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- “As soon as the first guy goes down with blood and steam whistling out through the neat new hole in their head, you know you’re in for a long, miserable game of ‘where the foxtrot did that come from’.”— Unknown UNSC serviceman
The Type-50 Sniper Rifle System, otherwise known as the Particle Beam Rifle, is a Covenant long-range weapon and the counterpart of the UNSC Sniper Rifle. They are most commonly seen being used by Kig-Yar, although Sangheili and even Jiralhanae are also seen using Beam Rifles on occasion.
The Particle Beam Rifle is a battery-powered, directed-energy weapon that fires ionized particles at its targets instead of accelerating small projectiles. The weapon is nearly silent, gives off a negligible muzzle report, weighs considerably less than its UNSC analog and inflicts wounds akin to the 14.5mm SRS 99 AM making it, by all assessments, a potent force multiplier. The use of particle acceleration offers the distinct advantage of superior penetration, as the beam will always pass through a target completely, even through cover. Although the size of the wounds inflicted on a target is small, the damage done is similar to most directed energy weapons used by the Covenant.
The Type-50 SRS is unusually shaped and shares many design aspects with the Covenant plasma rifle - the barrel of the weapon is very long with its scope located on the top and appears to slide into the weapon for storage. The scope of the particle beam rifle has two levels of zoom for greater accuracy, like its UNSC counterpart it is capable of 5 and 10 times magnification. The round section in front of the handguard and trigger area of the weapon appears to contain the Type-50s "ammunition," after the weapon has completed its firing sequence, the section rotates presumably to "chamber" another "round." Human military experts do not understand how exactly the weapon works or how it is reloaded or recharged.
Similarly to the SRS 99 AM sniper rifle series, the Type-50 is excellent at picking off enemies at great distances. Its pulses are very useful at passing through any type of material, armored or non-armored; this makes the particle beam rifle's over-penetration ability much more effective at killing a wide range of enemy infantry. As the beam passes through the body at the speed of light, the particles transfer their kinetic energy to the atoms in the molecules of the target area.
Upon impact, the area is rapidly superheated, cauterizing the wound at the same time - a direct hit on the skull area of a target will be killed instantly, and body shots depending on the area will be fatal in most cases. A rare non-fatal strike to a target can also cause radiation damage and will require additional treatment, and near misses can produce second or third-degree burns to lightly armored targets. The beam rifle's relative silence, as opposed to the sniper rifle's loud bang, gives it a bit of a stealth advantage; however, this is compensated by the greater visibility of the Type-50's beam.
While the Type-50 SRS excels at material penetration, in the games, the particle beam rifle is not much different than its UNSC counterpart, although in canon it is much stronger. The Type-50 is also unable to perform rapid shots in quick succession - after two shots are fired within a second of each other, the weapon will overheat and will shut down to prevent damage to its internal components, temporarily rendering the weapon useless.
The particle beam rifle can only fire 10 shots before the battery is used up and the weapon must be replaced. Like its human counterpart, the particle beam rifle is ineffective at close range combat unless its user is skilled at close range combat with the sniper rifle. The beam of purple light produced from the beam rifle is very easy to see, but somewhat quicker at dissipating compared to the Sniper Rifle. A sniper's position is more likely to be compromised because of this, requiring the sniper to relocate quickly before being detected.
Type-50α Sniper Rifle System
- Main article: Type-50α Sniper Rifle System
- “Kig-Yar snipers assigned the Fleet of Particular Justice displayed uncharacteristic bravery in their valiant defense against the Flood onslaught on Installation 04.”— Description
The Alpha variant of the Particle Beam Rifle features a faster rate of fire than the standard version, in addition to increased accuracy when firing from the hip.
Type-50δ Sniper Rifle System
- Main article: Type-50δ Sniper Rifle System
- “The Prophet of Truth employed an elite team armed with powerful master-crafted weapons to hunt down his political enemies during the Great Schism.”— Description
The Prophet of Truth tasked an elite team of warriors with assassinating his political enemies during the Great Schism. This team was equipped with advanced, powerful weaponry such as the Type-50δ Particle Beam Rifle. When fired, this variant of the Particle Beam Rifle creates an unstable gravimetric vortex at the impact point, damaging nearby enemies.
- Particle Beam Rifles are most often found being used by Jackal Snipers, or in Covenant Weapons Holders. In Halo 3, they are rare on the lower difficulties.
- When using the Particle Beam Rifle, it should be remembered that it is a sniper weapon, and should be used at long ranges, to take out high priority targets (preferably) with headshots, or in the case of Hunters, a shot to the exposed orange flesh. Due to its difficulty to use at close and medium quarters, it is advisable to keep a good short-range secondary weapon, in case an enemy moves too close to use the Beam Rifle effectively.
- Beam Rifle-using enemies are incredibly dangerous, in Halo 2 and Halo 3 on Heroic difficulty, a single shot from a Beam Rifle will instantly drain your shields. On Legendary, due to the player's shield capabilities decreasing further, a single shot will kill them, even if their shields are fully charged. Try to find these enemies quickly, and always deal with them first.
- In Halo 4, the strength of the weapon has decreased significantly; on Legendary, it simply drains the player's shields upon hitting, rather than killing them outright.
- The particle beam rifle is ineffective against the Flood as the shots go right through them doing little damage. To give the sniper rifle some use, you could hit the carriers from a safe distance.
- When the Tilt skull is on, the Beam Rifle is unaffected by it unlike its Human counterpart.
- On the level, The Great Journey, Sergeant Johnson uses the Beam Rifle to lower Tartarus' shield. The player can also obtain a Beam Rifle before the battle and use that to lower the Chieftain's shield instead of waiting for Johnson to do it, but Tartarus' shield recharges more quickly if the player uses the latter method. A better method would be to give it to one of the Elites that helps you kill him, that way, you have two times the shots, but his shields won't recharge immediately.
- In Halo 2, the Particle Beam is featured in quite a few of the large multiplayer maps such as Colossus and Relic. In Multiplayer, getting the Beam Rifle should be a priority. Its long range and lethal headshot capabilities offer a huge advantage whether you are on the offense or defense. Picking up Active camouflage will allow you to snipe enemies while remaining stealthy. Remember to keep a good close range weapon such as the M90 Shotgun so that you will be able to fight enemies too close to kill with the Beam Rifle. A medium range weapon, like the Covenant Carbine, could also come in handy in case of a close range fight.
- In Halo 3 multiplayer, the Beam Rifle is featured on maps like Snowbound and other map variants that support the beam rifle. It has a limit of 10 shots as it drains slightly more battery units due to balance issues. The Beam Rifle can also be used to fire two shots in quick succession, although it will overheat immediately. This tactic can be used to quickly dispatch enemies at close range. A popular tactic is to camp and kill any enemy who attempts to obtain a power weapon by watching it with the sniper rifle. This keeps control of the more powerful weapons in the hands of the player watching the weapon.
Changes from Halo 2 to Halo 3
- New design.
- Now a silvery color instead of a dark bluish color.
Changes from Halo 3 to Halo 5: Guardians
- Goes back to the classic Halo 2 design.
- Panel at the back flips up whenever the weapon overheats.
- The section in front of the "trigger" now slowly revolves when the weapon is idle.
- “Makes less noise than a Battle Rifle; has less felt recoil than an M6; is at least as accurate as 99 AM of them—it’s big and heavy and the balance is weird but I can’t wait ‘til I get my hands on another one.”
- “It’s deadly accurate. The scope is a little hard to take though—made me nauseous when I first figured out how to engage it—it’s useful enough and easy to understand. Still hurts my eyes though.”
- “Maybe with the Elites on our side we’ll finally find out how to reload or recharge these weapons or whatever… I have a feeling we shouldn’t start holding our breath anytime soon though.”
- “Not as much recoil as the ninety-nine but then again the mechanism is entirely different—don’t worry about the machine; a steady hand, breath control, and patience are the key to success with either one.”
- “The Type-50 SRS is not completely silent nor is it invisible. Jackals may be superb marksmen and they’re very sneaky, but that doesn’t make them excellent snipers—they’re a little too bloodthirsty for that”.
- The Beam Rifle was originally to be used by Elites in Halo: Combat Evolved with the name of "Gravity Rifle" and instead of it being a purplish blue it was green and black. It was cut from the final game because of time constraints.
- Technically the term 'particle beam rifle' is incorrect as it doesn't literally fire a beam of accelerated particles but more of a shot. This can be confirmed by firing the 'beam rifle rapidly while strafing and again with the Focus Rifle. The Beam Rifle only fires in shots, whereas the Focus Rifle delivers a 'beam' of fire. However, this may just be for naming concerns.
- On the map Ivory Tower, it was originally going to spawn instead of the Sniper Rifle.
- In the Halo 2 campaign mode on Legendary difficulty, the Beam Rifle can kill you in one hit, no matter where it hits. This can be very frustrating, especially in the levels Outskirts, Delta Halo, Uprising, and The Great Journey, which actually makes Jackal Snipers the most dangerous enemy in the game. Regardless of where you are hit, whether it is in the foot or the head it is fatal in one shot, even though your allies (marines or elites) can survive 2 or 3 hits.
- Leading up to Halo 2's release, the Beam Rifle was not yet confirmed. Instead, it was only mentioned that there would be a Covenant Sniper Rifle. Many fans believed that the Covenant Carbine was intended to be the original Covenant Sniper Rifle.
- Before Halo 2's release, the Beam Rifle was much longer, which can still be seen in pre-release screenshots. Its length was about that of the UNSC Sniper Rifle but was shortened about 10-20% for reasons left to Bungie. A possible reason would be that it would have looked awkward in the hands of Jackals.
- The Beam Rifle has more penetration power than the UNSC Sniper Rifle. This can be seen when pallets are placed upright next to each other, with instant kill enabled. The Sniper Rifle is only capable of destroying one pallet with a single shot, while the Beam Rifle is capable of sniping through sixteen pallets in one shot. However, the gameplay version of the Beam Rifle is still not as strong as canonically shown in the Halo universe, as it is considered an incredibly deadly weapon.
- It is possible to bounce Beam Rifle's shots off the ground like the UNSC's sniper rifle in Halo 3.
- This weapon replaces the Focus Rifle after the Battle of Reach. This is likely due to the Beam Rifle's superior precision and lethality when compared to the Focus Rifle. It could be that they worked alongside one another as it was used well before Reach in the Battles of Harvest.
- The Halo 2 Beam Rifle is available as a Warzone power weapon in Halo 5: Guardians. When compared to the standard beam rifle, the Halo 2 Beam Rifle notably has more magnetism than the standard beam rifle and auto-aim, making it possible to get hits with sub-par accuracy.
- In Halo 2, if the player is playing on Legendary with the Black Eye skull activated and has full overshields, they can survive a shot from the Beam Rifle.
- Halo 2 (First appearance)
- Halo: Uprising
- Halo 3
- Halo Wars
- Halo 3: ODST
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
- Halo: Escalation
- Halo 5: Guardians (multiplayer only)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 134
- ↑ Bungie.net: Type-50 Sniper Rifle System
- ↑ Halo Encyclopedia, page 320
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Halo Waypoint - Canon Fodder, Buzz Generating