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  • A good sniper is terrifying.

  • Hidden death that lurks in a hillside: unseen and able to precisely quench targets with

  • a single bullet.

  • If you're lucky, such a threat will only send a chill down your spine:

  • and if you're not - well, you might never hear the shot.

  • The Arctic Warfare series of rifles are purpose-built for precision.

  • It has found fame through its confirmed kill distance records: and in its depiction in

  • games, most notably as Counter-Strike's AWP.

  • So what place do precision weapons have in games?

  • What makes sniper rifles such a desirable choice for some players?

  • And what is it about bolt-actions that makes 'em deal more damage?

  • The Arctic Warfare's story starts in England, in 1978.

  • At this time, the British Army were reliant on the 19th-century Lee Enfield rifles for

  • their marksman roles, designated the L42A1.

  • While there's nothing wrong with a classic bolt-action, there was definitely room for

  • a more modern, specialised long-range weapon.

  • Accuracy International was founded by a group of skilled competitive shooters, looking to

  • design and build a new tactical rifle.

  • Their first design was the Precision Marksman, or the PM, in 1982.

  • It was designed in response to the British Army's search for a new sniper rifle, and

  • would emerge triumphant in competition, earning the L96A1 designation.

  • Built for precision from the ground up, the platform is bedded on a solid aluminium chassis,

  • surrounded by a distinctive drab green hollow polymer stock.

  • Not content with a single contract, AI shot for the Swedish military, who were in a similar

  • position to the Brits - seeking to replace their World War 2-era rifles.

  • The Precision Marksman design was modified to cope with extremely cold temperatures - with

  • a milled bolt that minimised the surface area able to freeze together, and a larger trigger

  • guard to allow the use of heavy gloves.

  • These changes gave the updated rifle a new name: the Arctic Warfare.

  • It was accepted into service by the Swedes in 1991, as the PSG 90 - and the British Army

  • adopted the improved version as the L118A1.

  • Later variants of the Arctic Warfare include the AWF with folding stock - and the AWP,

  • intended for law enforcement use with plain black furniture.

  • The AWS is a suppressed version, with an integral suppressor, and similar is the AW Covert - which

  • comes with a shortened barrel and folding stock.

  • The AW Magnum expanded the calibre offerings to a higher power band: with chamberings in

  • .300 Win Mag and .338 Lapua Magnum.

  • These rounds deliver more kinetic energy on target, extending the rifle's reach and flattening

  • the bullet's trajectory.

  • This makes the Magnum offerings particularly suitable for extreme ranges - and the AWM

  • was adopted by the British Armed Forces under the L115 designation.

  • It was this variant that would cataput the Arctic Warfare into the record books - as

  • the AWM is responsible for the longest ever confirmed sniper kill, at two thousand, four

  • hundred and seventy five metres.

  • The shot took place in 2009, during the War in Afghanistan - fired by British sniper Craig

  • Harrison, Corporal of Horse in the Blues and Royals Royal Horse Guards.

  • An incredible feat that placed the platform amongst the finest long-range rifles: no doubt,

  • the Arctic Warfare is every inch a marksman's weapon.

  • It was never meant to be cheap, nor intended for mass-production: these rifles are specialist

  • weapons for a specialised role.

  • Perhaps it's this 'boutique appeal' that has led to the familiar green thumbhole stock

  • cropping up in a number of video games.

  • Such weapons have always had a tough transition into interactive entertainment: truly realistic

  • sniping is a test of patience and precision, engaging unseen and far from the fray.

  • Games normally take some liberties for the sake of balance - and so virtual sniping usually

  • takes place at closer ranges and at a faster pace than reality.

  • Some titles do pride themselves on wide open maps - the Battlefield franchise, for instance

  • - but most FPS insist on cramming you and your rifle into a small arena surrounded by

  • automatic weapons.

  • They are still top of the tree when it comes to ranged damage and precision - so while

  • you might not have a spotter at your side, you can still vex the opposition from across

  • the map.

  • There's a curious trait shared by all bolt-action weapons in games: they all seem to do more

  • damage than their semi-automatic counterparts, even if they're of the same calibre.

  • Counter-Strike's AWP is top dog in terms of damage, and is the only weapon to kill an

  • opponent in a single hit at any distance, anywhere above the legs - armoured or not.

  • It's this depiction that cemented the Arctic Warfare's iconic status: the Counter-Strike

  • AWP is a legendary weapon, and certainly amongst the most recognisable weapons of first-person

  • shooters.

  • This popularity in Counter-Strike has led to its appearance in other titles - but no

  • matter the game, the rifle is always amongst the most deadly on offer.

  • This is certainly true within the Call of Duty series, with the Arctic Warfare rifles

  • appearing as the L96 in Black Ops, the L118A in Modern Warfare 3, and the L115 in Call

  • of Duty: Ghosts.

  • So, why is the rifle always so powerful?

  • It's not for the sake of realism - but instead a question of balance.

  • While you can empty a semi-automatic weapon's magazine within a couple of seconds, a bolt-action

  • weapon must be manually cycled for every shot - which means a drastically slower rate of

  • fire.

  • The high damage of such weapons is necessary to keep them relevant, then - and as a side

  • effect, this places a much stronger emphasis on first shot precision.

  • Luckily, you'll most often find the Arctic Warfare supplied with a scope by default.

  • A highly magnified view proves a double-edged sword, however - and can help to further reinforce

  • the intended long-range role of the weapon.

  • Often, your peripheral vision will be blocked out entirely while aiming - and while some

  • games, such as Call of Duty: Ghosts, offer a dual-rendered view - you will still suffer

  • in the reactivity stakes.

  • A closer view helps when tackling distant targets, but a narrower field of vision can

  • blind you to closer threats - and readjusting your sights to an unexpected angle can take

  • critical time.

  • This tunnel vision, paired with an intrinsically slow rate of fire, generally makes the weapon

  • ill-suited for close quarters battle: but of course, there are still some who'll try.

  • The Arctic Warfare series might be known by many names: but there's no mistaking its uncompromised

  • performance.

  • It demands first-shot precision, and severely punishes wayward shots: but if you want to

  • freeze out the opposition...

  • ...this rifle is ice cold.

  • A refined weapon of precision that is deadly in every incarnation.

  • Its power compels a cult-like following: those who live for the thrill of a one-shot kill.

  • It's seldom the easy option: its potency reigned in with slow output and exacting function.

  • The Arctic Warfare:

  • Record holder.

  • Purpose-built.

  • Powerhouse.

  • Thank you very much for watching, and until next time - farewell.

A good sniper is terrifying.

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Arctic Warfare.

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    30410陳韋仲 に公開 2022 年 03 月 15 日
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