"The workhorse Coalition weapon, fully automatic, Intended for midrange combat. The weapon's Chainsaw Bayonet can be activated when in close proximity to an enemy." ~Gears of War Handbook
The Lancer Assault Rifle is the signature weapon of Gears of War, specifically in regards to its unique chainsaw bayonet. By pressing and holding in the 'B Button', the chainsaw will rev up and suck anything in within a small distance of a few feet, leaving them in a pile of bloody chunks, in which you can kick around by walking into. The act of chainsawing someone also gave the player a quick few seconds of invincibility until the animation was completed. The gun itself is fairly powerful, allowing for fully-automatic fire. In the first Gears of War, the rifle held a maximum of 660 rounds, with 60 bullets in one magazine. In the second, the rifle held 550 rounds. In the third game, it holds only 420. It is normally a medium-range weapon, but can also be quite effective at close range, though it is too inaccurate to make it useful for long distance battles.
In the original Gears, the Lancer went quite unused in online multiplayer, mainly due to supposed net code issues. The host of a game in Gears of War, however, has a very powerful Lancer, which people refer to as "Host Lancer". Where for normal players, the Lancer isn't quite as effective as other weapons, the host of a game has no Lancer issues whatsoever, it works just like it would Campaign mode for them, allowing them to down a player by merely blind firing the Lancer, even at melee range.
The Gears 2 Lancer has several improvements over the original. First of all, it has had a graphical facelift, with a new scope and bullet tracing, allowing for players to see where they are being fired upon from. As stated previously, there is also a 'stopping power' effect, slowing roadie runners until they come to a sudden halt, without ridding of their ability to take cover behind an object. The chainsaw bayonet has also seen some upgrades. There are now many more chainsaw abilities the player can participate in. In Gears 1, when two players with activated chainsaws collided, the outcome was thought of as random. Obviously there was more to it than that, but to fix this problem, Chainsaw duels have been added. When two players collide with chainsaws, they engage in a battle to the death. Whoever presses the 'B Button' the fastest wins the duel by sawing their opponent into a bloody mess. Also added was what Epic developers call the 'Chainsodomy', which is when a player flips their chainsaw upside down and sawing the opponent from the bottom up. This move can be executed by standing behind someone while revving up the chainsaw bayonet. In Gears 3, the lancer is considerably more powerful, especially when used after an active reload. The chainsaw also has to be revved which adds a few moments of vulnerability to the player.