Take it or leave it.
"I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend" - J.R.R. Tolkien
Best battle rifle ever.
The Fabrique Nationale FAL is, quite simply, the Last Decent Battle Rifle ever made. The phrase that pays is "Stopping Power". Unlike current Assault Rifles, the FAL is not designed to wound, it is designed to Stop. The heavy, powerful long-cartridged 7.62mm round can carry about a mile before it runs out of oomph, and at short ranges will shrug a brick wall aside and continue through one or two hostiles before it stops doing the business. This very, very lengthy weapon, with its box magazine, its vent-notched barrel-shroud helping prolong the life of the weapon, is a very nearly Ideal Design. The one thing you can really say against it is that it's not really controllable in fully-automatic use - the British SLR (Self-Loading Rifle) was basically a shortened-barrel FAL with the fully-automatic mode removed, mainly for this reason. Given that a good weaponeer can caress singletons from a 600-round-per-minute weapon, I feel this is a bit of an oversight.
So. The FN is my choice of Long Arm for anything from an Assault Rifle to a Battle Rifle. She's a beauty.
2) M61 Stoner
Most flexible rapidly-repeating weapon.
Chambered in 5.56mm, fed from a 100-round discarding-link magazine (a 200-round version is also available, but generally too burdensome for tactical employment) and with 30-round box-mags for Assault Rifle use, the Stoner can be assembled with a range of barrels, stocks, bipods, pintles and slung across the back on a strap. It's reliable, feeds well, is easy to clean and lubricate, temperature tolerant and generally the best thing to carry if the only thing handy is NATO 5.56mm Ball. Decent cyclic rate, acceptable accuracy over its barrel selection, it is the Gun for All Seasons. It will fill the role of an M16, a Squad Assault Weapon or an M60.
3) Springfield Arms M1911A1
This one eats .45 calibre ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) ammunition, the second-most-manufactured pistol round on the planet after 9mm Parabellum. Unlike 9mm Parabellum, though, the .45 round is a Stopper, not a Penetrator - kinda like the difference between the 7.62mm Knock People Over Bullet and the 5.56mm Bleed People Out bullet. I'll take my 1911, please, in a Kimber Custom Configuration. I'll have it Magnaported, with chequered rubber Pachmeyer combat grips and a bobbed hammer, thanks (my hands are large enough to work the slide one-handed). The magnaporting will vent gas from the top of the barrel as the round trundles its way out, preventing too much muzzle climb. The huge great wad of lead - unlike the 9mm - will mushroom and blow a hole out the other side that you could toss a half-grown Labrador through. At close range, it'll crack the engine block of a Mack truck, smash through an elevator door, or (admittedly) flatten itself against Kevlar like a pancake, but at least that'll but the guy on the floor long enough for me to boot him in the head.
Best close-order smeg.
Designed out-of-the-box to be reliable, easy to aim, easy to maintain, and geared towards penetrating current-gen armour, the P90 is lovingly regarded by those who may someday find themselves in disagreeable situations. With its 4.5mm jacketed round, it is the Queen of Over-Penetation - the shot will sail through an arm without the woundee really noticing if he's on an adrenaline high. However, it's contemptuous of Kevlar, and a tactical helmet has only a slim chance of deflecting the round. The ballistic path of the shot is pancake-flat compared to an AK47 rounds banana-like trajectory, and the integrated optics and red-dot sight make it easy for even Martha Stuart to drive tacks with the thing. It looks more grown than built, and is virtually impossible to hold incorrectly. Even if you do, the forgiving recoil will make your shots miss, but unlike the FN-FAL not shatter your shoulder for using it wrong. It's a masterpiece in the hands of a skilled weaponeer, and forgiving of the new shooter. If zombies started crawling out of the floor, I'd give the wife a P90.
5) McMillan M88
Best sniper rifle, holder of the range record for a single-shot kill.
3.4Km away, a Canadian sniper supported elements of the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan in 2003. They were pinned down by a machinegun nest. He sighted, and fired a single .50 BMG round from his M88. The round travelled 3.4 kilometres (about two miles) before hitting the machine gunner’s forehead.
There is an apocryphal tale that when the sniper returned to Canada, a reporter shoved her microphone into his face and said:
"What did you feeeeel when you shot that man?"
The sniper looked at the reporter, and replied:
We would like to hear our community be more open to debating the facts and thoughts around games guns and games. It may well be that there is no issue here - but lets talk it through sensibly for once.
Over to you:
Please click the comment button below and start talking: Are videogames entirely separate from their subject matter? Is the opportunity to kill pretend people, aliens and monsters harmlessly cathartic? Are the foam-at-the-mouth Daily Mail games-are-evil ranters on to something? Do we have to address their fears, rather than deny them - so that we can move on? Will games and real war ever come together as futurists such as William Gibson expect - real war without blood? Is it guns or people who kill? Is it ridiculous to link games and reality?
PS: If you've visited this page before you'll notice that it has changed somewhat from the original version. In short, we took a lot of flak for raising the issue in a strong manner. It's worried us a bit to be honest that some of the reaction has been of the 'how dare sweet old Rodent ask us to think* about these things' variety. So we've taken out the passion and the facts bit to focus comment on the debate rather than on the set up. Next month we will stick to funny pictures of Mario.
*To 'think' - not 'what to think'.