Up until a certain point of Armored Core, sniper rifles were something of the neglected child of the rifle family. While they dished out absurd amounts of damage and had incredible range, their small lock boxes and slow firing rate made them nearly useless at medium to close range, which is where most AC fights happen.
So there they sat in the shops, unwanted, unloved, until From Software hit upon two changes that suddenly made it a very, very bad idea to bumrush anybody packing them. The first were left-arm mounts, which allowed users to expand the SR’s miniscule lockbox by synergizing it with the much larger lockbox of handguns in the left hand.
The second innovation was introducing fast-firing rifles, such as the Wyrm. Let me reiterate that – you were given a gun that outpaced standard rifles in stopping power, range and accuracy, and could still a dozen slugs into your target in the time it takes you to read this sentence.
Combine those factors with the Sniper Rifle’s inherently light weight, and you’ve got a weapon that’s difficult to beat in terms of pound for pound stopping power. There is nothing more annoying than fighting an AC that dances right outside your effective range, refuses to get into head-on slugging match, and instead opts to pelt you to death with an endless stream of stinging jabs.
While we’re on the topic of deadly weapons, it may surprise you that of all the real-life analogs out there, the one gun that may effectively encapsulate the Wyrm is an offspring of the humble AR-15.
Armalite’s rifle model AR-15 was built as a smaller caliber variant of the company’s other rifle, the AR-10, which fired 7.62×51 mm bullets. Firing .223 Remington ammo, and built mostly of aluminum and plastic parts, the AR-15 was an extremely lightweight and handy rifle that was intended to be a replacement for the M1 Carbine, as a weapon for rear-echelon troops (vehicle crews, doctors, etc.) who could not afford to carry a heavier, full-powered battle rifle such as the M14.
The U.S. Army saw the AR-15 more than just as a backup gun however, and with the advent of the Vietnam War, they began field testing large batches of the gun for jungle warfare. By 1965, the US dubbed their AR-15 variant as the M16, which would eventually become the iconic weapon of every Vietnam War film, Modern Warfare game, and the likes of Pinoy action stars like Fernando Poe Jr., Bong Revilla, and Lito Lapid.
While the M16 enjoyed relative success as a military weapon (barring some serious reliability issue due to an early lack of cleaning kits), the AR-15 was even more popular in the civilian market due to its light weight, low recoil, and inherent accuracy.
And it is here where our story continues, at the quiet workshop of Iowa-based gunmaker Les Baer, who lent his namesake to an interesting piece that will give even the Wyrm a run for its money: The Les Baer NRA Match semi-auto rifle. Or as I’d like to call it, the Baer rifle.
Derived from the classic AR-15’s frame, Les Baer took the rifle and added several innovations including a 30-inch stainless steel barrel, a free-floating aluminum hand-guard, a newly machined bolt assembly, and a highly polished trigger assembly. All this is then painstakingly assembled by hand in what I can only describe as a work of love.
Love being an appropriate choice of words to describe the gun as well, given that its accuracy is nothing short of orgasmic (as far as gun pr0n is concerned). Out of the box, the Baer Rifle is capable of shot groupings of ½ (.50) MOA. That is, at 100 yards, the gun will consistently put 5 bullets into a hole barely half an inch wide.
In capable hands, and with the right ammo, that figure is even smaller. with accuracy reaching the .250-.300 MOA range. That’s pretty damn impressive since we’re talking about shot groupings that just a couple of millimeters bigger than the bullets being fired.
While the Baer rifle is heavier than a standard AR-15 thanks to the new parts, it’s still relatively light compared to similarly accurate guns out there. It’s also a semi-auto, meaning you can rapid-fire it if you absolutely have to.
Face it – your AC’s sniper rifle will develop a man-crush on the Les Baer the minute it sees it. And that’s perfectly okay – there is nothing wrong with falling in love with something that is godlike at what it does. It’s not gay, at least not as gay as that dude I mentioned at the start of this article.