Use in Games
The Battle Rifle is introduced in Halo 2, as a replacement for the MA5B Assault Rifle. It does, however, differ from its predecessor in many ways. Whereas the MA5B was a fully automatic rifle with no zoom capability and a 60-round capacity magazine, the BR55 always operates on a 3-round burst setting, has a 2x optical scope mounted on a top rail, and only a 36-round capacity. One of the only shared traits, aside from being the primary UNSC assault weapon, is the bullpup design, in which the magazine is loaded in the rear of the weapon, behind the trigger. While this substitution came as a surprise to most players, many grew to prefer the weapon over the original assault rifle. This favoritism was especially prevalent in multiplayer matches, as the BR55's long-range capability and stronger burst shots were more effective in taking down shields and, consequently, opponents.
Halo 3 Upgrade
The weapon made a return in Halo 3, although this time in an updated form: the BR55HB SR. There were not many changes made with this variant, and it retained the 36-round magazine, 2x scope, 3-round burst, and much of the same outward appearance. Some changes do seem to have taken place, though, and were both favorable as well as dislikable. Despite featuring more powerful shots and less recoil, the gun had a lower accuracy than the earlier version, and even more care must be taken to not disturb the path of the three rounds as they exit, or else they may not all hit their target. Regardless of any changes applied, the Battle Rifle is still a favorite of numerous Halo players, even if it does lack the fully automatic fire of the MA5C Assault Rifle (also introduced in Halo 3).
The BR55HB SR (or BR) is the default starting weapon in the MLG (Major League Gaming) ruleset for Halo 3. It is considered by most higher-skill players to be a better starting weapon than the MA5C Assault Rifle (which doesn't appear in MLG matches, even as a pickup) because in close quarters situations it requires precise aim, as opposed to a player just being able to squeeze the trigger with the MA5C and hit something almost automatically. The BR is also a relatively capable long-range weapon compared to the Assault Rifle, allowing for players to have some (albeit, a small) chance against snipers. Overall, for skilled players it has some use in every situation.
In competitive play there are several situations that can arise involving the BR:
- BR Battle This is a situation that arises when two players using Battle Rifles find each other and face off. This is one of the main ways to prove one's skill over another player in Halo 3, as there is no wild card involved when two BRs clash, it's just completely up to player skill to decide the winner.
- Four Shot A Four Shot is the ultimate showing of skill in a BR Battle. In Halo 3 it takes exactly 4 headshots on a player with full shields to kill him with the BR. This is what every player in a BR Battle strives to accomplish.
- Running Smack In competitive play, when one player shows dominance over another (usuaully after a Four Shot), he performs a Running Smack. What in a lower level game would be a teabag, a player in a competitive match is simply too busy to stop and crouch, wasting precious seconds, and exposing him/herself to the enemy. Instead, assuming the player is headed that way, he will pass his opponent's dead body, meleeing it as he runs to his destination. This works in the same taunting way that a teabag does, but fits better in a professional setting. Most players use the Battle Rifle to perform this action because the BR's vertical melee can hit a body on the ground without having to look down.
Use in Storyline
According to the novel Contact Harvest, the BR55 is first introduced to UNSC Marine and colonial forces in the year 2525. Having apparently just finished development, it was a new weapon to both those members of the Harvest Militia who had never used a firearm before as well as their commanding officers who were veteran Marines. It is initially used by Staff Sergeants Avery Johnson and Nolan Byrne on a reconnaissance/ambush mission against a small crew of Jackals that were intercepting human vessels in open space. After that successful operation, the rifle becomes the Sergeants' primary choice of weaponry, and two more are given to their companies' snipers, proving quite effective against the Covenant and their energy shields once open conflict begins. As the MA5B Assault Rifle and M6D pistol were not as powerful or precise, it is possible, and highly realistic, to say that without the BR55 Battle Rifle, the First Battle of Harvest could very well have gone the other way.