Jagged Alliance 3 – Guns and Mods Guide

This is a guide for modding weapons. There’s also an ammo reference and lengthy pretext about traits and squad composition, but the focus is on mods and what works best with each gun.

Most guns can be modified for multiple roles, but in practice there’s almost always an optimal gun for an optimal (or sub-optimal) build of a mercenary. Not all guns accept same mods even if they share exactly same attachment slot. Some guns have arbitrarily high critical rate or aiming bonuses, or penalties to aspects like cumbersomeness which eliminates free movement.

It’s a lengthy guide, so let’s get to it. If you’re interested in providing feedback, do read through the full guide first, at least the text parts if not each individual gun and mod category. Thanks!

About Traits

You’ll mostly be looking at the default configuration of talents and traits of your mercs in determining who to hire initially. Some recruits are good in early game but fall out of use later. Most veterans are good throughout the game. Elites and legendary mercs are very expensive when comparing to lack of customization of their build. As such, for non-gimmick playthroughs (like solo stealth for example), we’ll mostly be looking at recruits and veterans with following:

  • 2-3 useful traits, and as few redundancies as possible
  • Talent which ideally scales up throughout the game (meaning it gains more use, not less)
  • Specialization in a skill (Leadership, marksmanship, medical, mechanical, explosives)

If you’re just here for modding tips, skip to the sections about guns and pay no mind to this.

A well-built team doesn’t give a darn about being outnumbered and surrounded in an ambush.

Unofficial Trait Tier List

Top Tier

  • NegotiatorScoundrelPsycho and Teaching: You’ll generally want just one of each in your main squad. Your I.M.P. merc will probably do best with either Negotiator or Psycho. It’s okay to have multiple scoundrels, especially in case of Fox, for the free weapon swap, but generally not the other two personality traits. Teaching is not a proper personality trait, but it’s to be treated exactly same otherwise, since it doesn’t stack.
  • CQC TrainingAuto Weapons and Heavy Weapons: No merc in roster has two of these, so if you’d like, you can make a very effective automatic gunner I.M.P. merc out of two of these.
  • Throwing: Get this trait with moderate explosives skill and enjoy the carnage. Works for both throwing knives (including Blood’s Flying Daggers) and thrown explosives. Let’s you build your I.M.P. for explosives with reduced strength.
  • Mr. Fixit: The only reason Steroid is viable in comparison to Kalyna. If Livewire didn’t have this, she’d be more balanced.

Base Line

  • AmbidextrousMartial Arts: These traits bring a decent amount of use out of their respective weaponry. The former is essential on Tex and on many builds for Fox and Vicki, and the latter is for making any use of Dr. Q’s talent as well as helping Blood’s survival in close quarters.
  • Stealthy: Universally effective for stealth kills, but far from essential. Mercs with this trait seem to get sneaky kinds of performance tasks more often, and it’s usually not too difficult to fulfill them.
  • Optimist: I’m not sure if this trait can stack, but I have a feeling it might do that. It’s most useful in early game when you may not yet have (reliable) morale proc from Inspiring Strike or a highly competent leader in your squad(s). In case I’m not wrong and it does stack, it is also rather useful in late game when bringing along multiple squads to same engagement and tougher opponents.
  • Spiritual: It’s nothing to scoff at for the mercs who have it, though it’s hard to gauge how effective the trait is in practice.

Below Average

  • Hand-to-Hand: Just shoot them before they get close. Some mercs who don’t have this should, so I feel like this trait has something of identity crisis.
  • Night Ops: It’s okay for mid range assault rifle users, but not anyone else. NVGs, flares and chemlights, and thermal scopes and tactical devices are usable by almost everyone. It’s basically a band-aid for mercs who lack access to light sources.
  • Loner: Only useful for soloing, but at least there’s no negative effects.
  • Claustrophobic: In most cases this is a minor hindrance. You can always leave the merc with this negative trait outside the underground sector, but there are couple of places where it’s not really an option. The negative effect persists for quite long time though. Approximately half of the late game Legion squads have tamed hyenas and there’s a lot of marsh tiles with hidden crocs.

Black Hole Tier

  • Zoophobic and Pessimist: Only MDRed have these, and they suck. In late game you probably have enough morale boosts available to negate them, but they are still very bad because they are unpredictable, unlike Claustrophobic. Rehabilitated Larry also has Pessimist but at that point morale shouldn’t really be an issue anymore.
  • Old Dog: You can’t select this during I.M.P. profiling for obvious reasons. The XP boost can help bring latecomers from recruit tier up to speed, but for your main squad the bonus is not very useful. It prevents making comprehensive use of Fauda and Len, which is a huge shame in my opinion. I have a strong desire to remove it from them both by use of mods. Not an issue for Gus.

Important Mercs

As stated above, you need mercs to wield your weapons, and you probably want good soldiers. Let’s go over a few quickly. A more proper documentation on weaponry mentioned here will follow in subsequent sections.

Again, if you’re here just for modding tips, you don’t need to read through this.

Institute for Mercenary Profiling

My recommendation for your custom I.M.P. mercenary is a leader, which means maximizing your leadership. It’s going to be very handy early on in raising militia and team morale throughout the game, and it’s also required for many dialogue checks. You could just as well build a specialist, but with the shortage of economical and well-built leader mercs on the roster as well as abundance of marksmen, I advice against it. You can also get very useful traits like combination of CQC Training and Auto Weapons or Stealthy which are not available from the A.I.M. roster.

A.I.M. Recruits

Barry Unger

That’s a name you’ll be hearing a lot… but hopefully not here. This section will be the only one where the man himself is mentioned in this guide. No words can do justice for his ability with explosions, at any rate, so I’ll say just this: He’s the most reliable explosives expert. Fidel is anything but reliable. Talents of Larry and Red pale in comparison to Barry’s Boutique Explosives, and their default builds are not very good either. It’s a sad fact of life… or perhaps there is a God after all and he favors the virtuous.

Taking Barry along sooner rather than later will also get you plenty of parts by defusing explosives, all the while not singeing your fingers, but you could also try defusing landmines with someone of average explosives skill early on. Just remember to get prone first and stop before you drop. But as soon as you can get your hands on a shotgun, you should bring Barry along. Free movement from both grenade throws and shotgun attacks is a key feature in surviving tough situations.

Leili “Livewire” Idrisi

I don’t blame Livewire for being overpowered. I blame overpopulation.

Early on she’ll contribute most to your fights indirectly by revealing enemy positions and with her high mechanical skill, ensuring your hard-won parts won’t go to waste and helping your gear stay in its original shape and function.

Other than that there shouldn’t be much more to say about Livewire. Wallhack wins games and brings the most out of thermal scopes. Only alternatives in the recruit tier are Kalyna and Steroid, and while they both have their uses, I’m not really interested in comparing them all. This isn’t a clickbait “Jagged Alliance 3 Best Mercenaries” type of guide, and it’s completely okay to choose your favorite mechanic out of the three. They all can put mods on guns, highest mechanical skill being preferable.

Cynthia “Fox” Guzzman

Probably the first and last medic you’ll be looking at. 8) Fox has good stats and traits, but the surprise effect of Striking Looks is of unreliable use. She clashes with some other mercs, but also has her “buddies” like Wolf.

Fox is a decent doctor and shooter, and her maxed dexterity opens up a bit more stealth options right from the start of the game. You don’t need a master of medicine like MD or Dr. Q at the beginning, and since Thor and Q may be out of your budget for early game, might as well go with the best looking one! But she’s not as essential as her stats and some community opinions might lead you to believe. When she’s not aiming for stealth kills with a suppressed rifle, she’s good for overwatching with dual handguns.

Kalyna Sokolova

She’s mostly here just so I can say that hiring her just for her rifle isn’t worth it. Her traits are some of the least effective, and her talent is a bit situational. Fortunately she has good skills (not stats though), and can assist in early game militia training and maintenance. She’s probably a solid choice if you don’t get a leader from I.M.P., but personally I’d avoid doing that.

She’s a moderately useful hire at mid-point of the game thanks to her initial skills, but depending on your income you could hire more useful people. Vicky and Magic are obviously more capable of soldiers and field mechanics, but why pay 30 grand a week for someone to clean gun barrels? She still doesn’t have anything on Livewire at any point in the game, but that’s not really her fault.

A.I.M. Veterans

Thor Kaufman

If you passed on the recruit docs, that means you’re probably already bringing your aura closer to Thor. His talent is great, though it does bring some extra inventory management to the game. You’ll probably want to take some strength training with idle mercs for more carry space when possible. Thor himself is also phenomenal trainer for health and spiritual well-being, and along with Livewire, is probably one of the more talkative mercs on roster. His only downside is the cost.

Also, speaking of Livewire again, her talent and Thor’s have some good synergy. After all, it makes a big difference whether you boost your HP with some Grit before or after HP is already depleted and your character has suffered wounds. As such, Thor’s medicines can save a lot of time and medicine when used timely. His only downside is that, just like with Fox, he’s not a top doc like MD or Dr. Q are, so you’ll probably want to let Thor have all the medicine magazines you find. Otherwise you’ll have to bring one of the walking and talking abbreviations to assist you with late game medical checks.

Keith “Blood” Hanson

A fighter for refined tastes. Although he does have his infinite supply of throwing knives (undoubtedly provided by that bandanna of his), he also has good throwing arm, high stats and skills and pretty cheap price tag to boot.

No matter what kind of stew you’re simmering your mercs in, it’s really hard to not find a place for some Blood in it, mostly thanks to free movement and ridiculously high damage of the Thing, but any sharpened machete will do as well. Make sure you grab True Strike – it affects thrown knives too.

Not everyone needs a gun.

Peter “Wolf” Sanderson

Wolf and Fox make up an ideal fireteam and training duo, if not conversation, with Fox opening combat and Wolf backing her up with whatever works best in given situation. His talent is pretty useful and he’s the most capable all-rounder in general, but his lack of traits means he’ll stay in that role and cause him to become eventually eclipsed by more powerful mercs like Meltdown while on the field. Just like Blood, with Wolf’s well-rounded skills, he makes for an ideal assault rifle user, thanks to adequate explosives ability.

Anyway, you can do perfectly fine without Sanders and Guzzman. They are non-essential mercs despite everything. But if you don’t bring either of them or the likes of Buns along, it’s even more imperative that you bring other time-savers like Livewire and a high leadership I.M.P. in your first squad.

Norma “Meltdown” Jessop

Hurricane Norma is unironically your most stable and effective overwatch gunner as well as Psycho personality. She lacks the trait for Auto Weapons, but her talent and other traits make up for it, so long as you can manage your ammunition.

Raven is also a decent choice for automatic overwatch, but I prefer Meltdown’s talent for both explosions and gunnery alike as well as her cheaper price tag and creative coercion in dialogue checks. It’s either her or Nails since Fidel is so moody.

Ammunition Reference

Let’s talk a little bit about ammunition and crafting before we get started on guns.

The most important thing is that there’s a lot of ammunition in the game. Much more than you’ll ever need. Sometimes it’s merely not in your squad inventory, or you have “wrong” type of ammo.

But here’s the good part: All bullets can kill. If you run out of 7.62 NATO and have excess of 9 mm, it just means you have been overusing powerful ammunition (something that even real world military forces think is an overkill in many places) and not using resources you have abundance of. Throughout the game, you’ll largely progress from WW2 weapons to modern firearms as well as from civilian and hunting firearms to mil spec and special forces weapons.

  • 12-Gauge Buckshot: Bread and butter shells for shotguns.
  • 12-Gauge Sabot: Long range and narrow cone, good for short barrels.
  • 12-Gauge Breacher: Best used in adverse visibility and with long barrels and chokes.
  • 12-Gauge Saltshot: Good for firing when repositioning since it inflicts inaccuracy on targets.
  • .44 Standard: Bread and butter .44 rounds for handguns and Winchester 1894.
  • .44 Armor Piercing: Probably best saved for the Winchester in late game.
  • .44 Match: For aiming, so don’t waste this during overwatch.
  • .44 Shock: Reduced range, but high crit. Good ammo to make if you have gunpowder.
  • .44 Hollow Point: Good ammo to use for overwatch builds.
  • .50 Standard: These rounds are only for Desert Eagle and the rare and elusive M82.
  • .50 Slap: Rare and somewhat expensive, but much more effective than standard.
  • .50 Frag: It’s a good round in adverse conditions since you’ll inflict burning even on grazes.
  • .50 Explosive: Useful to secure close range kills on softer targets with the Desert Eagle.
  • 5.56 mm Standard: Standard mil spec cartridge, most notably used on the Minimi machine gun.
  • 5.56 mm AP: Most useful when single firing on assault rifles with light penetration.
  • 5.56 Hollow Point: Lack of penetration is negligible downside on the Minimi.
  • 5.56 Tracer: Useful for exposing targets for your other automatic gunners. Teamplay cartridge.
  • 7.62 mm Standard: Aged but effective design. Used by most snipers and many automatics.
  • 7.62 mm Match: Best on AK-74 and builds focused on aiming, naturally.
  • 7.62 mm AP: Best on FN FAL single fire and when aiming. Usually overpenetration with AK-74.
  • 7.62 mm Hollow Point: For crit and overwatch builds, and Run and Gun on soft targets.
  • 7.62 mm Tracer: Same as its smaller 5.56 cousin. Use the WP version with the SMG AK-SU.
  • 9 mm Standard: The most common ammo type. You should never be afraid of spending it.
  • 9 mm Armor Piercing: Spend your crafting time on this, if you have the parts. It’s very useful.
  • 9 mm Subsonic: Useful on your flankers to avoid detection by unengaged enemies.
  • 9 mm Match: Best used for stealth kills.
  • 9 mm Shock: Good for overwatch and crit builds. No armor penetration is negligible penalty here.
  • 9 mm Tracer: Can help your flankers expose opponents to your midliners.
  • Flare cartridge: Cheap to use and craft. A decent light source but not usable underground.
  • Mortar Gas Cartridge: For war crimes. The most powerful mortar shell.
  • Mortar Cartridge: Explosive kind, but strangely low damage. Can punch holes in structures.
  • Mortar Smoke Cartridge: It’s useful in places, particularly when your backline has thermal scopes.
  • HE Rocket: Used by RPG-7. Seemingly perfect accuracy outside of mishaps. Watch the backblast.
  • 40 mm Flashbangs: Inflicts tiredness on epicenter, and suppressed in full radius.
  • 40 mm HE: Inflictes bleeding on epicenter, and damage in full radius.

On Crafting

This section is about crafting ammunition and explosives. You can craft munitions in locations with repair shop. Sectors with repair shop are usually marked by a small wrench icon on the satellite map, and you can simply check the operations menu to confirm it.

The primary components needed for crafting are gunpowder and parts. You can manufacture almost every type of standard ammunition out of those, but you can also modify existing ammunition by spending only one or the other of the aforementioned components, which is often more economical, especially early on.

Ammo Crafting List

You can make any ammunition yourself, provided you have components or standard version of the ammo. I’m not going to go through all of them here, so I’ll give a handful of pointers for a priority list of sorts.

12-gauge: You cannot make variants out of standard buckshot, but making standard buckshot is pretty cheap for parts cost. You can make a whopping 40 shells with just 5 parts and 1 gunpowder. Special ammo for 12-gauge is fairly common, so you probably don’t need to make any yourself. You can get a lot of performance out of many shotguns simply by modifying them for extra range or wider spread.

.44: Most guns using this lack penetration, so there’s virtually no downside in using HP ammo when it’s desirable. You should never make .44 Shock rounds because it’s almost entirely inferior to .44 HP. But this ammo should also be plentiful enough that you rarely need to make any.

.50: Since this is only used by .50 Desert Eagle and the M82, you’ll rarely need to make any yourself. The special versions of these rounds use weird alternatives like stick grenades and molotov cocktails, and those are almost always better spent for their intended function rather than crafting.

5.56: These guns are bullet-hungry, and the standard version is expensive, using 1 part for each round, so that’s often not worthwhile. HP rounds will take 2 gunpowder, while negating their light armor penetration. So there’s not much point in crafting any 5.56 even if you’re desperate to have some. It’s just not worth it with the other options on table.

7.62 NATO: For some reason 30 rounds of 7.62 only takes 10 parts and 1 gunpowder. It’s also only 10 parts for the armor piercing variant, so crafting these is pretty economical, especially when used on sniper rifles.

9 mm: Personally I think this is the most interesting category because the added effects provided by special 9 mm rounds generally have no drawbacks in comparison to standard cartridge, and recipes are pretty cheap. As with .44 rounds, 9 mm HP has no drawback compared to standard, and 9 mm AP can bring a lot of potential out of small guns towards late game.

Explosives Crafting List

As with small arms ammunition, you can make most explosives used in the game yourself out of basic materials.

Flashbang: It’s not bad by itself, but your gunpowder and crafting time is probably spent on something a bit more lethal.

Stick Grenade and Grenade: They take the same amount of parts, but the pineapple grenade takes 2 gunpowder. You get more value for material spent with stick grenades, but more damage per AP from hand grenades. Grenade also has half greater radius, so overall I’d say it’s better to invest on bigger bombs than more bombs.

Molotov Cocktail: It’s a funny incendiary, but you don’t really get to use them for their intended purposes, so in the game it’s just a bad anti-infantry firebomb. Fun to use for free, but pointless to spend resources on.

Mortar cartridges: For some reason there’s two recipes for smoke rounds, it may be a mistake on the devs’ part. There’s no point in spending either C4 or TNT for that however. But the war crime cartridges may be of interest to you. It’s up to personal preferences…

Pipe Bomb: Most of the time you’re probably looking at getting gunpowder out of this rather than putting it into pipe bombs. You can use wire cutters to dismantle them. It’s difficult to use them on the field effectively, so what you can do instead is to use them on someone like Larry in auto-resolved battles. Just make sure the bombs are equipped, and toggle “Use ordnance” option on. It’ll greatly affect the outcome of auto-resolved engagements. So overall it’s not a bad explosive when used right, and not merely a source for gunpowder.

Smoke Grenade: They have some use, and there’s a few underground battles where I’d consider even crafting them. But as with flashbangs, most of the time you’re shopping for something more destructive.

Tear Gas: Very useful on a melee merc like Blood, just bring a gas mask and remember that bullets passing through both smoke and tear gas will become grazing hits unless aimed with thermal or using 12-gauge breacher. It’s the best less-than-lethal explosive you can make.

40 mm grenades: The flashbangs are pointless to craft, but the HE 40 mm are not. This is where you get the most value out of C4. Most assault rifles can be equipped with grenade launchers, and their range and power is huge. You’re effectively multiplying the value of your C4 by five. Most folks seem to not be aware of this, otherwise I think they’d respect assault rifles much more.

The bottom line of explosives resources is that you are almost always better off spending TNT and C4 on throwables or launchables (and gunpowder for bullets) rather than using any of them with any detonators. The only exception is PETN which you cannot put to same use, so go ahead and put that PETN in all your detonators (timed detonators is probably the most reliable of the three). There’s also couple of urban locations where a timed C4 can be useful in making an alternate entrance or breach.

Modding Basics

You need parts for modding, repairing and crafting. Besides mercs, bullets and money, they are your most important resource.

Modifying guns can really change the way you play and there’s always a chance that a modification will fail, wasting some parts. This is why Livewire and to a lesser extent Vicki are highly recommended mercs, but you can make any modification with any merc that has adequate mechanics. I wouldn’t recommend attempts of modding when nobody in the location has 60-70 mechanical. Failed modification will also deplete condition of the item, meaning your mechanic will have to spend time and parts for repairs.

Dismantling equipment and looting are your sources for new parts. They are technically a renewable resource so long as a single enemy outpost remains standing.

In addition to parts, there are three special components for firearms, and two for combat blades, and two components for modifying personal protective equipment. Components for firearms are applying in the modification view, while components for blades and protection are applied by “Combine” action when right-clicking for the context menu.

  • Steel Pipes: Used for modification of barrels and launchers and incorporating suppressors. Pipes are fairly common and frequently salvaged from dismantled guns.
  • Lenses: Used for creation and installation of non-electrical scopes and sights.
  • Chips: Used for creation electronics, like advanced optics and side rail aim assists.
  • Balanced weight: Bonus for aiming and longer throw distance. Better for knives than machete.
  • Blade sharpener: Increases damage by 50%. Best on machete.
  • Weave padding: Boosts damage resistance of equipment by 10%.
  • Ceramic plates: Doubles damage reduction. The modification is removed after 4 hits.

Unique items and certain protective equipment like gas masks and camo armor cannot be modified at all.

Handguns

  • Easy to carry and use accurately
  • Good power but low penetration
  • Large overwatch radius

All firearms that can be carried and used with just one hand, like revolvers and machine pistols. Handguns that exist in the game are chambered for 9 mm and .44 cartridges, with Desert Eagle having a modification to use .50 rounds.

Their special ability is Mobile Shot which allows the merc to reposition before firing once with their gun. The notable feature here is the 7 tile movement with just 5 AP, so it’s a very effective means of moving in close combat for flanking or just for repositioning purposes. It’s also a fairly accurate shot for only 5 AP. Cannot be used without a target.

Handguns don’t have too many modding options. Revolvers can’t be equipped with suppressors.

Browning Hi-Power (9 mm)

Default handgun for most mercs. It deals good damage for its cartridge but that’s about it. Some mercs (at least Blood) arrive with a suppressed Browning.

Peacemaker (.44)

Old-fashioned revolver. Long barrels are usually desirable, and they make for good weapons for overwatch in early game.

This is not a Beretta.

Beretta 92F (9 mm)

I found a site that hailed Beretta as “the best” pistol… And it is good, especially for crit builds, but not “the best”.

Magazine

Expanded Mag is the only option. Use it if your merc has Opportunistic Killer.

Sights

There’s only Compact Reflex Sight. You probably have better use for your chips. When dual-wielding, sight enhancements seem to be provided by the gun in main hand.

Side

You can get increased aiming bonuses and up to 20 range with the barrel, so Tactical Device is an okay choice. You’re probably carrying a 9 mm pistol for stealthy stuff anyway? Dual wielding pistols with different side attachments should provide both effects.

Barrel

There’s only Extended Barrel.

Muzzle

Use the Suppressor.

Glock 18 (9 mm)

You don’t need to swap your Uzis for this if you have modified them, but the Glock has slightly different options available. 4x burst fire is default, but it can fire single shots with Mobile Shot as well.

Magazine

Extended capacity is nice because this is a burst-fire sidearm. And if you’re packing something bigger in your pocket anyway, do you even have to reload your sidearm?

Sights

Advanced Reflex Sight is the best but at the cost of chip.

Side

Lights are not great on handguns due to their limited range. Use Red Dot on crit builds and UV Dot otherwise.

Muzzle

Use Compensator if your primary weapon is suppressed. Otherwise use the Suppressor.

Anaconda (.44)

A modern day revolver. It’s a useful secondary weapon for mercs with suppressed primary weapons, especially those with Scoundrel trait, or a solid primary weapon for Fox or Meltdown, thanks to its light penetration capability.

The only difference in modifications between Anaconda and Peacemaker is that ‘Conda has full capacity for optics, but can also fit side attachments like UV Dot or Red Dot on top of the weapon. So, for once, there’s a mod slot with humongous number of choices and it all comes down to what kind of merc is using it. Overwatch, crit, aiming, there’s a lot of options, especially for dual ‘Conda use.

Desert Eagle (.44, modified for .50)

It comes for .44 by default, but in practice you probably want to put that .50 pile to use, since M82 is the rarest weapon. Even the .50 version can be equipped with suppressor, so this is the most destructive handgun, if not economical.

Magazine

It already has capacity of 15 for both types of ammo. No idea how 15 rounds of .50 cal fit in there, but if it works, it works.

Sights

Use Improved Iron Sight or the full Reflex Sight. I wouldn’t put a chip here.

Side

UV Dot works well with Mobile Shot and makes your .50 shots count, but Red Dot brings more damage out of the more economical .44. See below.

Barrel

This is where the ammo conversion happens. If you have the M82, you’ll probably be better off with the Extended Barrel. Otherwise, .50 BMG Barrel is the only way to put that .50 stockpile to use, so go with that.

Muzzle

Suppressor is the only option here. If you like the Deagle’s report, you could opt to not using it. It works fine loud or silent so it’s your choice.

SMGs

  • Widely available ammunition
  • High potential damage per turn, but suffers from low accuracy and penetration
  • Good overwatch radius, but held back by low accuracy

Submachine guns are automatic carbines that require a full weapon set to equip. The SMGs that exist in game are chambered for the common 9 mm and, in case of the AK-SU, the 7.62 WP cartridge.

Even non-penetrating bullets can destroy pieces of armor.

The special attack of SMGs is Run and Gun, a bigger sibling of Mobile Shot. The character using it will advance up to 7 seven tiles, at cost of 7 AP, firing three bursts with their SMG. It’s not accurate as the handgun version, but has greater potential for damage and effects inflicted, especially in conjunction with perks like Dire Warning, and can even destroy armor when landing many hits, opening the target up for subsequent attacks even without armor-piercing.

MP40 (9 mm)

The Legion’s preferred SMG, for reasons that elude me. This gun is the reason why nobody fears their scouts.

Uzi (9 mm)

With high enough marksmanship and some traits, it can be very effective in close quarters, accepts the most essential modifications, and is usable with one hand! Very good for an early game weapon. Glock 18 performs similar role, with less range but more mobility.

Magazine

It has 30 capacity by default, so extension is not really needed. It depends how you use it.

Sights

Surprisingly, can fit full-sized Reflex Sight, which makes it very potent in overwatch.

Side

For most SMG use the UV Dot is the perfect choice.

Barrel

The Extended Gain-Twist Barrel is expensive, but worth it, especially considering this is a one-handed weapon.

Muzzle

Either options will work.

MP5k (9 mm)

If this was usable with one hand, it would be great. Alas, it is not. But if you want an MP5 with cheaper AP cost, this is your option since there’s no short barrel for the main variant. Unlike the full-sized version, MP5k also the UV Dot option available, which makes its omission on the original design even more of an oversight.

You could mod it overwatch since most SMG users want free move which goes to waste when using quick prism for instant aiming, but you could also use heavy armor with Quick Prism Scope on more tanky builds. If you already have a modified MP5 you don’t need to bother with this, and vice versa.

MP5 (9 mm)

Oldie but goodie. Very effective throughout the game thanks to modifications and cheap crafting of AP ammo.

Stock

No Stock can work for mercs build for overwatch and if you just want to Run and Gun instead of aiming. But if this is your merc’s longest range weapon, get the Heavy Stock.

Magazine

You can get the big mag if you have another weapon available. Otherwise install Quick Mag.

Sights

SMGs don’t really need thermals. You’ll need to decide based on free movement availability, crit boosts, aiming boosts, overwatch effects…

Side

For some reason there’s no UV Dot available for MP5, which is a huge shame. This is probably the worst aspect of the entire weapon. Fortunately it has decent enough range for SMG that you can make use of Tactical Device if you are focusing on stealth, especially during the day.

Barrel

Extended Barrel only. There’s no reason to not install it.

Muzzle

It’s your choice really. If this is your secondary weapon, you likely want suppressors so you can stay loud with your primary.

AK-SU (7.62 WP)

The only SMG that uses 7.62 WP and has light armor penetration as baseline. As such, it’s very useful at all stages of the game. Just don’t use HP ammo to remove the armor penetration.

Magazine

You’ll want either Expanded Ergonomic Mag or Quick Mag. The capacity increase is +50% and with light armor penetration both options are viable.

Sights

All six optics are available, which is fantastic, but it’s a close range weapon. I’d use full-sized Reflex Sight since many similar weapons don’t have it available and there’s also UV Dot compatibility.

Handguard

Install the Vertical Grip is the only option and should be done when possible, especially if you have UV Dot already in place.

Muzzle

Recoil Booster is already in place, and it serves to make Run and Gun especially devastating

Commando (5.56)

This is it. And SMG that can equip grenade launcher and every single item that running and gunning requires.

Stock

There’s only Light Stock available option. I’d use it since most of the time you should be in position for overwatch after Run and Gun, at least if you have enough AP, which you should. Overwatch mods and R&G compliment each other.

Magazine

Anything except the regular expanded mag should do. You may not be swapping ammo with this as often as with MP5, but Quick Mag is always a safe bet.

Sights

Finally, we have AR-15 family weapon that can fit the full-sized Reflex Sight, so we’ll definitely go with that.

Handguard

Here’s the big choice you need to make. This is the only SMG that can fit grenade launcher, but it also benefits from Vertical Grip‘s aiming bonus immensely with UV Dot. When you can install the side assist, replace launcher with grip.

Side

As mentioned above, UV Dot is the best option, hands down.

Muzzle

You can and should get the Recoil Booster to increase burst fire (including R&G) damage bonus from +50% to +100%. It’s great.

Assault Rifles

  • Highly modifiable and flexible
  • Good power and accuracy but low economy
  • Average overwatch characteristics, which is often not desirable

Assault rifles are automatic rifles that fit between SMGs and full-sized rifles.

Assault rifles have no special ability, but all of them are highly customizable and versatile in combat. They can fire 5.56, 7.62 NATO and 7.62 WP rounds as well as 40 mm grenades when modified with the underbarrel launcher.

Common mods

If you can fit a bipod or underslung grenade launcher on the gun, you should do so, if you have the parts. If you need to chose between the two, grenade launcher is best unless you already have 2 grenadiers in your squad.

AK-47 (7.62 WP)

Without it, a game just doesn’t feel complete, right?

Stock

There’s only Light Stock option, but you probably don’t want to compromise your aiming bonuses at the stage where this weapon is most useful, and you probably don’t have full overwatch builds on your mercs anyway. But if you don’t like aiming, you could use it, at least if you have bipod installed.

Sights

Limited options. You probably don’t want to spend chips or even lenses here, but you do you.

Magazine

Quick Mag makes it easier to swap ammo types. Expanded is not needed.

Handguard

There’s only the Vertical Grip option, and it’s okay to use. It’s not compatible with grenade launcher, but you probably don’t have 40 mm grenades when using this anyway.

Side

Not really worth spending chips or parts here, and there’s no UV option anyway.

Muzzle

All options are viable. Damage, precision or stealth – the choice is yours.

M14 (7.62 NATO)

M14 could be a marksman rifle, but it’s categorized as assault rifle in the game. Unfortunately it’s the worst gun in its class as far as modding goes and you should never invest on it. Get the unique variant instead.

FAMAS (5.56)

I guess some players pick this up in early game, but it’s not actually a good gun. I wouldn’t spend parts or components to modify it, at least.

FN FAL (7.62 NATO)

The high maintenance mentioned in weapon features is a negligible drawback, but it might have some effect in overwatch use. Plenty of mod slots, but it’s not the best AR for any particular build.

Stock

ARs aren’t really good for overwatch so not need to nerf aiming just for that. Use Heavy Stock.

Magazine

I have never had a gun jammed in this game, but there’s no much cause for extended mags on FAL either. So use Fine-tuned Mag.

Sights

If you’re going to install Red Dot, you probably want Quick Prism Scope. Otherwise it’s kinda up to the merc build you’re using this on.

Side

Use Red Dot unless your merc has some overwatch perks you make use of. Probably not worth the chip use at any rate.

Barrel

You’ve got different options here. Heavy Barrel for high ammo economy, long barrel for good all-rounder gun, and short barrel for close quarters aiming bonuses. Pick one that suits your fighting style.

Muzzle

It’s a long range weapon and you can reliably secure stealth kills with it, so I’d use Suppressor.

Galil (7.62 NATO)

Almost the same as FN FAL, with some key modding differences. It’s only marginally better for crit builds so if you have a fully modded FAL, you don’t need to replace it for this.

Stock

This gun has limited sights and no bipod so overwatch is out of question. Go with Heavy Stock.

Magazine

It’s easier to swap ammo types with a Quick Mag.

Sights

You’ve only got four choices, but Prism Scope is ideal for crit builds.

Underslung

Can’t fit both bipod and grenade launcher here, so grenade launcher it is.

Side

Galil already has good crit chance so you should put UV Dot here.

Barrel

You can use either option, but Short Barrel makes it easier to reap benefits from aiming to fuel crits.

Muzzle

You can use Compensator if you’re short on steel pipes, but the Suppressor compliments crit builds best.

AR-15 (5.56)

The “civilian” variant of the semi-automatic rifle family that works best with crit builds. It has some “unique” modifications, which are not that effective in practice.

Stock

Heavy Stock is installed by default and that’s all you should need.

Sights

By the time you get this, you should have enough lenses to spend. The gun has high crit chance so we should bolster that further with the Prism Scope, but you could also use Quick Prism Scope, especially with Deadly Aim, if free movement is not important for you. There’s only Compact Reflex Sight so this is not an ideal weapon for overwatch.

Magazine

Quick Mag is available, so we’ll go with that.

Underslung

Grenade launcher is available, so we’ll go with that.

Side

All four options are available. If you are swimming in chips, you can install aim assist of your choice.

Barrel

Extended Gain-Twist Barrel provides reliability and 25% more range. The short barrel reduces AP cost even further, potentially enabling a crit galore with Suppressor. But since there are other AR-15 family rifles, and carbines, available, I’d recommend the long range option here.

M16A2 (5.56)

The iconic 5.56 rifle from ‘Murica. It’s fairly effective all-rounder weapon. Compared to AR-15 it has no extra crit and limited modded range, but much higher aiming bonus.

Stock

Unlike the AR-15, this rifle cannot be modifed for auto-firing. It only has Light Stock option, which may be useful if you feel like you don’t need the very high base aiming bonus as much. However…

Sights

There’s still no full reflex sight option, so you can’t modify it to overwatch as well as some other weapons. Prism Scope or Quick Prism Scope should bring most out of this gun, but you could also make use of Thermal Scope since you’ll almost always want to aim fully anyway and it doesn’t hurt to have some other gunners than your snipers have it available as well.

Magazine

Quick Mag is there for fast ammo swaps and grenade reloads.

Side

If you do use the light stock, take UV Dot for more accurate overwatch and general aim bonus.

Muzzle

Compensator is already installed by default. Use Suppressor if desired.

AK-74 (7.62 WP)

Medium armor penetration is this gun’s main appeal. As such, it’s one of the most powerful weapons in the game. Comes with Heavy Stock and Fune-Tuned Mag by default.

Stock

This gun is not really built for overwatch for reasons discussed below, so no changes needed here.

Sights

Although full-sized Reflex Sight is available here, it’s not worth installing. Any other option will do, especially Thermal Scope so you can really benefit from medium penetration in all conditions.

Magazine

For once, there’s no real benefit in swapping ammunition, so we can go with Ergonomic Expanded Mag whenever you feel like it.

Underslung

It’s bipod or grenade launcher, so we choose the grenade launcher, unless you already have two grenadiers in your squad already.

Side

The UV option is missing, and that sucks. Tactical Device might be of value with this penetration, but crits with 30 base damage single shots may also appeal to you, if you have enough AP or Quick Prism Scope for aiming, so Red Dot is viable option too.

Muzzle

Recoil Booster lets you make most out of the plentiful ammunition

G36 (5.56)

A solid performer for any range, and comes with good default mods. Rare, but not as great as properly modified alternatives for 5.56.

Stock

Since it has Prism Scope by default, install the Heavy StockFolded Stock is blocked by Quick Mag, so think ahead before changing this.

Magazine

For some reason the iconic C-drum only bumps the ammo count to 45. I hope it will be buffed to its real world 100 in some update. In the meantime you should use the Quick Mag.

Sights

The default is Prism Scope, so you should keep that. There’s no bipod option so longest range use with thermal scope is not ideal despite the good effective range.

Underslung

Grenade launcher is best, hands down.

Side

The UV Dot makes G36 slightly better at overwatch than some other 5.56 weapons, and contributes extra with the aiming bonuses, but there’s no bipod option, so you need a competent gunner to handle it in that role.

Barrel

Technically this gun is G36K before installing the Extended Barrel. With this modification the gun’s range is bumped to impressive 36 (it’s in the name, isn’t it), rivaling most sniper rifles.

Muzzle

The default Compensator is quite nice, but Suppressor provides higher crit on same target. It’s usually worth switching, but there’s no pressure to do so. The grenade launcher is of higher priority.

AUG

Marksman range; check. Grenade launcher and bipod together; check. High aiming bonus and low AP cost; check-check. Integrated scope, compensator and grip; triple-check.

Magazine

Quick Mag is best here, since there’s grenade launcher and light penetration.

Sights

There’s no full reflex sight, again, which means this gun is not good for overwatch. Thermal Scope may be best thanks to long modded range and other features.

Side

And yet again, no UV assist. Oh well. We can use Red Dot together with Thermal Scope and low AP cost to get guaranteed crits. It’s not a bad deal, but it does take chips. But you could also use Tactical Device to stay on hush-hush.

Barrel

Pay attention now: Extended Barrel with Bipod actually provides highest aim bonus, not the gain-twist version. Doing a mistake here will cost you a lot of parts as well as accuracy.

Muzzle

If you want to stay loud, no changes are needed here. With guaranteed crits from marking, Suppressor‘s crit boost is not needed. But sometimes it’s more fun when you have to try to be quiet.

Rifles

  • Powerful and accurate at any range
  • High ammo economy at high AP use
  • Narrow but accurate overwatch, complimented by Pin Down ability

The category of rifles includes both hunting rifles like the Winchester 1894 and sniper rifles like Dragunov and M24. They use the .44 and 7.62 NATO and WP ammunition, as well as .50 rounds for M82.

Pin Down is sometimes pretty stupid, but it almost always works.

Rifles’ special ability is Pin Down. The user will consume all their AP for an overwatch-like ability, which applies marked debuff on the target. After the end of enemies’ movement, the character will fire a shot at the target if they are still within line of sight.

Common mods

If a rifle can accept bipod or suppressor, they should be applied, since there’s no downside to either. These two are not listed for each weapon separately unless necessary.

Gewehr 98 (7.62 NATO)

The first full-sized rifle most players get their hands on. It’s a solid performer and can carry through the game, but there are many much better options available that you may just as well save your parts on them instead.

Winchester 1894 (.44)

The best and only hunting rifle in the game. It packs a punch on crits but no penetration.

Barrels

Long range is always preferable for rifles, and the accuracy gain from Extended Barrel is also relevant.

Sights

Since this is a non-penetrating crit weapon, you should use Prism Scope, or Sniper Scope x10 when in use by a merc with Deadly Aim.

Muzzle

There’s only Improvised Suppressor option.

Dragunov (7.62 WP)

The only 7.62 WP sniper rifle in the game. Its main appeal over early NATO rifles is that it’s not cumbersome. Its low damage means you’ll need to target weak spots, maybe while using hollow point ammo.

Stock

Since this rifle has decreased bonus from aiming, you could use it for overwatch with Light Stock, but…

Sights

…you probably don’t want to spend your chips on sights for overwatch build. Sniper Scope x10 is an upgrade over the default one so you if you have lenses, might as well go with that, or with the Quick Prism Scope.

Magazine

It already has 10 rounds in magazine, so no reason to nerf reload AP cost.

Muzzle

Compensator might be useful with Quick Prism Scope, but the Suppressor greatly reduces the noise signature.

M24 (7.62 NATO)

An ubiquitous but cumbersome sniper rifle. It will last through the game if you don’t care about free movement.

Stock

You “can” use Light Stock once you have installed the Bipod and Expanded Magazine (especially useful with Opportunistic Killer), but you don’t have to. Heavy Stock is nice.

Magazine

I actually forgot the options here and I have no means of checking them anymore. If you use OK, you have automatic reloads, and there should be little need for ammo swapping while M24 retains best effectiveness.

Sights

As usual, Thermal Scope is the best option. It’s worth the chip use unless you have PSG1.

Side

UV Dot is an option for overwatch-focused configurations, but I’d say the chips for PSG1.

PSG1 (7.62 NATO)

It’s as close to Excalibur of rifles as you can get. Compared to M24, it’s not cumbersome and has high critical chance.

Stock

Only Heavy Stock is available, and it should be used.

Magazine

There’s Ergonomic Extended Magazine to double the capacity without AP cost increase. Quick mags would be better but we’ll take it.

Sights

As usual, Thermal Scope is the best option, but if you don’t have a chip at hand, use Prism Scope or Sniper Scope x10 with Deadly Aim.

Side

For Deadly Aim users UV Dot is ideal.

Muzzle

Suppressor can provide even more crit.

M82 (.50)

An anti-materiel sniper rifle and likely the rarest weapon in the game. It has high AP cost to use and is cumbersome, so it doesn’t really feel like much of an upgrade over PSG1. But it has higher penetration and range, and Pin Down can be used with leftover AP. The M82 is probably at its best in overwatch role, and both overwatch and PD on this work especially well with Killzone.

Magazine

The larger mag will only give you three more rounds. I don’t think it’s worth it.

Sights

Using Thermal Scope negates grazing and accuracy penalties, so go with that.

Muzzle

The gun’s humongous AP cost coupled with high damage means that you likely won’t benefit from bonuses on subsequent attacks. Thus Suppressor provides most utility.

Shotguns

  • Hits targets in a cone, low AP costs
  • Usually short range, not very modifiable
  • Overwatch is effective, but short-ranged, and can cause accidents

All shotguns use the 12-gauge shells exclusively. They come in large variety, from double-barreled hunting shotgun to the fully automatic AA-12.

Shotguns have no special ability, but they will always inflict half damage on all targets within their cone of fire, even on a “miss”, as well as applying exposed and bleeding.

Double-barreled shotgun

A valuable early weapon for mercs with Breach and Clear and Opportunistic Killer perks. It can be modified for long or short range, but has only capacity for two rounds.

Auto-5

Modding for long range makes this the game’s longest range shotgun, so it has a lot of use.

Barrels

Long Barrel High Cap is best all-round mod, but thanks to good base range, Short Barrel has its uses too, at least in early game, and especially with sabot rounds and Breach and Clear.

Muzzle

Full Choke is usually the best with any configuration, but Compensator is also useful if you can have the AP for it without compromising your positioning. You can also use Duckbill Choke if you’re feeling particularly destructive tonight.

M1014

Short range, but high power. Good for those who know what they are doing and those who want most damage out of their shells.

Sights

This is the most interesting slot, since it can fit Sniper Scope x5 and even thermal. I have a hard time recommending sniper scope on a shotgun, even if extra aim would be great on this… Fortunately you can install Prism Scope too.

Side

UV Dot should be best, as usual, since this has better aiming bonus than most shotguns, and conserving aiming AP means more for positioning for close range takedowns.

Barrel

There’s only Shortened Barrel option. It will only reduce range from 12 to 10, which brings it just a bit shorter than AA-12’s maximum. As I said above, it’s good if you know what you’re doing, and if you have free movement to use. Make sure you grab the muzzle mod with this.

Muzzle

Compensator only. It’s not mandatory if you only do hit-and-run shots to expose targets, but for that kind of play the Auto-5 is better anyway, so you probably want this modification as well.

AA-12

An automatic shotgun that can deal a lot of damage per turn with Buckshot Burst, but at reduced economy and accuracy, so you need to manage your 12-gauge reserves and your positioning. It’s quite powerful even in default configuration.

Magazine

You can use the Buckshot Burst ability five times with just the default mag. As such, I don’t think there’s much use for the big drum.

Sights

There’s reflex sights and quick prism. With shotguns you usually want to make use of the free movement from Breach and ClearReflex Sight only improves overwatch, but it’s the best option should you choose to invest a chip on this slot.

Side

Free aim level from UV Dot is ideal for virtually any situation.

Barrel

This this desperately needs extra range so take it.

Muzzle

Since it’s a close range weapon, Suppressor can help avoid being detected by additional enemies on the sector. But it’s your choice. Shotguns can deal immense damage with direct hits so the accuracy provided by Compensator can result in higher damage output.

Machine Guns

  • Needs to be set up before effective firing
  • Chews through ammo reserves and enemy bodies
  • Setting up provides overwatch, whether you want it or not

JA3 is one of the few games in which I’ve seen do machine guns done quite right. You probably want at least one such gunner on each of your (full) squads. There’s a decent amount of variety with them too, and they use 5.56 and 7.62 NATO and WP rounds.

Machine guns can be fired from the hip, but only Grizzly can do so with good accuracy when using his talent. Still, a merc with Auto Weapons and CQC Training is entirely capable of devastating hapless enemies from close range even without setting the gun up. The large number of impacts will also shred enemy armor

Set up your overwatch like this so shots don’t land on the door frame (on right side).

Setting up an MG creates an overwatch zone which can be adjusted with a separate action. You can then fire the gun accurately before ending your turn and actually making use of the overwatch. As such, MGs tend to prefer overwatch based builds, but they are powerful and accurate enough to be useful in the hands of virtually any merc, so long as their basic skills like marksmanship are not abysmal.

Because MGs need to be set up for firing from prone, the bipod attachment is very important for all of them.

MG42 (7.62 NATO)

The highly influential MG42 cannot be modified. It has some use in early game, but most of the time they serve as ammunition delivery boxes. Legion gunners love to use it from the hip, resulting in hilariously inaccurate firing.

RPK-74 (7.62 WP)

The only WP machinegun, and a variant of the Kalashnikov family. It’s serviceable throughout the game thanks to utilizing common but effective ammunition and not being a cumbersome weapon.

Magazine

The drum Expanded Mag is best for overwatch, but you may want Quick Mag to be able to swap ammo types more easily.

Sights

You’re likely to find an RPK with sights already installed, so why change the parts if they already work? But Reflex Sight gets you most out of the automatic overwatch.

Barrel

I’ve never had a gun jam so whether you install Gain-twist Barrel or not is just a matter of having parts.

Muzzle

WP ammo is pretty plentiful and this isn’t the most powerful MG so you should use Recoil Booster.

Handguard

Vertical Grip is the only choice and there’s no reason to not use it unless you’re short on parts. Bipod is more important.

HK 21 (7.62 NATO)

Powerful, accurate, and German, all the things you’d want from an automatic gun. A beastly amount of eight mod slots. Buckle up.

Stocks

Heavy Stock only, install it.

Magazine

Extended Mag is to be installed since you should have Opportunistic Killer.

Sights

Reflex Sight, because you want to maximize accuracy when shooting long bursts of 7.62 NATO.

Underslung

Vertical Grip, since it has great synergy with UV Dot.

Side

UV Dot, see above.

Barrel

Extended Gain-Twist Barrel is the only proper choice.

Muzzle

We don’t need to spend any more bullets than we already do. Compensator or default Flash Hider.

Minimi (5.56)

The only MG that isn’t cumbersome, so equip your gunner accordingly. One of the best things to feed your 5.56 into.

Stock

Heavy Stock only, so install it.

Magazine

You should have Opportunistic Killer on your gunner, so Expanded Mag is what you want.

Sights

This MG has such a wide overwatch cone that you can sights of your choice, including Improved Iron Sight for its universal accuracy bonus.

Barrel

I bet some mad lad/y out there has given Grizzly a short-barrel Minimi, so do whatever you want lol. Just make use there’s a “gain-twist” in there.

Heavy Weapons

  • Destructive and long range capabilities
  • High maintenance, high AP use, high ammo expenses
  • No overwatch, no modifications, prone to mishaps

Heavy weapons cannot be modified, so this is a short section and mostly serves as a reference. All heavy weapons are cumbersome so don’t keep them in your active weapon set slots except when it makes sense to do so unless ready to fire or you can’t make use of free movement anyway.

RPG-7 (HE Rocket)

It’s RPG-7, rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Unguided in reality, but pin-point accurate in JA3. Hit the deck before this is fired upon you.

Mortar (Mortar cartridges)

Fun, but not as devastating as it should be, except when used to commit war crimes. As with the RPG-7, you’ll probably participate in more battles where it’s used against you than where you are using it, and the fun part is not knowing what kind of shells the enemy is using until they land. So GTFO from the blast radius, or put on your gas mask first and then hit the deck.

MGL (40 mm grenades)

A waste of space, because there’s very few battles where you’d need to fire more than one HE or flashbang grenade. Some army troops use this, but they seem to only use flashbang grenades, so it’s not a big deal even in enemy hands.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13577 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

12 Comments

  1. Thank for all. A little tips, to swim in chips you can buy mp5k (and all weapons) in market and recycle them 🙂 I not tested if heavy armor return kevlar mods

  2. Calling the MGL a waste of space is wrong in my opinion. One shot with it costs 4AP, and you can fire 6 times without reload. 2 or 3 mercs with that thing will trivialize the fight in the majors camp, or the army base, or any bigger enemy groups. And if you combine it with Lifewire’s perk it becomes completely broken. It might not be needed to clear those fights, but the MGL is super strong.

  3. Overwatch configuration – Reflex sigth, Light stock, Bipod, supressor, expanded mag.
    Role – the goal here is to produce as many as possible single shots during Ovewatch. Combine this with perks like Killzone and can go between 5 to 10 Overwatch shots per turn in a crowded sector. That is why is you also require the expanded mag – the AP cost won’t matter as you will have the perk that will allow you automatic reload after Overwatch. The best addition here is the Bipod – there are very few weapons that can equip all 3 main overwatch modifications. The Dragunov adds to this great range and plentiful HP ammo that you can buy from Fleatown.

    • Also the RPK-74 has a silent storm configuration. With the supressor, Thermal scope, bipod and only 4 AP to fire (with no perks or talents), you can make two 7 AP attacks that will ignore almost any debuff and fire 8 bullets into your target.

      You do not even need to set up the RPK -74 to employ it in its silent storm role – just give it to a merc that has burst fire and/or automatic weapons perks. Ivan with the silenced RPK-74 kills a target for 4 AP and gets 3 AP reimbursed after the kill. You can kill entire enemy squads in one turn with it, provided you have sight.

      • On the RPK: Using non-cumbersome MGs from the hip can be fun and useful, especially on certain mercs, and the guide does not discourage this kind of use at any point – but the fact is that you always get more damage per turn and more value from bullets by setting up an effective overwatch with an MG rather than firing it from the hip. Properly trained and equipped Ivan can also dismantle any sort opposition with any weapon so long as you feed him enough kills with low AP weapons so this isn’t really unique to RPK or any other weapon.

    • The problem with Dragunov is that by the time it comes randomly available is that the player should already have a modified M24 and probably Winchester as well, and they should be looking for a noticeable upgrade over those instead of Dragunov which is more or less on par with them. As such I don’t consider it economical to spend a large amount of parts or special components on it. Any weapon can kill and all weapons have multiple possible builds but this guide exists to make the most out of the game and modding as a whole, not any single weapon. There are other guides or discussions for min-maxing something out of an individual preference.

      One important thing I’ve neglected to mention regarding Dragunov is that it can be purchased in modified configuration, but I can’t remember for certain where the vendor is. I think they are at the port next to Diamond Red but I’m not able to confirm it without starting a new game and I’m not going to do that for time being.

      • You can a buy a Thermal Scope Dragunov from the Poacher’s camp at C5 really, really early. It is better than the Winchester just by having the option for a bipod. The perk of the Dragunov is the burst mode – with 3 shots and a proper shooter you can kill even the best armoured enemies out of stealth. Also the Dragunov has less number of mods and thus requires less parts than a M24 – it is both more economical and deadly than a M24.

        M24 is better for stealth kills due to the ability to attach a Tactical device and better AIM bonus. Apart from that once you break stealth it is a liablity – only one shot per turn for most of the game and you have cumbersome.

        • RPK-74 – the advantage of using the RPK is that you can equip a thermal scope, bipod, grip and still shoot 8 bullets for 4 AP.

          There are not that many weapons which are fast to fire and have great aim bonuses. I have been fielding the RPK-74 as a silent sniper even with Omryn. You do not even need to place it and Overwatch. It is great for stealth kills in late game as enemies are armoured from head to toe.

          What is unique is that someone with the Heavy weapons perk can bring it down to 3 AP for a silent long burst. Compare a 3-bullet silent burst form the HPK5, from the Steyr AUG (with short barrel) and the 8-bullet burst of the RPK-74.

          It becomes the best suppressed weapon in game by far.

          • The problem is you can’t set up overwatch on MG while in stealth. It greatly reduces damage inflicted per turn and in most cases you can have someone else do the stealthy stuff for you.

            I updated description on the muzzle and some other things to reflect that potential niche use but this guide still isn’t about that.

            I don’t remember if other MGs even have suppressor compatibility so in this way RPK is really notable just because of that, and overall it’s one the better scaling weapons in the game anyway. It probably does fit description for “best suppressed weapon”, but it’s not the best weapon (because there is no such a thing), best MG (because overwatch always results in most damage) or even the best stealth weapon (because that’d be melee lol). And all these use cases have a lot of conditions attached to them anyway.

  4. I think it will be better to describe different configurations for each weapon, sutiable for a specific role. Also it seems you have overlooked some very powerful combinations due to your personal playstyle.

    For example, the Dragunov:

    Perks – easy to find ammo, large magazine, burst fire on a rifle, reliable.
    Downsides – low Aim bonus

    Sniper configuration – Thermal scope, Bipod, Heavy stock, supressor, expanded mag
    Role – with the Thermal scope you will want 3 Aim levels which combines with the Heavy stock. This makes up for the low Aim bonus of the weapon. Adding the Bipod and being prone will allow you to have a very accurate burst attack and all 3 bullets to score a headshot. Mercs like Ivan are deadly with such a Dragunov.

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