise, they are not the best option for close engagements. Still, you can drop anyone in three hits up close with them, so practice your rapid fire trigger finger techniques.

Sniper rifles have a new feel to them, with the highly lethal short range zone from BF4 moved to a more generally useful, for sniping, moderately long range. Higher bullet velocity and decent accuracy make all good choices for precision fire. The one hit to kill with a headshot at any range is retained, so in many ways, they will feel most familiar to BF4 players.
The exact values of all these weapons are of course subject to change. Most are taken from the real world weapons, and in that way, this makes Battlefield 1 the most realistic (in terms of weapon physics) game in the series. Elements like the automatic fire accuracy and how to manage it are open to debate, but I can’t say it is unfair to portray these first of their kind in the world weapons as being much less reliable and effective than their modern counterparts.

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