In multiplayer games, balance is a key factor that allows a varying level of enjoyment in its player vs player component. Striking that balance is not an easy task at all. Over time, players learn which actions in multiplayer grant them the best rewards for the least effort involved. In Battlefield 1, as with all other FPS games, players have learned what weapons are most effective in each situation. This article is intended to share some of that knowledge and experience by outlining the ‘Best in class’ weapons in Battlefield 1.
First a little summary of the class systems in BF1:
- Assaults is the quintessential close-quarters combat and anti-vehicle class. Assaults excel at close range, packing explosives, submachine guns, and shotguns.
- Medics are exactly what you would expect, being able to revive teammates, regenerate health, and excels at mid-range combat with their semi-automatic rifles.
- The Support Class is the heavy weapons specialist, providing ammo resupply, asymmetric warfare options, and the ability to lock down areas with their LMGs.
- Scouts are the classic long-range class, carrying bolt-action rifles into battle. They also provide additional battlefield reconnaissance, illuminating targets on the minimap and on the field.
‘Time to Kill’ efficiency versus ‘Ease of Use’.
Many of the guides and reviews of the weapons of BF1 will describe a gun’s ‘Time to Kill’. This is the theoretical ability for a weapon to kill the target at a particular range based on rate of fire, damage at the designated range, as well as the equip or Aim-Down-Sights time (ADS). Most weapons in BF1 are expected to be used whilst aiming down sights and not fired from the hip, though there are some exception we’ll cover later on. Guns usually get rated on the speed at which the damage and rate of fire can kill a target, and while this is a perfectly understandable way of ranking weapons on their ability to kill, it’s not the whole story.
Finding out how easy a particular gun is to use in BF1 is a case of playing enough of the game to try out all the weapons, but not too much that you stray into the realm of being a particularly skilled player. Interestingly, ‘ease of use’ becomes less of an issue once you can land successive shots on target consistently, and a gun’s killing efficiency becomes more apparent. Most of the weapons preferred by ‘pros’ are a lot harder to use, and while my ‘Best in Class’ choices will NOT be the most efficient weapons to kill at the typical ranges, they strike a balance between being easier to use for most people whilst still being effective.
Let’s get into it!
A word on weapon variations:
Many of the weapon choices on BF1 are variants of the same gun. Understanding what the variants are is important to understand what characteristics you can expect, so here’s a brief explanation:
- Trench: Improved hip fire accuracy
- Storm: Reduced aim down sights recoil (ADS)
- Factory: Midpoint between the previous variants
- Experimental: unique in some form
- Slug: (shotgun) much improved accuracy but lower damage.
- Hunter: (shotgun) decreased shot spread meaning tighter cone of fire
- Backbored: (shotgun) reduced recoil – similar to storm
- Sweeper: Higher immediate damage but heavily reduced damage at range.
- Extended: Larger magazine / shot count.
- Optical: Equipped with sights mid way between iron sights and telescopic sights.
- Marksman: Equipped with a telescopic sight,
- Sniper: Equipped with a bipod and telescopic sight
- Suppressive: reduced recoil whilst prone (utilising the equipped bipod)
- Low weight: Similar to factory, faster zeroing after firing (well suited for burst firing).
- Infantry: Similar to Factory and Low weight, Iron sights only.
Assault (Model 10-A Hunter)
When first playing assault, you’re given the MP18 Trench as the default weapon. It is a very capable all-rounder, but not the best and easiest to use in every situation. It lacks the sheer raw damage of others in close range engagements, and can be easily outclassed in accuracy over mid ranges. In maps that see you fighting more often than not face to face, the two best weapons in this area are the Model 10-A Hunter and the Automatico M1918 Trench.
These weapons excel because they have and extremely fast time to kill (one-shot kill for the Model 10-A) and their hip fire accuracy is spectacular; Without the need to bring up your ironsights, you can simply open fire and kill slower reacting enemies. This hip fire characteristic makes these two weapons perfect for novices. However, the high rate of fire of the Automatico combined with the moderately low magazine size means the act of ‘spray and pray’ can see you getting caught out while reloading.
At mid ranges, the MP18 Experimental beats the Trench and Optical in easier and consistently better grouping of shots from its three round burst-fire feature, something that takes time to master on a fully-automatic firing mode.
Medic (Selbstlader M1916 Marksman)
The Cei-Rigotti Factory, the medic’s default gun, is fairly capable. However, the stats on most medic guns favour mid-range combat, so having optics is a huge advantage.
Close-range options for the medic is limited, and one choice outclasses all others: The M1907 SL Sweeper. With its 21 round magazine and crucial fully automatic fire mode, it is both easy to use and particularly fast at killing, both whilst aiming down sights and from the hip although nowhere near as quickly as an Assault sporting a Model 10 or Automatico.
Mid-range is where we see the most obvious example of ease of use vs time to kill. On paper, the Autoloading 8 .35 will get the job done quickest, but in practice, unless you’re a great shot you will find yourself not quite killing the target and dying mid-reload. This is down to its painfully small magazine size, with the extended variant having significantly reduced damage in the midrange sweetspot.
Beyond the Autoloading, the Selbstlader M1916 and Mondragon are the two choice contenders with very similar stats. Many have noted the Mondragons slightly faster time to kill as being ‘noticeable’. However, personal opinion comes into play here as the only other sizeable difference in these two weapons is the Selbstladers fairly significant larger magazine. With a magazine size over five times that of the Autoloaders compared to the Mondragons meager two times increase, I personally feel more comfortable with a slightly slower time-to-kill but have an extra 16 rounds available to put down successive hostiles, than having to deal with a reload cycle that you may have to with the Mondragon.
Support (MG15 n.A. Suppressive)
The default Lewis Gun low-weight is a good beginner gun, and upgrading it to the suppressive version – which means a nearly 50% increased magazine size – yields surprisingly effective results at mid-range.
Choices for the support are interesting, though there is no doubt over the best close-range gun. The BAR M1918 Trench beats all other Support class choices with a high 600 rounds a minute rate of fire and improved hip accuracy alongside decent ADS accuracy, and a decent 20-round magazine.
Past the mid-range, you hit a time to kill vs ease of use trade off again. Where the BAR M1918 is technically the best, the increased utility of a near 10x increased magazine size of the MG15 n.A. Suppressive wins it hands down for me. The highly reduced recoil from the bipod and prone positioning yields astonishing results in being able to drop a lane of death down a particular chokepoint. Coupled with a massive magazine, the MG15 is a more capable killing machine then the BAR in a situation where you’d pick going as a Support over an Assault.
Scout (Gewehr M.95 Marksman)
Counterintuitively, the starter sniper rifle – the SMLE MKIII Marksman – is actually a very capable sniper rifle in a skilled scouts hands, but it’s definitely not the rifle you want to learn about leading targets and getting a feel for bullet drop. Like it or not, there is no real choice for close-range on the Scout class until you get to rank 10 and unlock the Martini-Henry. Even then, most other classes are a better choice in terms of killing potential.
The SMLE is not a great training tool thanks to the scope-out mechanic when chambering the next round, something the Gewehr M95 is not lumbered with. For that simple fact, the Gewehr is perfect at learning exactly how to snipe. With its almost uniform damage across all ranges it provides the consistency to really hone your skills before choosing a specialist rifle with a ‘sweet spot.’ and It’s this ease of use and dependability in damage across any range that sets it apart from all the other sniper rifles as a go-to platform for all situations before deciding on a specialisation.
Hopefully that’s given any of you coming in late to the glory and horror of Battlefield 1 a nitro boost in choosing something fun and effective with those precious war bonds you’re unlocking. Up and at ‘em, boys!