This guide goes past the firearms’ base stats and examines their performance numbers as the game sees them, with stats modified by attack types (behavior at various ranges) and player abilities (further modifying attack type and firearm stats), and provides analysis and recommendations based on time- and probability-to-kill computed from these “real” stats.
All firearm data and python scripts to generate them are included in the attached zip file — explore the .csv results in your favorite spreadsheet program!
The Firearm Base Stats are Misleading
Each weapon in-game has a definition, outlining its behavioral characteristics — unlock cost, muzzle drop distance, damage per bullet, refire and reload time, &c. What is far less apparent from these numbers, however, is that those characteristics are modified — in some cases, quite extensively — depending on the relevant attack type when engaging a target.
Take, for example, the P90 PDW, with the Doctrine tree fully unlocked. The P90 has a given refire rate of 15 rounds per second, or 66.66..ms between follow-up shots (in the burst; in this case, sustained “full auto” fire until someone is dead or out of sight). This turns out to be true, only to 7 meters, at which time it more than doubles to 150ms between, and at 15 meters it jumps again to 433ms (if there is a second shot; the burst is random 1 or 2 shots starting at that range). Also important to consider is the time to acquire a target and time to reset after a burst — between 3 and 7 meters, targeting time increases linearly with range from 250ms at 3m to 450ms at 7m; reset time is flat 400ms. So at 4m, the P90 PDW takes 300ms (about 1/3 second) to start shooting, fire bullets every 67ms until dead, then take at least 700ms to start shooting at the next target.
We pause here to look briefly at the damage mechanics. Doorkickers does not use a conventional “hit point” or comparable “health bar” system. Instead, it tracks number of injures only. The damage dealt by a bullet (possibly reduced to 1 by armor or shield), plus the number of injuries, results in a random probability of no-effect, injure, or kill. This is why attentive players will have noticed that their 12-damage pistols (1911, Mark 23) tend to drop tangoes much sooner than the 3-point difference with 9- and 10-damage pistols (FS AP, SP01 Shadow, respectively) would suggest.
As the P90’s armor piercing will ignore all armor, each bullet will always deliver 9 damage to the target. With some basic iterative multiplication, it is easy to compute that it takes two bullets for a 50% probability of target-kill, five for 95%. Thus, at four (4) meters, 300 + (2-1)*66.66 = 367ms for 50% dead target, 300 + (5-1)*66.66=567ms for 95% dead. At 10 meters, it becomes 358 + (2-1)*150 = 508ms (half a second) for 50%, 958ms (about one full second) for 95% dead. This, naturally, assumes none of the bullets have missed.
Now compare with the M4 Carbine. Its base damage is 13, resulting in 1 or 2 hits for 50% or 95% (actually 100, but that’s at least 95 so we’ll proceed) probability dead, respectively. Looking then at its attack type-adjusted characteristics (and assuming all the bullets hit), at 4 meters: 300 + (1-1)*167 = 300ms to 50% dead, 300 + (2-1)*167 = 467ms to 95(100)% dead. Already looking slightly better than the P90… At 10 meters: 338ms to 50%, 500ms to 95(100)% dead — 200 to 450ms quicker to drop a target than the P90.
Now, there is a small cheat at work here: the M4 Carbine is, hands down, the best general-purpose primary weapon in the game — as shown above, it competes with or outstrips SMGs at close- and mid-range (lower reset times and muzzle drop distances keep SMGs/PDWs competitive in close quarters), and dominates them (and most rifles) at longer ranges. However, the analysis reveals that the base stats do not reveal all.
Pistols, the Under-Rated Close-Range Domineers
The Mozambique doctrine must be every players’ top priority. The majority of engagements will take place in fairly close range, and the third-shot headshot puts most pistols on equal or better footing, in terms of average time-to-kill, than almost any primary weapon.
For emphasis: Pistols are your first choice for close range combat.
That said, the realm of pistols is the most complex, and below is a breakdown of various pros and cons of the front-runners. With the overlapping domains of range-to-target, target armored or not, and magazine size, there is no single obvious choice.
- 1911 Pistol
- Inexpensive to acquire and high base damage, make this your first purchase.
- Shortest muzzle drop distance makes it more handy at very close distances
- Small magazine can be a problem when engaging multiple enemies.
- FS AP Pistol
- Armor-piercing, large magazine.
- Fastest Mozambique completion 4-8m
- Fastest time-to-kill against armored opponents (chance for non-headshots to deal lethal damage, lower probability of headshot missing).
- Low stopping power means unfavorable average time-to-kill against soft targets, when compared to other pistols.
- SP01 Shadow Pistol
- Fastest Mozambique completion time 1.5-4m.
- Lesser stopping power results in slower average time-to-kill.
- Mark 23-SD
- Remains highly effective up to 15m.
- Silenced draws fewer enemies to the area at once.
- Same damage as 1911 Pistol.
- Slowest Mozambique completion time of other front-runner pistols.
An Argument for Shotguns
Even pistols being so strong at close-range, there remain niches for the not-so-humble shotgun.
Shotguns can open locked doors very quickly and efficiently. Shotguns can one-hit-kill unarmored enemies, and the good ones can dispatch armored foes with a quick follow-up shot.
With this in mind, it is fairly clear that the criteria for a shotgun should be its speed of acquiring a target (and reset after a “burst”), maneuverability (muzzle drop distance and turn speed), and refire rate.
Selecting by refire rate, the contenders are halved to Joint Combat, S12K Tactical, and the Six 12 variants. Muzzle drop distance favors the Six 12s (0.2 v 0.4m), and the Joint Combat Shotgun cannot engage at point-blank (<1.5m) at all. The targeting and reset time of the Six 12s and S12K are the same through their effective range (to about 7 meters).
Thus, it becomes a value call:
- S12K Tactical Shotgun – less maneuverable; higher rate of fire; faster reload
- Six 12 Shotgun – reverse of the above; probably swap to pistol instead of reload
- Six 12-SD Shotgun – lose one pellet (bullet) and gain silencing over the Six 12.
Here I provide my own recommendations based on the analysis of available data and my own playthrough. I have found that this list has allowed me to purchase what I needed when I needed it, and perform well enough to get three stars on every mission.
Purchase in order:
- 1911 Pistol – Cheap, hits hard. Essential first purchase. Remains useful point-blank and close-range.
- Assaulter Vest – Stay alive more. (Could substitute Front Plate or Raider Vest, depending on playstyle.)
- M4 Carbine – General-purpose rifle, excellent at all ranges (except very close).
- Lockpick – Open most things, and quietly.
- Six 12-SD Shotgun – I value not alerting all the baddies at once, if I can help it.
- MP7-SD SMG – A very stealthy primary weapon that functions much like a rifle.
- Mark 23-SD Pistol – Upgrade from the 1911 to a larger magazine and silencing.
- Extended Protection – Sometimes I just don’t feel like dying as much against groups of baddies.
- Ironman Shield – Sometimes you just gotta get behind some self-made cover.
- Mk 17 Long Barrel – Upgrade for long-range engagements.
- FS AP Pistol – Ready to engage armored foes at close range.
This list is more of a “whishlist” — curios, or things that might fill the unoccupied niche:
- Bolt Cutter – Ready to cut through bothersome gates.
- Tazer – A non-lethal option.
- HK416D10-SD Carbine – Quiet-ish rifle upgrade for stealthy long range engagements.
- Magnum 44 (One Hand) – Improve the shield unit’s offensive punch.
- X635 PDW – Most promising surrogate for pistol/M4 at close- to mid-range.