The guns and video games cycle

Video games have been a huge part of my gun ownership experience, even since I was a little kid. While I couldn’t run out and buy the Stormtrooper carbine in Dark Forces, a little known LucasArts shooter called Outlaws helped fuel my love of western guns even to this day. In fact, the first shotgun I bought was a single shot NEF specifically because they had a single shot break action in Outlaws.

battlefield 4 scar-h

These days, I find myself doing the reverse. Instead of letting video games drive my real life purchases, my real life shooting habits are informing how I set my guns up in video games. Specifically, Battlefield 4. The way the game’s mechanics work allows you to customize your rifles, shotguns, carbines, SMGs, sniper rifles, DM Rifles, basically everything. If you look at my rifles, they’re almost all outfitted the same way as my real guns:

  • Light/laser
  • Fixed magnification optic (such as an ACOG)
  • Muzzle brake
  • Some kind of handstop/foregrip/AFG

It’s interesting, because there are times where my set-up isn’t “optimal” for the way the game’s combat system works, but I don’t care. I wouldn’t run a soup-sandwich rifle with a heavy barrel and a magnified red dot, because that doesn’t make any kind of sense. A 3x prismatic optic on the other hand makes all kinds of sense to me. Maybe I’m just weird, but I can’t bring myself to set up an imaginary rifle in a way that I wouldn’t set up a real rifle.

Is that weird?


  1. I have an ACOG problem. Don’t have one, want one, but not sure what to do with one. Keep telling myself one would be the perfect all around option for everything from 3 gun, range work, and coyote problems around the farm. The truth is a top quality variable power scope can be had for similar money or less and likely do a better job of what I want done. So why do I have to stop and look at one every time I’m in a gun store and why do I spend too much time online looking at them. My conclusion it’s the COOL factor. I mean is an ACOG cool or what?

    1. Abandon it man. ACOG is awesome when you need to buy 400,000 soldiers something they can’t break and can reasonably hit bad-guys with. But for the individual price: variable power optics do more with vastly superior eye-relief.

  2. I’m sort of the same way in that being a gun guy has caused me to make choices in Battefield that are more geared toward a realistic load out. You’ll never catch me using a G18 or a .44 because it just seems silly IMO.

    9 times out of 10:
    HK 416:
    Magpul AFG
    Holo sight w/magnifier (I find it works for me)

    I use an unmodded 1911 for a pistol most of the time.

  3. Video games ill dual weild hip fire carry oversized magnums you name it. Its time to let lose and have fun. For me. If you game setups fun for you rock on 🙂

    And you think battlefield beats cod so alls cool in my book.

  4. As a long time Tavor owner: I’ll play any videogame that the designer puts my gun in. Bonus points if they get that the charging handle isn’t reciprocating. A billion internet points if they animate the bolt-release.

  5. I remember playing medal of honor and being exited i could use a glock 19. But then the game sucked.

  6. Anybody remember “America’s Army” for the PC? The official US Army video game, came out around a decade ago. It was actually really great, it was one of the first games that let you look through your iron sights, the guns on full-auto were difficult to control, and weapons actually malfunctioned. To be able to unlock certain weapons you had to “qualify” on them, and for awhile it was insanely difficult to qualify for sniper rifles.

    Man, now I’m getting nostalgic.

    1. It’s still going on! Sure, it gets upgraded to new engine once in a while, and last time I checked the new version was piss-easy (for example, they ditched the stealth test required to unlock the M4 – that one was a bitch, IIRC I didn’t have a problem with the marksman test you dread so much). Sure, spraying full auto is pointless and you’re very squishy, but as far as unlocks and training go – much easier than before.

    2. There is still the Arma series, currently Arma 3. Much better than Americas Army ever was, and runs circles around boring unrealistic arcade games like Battlefield and Call of Duty.

  7. Fun fact, Outlaws was the first game with a “sniper zoom” on the scoped rifle. Also one of the earliest PC FPS games (perhaps the first) to require you to actually hit a key to reload. Marathon on the Mac a couple years before is widely credited as the very first FPS with a reload.

  8. Funny that none of you play the only TRUE infantry simulator; ARMA! (

    It’s the only one of all the PC games that accurately models each and every bullet coming out of the barrel. ARMA3 has the same type of weapon customization as BF3, only better.

    Choose what ever loadout you want in BF, it’s just a children’s game. Go ARMA for adult style realism.

      1. I’m not sure I get your humor Caleb. Obviously no matter how “realistic” a PC game is, it will never be 100% “real”. I am not trying to say that ARMA is “real” just magnitudes more-so than BF3.

        You write about your playing of a console game but turn right around and insult me for using superior software on superior hardware? That seems pretty hypocritical and you made yourself look pretty immature if you ask me. Sure, insult your readers, that will help your site.

          1. I find your newfound usage of a colloquial Southernism funny, AND useful!

    1. I agree totally TMcArthur, nothing compares to Arma. Funny thing, I remember reading this article where a Navy Seal gets interviewed, and he lists a lot of things that he’d like to se in modern shooters to make them better and more realistic. It seems neither he nor the article author had ever heard about Arma, since a lot of the features that he asks for already exists in the Arma series:

      Link to the article here

    2. Most games animate every bullet that is shot, for instance Max Payne 1 and 2, Fallout 3 & New Vegas.

      Also I will let your dislike of Battlefield slide (at least the old ones were fun).

      1. He wrote “models”, not “animates”, though someone more used to arcade games than simulations may not recognize the difference, I guess. Arma accurately models ballistics and bullet penetration in different materials, as is demonstrated in this video:

        Link to the video

  9. Man I played so much Outlaws. I think it was one of the first games I played online. Like truly online and not like over a LAN or over an IPX network or some shit. I remember I played it with a developer shortly after it came out. I loved that game.

    1. I have nothing but fond memories of that game, and as it turns out the soundtrack is available online for free!

      1. One thing about Outlaws that ticked me off was the firing rate of the guns was related to the screen refresh rate of your video card and monitor. Cost me a bunch of money spent on video cards, better monitors and CPU’s. Started an arms race between the 6-8 of us that were playing in our office. ended up playing at like 320×240 to get 100+ FPS vs 20 or so at 1024×768. Made a HUGE difference, especially with the Gatling Gun.

        I always wanted them to make an Outlaws 2 or one on the Xbox. Red Dead Redemption had a similar feel, but was nowhere near the same.

  10. I do the exact same thing. I always enjoy when developers add these features – takes me back to the days when the M4 still had an optic in Counter-Strike. Really wished Medal of Honor: Warfighter had accrued a bigger following; those guys put a lot of love into modeling their accessories.

    1. Warfighter was quite underrated IMO, although EA deserved it. Good thing most of Danger Close’s work carried over to BF4 (SCAR model, canted sights, ect) but I found the MoH gunplay great, if not unbalanced in favor of the AR derivatives.

  11. I was going to comment nice acticle, but, looked in the comments, and saw how rudefully he (Caleb) replyed to a comment about ArmA 3, stating PC gamers are so cute. The original commenter said ArmA 3 was “adult style realism” and arcade shooters were just children’s games.

    TL;DR: Caleb insulted a person due to their preference of PC over console, and milsim games for realism compared to arcade games for realism

    1. Correction: some dude showed up in the comments talking about an obscure PC game and how better it was than the point of reference used in the article, and then said the game referenced in the article was just for children.

      I found this assertion ridiculous on its face, as arguing about the relative realism of one game over another is a bigger waste of time than arguing 1911 vs. Glock, although the latter is pretty close. It’s pointless and stupid, and it reminded me why I never talk about console games vs. PC games in any environment, because PC gamers are such a bunch of elitist snobs about the fact that they play on a PC. I grew up playing PC games and I have a deep love for PC games. I like console games. Showing up on my site and taking a shit on a game I enjoy, and that millions of other people enjoy is going to piss me off.

      1. I can see both sides of the argument; ARMA is more realistic (and boring sometimes) whilst BF3-4 are more entertaining (consistently). If I’m wasting my time playing a game, its going to be for entertainment value alone, as it can serve no other purpose. Everything else can be better simulated though force-on-force training.

      2. Obscure to YOU does not make it obscure in the real word kido. I did NOT say that PC gamers were better than console gamers, I simply stated that ARMA was better than BF3 (which happens to be on the PC too, dumbass).
        If you took the time to do a little research you would not only realize I am correct, but that you were being a total douche bag to respond the way you did.

        And obviously you did in fact choose to take on the “arguing” by dishing out insults on something that you ADMIT to knowing NOTHING about. If you cant handle a little discussion, or points that do not agree with your own point of view, then maybe you should change the “comments” to “I agree with Caleb posts”.

        If this is how you respond to just a a guy “showing up on your site and taking a shit on your game” then you have serious emotion issues… and maybe you should reconsider owning a gun.

        Have fun with your child’s game BTW. You acted the appropriate age for it.

        1. I debated for the duration of a 3.5 km walk whether or not I should reply to this comment seriously or just post “u mad bro.” Against my better judgement, I decided to offer a serious reply.

          Here’s what went down: I posted a mild article about how I like to set my pretend guns up in a video game. Basically, “hey, here is a fun thing I like.” You showed up and essentially said “the thing you like is dumb and stupid and the thing I like is way better.” I mocked you, because I know from long and painful experience that you absolutely cannot reason with a person who has made their mind up about which game is better than another game. It’s pointless. Now, here at the end of it, you’re butthurt. All that is fine.

          But if you want real talk, I’ll give it to you. “Better” when it comes to entertainment is 100% subjective. Your claim that ARMA, a game made in the Czech Republic and distributed only on PC is “better” than BF4 is absolutely dependent on a person’s preferences in a video game. However, we can pull some objective data. Like review scores, for example. ARMA’s metacritic score is 74%. BF4’s PC version metacritic score is 81%. That’s objectively better. The same is true for their gameranking scores, where BF4 pulls down a 79% to ARMA’s 74%. Again, that’s objectively better. A discussion of sales numbers wouldn’t even be fair, because BF4 is distributed on many, many, platforms and would absolutely crush ARMA on raw sales numbers. But, it’s objectively better at selling.

          So, yes, ARMA may offer “more realistic” ballistics modeling, and that may be the cup of tea for some keyboard commandos, but Battlefield is objectively more popular. The market is a strong indicator of quality here.

          Now, let’s talk about PC gaming vs. console gaming. I grew up on PC games. However, I’m also aware of market trends. Fact: the number of console games sold each year dwarfs the number of PC games sold. In fact, the number of PCs period is shrinking, and by 2017 if the market holds, tablet sales will outnumber laptops and PCs. The console market is where the majority of the money is, and it’s where the majority of the consumers are. I get why people hold on to PC games – a properly tuned gaming rig offers much better performance than even my Xbox One. But the people buying those are a minority. I’m sorry if you don’t like that, but the truth, as they say, hurts.

          But, I suspect that most of this will be about as effective as trying to knock down a brick wall with a wiffle bat, so if it makes you feel better, just pretend I said “lol u mad.”

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