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The M404 Heavy Rifle is a 5.56mm multi-barrel machine gun with high rate of fire, employing Gatling-style rotating barrels, manufactured by Mustang Arms Ad-Tech Ltd.
A powerful support weapon, the M404 Heavy Rifle fulfils the role of light machine gun in the game, providing more power, greater ammunition capacity and a greater rate of fire than the other automatic weapons, the FR-27 and TMP-18. The weapon uses special 5.56x45mm rounds, and utilises a "Flüssig Kühl- Effekt" (liquid cooling effect) to increase barrel cooling. In spite of this, the weapon can still overheat, at which point it becomes inert until the barrels can cool down. The weapon has a short spin-up time before firing.
The M404 can accept the Laser Sight mod, and a special mod which increases cooling and so delays overheating. By default the weapon is extremely inaccurate, and benefits immeasurably from the Recoil Reduction and Aim Stabilizer Augmentations; with these plus a Laser Sight, it becomes a pinpoint-accurate support weapon. The M404 has no iron sights and without a Laser Sight the player can only aim with a very broad crosshair.
The M404's ammunition is the largest in the game at 3x2 slots, though each instance of an ammunition box holds up to 200 rounds; this large ammunition means that a potential user should invest in inventory upgrades. The M404 features a high capacity helical magazine underneath the barrel cluster holding a default 100 rounds, with mods increasing this by 25 rounds each. The default reload is time-consuming, meaning the M404 also benefits greatly from Reload Speed mods.
Enemies with M404s are fairly uncommon; it is typically the weapon of "heavy" soldiers who also have increased armor. It is a dangerous weapon in enemy hands, though the spin-up time can be exploited to quickly attack an enemy who isn't prepared. Soldiers with heavy rifles will typically fire in prolonged bursts while slowly walking towards their target, with long pauses between bursts; it is generally a wise idea to wait for a burst to end before counter-attacking rather than trying to attack during it.
It is often ill-advised to engage enemies armed with the M404 while wielding a Longsword Whisperhead SERSR (aka the Silenced Sniper Rifle), as the weapon's damage output is simply not enough to take down the armored opponent even with headshot.
- The weapon first appears in Hengsha, in the hands of Belltower Associates Heavy Troopers during their attack on the Alice Garden Pods. (After this event Heavy Troopers and their Heavy Rifles become a common sight in the game)
- Another can be found in a storage room before the boss battle with Yelena Fedorova.
- The Heavy Rifle fills up 2 x 6 (12) slots of inventory.
- The Heavy Rifle sells for 1250 Credits at vendors.
- Damage / Round: 4 (upgradable to 7)
- Rate of Fire: 7 (upgradable to 10)
- Magazine: 100 rounds (upgradeable to 200, 25-round increments)
- Laser Sight
- Cooler (eliminates overheating)
- Standard upgrades
Behind the scenesEdit
- The M404 has changed drastically since the first concept art. At first it was produced by Kaiga Limited and was a "chainsaw grip" minigun, with the final version being a more conventionally laid out weapon with a stock and pistol grip, as well as a partial shroud around the barrels. The reason for this change is unclear, but is likely to have something to do with weapon-holding animations; it is hard to imagine a way for the original design to be blind-fired, for example. Enemy troops will hold the rifle as if it still has the chainsaw grip regardless.
- The final design of the M404 lacks front sights and the rear sight appears to have been flipped down, which is tactically detrimental, as a weapon capable of rapid firing using this configuration requires aiming sights to land shots accurately. It could be, however, that this weapon was meant to lay suppressing fire while fired from the hip, as seen when used by Belltower heavy troops, thus eliminating the need for aiming.
- The rear half of the Heavy Rifle was likely inspired by the famous M60 light machine gun, most notably the pistol grip and cheek rest. Also the M404's carry handle looks similar to the M60's.
- The weapons model still has the Kaiga Ltd brands.
- The game refers to the M404 as a "battle rifle." This is typically a term used for selective-fire weapons resembling assault rifles but using a full-sized rifle round rather than an intermediate round. The M404 is actually a support weapon using an intermediate round, making it a light machine gun.
- Experienced players can reload cancel this gun by tapping cover button near a wall during reload animation, eliminates the need for fast reload upgrading kits