The Type-31 Rifle fires unconventional, long and sharp projectiles similar to those of the Needler. The projectiles detonate several seconds after impacting on soft tissue. Like the Needler, if enough needles are fired into a target, a supercombine explosion occurs.
Although most players use it as a semi-automatic weapon for long range, the Needle Rifle is a fully automatic, medium-to-long range, headshot-capable rifle. Unlike the Needler, however, the needles do not "home in," or track on the enemy. They fire in a straight line at high velocities, similar to the M392 Designated Marksman Rifle. Rounds travel much faster than that of the Needler, leaving the Needle Rifle's only destructive similarity to the Needler being the individual/collected needle explosion. The Needle Rifle also seems similar in appearance and functionality to the Covenant Carbine, and also bears a barrel similar to that of the Beam Rifle. The Needle Rifle will take out a Spartan's shield in Multiplayer with 6 rounds, 2 more than the 4 rounds required by the DMR. Three needles in an unshielded target will cause a 'needle supercombine,' similar to the Needler, killing the victim. Thus, in most SWAT game types, this weapon is not present due to the fact that it can kill an enemy quickly without the requirement of a headshot.
The reload process for the Needle Rifle is very similar to that of the Covenant Carbine. The ammunition compartment for the weapon acts as a hatch, which flips open to expose a small canister that ejects upon opening, and a new canister is inserted by the user. The only difference between the reloads for the Carbine and the Needle Rifle is that the canister for the Carbine is not covered by any sort of hatch, which in the case of the Needle Rifle is its scope. This reload process implements another difference from the Needler, which actually summons new needles from the inside of the weapon through the operation of what is suspected to be an internal mechanism.
Compared to its counterpart, the M392 Designated Marksman Rifle, the Needle Rifle trades in damage per projectile and projectile flight time for a faster firing rate, lower recoil/reticle bloom, more accuracy, and larger magazine size, and also has the ability to kill an unshielded enemy with three needles, which will detonate no matter where they hit. The Needle Rifle still retains the ability to kill an unshielded enemy with a headshot.
The Needle Rifle is an extremely effective weapon against Jiralhanae, and is readily available in the level New Alexandria. Its supercombine property, combined with a large magazine and a much larger reserve of ammunition than its DMR counterpart, make it an extremely viable weapon.
It loses much of its effectiveness against shielded foes, as needles which strike a shielded enemy do not count towards the supercombine property. It is therefore important to carry a secondary weapon which can deal with shields, such as a plasma pistol or rifle, allowing the user to save their Needle Rifle ammunition for when their target is stripped of their shield. The plasma pistol is a good weapon to use in conjunction with the Needle Rifle, as the time it takes a charged plasma pistol shot to reach a target is enough time to switch to the Needle Rifle and quickly deliver either a headshot or a supercombine shot.
- The Needle Rifle is equipped with 2x magnification scope. This makes it less effective at longer ranges compared to its counterpart, the DMR, which is equipped with a 3x magnification scope.
- The needle rifle can be seen in Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, which is set in 2526, despite the fact that the Needle Rifle is designated 'Type-31'.
- The scope of the Needle Rifle has a hash-mark compass. To the right of the scope, it also features a symbol which turns red when the crosshairs are aimed at an enemy.
- The Needle Rifle is the only automatic weapon, besides the M6D, that can get a headshot kill.
- During the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta, the Needle Rifle had only 16 rounds per magazine.
- The Needle Rifle was still used by Jackals in the Post-war era.
- Halo: Reach (First appearance)
- Halo: Glasslands
- Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
- Halo: Spartan Assault
- Halo: Retribution
- Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 127
- Halo Wapoint – Needle Rifle
- Halowaypoint.com: Type-31 Needle Rifle
- Bungie.net: Reach Sandbox Preview
- GameInformer: February Edition
- At the beginning of Episode 4, a Jackal is holding a Type-31 rifle. Also, when the survivors are under attack by snipers, needles are fired at them.
- Halo: Glasslands