The guns of Halo 5: Guardians


I grew up playing video games, and I’ve continued to play games into my adult life. One of the franchises I have a real love/hate relationship with is Halo; I remember when the first one came out and I played it all the way through on the OG XBox. Fast forward a decade and change later, and we have the latest installment in the Halo franchise, Halo 5: Guardians. Here’s a look at the human weapons of the game, and their closest real-world analogs.

To understand the guns of Halo, here’s a very small look at the Halo universe. In H5 there are three main factions, the humans, the Covenant, and the Forerunners. The Covenant and Forerunners use energy based weapons which are silly and dumb, but the humans, despite the games being set in the 26th Century, still haven’t figured out a better type of gun than metallic cartridges. Which is fine, because it means I can do posts like this.

1. Assault Rifle
The classic Halo rifle is the Assault Rifle. It’s been present in every incarnation of the game, from Halo 1 all the way to the most recent game. Not much has changed either. The gun itself is simple. It fires from a 32 round box magazine with one setting: full rock and roll. It’s mostly useful for CQB engagements where you need to put a moderate amount of bullets into a single target or a bunched up group of targets.


Real-world analog: While it’s not a bullpup like the Halo Assault Rifle, the closest real world gun to the Halo AR is clearly an AK47. Simple construction, rugged design, and two settings: safe or rock and roll.

2. Battle Rifle
Stepping up from the wild spray and pray of the Assault Rifle is the Battle Rifle. This rifle is equipped with a low power magnifying scope, and fires in three shot burst mode. It’s also a bullpup, indicating that someone at 343 really likes bullpups, which is weird but whatever. I personally don’t like this gun very much, because if I want a gun for accuracy there are better weapons in Halo, and if I’m going to fire kind of sort of on full auto, I’d rather have the assault rifle or a sub gun.


Real world analog: The most obvious answer here is the FN FS2000. It’s a weird looking bullpup just like the Battle Rifle, and readers with long memories will remember that it originally came with a 2x scope before FN redesigned the top to a simple pic rail.

3. Designated Marksman Rifle
It wouldn’t be a video game without a DMR gun! This is actually my favorite rifle in the game as it fits my (single player) play style very well. It’s powerful enough to dust low-level enemies with a single shot, and accurate enough to engage more powerful enemies at longer ranges without getting close enough for them to jack me up.


Real world analog: Again we have a bullpup configuration in the video game gun, but for real world guns I’m going to step away from bullpups (because they suck) and focus on the rifle’s capability. We have a semi-auto rifle firing a powerful cartridge and feeding from a detachable box magazine. It’s accurate, reliable, and shoots well. Can you say HK417? I knew you could. The 417 is the perfect real world companion to the DMR gun in Halo 5.

4. Shotgun
Awwwww yiiiiiissss give me that shotgun. It’s the 26th Century in Halo 5, and they still haven’t found a better option for shotguns than a good old fashioned pump gun. The Halo 5 pump gun is an 8-gauge pump with a capacity of five shots, and it will JACK YOUR WORLD UP…at close range. At long ranges it’s basically useless, but if you get one in multiplayer and go around one-shotting dudes, people will hate you. It’s awesome.


Real world analog: Remington 870, duh and or hello. But not just any 870, it’s got to be a sexed up 870. Think of one covered in Magpul stuff, with a Surefire forend, you know…a cool shotgun.

5. Submachine gun
This would be my second favorite weapon in H5, because it holds a considerable number of rounds and you can use it like a firehose – just spray bullets at your intended target until bits fall off them.


It fires on full auto, and is pretty useful at close to intermediate ranges. You can even use it to reach out sometimes, but the damage modeling in the game falls off the charts, so unless you like tickling badguys with bullets, it won’t get much done.

Real world analog: I went back and forth on this, but I settled on what I think is the best choice: the HK MP7. It too fires a sub-caliber cartridge with minimal recoil on full-auto, and reports from the MP7 in the field is that its best utilized as a bullet hose: point at badguy and give them the bulk of a magazine.

That’s it today for the guns of Halo 5: Guardians. Yes, we left out the sniper rifle, the SAW, and the handgun, because I felt like the Sniper Rifle and the SAW belong in an article about heavy weapons, and the handgun…really has no real world analog that I can figure out. Unless I want to talk about the Desert Eagle, which I literally never want to do. Remember, gun culture encompasses more than just serious shooters, and if we can use our hobby to reach across the lines to other enthusiasts, we should. Making more shooters and gun owners is the best way to continue our hobby!

If you think I’m totally off my rocker about the real world analogs for these guns, let me know in the comments!


  1. Dude… MP7…?

    The SMG is clearly a P90. 60 round mag and uses the exact same magazine system. Come on… disappointed.

    Also, what is your gamer tag? Let’s play

    1. I went back on forth on P90 or MP7 for a while, but what sold it for me was the way the Halo buzzgun looks. Although I concede the point about capacity and loading style. My gamer tag is SgtDamienScott – after the Strike Back character.

  2. Interesting take. I can see a lot of real world firearms influence in these designs. I’d say the rifles were visually inspired by a gussied up FAMAS, especially the battle rifle (the carry handle is a dead giveaway). Probably the same for the DMR, but with a bit more M14 influence up front and maybe just a little Barrett M95. The shotgun was probably inspired by the SPAS 12, given the heat shield and shape of the pump mechanism. I would also say FN P90 for the subgun, but probably with a little MP7 influence for the styling. You’re probably right about the general roles they serve, but I think that’s a bit more what they look like.

  3. Not really a big deal but FN didn’t “redesign” the F2000; the rail was always there underneath the polymer sight scope. They still sell the rifle with the 1.6x scope & cover, or as the “Tactical” with just the rail.

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