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SMAW - Black Ops 2 Weapon Guide

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Published on Jan 13, 2013

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This time, we're covering the SMAW.

First appearing in Modern Warfare 3, the SMAW returns in Black Ops 2, in a role nearly identical to the M72 LAW from the first Black Ops.

The SMAW, or 'Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon' is an American launcher based on an earlier Israeli design - the B-300 anti-tank launcher.

The B-300 was introduced in the late 1970s by Israeli Military Industries: the US SMAW is essentially the same weapon with a few modifications and standardised kit, and was introduced in 1984.

It fires an 83mm rocket, of which there exist a number of variants: the most common include the High Explosive Dual Purpose, or HEDP rounds, ideal for use against bunkers, and High Explosive Anti-Armor, for use against tanks or other heavily-armoured vehicles.

The SMAW also comes equipped with a spotting rifle, ballistically matched to the launcher for better first-shot precision. The spotting round used is a rather unusual cartridge: a 9mm tracer bullet, contained within a 7.62mm casing - with a .22 Hornet blank serving as a propellant.

In any case, the SMAW has proven to be a reliable and accurate means of tackling entrenched positions and enemy armour since its introduction nearly 30 years ago - and it is only in recent years that the US Army has sought a more modern replacement.

In-game, the SMAW is an explosive weapon, and so effective damage dealt is subject to a large number of variables.

Employed against the enemy, the rocket has a blast radius of a few metres, and you'll kill an unprotected enemy outright within a portion of this radius.

When facing an enemy with Flak Jacket equipped, only a direct impact will suffice - otherwise they'll walk away - injured, but alive.

When tackling air support, the SMAW will down anything it comes into contact with with just a single rocket - but any counter-measures the vehicle has will divert your shot, resulting in a miss.

UAVs and Counter UAVs are easily despatched: as are care package helicopters.

Most other scorestreaks will require multiple rockets: stealth choppers and escort drones require two, and the higher killstreaks will need up to three.

Rate of fire is very slow, equating to around 20 rounds per minute - or one shot every 3 seconds - when firing multiple rockets as quickly as possible.

Of course, this is only feasible as long as your supply holds out - given that you only spawn with one rocket, it's unlikely you'll reach this rate of fire outside of a Sharpshooter match.

You can fire rockets freely, or hold your sights for a moment on a scorestreak target to lock-on: this process is essential to reliably hit aerial targets.

Handling is slow all-round: while at least recoil isn't a factor, you'll need to endure the 300 millisecond aim time before you can fire.

In addition, your movement will be slowed to a crawl whilst you have the launcher equipped - at just 80% of the base speed.

Being a single shot weapon, there's no magazine to speak of - after every round fired you'll need to reload.

The reload process is pretty slow, clocking in at 2.5 seconds. Of course, this requires that you use scavenger - and that you have picked up a resupply bag - in order to have a spare rocket.

While I wouldn't recommend centring an entire build around the SMAW, it can form a part of an explosive-centric loadout.

Such a build can be devastating against enemies who tend to run in packs, but beware - your entire strategy can be rendered impotent by the simple application of Flak Jacket.

Effective use of the explosive weapons relies on a certain degree of anticipation of your enemy's movements, and use of map features to enhance your chances of a kill.

Most maps have natural chokepoints that can be exploited to secure multikills - and in objective games, depending on circumstances, there will be emergent chokepoints as your enemy funnels through towards their goal.

It is here that you should strike - taking advantage of predictable enemy movement will yield better reward.

The SMAW is the most versatile launcher on offer - none of the other choices will allow you to tackle both aerial scorestreaks and your enemy directly.

This makes it an ideal secondary for those wanting to cover a larger variety of possibility: with a SMAW and scavenger paired, you can deny the enemy's radar advantage all game long - and clear clusters of enemies near objectives, too.

However, if you seek to specialise, the SMAW's limited supply can be an issue: the FHJ is by far the superior choice for tackling enemy air support, and the RPG is better suited to sustained anti-personnel use.

Otherwise, the SMAW suffers from all the usual downsides of being a launcher: slow handling speeds, and unreliable performance when used against the enemy, courtesy of Flak Jacket's presence.

Still, adaptability is a trait worth more than most realise: and that is the SMAW's key virtue.

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