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MA5C Individual Combat Weapon System
Production information



Bullpup Assault Rifle


1686.00 cR

Technical specifications

Handheld, Two-Handed

  • Length:
    • (o/a): 88 centimeters (34.6 inches)
    • (barrel): 60.7 centimeters (24 inches)
  • Weight:
    • (empty): 3.8 kilograms (8.378 pounds)
    • (loaded): 4.1 kilograms (9.05 pounds)
Damage Per Hit


Magazine Size

32 rounds

Maximum Ammunition

384 rounds or 12 magazines

Fire Mode

Fully Automatic

Ammunition Type

7.62x51mm Full Metal Jacket rounds


Short-Stroke Gas-Operated Rotating-Bolt

Rate of Fire

600 Rounds per minute, 10 rounds per second.

Muzzle Velocity

905 m/s (2970 ft/s)


Low to Medium


Close to semi-Medium (300 metres)[1]


Human-Covenant War


United Nations Space Command

"The MA5C is the workhorse for us ground-pounders. Just holding it makes you feel like God’s own anti-son-of-a-bitch-machine."
—Anonymous Marine

The MA5C Individual Combat Weapon System[2] (abbreviated MA5C ICWS), more commonly known as the MA5C Assault Rifle, is a standard United Nations Space Command firearm. It is the successor of the MA5B Assault Rifle. Click here for a complete list of Halo Weapons.


Design Details

MA5C Assault Rifle blueprint.

The MA5C Assault Rifle is an air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine fed weapon designed for automatic fire. The MA5C is the third rifle in the MA5 Series, the workhorse of the UNSC Marine Corps that has been in service for more then 50 years. The MA5C has an attached electronics suite that provides information on rounds remaining in magazine, compass heading, as well as several other "housekeeping" functions. The rifle performs well in a variety of environments especially given the perceived delicacy of the attached electronics suite. The MA5 Rifle can be outfitted with a number of modifications including sound suppressors, a grenade launcher or a standard issue flashlight. More “exotic” ammunition types, like Shredder Rounds, are available for use, however these modifications are available only by Mission Conditional Requisition (MCR). The MA5C Assault Rifle is easily one of the most versatile weapons in the UNSC’s arsenal. Due to this versatility, the MA5C is complimented by many of the UNSC’s other weapons as either the primary means to a kill or in a secondary role as the fallback weapon. The MA5C Rifle has received technical, as well as physical improvements over the MA5B Assault Rifle that include: a heavier barrel with a 1 in 7 twist; a redesigned cowling to house the electronics suite that reduces weight and increases portability of weapon; and a redesigned handguard which is sturdier and provides a more positive grip. The magazine has been reduced to the 32 rounds from the original 60, and the rifle’s range and accuracy; has been substantially improved over its predecessor, making it a more formidable Assault Rifle.

The MA5C is made of Titanium Alloy and Polymer - the rifle is gas-operated with a rotating-bolt and therefore must be cocked before the first shot can be fired. The charging handle used to chamber the round is situated on the left side of the rifle and moves during operation. Once the first round is fired, the gases from that round and those to follow impinge upon a gas piston, which pushes back the bolt carrier, rotating the bolt inside and continuing to chamber rounds until the magazine is empty. Once the magazine is empty, the charging handle must both be pulled back and locked or, must be fully cycled after a fresh magazine is inserted to load the next round. The magazine release button is located above the magazine housing and has an arrow pointing down toward the housing. The MA5C Assault Rifle is a bullpup rifle with the magazine placed at the butt of the rifle and the electronics suite is integrated along the top rail guard of the weapon - the MA5C is design for the toughest of situations, able to be subjected to elements that would otherwise jam and render a weapon inoperable. Although, not seen during gameplay, the MA5C has concealed iron sights, used by Marines and other personnel with the improper equipment to up-linking a targeting reticule to the users Heads Up Display or Neural Interface. [3]



The MA5C Assault Rifle and the MA5B Assault Rifle uses M118 7.62x51mm Armor Piercing, Full Metal Jacket Rounds. These rounds are designed to pierce body armor so the rounds are reasonably large, and are surrounded by a molded jacket of either steel or titanium, which enhances its armor-piercing capabilities. The round might also have a carbide or similar hardened tip, and might also be coated in copper or another metal over the steel, titanium, etc. shell. Actual energy from this round is 2472 ft·lb force. This is quite high for a rifle cartridge, and the round has been historically noted for its power and range. "7.62mm" is the diameter of the bullet itself, which equates to .3 tenths of an inch, or .30 caliber. The "51mm" comes from the length of the brass casing containing the powder and primer. Often being associated with a considerable amount of recoil, the MA5C appears to be able to absorb it so the weapon remains steady even during cyclic fire. Armor-piercing rounds have the obvious advantage of being able to deal with protected targets, but instead of causing larger wound channels by tumbling like lower-caliber ball or non-jacketed munitions, AP rounds have a tendency to over-penetrate the body, causing less overall trauma.


The MA5C in both offensive and suppressive situations remains the Marine Corps' most reliable weapon. When fired in short bursts the MA5C Rifle can be effective at hitting targets at longer ranges, the rifles armor penetrating ability makes it key for handling even the toughest of infantry. The MA5C Rifle is effective at killing armored infantry at short-to-medium range - its high rate of fire allows its user to spray an area with suppression fire in defensive situations. At close range, the MA5C is arguably deadlier than the M7/Caseless Submachine Gun, as the firepower is approximately equal. The MA5C also provides the user with an ammo count on its digital readout, as well a compass pointing toward the arbitrary magnetic "north" position. In the hands of someone who can control their trigger finger, the MA5C becomes a deadly weapon in close-quarter situations.


The MA5C's main disadvantage is that it is grossly inaccurate when fired in full-automatic. Even though substantially better than the MA5B, it is too inaccurate for use at longer ranges, which makes the user an easy target for long range weapons - at long range a high ratio of misses to hits is likely, especially if the target is moving. The magazine can run out very quickly in fully automatic fire and has relatively low power per round compared to many other weapons, an engagement with numerous and/or particularly resilient enemies will likely require the user to reload a few times before they die. It should be used as a secondary weapon for shorter ranges, paired with a longer range weapon like a Battle Rifle.


The MA5C is based on a few different weapons. One inspiration for the MA5C Assault Rifle was the MA–75B Assault Rifle (with integral 40mm Grenade Launcher) from the Marathon series. Another inspiration was the M-590 7.62mm assault rifle of the USMC from 1995-1996 TV series Space: Above and Beyond. The MA5 series of Assault Rifles have a very similar outline as the real world FN 2000 assault rifle. The weapons designer Robert McLees, claims he wasn't inspired by the FN 2000 and similarities are purely coincidental.

Changes from the MA5B in Halo: Combat Evolved

  • Longer barrel for greater accuracy.
  • Redesigned electronics suite cowling to reduce weight and increase point ability.
  • Decreased magazine capacity down from 60 rounds to 32.
  • Different firing sound.
  • Increased maximum magazines.
  • Increased range and increased damage per round.
  • Decreased rate of fire and a faster reload time.


The MA5C Assault Rifle is one of the weapons which players will love and loathe in equal measures. The rifle's rate of fire makes it a devastatingly powerful weapon in close range combats, and it's melee attack usually ensures victory in close quarter battles. In a skilled player's hand, the Assault Rifle can easily be a formidable weapon.


  • Another tactic for medium range AR combat is to "rapid-pulse" the trigger; in other words, rapidly press your finger down on the trigger, as if firing a semi-automatic weapon, like the Carbine. This will result in rapid, accurate, controlled bursts. This is very useful in the early levels of the game.
  • Using controlled bursts, you can increase the accuracy and take down shielded Brutes power armor and finish them off with a melee.
  • In Halo 3: ODST the MA5C is a useful weapon to use on Legendary, if used in controlled bursts it can be used to dispatch Jackals with ease.


  • Due to its high rate of fire, it is very capable of whittling down shielding in about less than two seconds. If the opponent does not have an Energy Sword, Shotgun, Mauler, or other short-ranged weapons, then a good strategy is to get into close range and charge them, while firing all the way.
  • If the other player has Sword, Shotgun or Mauler, then do not get up close to them. Although long range weapons are the Achilles heel of the Assault Rifle, the weapons aforementioned would easily overpower the Assault Rifle at close range. Instead use short controlled bursts while backing up to take them down if you run out of ammo try quickly switching to your secondary weapon to finish them off
  • Another tactic is to use the rifle for suppression fire. This means that you can spray the area of a target in order to get the enemy to keep their heads down. This is especially helpful if you are being fired upon by a sniper because even if one round hits the sniper, they are knocked out of the scope and become disoriented. This gives you a chance to find cover or move in for the kill.
  • The Fragmentation Grenade used in combination with the Assault Rifle is also extremely effective. For example, if you are being pursued, jump around a corner and quickly throw the Fragmentation Grenade to bring down the target's shield. Once your gun is back in hand, open fire. This should most likely bring your target down, provided you don't get caught in your own grenade's blast radius, else you'd be in the same situation as your adversary, although it usually depends on your enemy's weapon and skill.
  • Do not aim for the head; since automatic weapons have no headshot multiplier, and the MA5C is not an exception. You will just more likely waste ammo and have more shots go astray rather than kill you opponent faster, since the head is obviously a smaller target.

UNSC Remarks

  • “I have slogged through snow and mud and sand with my MA5C; even got dumped into an open sewer with it and it has never given me a bit of complaint. I trust it like I trust my own arms.”
  • “The MA5C is built like a brick outhouse with Venetian blinds. You can pound on a mike foxtrot with it like it was a sledgehammer.”
  • “For every time I’ve felt out-gunned by those alien bastards shooting blobs of energy at me I have felt like Death himself watching their bodies come apart under a hail of lead from my MA5C.”
  • “The Romeo Echo Mike Foxtrot’s decision to mechanically reduce the MA5C’s magazine capacity by nearly half is pretty frustrating; even if their data was showing that jamming because of loss of spring strength was becoming an issue.”
  • “The only thing I can think of that would make the MA5C any sweeter would be an under-slung shotty or a forty mike mike.”


  • All pre-release public pictures of the MA5C in first person showed Battle Rifle animations as placeholders before the final animations were in place in the final game.
  • On the butt of the MA5C, a small Marathon Symbol can be found. It is also found on the left side of the weapon just below the charging handle.
  • When tested, each individual round of the MA5C actually does slightly more damage than the BR55HB SR. However, this is offset by the MA5C's lower accuracy at mid-long range, and the fact that it has no headshot bonus.
  • In most Matchmaking games in Halo 3, you begin with this weapon as a default primary weapon. From "Title Update 2", you now start with a secondary Magnum.
  • In the Halo 3 Beta, the charging handle of the MA5C had an animation. This is, however, not present in Halo 3.
  • When Bungie was designing the Assault Rifle, they stated they wanted "the ultimate spawning weapon"; being very balanced, but not overly powerful.
  • In Fable 2, the MA5C can be obtained in the Knothole Island Expansion pack. It is called "Hal's Rifle".
  • The MA5C appears quite commonly throughout the campaign of Halo 3: ODST, but is not featured in Firefight mode.



  3. Halo: Contact Harvest, page 136-138, and also mentioned later in the book

Related Links

Internal Links

External Links

This article uses material from the "MA5C Individual Combat Weapon System" article on the Halo wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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