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Highly Technical: How to analyze a weapon

Most people understand weapon statistics at a basic level, like “more damage is good”. But sometimes they look at the wrong statistics, or make wrong conclusions. With this guide I hope to explain which weapon stats you should look at if you want to properly analyze a weapon.

You’re going to need:

  1. Understanding of Weapon Mechanics.
  2. Knowledge of how to use the Daybreak Census API to access detailed weapon stats
  3. A set of tools, such as Weapon Simulator and Toolbox
  4. At least 100-200 kills with the weapon are highly recommended.

It’s worth noting that Weapon Analysis is essentially theorycrafting, and theory can and will differ from practice, and practice always takes priority. The main point of Weapon Analysis is to explain WHY a weapon behaves a certain way.

Damage

There are many ways you can look at weapon’s damage. First is damage itself:

Max Damage @ Max Damage Range - Min Damage @ Min Damage Range

You can read all about it here. To quickly recap:

Bullet Damage is more important for ranged combat, where individual hits are easier to get than sustained automatic fire. High bullet damage also makes it harder to regulate incoming damage on the receiving end. 

In close quarters, DPS becomes a more important statistic. 

DPS = Bullet Damage * Rate of Fire / 60

Overall, it’s preferalbe to use DPS rather than TTK to judge a weapon’s damage output, since DPS is always objective, and does not depend on the target having a certain amount of HP or resistances. PlanetSide 2 targets are diverse, and besides infantry can include a lot of other targets. Infantry health itself is highly variable as well. 

We can’t talk about damage and DPS without mentioning Rate of Fire. High Rate of Fire is crucial for CQC, as it makes damage output more consistent, and makes it easier to always inflict at least some damage to the enemy. 

Of course, we can’t completely ignore TTK. It is an important tool for analyzing weapon’s performance against typical targets. The most common scenarios are standard infantry (1000 effective HP) and full nanoweave infantry (1250). I prefer to go for “worst case scenario”, and mostly look at full nanoweave numbers. 

Contextually, it may be important to take a look at TTK against Infiltrators (900 effective HP). A good example would be Commissioner, which has noticeably lower TTK against them.

For semi auto weapons, Bullets-to-Kill is arguably more important than TTK, as it determines how many “clicks” you need to kill the target. 

BTK = Round_Up(Target Health / Bullet Damage)

TTK = (BTK - 1) * Refire Time

Refire Time = 60 / Rate of Fire

Weapon’s damage will change depending on range to the target, and so will DPS, TTK and BTK. It’s important to analyze the weapon fully, over its whole effective range. Many people make the mistake of taking a look only at maximum damage numbers. 

Headshot and Legshot damage modifiers are important as well. 

Magazine Size

This stat on its own is fairly useless, since it doesn’t take bullet damage into account. Damage Per Magazine is a more objective statistic, so that’s what you should be mainly looking at. 

DPM = Damage * Clip Size

DPM affects how reliably a user can take out at least one target before needing to reload, and how many enemies can be killed in one magazine, which is useful in flanking situations. 

Obviously, the more DPM- the better, but after a certain plateau of ~6000 DPM, it stops mattering in regards to reliably killing one target, and we enter the realm of the weapon being able to sustain through several engagement, or continuously damage MAXes or light vehicles.

There is also a certain plateau where DPM can get dangerously low. Eridani and Tomoe are such weapons. I’d say the weapon needs at least 4000 DPM to be wielded somewhat comfortably. Anything lower, and you get a strictly 1v1 ambush weapon. 

Due to damage degradation, DPM will vary at different ranges, so you’ll have to take that into account as well. 

More DPM reduces the chance of being forced into Long Reload

Ammo Pool

This is the amount of ammunition a player carries with him. More ammo is always good, and it decides how independent a player can be; how much does he need to rely on things like Ammo Belt and Ammo Printer, and how tethered he is to engineers and terminals.

Ammo Pool isn’t a factor for most weapons, as they have more spare ammo than an average player can realistically spend in one life, but there are exceptions, such as Stalkers using burstfire sidearms.

Same as Clip Size, you should take bullet damage into account. Up to you which range you want to use.

Reload Time

Reload time mostly speaks to user comfort rather than combat effectiveness. Mostly you should be looking at Short Reload, since it’s much more likely to encounter, unless we’re talking about a weapon with low DPM. 

Reload time is more important for CQC weapons. Ironically, they usually have longer reloads than ranged weapons. Reload time is less important for Infiltrator and Light Assault, since they often can find a safe haven to reload & recharge, or die during attempted ambush before having a chance to enter a reload. 

Effective Range

Initial Accuracy

Hip Firing

For Hip Firing, you want to mainly be looking at Standing Moving CoF

For high damaging semi-auto weapons, the smaller the CoF – the better. Commissioner is a great example – due to its great initial accuracy, it can land devastating headshots from the hip even if the enemy is a quite a few meters away. 

For automatic and burst fire weapons, smaller CoFs are better only to a certain plateau of ~1.5 – 2.0 degrees. Smaller than that and Hip Fire becomes too accurate, and it becomes difficult to spray enemies in close quarters.

Aiming Down Sights

All CoFs are relevant, and you always want them to be as small as possible. However, you are still mainly looking at Standing Moving CoF, since it is the most common and safest stance. 

Cone of Fire Bloom

There are several ways you can look at CoF Bloom.

1) CoF Bloom per shot itself. It’s more important for semi-auto weapons, especially those that don’t spam shots, like Semi Auto Sniper Rifles. 

2) CoF Bloom Per Second = CoF Bloom * Rate of Fire / 60

This statistic matters only in one specific scenario: if the user goes full auto, but momentarily loses crosshair placement on the target. I.e. he’s shooting past the target for a few moments.

A weapon with low CoF Bloom Per Second can just return the crosshair placement on the enemy and keep firing.

A weapon with high CoF Bloom Per Second will likely have to restart the burst, losing a bit of TTK, and subjecting the user to FSRM and Recoil Recovery. If the user doesn’t restart the burst, he’s risking to lose even more TTK, because CoF blooms too much.

3) CoF Bloom Per Point of Damage Done = CoF Bloom / Bullet Damage

This statistic with an extra long name ties weapon’s damage output to accuracy loss. This allows you to objectively determine which weapon requires more burst firing, even with perfect accuracy, and regardless of weapon’s RoF or DPS.

CoF Recovery

It seems that all weapons follow the same principle: after a final shot in a burst, the weapon waits for a Refire Time, and then starts recovering CoF at a rate of 20 degrees per second. 

PS2 weapon mechanics allow to have an additional CoF recovery delay, but none of the weapons use it.

Knowing this you could calculate ideal delay between bursts, based on accumulated CoF, but it would be next to impossible for a player to take advantage of it. 

Burst Firing

Together, Initial Accuracy and CoF Bloom determine how much you need to burst fire a weapon. But how good is a weapon at burst firing is mostly determined by recoil statistics. 

Angular Size Research

There is no single definition for weapon’s effective range. I prefer to use this one:

Effective range is range where an automatic weapon can reliably kill an enemy in one long burst, ignoring recoil and assuming perfect crosshair placement. 

Normally, we would rely on Angular Size research to determine the effective range of the weapon, but unfortunately it was proven to be wrong, and at this time there is no way to even approximately calculate it.

Recoil Analysis

All of these recoil statistics can be calculated via Toolbox

Stability

Average Horizontal Deviation

This is the average distance between the crosshair during firing and its original position. Small AHD statistically guarantees the weapon will not deviate from the center too much, and it’ll be easier to hold aim on target. 

Maximum Horizontal Deviation

This statistic doesn’t matter very much, but abnormally big difference between MHD and AHD can indicate that the weapon can sometimes spin out of control, despite being fairly controllable otherwise. A Probability Distribution Graph should show how likely it is. 

NSX Tengu Horizontal Recoil

On average, MHD should be about 2.5 times larger than AHD. Lower is good.

Recoil Angle Variance

RAV = ABS(ABS(Maximum Recoil Angle) - ABS(Minimum Recoil Angle))

High RAV can mess with the whole Recoil Pattern, and it makes burst firing especially hard. 

Rate of Fire

The faster a gun fires, the faster Horizontal Recoil can screw you over. 

Ease of Handling

Vertical Recoil Per Second

VRPS = Vertical Recoil / Refire Time = Vertical Recoil * RoF / 60

VRPS is a more objective alternative to Vertical Recoil Per Shot, and it’s directly proportional to the speed at which you need to drag the mouse to compensate for Vertical Recoil. 

Low VRPS makes a gun considerably more convenient, it increases weapon’s effective range, effectiveness of burst firing, and makes it easier to get multiple headshots with first few shots. 

Rate of Fire

With VRPS being equal, it is preferable to have higher RoF. A combination of Low Vertical Recoil Per Shot and High RoF is more comfortable for the user than high Vertical Recoil Per Shot and Low RoF.

The best example would be the notorious Gauss SAW, which gets a lot of heat for its Vertical Recoil, despite the fact that it has lower VRPS than CARV and Orion even without the Compensator. 

Average Recoil Angle

ARA = (Maximum Recoil Angle + Minimum Recoil Angle) / 2

In theory, it’s possible to fully compensate for the Recoil Angle, as long as there isn’t too much variance. In practice, same as with Vertical Recoil, lower angle is always good, and it is preferable to have the gun recoil straight up.

Recoil Recovery

These statistics are important for tap firing and burst firing. 

Projectile Speed

Determines how comfortable is the weapon at range, how much the user needs to compensate for bullet drop (if this weapon’s bullets are affected by Gravity at all), or lead a moving target, how fast can the user adapt to target’s movement.  

High velocity increases weapon’s affinity to being Suppressed. It doesn’t matter that much on CQC weapons, but generally – the more, the better.

When coupled with Projectile Lifespan, determines weapon’s maximum range. Usually it’s not important, but can be crucial in certain edge cases, like super long range sniping:

Spectre’s bullets have lifespan of 1.25 seconds. Normal velocity is 570, suppressed velocity is 570 * 0.6 = 342. That would put theoretical maximum range at 712m normal and 427m suppressed.

Misc. Stats

These stats are of some importance, and should be considered and put on display. 

Equip Time determines how good is a weapon for quickdrawing. For example, a Combat Medic might prefer a weapon with a shorter Equip Time to be able to faster switch to it if he gets caught with a Med Tool in hands. Same thing for other classes. 

Equip Time also affects how fast a weapon recovers after a quick melee attack or a grenade throw.

Faction. Having a cross-faction weapon can be both a blessing and a curse, since it will make it impossible for both allies and enemies to identify the user as belonging to a certain faction, judging by the sound alone. 

This is just something to keep in mind, since  the overall impact of this factor cannot be measured objectively. 

Scope-In Time. How long does it take to ADS. Normally, it would be a crucial stat, but it’s usually the same for weapons within their category, so it’s not an important point for weapon analysis.

Sprint Recovery. A delay before a weapon can be fired after you stop sprinting. Especially important for CQC weapons, though, once again, it’s the same for most weapons.

Fire Detect Range. Self-explanatory.

ADS Speed Multiplier. The higher, the better. A lot of people don’t understand relationships between percentages, and don’t realize that 75% ADS equates to 50% faster movement during ADS. 

Higher ADS Speed is a survival trait, as it allows to dodge more of enemy fire while dishing out accurate shots yourself. 

Specific Cases

Bolt Action and Pump Action

For these weapons, the most important statistic is Chamber Duration, as it determines their effective rate of fire. 

Spool-Up Weapons

Some weapons, like T7 MCG, start firing at lower RoF, and then gradually spool up to their maximum rate of fire. So you have to look at three stats:

  1. Initial RoF
  2. Spool Up Time
  3. Maximum RoF

Shotgun

Total Damage Per Shot. Mostly important for quick-melee combos, and determines weapon’s performance in ideal situations, though it’s important to realize that shotguns very rarely meet them. 

Damage Per Shot = Pellet Damage * Pellets

Pellets Per Shot. Speaks to weapon’s consistency. With all else being equal, it’s better to have as many pellets as possible, as it reduces the effects of RNG. 

Pellet Spread. Affects weapon’s effective range. It’s always important to take into account Cone of Fire as well, and look at Pellet Coverage:

Pellet Coverage = Pellet Spread + Cone of Fire

This is shotguns’ version of “Initial CoF”.

Cone of Fire affects where Pellet Spread can land, and overall makes the weapon less consistent by double dipping into RNG. Ideally, you don’t want to have any CoF at all.

Pellet Spread is what makes a shotgun, so while smaller Pellet Spread makes the weapon more accurate and increases effective range, you still want to have some spread. 

Ideally, you want Hip Pellet Spread to be somewhere around 1.5 – 2.0 degrees, and ADS Pellet Spread around 0.5 – 1.0 degrees.

Burst-Fire Weapon

Very similar to analyzing an automatic weapon, but with a concession that the weapon can be harder to use optimally.

The requirement to click at a very specific rate of fire can make it harder to reach maximum rate of fire, and it can be harder to keep the crosshair over the target, as the user also has to compensate for uneven recoil while clicking. 

Complete lack of a semi-auto mode on a burst weapon should be counted as a disadvantage, as it means the gun can’t be tap-fired to snipe deployables or players massively out of weapon’s effective range, though obviously those are niche uses that are likely to be meaningless for most players. 

In addition to shots to kill, it may be prudent to also look at “bursts to kill”. 

Obviously, First Shot Recoil Multiplier plays a big role. It’s kind of controversial. On one hand, you want FSRM to be as small as possible, to ensure the first two shots in a burst land as closely as possible. On the other hand, you want FSRM to be close to 1x, so the recoil is evenly distributed during the burst, so it is easier for the user to emulate a fully automatic weapon. One thing is certain: you definitely don’t want FSRM to exceed 1x.

Vertical Recoil Per Shot is important as well. On weapons with long bursts, Vertical Recoil Per Second could be a more objective stat to look at. 

Look up this on how to calculate damage per second and damage per minute of a fixed burst weapon, and keep in mind that burst weapons tend to have recoil scaling.

Semi Auto Weapon

For semi auto weapon, Vertical Recoil and Tap Firing Speed, as well as CoF Recovery are the most important statistics. 

When looking at TTK and BTK, it could be prudent to look at how many bodyshots a weapon needs after a headshot opener. E.g. one of big advantages of Commissioner over Underboss is that Commissioner has much longer range of 1 headshot + 1 bodyshot combo. 

Or the fact that Blackhand reliably kills an enemy with 1 headshot + 1 bodyshot within ~60m, makes it considerably more comfortable to use. 

Highly Technical: NSX Tanto vs NS-11C

NSX Tanto is a recently released carbine in the Nanite Systems Exports weapon lineup. Its main feature is perfect accuracy of the first shot in any stance, and it also has a superfluous amount of spare ammo, but high Cone of Fire Bloom and strong Vertical Recoil create a high skill requirement, especially when considering its lowest in class damage output.

In some ways, NSX Tanto is similar to another NS carbine, NS-11C, which is more traditional and easier to use.

They both feature 75% ADS movement speed, good accuracy and low damage output. But there are noticeable differences between them as well. Let’s take a closer look at both weapons and figure out which one might suit you better.

Stats

NSX Tanto
NSX Tanto
NSX Tanto stats

NS-11C
NS-11C
NS-11C stats
NS-11C misc stats

Shared Stats
NSX Tanto and NS-11C shared stats

Damage

Damage over range
Click to enlarge

Maximum potential benefit of:

  • HVA: +7% damage at 60m
  • SPA: +3% damage at 15m

Both carbines deal exact same damage, and have access to both SPA and HVA. However, NS-11C fires 8.6% faster, and has more ammo per magazine by default.

NS-11C gets a small edge for potential raw damage output.

Bullets-to-Kill and Time-to-Kill

Headshots

BTK Distance, meters Time to Kill, seconds
Stock SPA HVA NSX Tanto NS-11C
4 0 – 39 0 – 41 0 – 49 0.3 0.28
5 40+ 42+ 50+ 0.4 0.37

Standard Target

BTK Distance, meters Time to Kill, seconds
Stock SPA HVA NSX Tanto NS-11C
7 0 – 10 0 – 15 0 – 8 0.6 0.55
8 11 – 39 1641 949 0.7 0.64
9 40+ 42+ 50+ 0.8 0.74

Nanoweave Armor 5

BTK Distance, meters Time to Kill, seconds
Stock SPA HVA NSX Tanto NS-11C
9 0 – 16 0 – 20 0 – 17 0.8 0.74
10 17 – 39 2141 1849 0.9 0.83
11 40 – 56 42 – 57 50 – 75 1.0 0.92
12 57+ 58+ 76+ 1.1 1.01

 

I don’t list BTK and TTK against Heavy Assaults for the sake of saving space. You can perform that analysis with the Toolbox yourself. 

Numbers above show the general trend: both weapons take a lot of time to kill, but before factoring accuracy and recoil, NS-11C takes slightly less time due to higher Rate of Fire.

Hip Fire Performance

Tanto vs NS-11C hip fire accuracy

NS-11C

NS-11C has the usual carbine-tier starting Hip Fire accuracy, and very low Cone of Fire Bloom, which means it can sustain hip fire without losing much accuracy. This can be especially noticeable while flying or jumping. 

NS-11C’s hip fire isn’t anything special, but still better than for most ARs and LMGs, and more than passable in a pinch, though low RoF and DPS limit your firepower versus hardened targets, especially if you’re not close enough to hip fire for headshots.

NS-11C takes the edge for ease of use when hip firing.

NSX Tanto

NSX Tanto offers perfect starting accuracy in any stance. It has high Hip CoF Bloom, but even then, it takes 7+ shots to exceed Hip CoF of NS-11C with Laser Sight, which isn’t even a standard attachment.

Tanto is potentially the most accurate hip fire weapon in the game. You can even countersnipe with it! But that potential isn’t easy to reach. You still have to contend with recoil and CoF Bloom.

NSX Tanto requires finesse. You can’t point it in general direction of the enemy and hope for RNG hits. You have to engage in bursts of 4-8 rounds, depending on distance and aiming point.

And because of the weapon’s low DPS, that aiming point better be the head, or you might find yourself outgunned.

Unlike with NS-11C, Tanto can realistically go for hip fire headshots at any distance, but naturally it will be challenging at 20m+.

In that regard, NSX Tanto can be interesting for people who played a lot of Counter-Strike, and used to hip firing and short bursting.

Additionally, you can tap hip fire the Tanto, and let Cone of Fire fully reset between shots. It would mean firing at 536 RPM or ~9 rounds per second. 

Tanto’s hip fire is best suited for a high-aim player with low mouse sensitivity, large monitor, excellent PC performance and Vertical Field of View below maximum. All of it would increase the relative size of the target on your screen, and make it easier to get good hip fire hits from greater ranges, at the cost of reduced awareness and twitch aim effectiveness.

NSX Tanto gets the ultimate edge for high potential accuracy of hip fire.

Both

It’s worth noting that both weapons have low DPS and are not suited for CQC domination. Unless you can reliably hit headshots or engage with a complete surprise advantage, it is better to avoid hip firing, and keep your distance, especially with NSX Tanto’s super low DPS.

Ranged Performance

NSX Tanto and NS-11C have different Recoil and Cone of Fire characteristics, and can be easier or harder to use depending on player and situation.

However, both carbines are likely to be inferior at range to 167 damage carbines, such as Razor, Pulsar C and Cougar, and don’t stand a chance against the magnificent cannon of destruction – AC-X11.

ADS Accuracy

NSX Tanto vs NS-11C ADS accuracy
Click to enlarge

Again, NSX Tanto’s big selling point is that its first shot is perfectly accurate, even on the move. While its ADS CoF Bloom is higher than average (0.06 vs 0.05), it still takes 10 (!) shots before NS-11C becomes more accurate, even when fired from a completely still position.

On that note – it is beneficial to start the engagement with NS-11C while stationary, if you’re engaging an unaware enemy at range from a safe position. But you don’t have to be still throughout whole engagement, you can start moving after you fire 5 shots and receive no accuracy penalty – that’s just how CoF Mechanics work.

In that case, NS-11C will be almost as accurate as NSX Tanto, the worse starting CoF isn’t likely to play any role, unless we’re talking about extreme ranges of 150m+.

NSX Tanto gets the edge for ADS Accuracy.

Recoil

NSX Tanto vs NS-11C recoil pattern - 15 shots fired
Click to enlarge

NS-11C

  Stock With Attachment  
Vertical Recoil, per sec 2.39 2.03 Compensator
First Shot Multiplier (Recoil) 3x (0.66) 0.56
Average Horizontal Deviation 0.165 0.123 Forward Grip
Maximum Horizontal Deviation 0.4 0.3
Average Recoil Angle -18.5 -13.9
Recoil Angle Variance 3 2.25
Recoil Recovery True Delay 0.184
Recoil Recovery Time per shot 0.0165 0.0133 Both
Recoil settle after first shot 0.233 0.224

 

As far as conventional 143 damage carbines go, NS-11C’s accuracy and velocity are above average. The only carbine that has it better is T5 AMC, mostly thanks to access to Advanced Forward Grip.

NS-11C has the lowest vertical recoil among carbines, which makes it very easy to hold on target. High First Shot Recoil is a bit obnoxious when you’re trying to engage a small target in short bursts. 

Overall, NS-11C isn’t something you would want for extreme range shooting or “sniping”, but it’s more than capable at range, and respectable for a carbine.

NS-11C gets a slight edge for ease of use at range.

NSX Tanto

  Stock With Attachment  
Vertical Recoil, per sec 4
First Shot Multiplier (Recoil) 1.4x (0.56)
Average Horizontal Deviation 0.115 0.086 Forward Grip
Maximum Horizontal Deviation 0.28 0.21
Average Recoil Angle 6 4.5
Recoil Angle Variance 2 1.5
Recoil Recovery True Delay 0.180
Recoil Recovery Time per shot 0.0235 0.023 Forward Grip
Recoil settle after first shot 0.213 0.212

 

The first obvious thing is high Vertical Recoil, and lack of Compensator to tone it down. Unlike NS-11C, you will have to consciously compensate for Vertical Recoil every time you engage with Tanto, and getting good hits at range may be challenging. The combination of low RoF and High Vertical Recoil is the opposite of convenient.

Lower FSRM makes short bursting a bit more convenient. Even though actual first shot recoil is the same as for NS-11C with Compensator, at least recoil is more consistent from shot to shot.

NSX Tanto has lower Horizontal Recoil, with 30% lower Average and Maximum Horizontal Deviations. It also has less pronounced Recoil Angle, and with less Variance.

All of this goes a long way of making Tanto’s recoil pattern more consistent and predictable, even if takes more effort to compensate for.

If you tap fire and let the crosshair fully settle between shots, you can take up to ~5 shots in 1 second, and each shot will have perfect accuracy. Potentially, you can kill a stationary player with 5 headshots within 0.85 seconds. Most players will not stand and get shot for that long, but you can potentially “snipe” an oblivious sniper or an engineer behind a turret. 

You can also snipe deployables with it.

NSX Tanto gets the edge for potential accuracy at range. You can see where this is going.

Other Traits

Equip Time

Carbines in general have the shortest Equip Time among primary weapons, and NSX Tanto has the shortest Equip Time among carbines. Returning to NSX Tanto from most sidearms or tools is going to take only 0.75 seconds. 

Combine that with perfect hip fire accuracy and you get the best quickdraw primary weapon. This can be especially important for Engineers, when they get caught with a Repair Tool out, or if you’re playing with Med Kit Primary.

That said, NS-11C is only a 0.05 seconds behind.

Ammo Pool

For some reason, NSX Tanto has a huge amount of reserve ammunition. A lot of the time that doesn’t matter, but it can occasionally make a crucial difference for a perching Light Assault, and NSX Tanto certainly benefits a rooftop camping playstyle.

NSX Tanto gets the edge for ammo pool.

Reload Speed

While NSX Tanto has pretty decent reload speed, it’s still 0,45 second slower than for NS-11C, which reloads faster than average.

NS-11C gets a slight edge for reload speed.

0.75x ADS Movement Speed Multiplier

Both carbines allow you to move 50% faster while Aiming Down Sights than with most other primary weapons. It’s a great trait for dancing in and out of cover, slicing corners and dodging enemy fire in a faceoff. 

It can allow you to survive just enough time to get your aim where it needs to be and get those hits.

This trait is especially obnoxious in case of NSX Tanto, which is still pinpoint accurate on the move.

Cross-faction tracers and sound

Both carbines share this quality, and it can add precious milliseconds before enemies identify you as a threat. This is especially important considering how many shots you need just to down one target, and how long it takes to fire them all.

For psychological reasons, this trait is most useful for VS players, as most of their weapons go “pew-pew”.

Which one to use?

As you probably have picked up along this article, NSX Tanto has higher potential than NS-11C, but is harder to use. It can be treated as a more extremely tuned version of NS-11C, the next logical evolutionary step. 

  • If you already enjoy the playstyle of NS-11C, but wish you had more control – you’ll like what NSX Tanto has to offer.
  • If you are just thinking about entering the realm of accurate, mobile carbines that reward good aim – it’s better to start with NS-11C and transition to NSX Tanto once you feel comfortable with the playstyle.
  • If you value versatility and no-nonsense ease of use, and enjoy airborne combat – you’ll have better success with NS-11C.
  • If you prefer a run & gun and in-your-face aggressive playstyle – you won’t like either of these weapons. 

Gameplay Tips

Both carbines specialize at “medium range” of about 20m to 50m. They can engage outside these bounds, but it’s not really their forte. Keep your distance when you can, and don’t try to snipe with them, and you should be fine.

Light Assaults really benefit from their sustained accuracy, which makes them great weapons for perching and general rooftop shenanigans. Just do your best to resist the temptation of jumping down in the midst of enemies.

If you are assaulting a building, either try to stay away the furthest from enemies, engage them in their backs, or stay behind your allies. 

When engaging an enemy in a 1v1 shootout, make full use of 75% ADS speed multiplier, and strafe erratically. If there is a piece of cover around – even better. Try to play the cover and catch the enemy sprinting or distracted. If you get under fire the moment you show your nose – just go back and wait for a more opportune moment. 

Both carbines require a lot of hits to down a target, and sure take their sweet time firing them. This means that after 1-2 engagement attempts, enemies around will likely know your exact position. Try not to stay in one place for too long, and engage from different angles when possible. 

Go for headshots when you can, but for both carbines there is a certain distance where they just can’t get them easily and reliably.

While theoretically NSX Tanto can shortburst or tapfire for headshots at any distance, it’s likely to take a disproportionate amount of time, giving an aware target an opportunity to hide in cover, and for other enemies to shoot you. 

In those cases, it’s perfectly fine to for bodyshots. Both carbines have great sustained ADS accuracy, and you’re very likely to eventually kill the enemy, unless he hides into cover or you get sniped first.

Attachments

NS Carbines' Attachments

Both carbines have access to mostly same attachments.

Barrel

Lack of Compensator for NSX Tanto is hurtful, but high Vertical Recoil seems to be the intended downside. And if Tanto had access to Compensator, it would be considered mandatory, pushing out other Barrel Attachments as viable options, and Compensator’s penalties would affect the intended feature – perfect starting hip fire accuracy.

While NS-11C has access to Compensator, and a lot of successful players enjoy using it with one, it’s far from being mandatory. NS-11C has the lowest Vertical Recoil and Vertical Recoil per Second among all carbines, and its performance at range is mostly limited by Horizontal Recoil and low damage. 

Both weapons can be used with Suppressor. HVA can even compensate for some of its penalties. However, with a Suppressor, you risk turning your pea shooters into even weaker pea shooters that are harder to get hits with. It would also limit your maximum effective range. It’s not really optimal, but passable if you’re going for ultra stealthy black ops setup. 

My personal recommendation is to use Flash Suppressor on both weapons. It will make your position harder to pinpoint, and make even harder for enemies to identify you as a threat while you’re shooting them. 

Rail

Forward Grip is recommended for NS-11C. The random nature of Horizontal Recoil limits your effective range in annoying and unpredictable way. 

While you could go the direction of “compensating weapon’s weaknesses” and equipping a Laser Sight, you wouldn’t get much use of it. When possible, you should simply stay away from close quarters altogether. When not – you still get the benefit of 75% ADS, and still the drawback of low DPS. 

With same reasoning, I recommend Forward Grip for NSX Tanto. It already has predictable and consistent recoil pattern, with one of the lowest Horizontal Recoils out there. 

You could say “if my Horizontal Recoil is already so great, I’ll just use Extended Mags” – and it would be more or less fine for medium range.  But in my experience, usually you cannot afford to stay exposed for so long to fire a whole magazine. 

You already take a long time killing one enemy, you’re likely to get noticed and shot, and you’ll need to go to cover and change position. Might as well reload along the way. 

And if 30 rounds isn’t enough for the user to kill even one target, they should work on their aim or engagement choices, not on attachment picks.

NSX Tanto is already very accurate based on Cone of Fire mechanics. It makes sense to tune the recoil up to par. Unlike NS-11C, NSX Tanto can really reach out. 

Ammo

While both High Velocity Ammo and Soft Point Ammo offer small, barely noticeable bonuses, they always seem to cause the most amount of argument. It comes down to what you value more, performance within 10-27m or after 27m. 

My personal recommendation is to go with HVA for both, as it can potentially offer higher damage increase, and increasing the velocity can’t hurt. 

Optics

As always, optics are up to personal preference. You can use any optic and do good with it.

But since both weapons require good accuracy, going with higher magnification is common and advised. 

For NS-11C, I recommend 2x Reflex. 

3.4x or 4x scopes are viable, but you may find them unnecessary, as less consistent Horizontal Recoil makes your crosshair shake too much.

Weirdly enough, optics choices for NSX Tanto are much more limited, it has access to only one 3.4x Reflex Scope, and no 4x Scopes.

If you are using NSX Tanto with HVA and Forward Grip, I would recommend the 3.4x Reflex. Since Tanto has much lower Horizontal Recoil, your effective range isn’t as limited as for NS-11C. You can also tap fire or “snipe” at greater ranges. And in close quarters, where high magnification would be a burden, you still get the excellent hip fire accuracy. Win-win!

Be prepared to deal with annoying Vertical Recoil, though. If you find it too much, it’s fine to use 2x Reflex or even 1x Reflex.

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