A Note from the Brody K.: I’d like to welcome Matthew G. to The Line as a contributing author. The man has been a good friend for quite a long time, throughout our college days, and assisted several of my own articles during those years. We shared a mutual interest in Kalashnikov-pattern firearms, politics, and emergency preparedness protocols.
I love video games, more particularly first-person shooters, survival horror and role-playing games. These three genres have been the places, where I’ve found the firearms, I want to own. I’ll be sharing the guns and the games, which have inspired me to expand my horizons as a gun owner, shooter, and instructor. I’ll go over them in the order, in which I played them.
Resident Evil (1996) & Resident Evil 2 (1998)
I played the first Resident Evil game back in 1996 (cue “OK, Boomer.”) I was in my teens and I played these two video games and it inspired me to buy a Remington 870 pump-action shotgun of my own. I’m not going to get into the history of the shotgun. I don’t want to profane Gun Jesus’ holy territory. It is my go-to for home defense. The careful application of buckshot or a slug for personal or home protection is as close to a one shot stop for a firearm in the case of a living person at close range in the case of buckshot and close to mid-range for the slug*. In the Resident Evil games, the shotgun is one of the best option for close-up zombie headectomy procedures and for dealing with the BOWs in Raccoon City and the Arkley Mansion.
I had carried that torch, for many years and when I got out of the Army in 2013, I knew, that I had to have an 870 for my home defense needs and my newly forming collection. My shotgun came from Wal-Mart, it had a 26 inch ribbed-barrel and a capacity of 4-plus-1 rounds. I had to put on a 20” non-ribbed barrel and a 3-round extension onto the magazine tube. I put on those two modifications and it looks a lot like the shotgun that I carried through the dark hallways and corridors. My next addition was a set of Magpul furniture. It was just what the mad doctor ordered. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching, with that shotgun; and when the student is accurate using my shotgun, it gives me the same pleasure I received from popping the head off of a zombie or a monster.
The two handguns I know and love from those video games, are the Beretta M-9 and the Browning High-Power. They’re both chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum. My experience with Beretta came from my Army career. I was authorized to carry an M-9, in addition to my M-4 Carbine.
It was a good pistol with a 15-round magazine capacity. It was a no frills, slightly rattling pistol, and a high-mileage affair (I mean, it was Army issued after all). As a mortar squad leader, it was more of a badge of rank. When, I carried it, it did remind me of those long nights and early mornings trying to find keys, first-aid spray, and ink ribbons.
The second handgun, which left an impression on me is the Browning High Power. The High Power has a long service history, an example of this is post World War 2 it was the standard issue service pistol of more than 45 nations’ armies. This is the pistol Claire carries in her A and B campaigns of Resident Evil 2. The pistol’s 13-round magazine capacity was reassuring that I would have enough pistol rounds to get me through some of the game’s tougher moments, but it doesn’t kill the tougher enemies without expending a lot of ammunition, it does provide the player with a chance to escape from an enemy, by hitting it with 9mm rounds.
I couldn’t afford a High Power, so I had bought an FEG JHP-9 at a gun show for a fair price. This is the Hungarian clone of the John Browning design.I’ve had been able to shoot a real-deal Browning High Power, courtesy of my neighbor to do a comparison of the copy and the original.The knock off and the original had a similar trigger pull, magazine capacity, but the Hungarian’s quality was just a bit off. I’ve found for the cost of the handgun, I got a pretty good copy of a classic design. It puts a smile on my face because I carried that pistol through the police station, the sewers, and Umbrella’s secret laboratory, solving the mystery of the T-Virus.
The best handgun, hiding behind the jewel-eyed tiger statue, is the Colt Python. It’s the Holy Grail and the Blood Diamond in the crown of Resident Evil. It’s a one-shot stopper of zombies and loads monsters in the mansion and underground laboratory. I could see how it worked in the game and it fascinated me. I had to carefully plan how I used it, because of the paucity of that ammunition and the plentiful nature of enemies.
I could recall seeing the revolver in holsters on the hips of police officers, in movies, t.v. shows and video games. It was one of those dream guns I’ve always wanted the Python, but the price point was too high for me. A friend of mine turned me on to an opportunity to buy an S&W 686 from one of the local range regulars. I took, that opportunity.( A serious thanks to my friend.) It was a learning experience, how to handle the recoil of hotly loaded rounds, the weight of the hand gun, and how I can continue to get better shooting it. It’s all high-quality steel.It has that classic revolver construction. My 686, has a molded plastic grip to be more comfortable in my hand. I’ve been shooting polymer and steel, or aluminum and polymer pistols.
There are other weapons, I’ve used playing Resident Evil 1 and 2, but those three are the ones, which had really stuck with me.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl (2009 & 2010)
This game was the catalyst for my wanting to collect AKs. This first-person shooter, set in an alternate reality Ukraine set in the exclusion zone, or just “the zone” around the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant or the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The game series heavily borrows the terms and terminology, from the Strugatsky Brothers’ novella “Roadside Picnic”. According to S.T.A.L.K.E.R’s back story, the 1986 disaster happened, causing the evacuation of Prypiat and in the abandoned zone there was another disaster in 2006, which happened because a team of scientists underneath the nuclear power plant caused a tear in the earth’s Noosphere, via a massive energy emission, which caused the Laws of Physics in the zone to just kind of stop working the way we know them. There is action, adventure, and mysteries to be uncovered. It’s a love it or hate it kind of game. I would find myself going through parts of the zone needing a rifle to fight off bandits and mutants, because my Makarov and over under shotgun just weren’t cutting it. I would have be selective about engaging bandits, while I collected artifacts. When I finally got my hands on an AKS-74; I added a GP-25 and could use a PSO-1 for a bit more accuracy. I could, for the most part hold my own against the numerous threats of the zone.
In my life, I had been shopping for another AK. It had to be something special and the stars aligned to have me ordering an Arsenal SLR-104FR from KVAR.com, with the help of one of my favorite FFLs a lady of class. I picked up the rifle on the 8th of November 2016. It looked a bit like my trusty AKS-74 from the zone, only not beaten to hell. I picked up the rifle, on that faithful day and the catalyst activated and the seed blossomed.
I love that rifle. I had done some work to it. I replaced the plum colored furniture with Magpul furniture, a Tapco G2 trigger(I’m just not a fan of Arsenal’s trigger), and a Krebs Custom Safety. When I shoot the SLR, it reminds of traversing the zone, killing mutants, bandits, having to save my reward Rubles, and leaving the 100 Rads Bar in Rostov thinking “that SOB barman ripped me off.”
The Fallout Series (through New Vegas: 1997-2010)
This R.P.G series… this series, what can I say, that my Fallout-themed tattoo doesn’t already scream to anyone who sees it. I will leave that assessment for the readers to work out for themselves. The games have a bleak, offbeat sense of humor, and the later games have a Neo-50’s atom punk aesthetic. I won’t rehash the pros and cons of the games in the series. That’s an argument, which eclipses Glock vs. 1911, in levels of intensity, ferocity, and acrimony among its adherents. I’ll put my cards on the table and say, I love New Vegas, I like Fallout 3, 2, and 1. The guns, I’ll be referencing are in the small guns category. Small and Big Guns in the game, have a base damage amount depending on its condition, which can augmented by the amount of skill points put into small guns, and the numerous perks. I’ll list a selection of the weapons, which caught my eye and the consternation of my bank account.
The Brush Gun, from Fallout New Vegas: Brush Gun is kind of catch all term for a short, handy, and large caliber rifle. What is presented in New Vegas is a lever-action .45-70 gov. with a 6-round tubular magazine. This one inspired by the Marlin 1895. This rifle is a trade-off between fire power for range and rate of fire for reload speed. The rifle is very good at stopping super mutants, fiends, or those pesky Roman-era larpers of Caesar’s Legion. It can be a pricey rifle, with equally costly ammo, but I think, it’s worth every cap to have one in the post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Fallout: New Vegas inspired me to buy a .45-70 government. My FFL asked me what kind of .45-70 I wanted. We discussed which brand, model, barrel length, and the like, then it came to me, during our conversation, I wanted a Marlin 1895. We were able to work out, what rifle I wanted and she ordered it for me. The recoil of the rifle took some getting used to, because it is strong. It’s classic Americana. I have a particular fondness for 405-grain ammo and 325-grain Hornady SST ammo. When I look down the sights of the rifle, I love to imagine, that I’m taking out Caesar’s legionnaires and assassins. This big iron, makes my spurs go jingle jangle jingle.
The Assault Rifles. from Fallout 3. The alternate universe depicted in the Capital Wasteland of Fallout 3, took the series from the West Coast to the remains of Washington D.C. and the outlying parts of Maryland and Virginia.
The R-91 manufactured by Stent Security Systems. The rifle was issued by the Old World U.S. Military, in 5.56. The Rifle has a 30 rd. magazine capacity. The rifle has a delayed roller blowback action. (A fun fact is that operating system was designed by three former Mauser engineers named Heckler, Koch, and Seidel, why do two of those names sound quite familiar?) The rifle in Fallout 3 is modeled on the C.E.T.M.E manufactured in Spain, and has had its design tweaked in a way to ensure, Bethesda’s design has a familiar look to gamer and shooting fans, but I’m sure, it’s different enough to prevent lawyers from getting involved in an infringement case. A recurring theme in Fallout’s universe and this post is how something survives the rigors use and abuse before, during the resource wars, and after a nuclear apocalypse. It’s not that important. “It just works”, as per Todd Howard.
I hopped onto an H&K-91 (the semi-auto export version), it was kind of purchased on an impulse. The rotary diopter sight was a bit off putting for me, someone used to peep sights, notches, and posts. I also needed to a minute or two for cleaning, disassembly, and reassembly. The operating system’s slight roller delay in firing also took some time to get used to, but, now I like it. The H&K’s fully loaded 20-round 7.62 mags, are heavier than fully loaded 30rd magazines filled with 5.56 or .223 ammunition. I wanted to make a few changes. I changed the original hand guard, for something more railed, a hard plastic brass deflector, and I have an pic-rail for optics. The rifle’s design has a bit of history, it’s military version H&K G-3 and other battle rifles like the C.E.T.M.E and the FN F.A.L from Belgium were and are in many nations’ armories.
The Type-93 Assault Rifle is a Chinese made rifle, used by the People’s Liberation Army. The game’s lore reads: “thousands of such rifles were made by a ‘Chinese Industrial Conglomerate’.” (Why does that sound like Norinco?). The Type-93 is a Kalashnikov copied design. The rifles were according, to the lore, was smuggled by the thousands, into the U.S. for use by “Fifth-Columnists and PLA soldiers”. The rifle has a wire side folding stock, for portability and concealibility. In the game’s universe, it’s the most powerful generic assault-rifle; it has a 24-round magazine and has a higher-level of durability (The lower magazine capacity is off, but the durability thing sounds familiar.) The high level durability doesn’t completely explain how it survived 200-years of wear and tear. It’s best to not worry about that, too much. This is a commonly appearing rifle in the capital wasteland in the hands of many of the factions big and small.
Since, I got into AKs after the heyday of inexpensive Chinese Kalashnikov pattern rifles and ammo, I found a local dealer, who was willing to trade one of my AKs for a post-ban MAK-90 and some flat back magazines. I’m debuting a Type-56 clone in this article. I’d like to say, I’m trying to add as many of them, from as many different countries as I can. I don’t think it’s a collection now, it looks more like an accumulation. Why does my collecting seem, like a Pokémon player’s obsession with catching them all?
The Hunting Rifle and Fallout 1 and 2: Colt Range Master, this semi-auto rifle is 9 lbs., chambered in .223 Remington with a 10-round magazine. this rifle is my go-to rifle for these two games. In the beginning of the first two Fallout games. This rifle is excellent for the player character and his or her companions in the early game. It’s good in the hands of the companions, because it doesn’t have a burst-fire option. The player’s companions end up hitting your character multiple times. The first games mechanics and NPC AI did leave something to be desired, but it’s still so good. It can be surmised the rifle is based quite loosely on the AR-180 and seems like it wouldn’t be that heavy being carried around the wasteland of West Coast, coming in at just over 6 lbs.. This will be the last time, I mention it, but the rifles did survive their pre, during, and post apocalypse. I will say the weapon’s icon has leather straps seemingly holding it together.
I have been curious about the brother rifle to the AR-15, with a piston system rather than the gas impingement system. There is some contention about, whether the AR-180 is better than the AR-15, I’m not sure. This is a debate best handled by on forums and message boards. How would it look in my safe? I’m not sure, but it is something that I have pondered on many occasions.
There are many other weapons and games, that I can name, which has played a role in my evolution from video enthusiast to firearm and video game enthusiast. It has played a part in my teaching, I’ve been known to use game references, as a shorthand to students. It’s an ice-breaker and can make them feel more at ease.