Hello, this is XboxAhoy – and this is Time To Kill.
Sometimes, the best addition to your weapon – is another weapon.
In this episode, we’re covering the underslung attachments.
For much of Call of Duty’s history, the underslung grenade launcher has been a popular attachment choice – much to the chagrin of some.
This explosive option was first introduced in COD4, and quickly cemented its place as a popular attachment choice.
Modern Warfare 2 also introduced an underbarrel shotgun, to serve as a close-range backup for close quarters combat, ehancing the versatility of some of the assault rifles.
Black Ops saw a similar complement, with the addition of the flamethrower for roasting close-range enemies for those fond of fire.
In Modern Warfare 3, only the grenade launcher and shotgun make an appearance.
Their return is marked with a significant decrease in overall effectiveness – especially in the case of the grenade launcher – but each can still fulfil a supplementary role within your loadout.
The underslung grenade launcher extends your reach with a little explosive ordnance – and although the days of deadly Danger Close-level damage have passed, employing a weapon with a blast radius can still be useful in certain cases.
There are a number of different variants of the underslung grenade launcher attachment – the specific variant depends on the weapon to which you attach it.
The ‘classic’ grenade launcher is the M203 – this was the default underslung launcher of choice in both Modern Warfare 1 and 2, and makes a return in MW3.
However, it is no longer the default launcher – and only makes an appearance on the 2 American assault rifles: the M16A4 and M4A1.
The new default is the M320 – a more modern launcher designed by Heckler and Koch intended to replace the M203.
The M320 also makes an appearance as a standalone secondary weapon, in the M320 GLM.
It behaves in exactly the same way as the attachment, but lacks the overbarrel assault rifle – and requires that you aim down the sights before you fire.
The AK-47 has its own unique launcher, labelled the GP-25 – but modelled after the later GP-30.
This Russian launcher fires caseless 40mm rounds, and is designed to affix to the Kalashnikov series of weapons.
Note that all variants of the grenade launcher behave in an identical way in-game: damage and the projectile behaviour are unaltered by your weapon choice.
The only difference is a visual one – the appearance of the launcher, and of the reload animations.
Getting a kill outright with the launcher demands a high degree of accuracy in your grenade placement – with a 1.4 metre lethal radius on an uninjured opponent, it’s important to land your shot close.
Enemies protected by the blast shield perk will prove even more troublesome – with only a direct impact proving lethal.
The grenade launcher does take some time to arm, so within a range of 5 metres or so a direct impact is your only option anyway, even against an enemy without blast shield.
Should you strike an opponent at close range, you will likely kill them – with such an impact dealing 135 damage, sufficient to kill all but a Juggernaut or an uninjured opponent with a ballistic vest equipped.
It’s wise to use the environment to your advantage – unexploded cars, barrels and enemy equipment can be set off as a chain reaction of explosives, enhancing lethality and reducing the odds of an enemy surviving within your blast radius.
In previous Modern Warfare games the grenade launcher’s lethal radius was around 3 metres – so in MW3 the grenade launcher’s lethal area is approximately one fifth of its predecessors.
Things change when dealing with injured opponents, however – as the grenade launcher will despatch sufficiently weak opponents at a range of up to about 7 and a half metres.
This makes the attachment uniquely useful for finishing off opponents that you’ve wounded, but subsequently escape to cover – with a well-placed grenade you can hit opponents round corners, or within buildings, potentially securing the kill.
Even wounding an opponent with a grenade can be useful – softening up entrenched defenders guarding an objective will tilt any consequent gunfight in your favour.
In addition, the presence of a hitmarker will confirm any doubts you may have had over an enemy presence.
This technique is doubly effective when paired with Recon in your first perk slot, as any enemy caught in your blast radius will be marked on your minimap in addition to sustaining explosive injury.
Pair your assault rifle with the impact proficiency, and with their exact position marked you can finish off your helpless target with the sixth sense that Recon provides.
The only major limitation to this strategy is your limited supply of grenades – with the grenade launcher you will receive only 2 40mm grenades.
Scavenger has no effect to your starting supply, either – and you’ll only be able to pick up additional grenades if your slain opponent was using the attachment as well.
Still, if used judiciously the two grenades can be a useful asset – both as a finishing weapon for enemies behind cover, and as a means of discerning the location of more defensive foes.
The other underbarrel attachment is the shotgun – based on the real-life Knight’s Armament Company ‘Masterkey’, a weapon specifically intended for underbarrel mounting.
It behaves in a similar manner to any other shotgun, although with reduced range and damage to reflect its status as an attachment rather than a dedicated primary weapon.
The masterkey is a pump-action weapon, which will limit the rate you can fire it to around 80 rounds per minute.
It feeds from a 4-round tube magazine – this smaller size reinforcing its role as a backup weapon – but reloading is relatively quick, with each shell taking three-quarters of a second to insert.
Unlike the grenade launcher, your starting complement of ammunition for your shotgun is fairly generous – 16 shells total, which for this weapon’s intended role is more than sufficient.
One key weakness is the underbarrel shotguns’ low damage – damage per shot is amongst the lowest of all the shotguns – and although capable of a one-shot kill, this requires the target to be very close, and for nearly all the 6 pellets fired to connect.
The Shotgun is far more reliable in hardcore, where the lower damage is less of a concern.
In either case, It’s best to employ the shotgun at a very short range – ideally in tight interior spaces where you can anticipate an enemy attack.
Thankfully, the weapon is quick to switch to – and so is an ideal complement to an assault rifle geared towards long-range combat.
With the attachments proficiency, you can combine a long-range optic such as the ACOG or Thermal on a weapon that suits it (such as the M16A4 or Mk14) with the close-range defense of the underbarrel shotgun.
Watch your back with a claymore, bouncing betty or portable radar and switch to the shotgun when you suspect someone is close.
The hipfire spread on the underslung shotgun behaves a little differently when compared to a primary shotgun – unlike the usual fixed spread, you will see a loss in accuracy while moving.
Initial spread is 5 degrees, same as most shotguns – but this increases to a maximum of 7 degrees, which with so few pellets will hamper your chances of a one-shot kill.
This means the attachment is best used in a defensive role – firing while stationary will yield the most consistent performance.
Aggressive pursuit of your enemies is best left to the primary shotguns.
Steady aim will help, but if you limit youself to very close range engagements only you can opt to use another choice better suited to your assault rifle – Marksman would be a fine choice for a long-range role, for instance.
The underslung weapons of Modern Warfare 3 are a relatively rare sight in the wild, with the erstwhile explosive favourite receiving a firm chastening.
They do have their role, however – whether marking hidden targets with a grenade launcher and recon, or providing a close-range defense to those rifles that lack it, it’s possible to employ them in a successful way.
Thankfully their role has been curtailed to a niche one, but they retain some usefulness in the right circumstances.
Noob tube, pro-pipe, skill cannon – whatever appellation you apply – with the added versatility these underslung weapons grant you, you truly will be… a one man army.
Thanks for watching, this has been XboxAhoy.
Join me for the next Time To Kill, when I’ll be going over perhaps the most misunderstood mechanic in Call of Duty – weapon recoil.
Until then, farewell.