This question comes up from time to time and over time I have come to a conclusion that differs from what most people will advise other players regarding the SMG’s. It’s worth taking a closer look at the SMG’s, which were released several months ago and completely revolutionized the infiltrator class, providing salvation as our full auto scout rifles were laughably terrible bad up until GU07. Let’s discuss each one individually.
The Armistice was the first SMG released. As you can see, the ROF is 896, compared to 652 for the NC Cyclone and 750 for the VS Eridani. This is balanced by less damage per round. True to the TR attributes, the magazine size is larger at 30 (compared to 25 for the others), with an ammo pool of 210. With such a high rate of fire, the Armistice feels like a bullet hose and is very fun to use. It carries a slightly higher damage per second over the PDW Hailstorm. My recommendation for loadout is similar to what most people run – scopes to preference, suppressor, soft point ammunition and extended magazine. The armistice, with its higher damage and smaller magazine size, is more suited for small engagements: 1v1, 1v2, flanking and surprising targets.
A few weeks after the Armstice was released, SOE came out with the second generation of SMG’s. The hailstorm has several interesting attributes. The most noticeable one is the magazine size, defaulting at 60, with no extended magazine upgrade. This makes the barrel upgrades quite simple, as laser sight is now a reasonable option for better hipfire. The rate of fire is lower than the Armistice, at 800. The damage profile is identical: 125 @ 6m, 84 @ 42m. This makes the Hailstorm suited for engaging multiple targets, perhaps over slightly more prolonged fights. Some individuals I have spoken with use it as a spray & pray hipfire weapon, running into crowds and blasting away while dancing, hopping, and ADAD all over the place until you win or kill everyone. My preferred loadout is similar to the armistice: scope to taste, soft point, advance laser sight, suppressor.
Perhaps in looking at each weapon individually you can see my own bias and conclusions. I bought both SMG’s as soon as they were released although I only have the auraxium with the Armistice. I initially thought the hailstorm would be far superior in combat due to the increased magazine size (60 bullets with laser sight for hipfire accuracy FTW!). The increased TTK on the hailstorm really sucked for me though, and I found that the consequences of this are numerous:
1. When engaging a heavy assault, they would often have the time to spin around and return fire. With shields, as well as overall higher health than an infiltrator, this would either end in death (even with the element of surprise) or taking lots of damage.
2. Engaging shotgun users were much more dangerous, as I often struggle to bring them down before they whip around and derp me in the chest with a few pellets.
3. The supposed benefit of the increased magazine to engage multiple targets is negated when you take longer to kill each one – even the best ninja will struggle to bring three targets down in a single magazine before someone whips around and blaps you.
I find that as an infiltrator, even with a CQC fit using an SMG, you need to be surgical with engagements. Flank a target, decloak and quickly dispatch said target, reload/recloak and move on to the next one. You can still be a deadly force, engaging numerous targets quickly – however you are less exposed and can take more advantage of the element of surprise. A faster TTK means less damage taken by an opponent returning fire and hopefully increased longevity on the battlefield.
So overall, my recommendation goes towards the SMG-46 Armistice. This initially surprised me as I assumed the 60 bullet magazine and laser sight from the hailstorm would completely negate the extra 96 rounds per minute from the Armistice. It wasn’t until I started using both of them that I came to this conclusion.
I decided to do a quick poll of my colleagues in the Black Widow Company, a group of experienced and deadly soldiers. They gave some great responses that I want to summarize for you.
Q: Which SMG do you prefer?
A: SMG-46 Armistice 9 (23.1%)
B: PDW-16 Hailstorm 18 (46.2%)
C: Never used 3 (7.7%)
D: Both, depending on the situation 4 (10.3%)
E: Pump Action Shotgun > Everything else 5 (12.8%)
Some of their responses:
“For infiltrator I would go with the Armistice every time. Its DPS is much higher so it gives a better 1v1 edge when running with less health. Since its mostly for 1v1 you don’t need the extended mag and can run the laser sight and make it a laser beam. for anything above one opponent extended mag.”
“I much prefer the armistice. It feels better overall and I just slap extended mags on it. I haven’t used a laser on it but i don’t really think it needs it, at least for how i use it, and being able to down 2-3 people before reloading is a plus”
“PDW guy here. Capacity all the way, I actually run it with just a suppressor and sometimes the forward grip (not sure that even makes a difference). Since I tend to use it at ranges where I could throw it at someone and do damage, I prefer the volume of fire. Not that I’m hating on the other SMG, I have both, just prefer the feel of the PDW for the task.”
“Typically run with a decked out hailstorm on my infiltrator. I like the slightly lower ROF and increased magazine size which typically allows me to engage enemies in quick succession. Especially if I’m sneaking up on an encampment of enemies snipers. 1v1 the Armistice is definitely the way to go, but for any other scenarios I find the Hailstorm to be more versatile.”
“I’d been using the Armistice since it was released, then picked up the Hailstorm when it was on sale a couple weeks back. Despite the increased capacity, I’m starting to gravitate back towards the Armistice. It just has an absolutely demolishing rate of fire and just feels all-around more lethal to me. Just pick your fights wisely and make sure you have enough ammo to get the job done.”
A lot of the guys use their SMG’s on other classes which definitely is different than the question, which SMG is better for an infiltrator? Certainly there is no one right answer, but I think that if you play a hit-and-run, focused fire style of CQC on your infiltrator, the Armistice might be the way to go. It certainly is my preference.