Halo 4 has a slew of weapons you can add to your custom load outs but the big three are always the ones to question since they are available at all times in both the casual and “Pro” modes.
In general, I feel 343 Industries did a good job balancing these weapons for casual play, but for professional play one weapon is currently king. Please NOTE: All data uses analysis made by professional players and analysts at the time of writing. Data is subject to change via further research and game updates/balancing.
The weapon fans have been dying for. This weapon has made its return in Halo 4 and still remains a contender to the other two weapons.
At three-shot burst with a good rate of fire, the Battle Rifle, I believe and remember I say this as general as possible, is the most versatile weapon in the game and excels at mid range combat where all three shots in the burst will likely connect on to the target. Also as a side note, at the time of writing, BR TTK is currently set to 1.80 seconds.
In Halo 2, the BR took 4 shots but in Halo 4, it takes five bursts to kill a player. To compensate, the fire rate has been increased from 2.4 bursts per second/900rpm to a certain amount higher, but no technical analysis has been made. The BR present in Halo 4 also seems to have significantly better accuracy at longer ranges than its Halo 2 counterpart. Also note the return of hit scan, where bullets will connect as soon as you pull the trigger to wherever the reticle designates. This can be tricky especially against moving targets.
Also, since the DMR is in the game, they wanted that to be the best long-ranged rifle so in order to negate the full precision effect of hit scan, slight positive y-axis recoil has been added. Since the gun is hitscan, meaning the bullet connect in an instant, the upwards motion allows for a chance at missing the target with the spread of the burst.
Since you have a 36-round magazine, you’re aloud about 12 shots before a full reload. Also note the weapon does have a bleed-through effect where 1 shot in the burst can knock out the shields and the other 2 shots in the burst could kill the player should they connect to the head. With a 5-shot kill, assuming 100% accuracy, connecting 4 shots knocks-shields out while 5th shot burst only needs 1 bullet to hit the head for a kill. That leaves a 2-bullet margin of error.
I find because of hit scan and the 3 round burst, the BR is a great support weapon, especially if you have the, “If you see it, shoot it’ mindset. Even if you spot someone in an instant, you’re likely to connect all three shots which helps a teammate if an immediate engagement has been made.
DMR / Designated Marksman Rifle
The primary weapon found in Halo: Reach as well as the weapon of choice for competitive gamers. I can safely say, without a doubt, the DMR is the best rifle in the game, should your accuracy match the challenge.
Much like Reach, this weapon retains its semi auto, single-fire action, as well as its bloom effect, albeit, significantly less irritating than reach’s version. At max-14 round magazine, and at 4 shot-kill, you’re aloud, assuming perfect accuracy, 3 kills to one mag VS. BR 2-kills to one mag.
The BR’s recoil effect gives it a positive y-axis recoil effect to reduce long range precision while the DMR has a bloom effect that move towards both the x and y-axis meaning the bullet can stray off course through all axis; left, right, up, and down. Since the DMR doesn’t have a full-auto function, meaning the semi-auto is kept in check and only fires at a set fire rate, the bloom effect is reduced since the weapon’s bloom resets by the time the next shot is in cycle. However, continuous shooting does raise the bloom effect and increases chance for random occurrence even by a slight amount thus decreasing accuracy by significant amounts since the DMR is a precision weapon.
The DMR’s original role is to be the superior long range weapon, which it accomplishes since there’s very little chance of the bullet straying off course, at this time, from any distance whereas the BR may or may not connect all 3 shots from distance in a gunfight.
Assuming your shots are perfect and your accuracy is at 100%, the DMR kills the fastest at all ranges if all four shots connect to the head due to the reduced amount of possibly human error from pacing shots. At close range against most contenders, AVERAGE TTK(Time-to-kill) of about 1.46 seconds won’t be met if you miss even a single shot but your perfect accuracy will be rewarding by being superior at all ranges. Chance for human error i.e. missing a shot, is still quite high though.
The very first weapon you’ll ever use if you start the multiplayer at level 1. The assault rifle is very similar to its previous version counterparts in practically every way. However, in Halo 4, it is, in general, the weapon of choice for the close-ranged brawler.
Since the AR has a very large blooming effect, there is a greater chance of random occurrence as you peak past a certain distance. At close range, even with the strong bloom, chances of missing (assuming reticle on target) is very slim. At close/minor mid-ranged, has a faster overall TTK than the BR and a slower TTK, assuming perfect accuracy, than the DMR. With my experience, I find missing even one shot with the DMR, gives the AR player the easy kill at close range, assuming his accuracy is on-point and has sufficient ammo.
Regardless, as player skill increases, the AR still falls relatively short. It knocks shields fast and has a chance for fast TTK at close-brawler ranges but can’t compete with an accurate AR player.
Out of the three weapons, assuming generalized perfect conditions and 100% accuracy, the DMR beats everything with its 1.46 TTK. Of course, with single-shot weapons comes the price of higher chances for error, which means missed shots as well as significantly increased TTK.
If you’re an average player who wants a weapon that reduces margin of error, the Battle Rifle is superior because chances of landing all 3-shots at appropriate ranges with hit scan is fairly high with a 5-shot kill and a 5th burst margin of error set at 2 bullets.
Regarding the DMR, it takes roughly .365 seconds to fire off one shot. Since the DMR has a current TTK of 1.46, you’re increasing inefficiency by 25% for every shot missed due to aim error or bloom effect which means one missed shot vs a perfect BR will cost you the battle since the BR’s TTK is 1.80 and DMR 5-shot TTK is 1.81. That’s not to say all 3 bullets per burst in a 5-shot cadence will connect but still…
In reality, no one is perfect and shots will be missed so choose your poison.
As a last minute note, since the separation of weapon TTK is in the milliseconds, one weapon being better than the other is almost completely false under realistic online conditions. There are other factors to consider: recoil, spread, bloom, aim assist, bullet magenetism, network lag, even reticule size and shape. Since chances for human and technological errors exist, all weapons in some shape or form are equal and deaths are equivalent to how many errors you make in combat.