Based on the eponymous novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky, Metro 2033 is an FPS game set in the post-apocalyptic environs of a future Moscow devastated by nuclear war. The survivors have retreated into the underground Metro stations for shelter against the radiation on the surface, and for protection against the inhuman monstrosities which now stalk the dark tunnels below and the ravaged cityscapes above. The player is thrust into the role of a young man named Artyom tasked with delivering an urgent message that could save his home station, and must learn to defend himself against the many dangers along the way.
In accordance with the collapse of industry and the widespread loss of military hardware (thanks to the targeting of military installations during the nuclear exchange), many of the weapons found in the game are cobbled-together or improvised from scrap metal and spare parts, and military-grade weapons and ammunition have become exceedingly scarce, to the point where pre-blast 5.45x39mm ammunition has come into use as the universal currency within the tunnels of the Moscow Metro system. This ammunition can also be used for extra damage during combat, but doing so will quickly lead to the financial equivalent of rapidly pissing money out of a gun barrel. All the following weapons that are chambered for 5.45x39mm rounds can use both Military Grade rounds and "dirty" 5.45mm rounds, the latter of which the Metro citizens manufactured for themselves after the apocalypse. "Dirty" 5.45mm rounds use soiled cartridge casings, as well as less effective projectiles and powders compared to their Military Grade counterparts.
Note: Whether by deliberate choice or design oversight, several of the game's weapons lack iron sights entirely or possess incomplete ones which would allow for only for alignment in the horizontal axis, not the vertical. In other words, several of the iron sights seen in this game would let you align them correctly in the up-down direction, but would not allow you in real life to precisely align them in the left-right direction.
The following weapons appear in the video game Metro 2033:
.44 Caliber Revolver
A double-action six-shot revolver of unknown make and model, using .44 Magnum ammunition. It is the first weapon you acquire apart from Artyom's trench knife. Several customizations can be found or purchased throughout the game, including an extended barrel, a rifle stock (effectively turning the revolver into a pistol-caliber carbine), a sound suppressor, and a scope. No other handgun types are found within the game, but it can be surmised that revolvers, being 19th-century technology, came back into general use for being easier to manufacture and maintain, along with how ineffective the more common Russian pistol calibers (9x18mm, 7.62x25mm, etc.) proved to be against the mutants - except that the Russians have not used a .44 caliber round in decades and the Makarov PM seems reliable enough while being as common as dirt. In the original novel, for example, Hunter carries a Stechkin APS with a suppressor.
One feature common to all revolver models in this game is a small cutout in the backplate behind the cylinder, at the ten o' clock position. This serves as a visual no-ammo indicator, as when all 6 shots have been expended, the cartridge casing made visible by the cutout will have a small indentation in its center from the firing pin, indicated it has already been fired. This cutout is most visible when the revolver's red dot iron sights are used.
"Duplet" Double-Barreled Shotgun
This makeshift 12-gauge double-barreled shotgun is referred to in-game as the "Duplet." The left and right triggers (X360) fire each each barrel and likewise for Left Mouse and Right mouse buttons on the PC version. Reasonably powerful at close range, but hobbled with a long reload time. It features a spike for a bead sight (that nonetheless cannot be used) and a spring-loaded wooden shoulder stock that ostensibly reduces felt recoil. The Duplet is rarely used by NPCs past Chapter 2; afterwards the Uboyneg semiautomatic shotgun is frequently found instead.
"Uboyneg" Revolver Shotgun
The Uboyneg is a semi-automatic 12-gauge shotgun holding six shotgun shells in manually loaded revolving clamps, though if the underside clamp is empty, only five can be loaded unless the gun is fired and then reloaded, upon which six shells can be loaded. A variant with a bayonet can be purchased or discovered, but none have any usable iron sights. Many NPCs in the later levels of the game use Uboyneg shotguns, but only a few use the version with a bayonet. The Uboyneg could be considered out-of-place in a post-apocalyptic Moscow Metro given how simple, reliable, and easy-to-maintain modern pump-action shotguns with tube magazines are.
Heavy Automatic Shotgun
A cut-down DShK heavy machine gun modified to fire shotgun shells, which it does via a belt-fed mechanism that has a maximum belt length of 20 shells. Originally, it was available only to players who bought a limited edition copy of the game, or who pre-ordered the game from Gamestop. Currently it is available to any player who purchases the Ranger Pack DLC, or buys a copy of the PC version (which automatically includes it in a patch). No NPCs use it in the game.
It is the fastest-firing shotgun in the game, but is actually the weakest-per-shot for some reason and has the widest spread. It also lacks sights of any sort, restricting its use to point-blank range only. The belt appears to be made of disintegrating links, but instead of visibly shortening when low on rounds, the belt will just start loading empty links instead.
The shotgun ammunition in-game is listed as 12x70mm caliber, making the shells 12 gauge wide, and 2 and 3/4ths of a inch long. No other shell payloads (such as slugs) are available in-game. Occasionally single shotgun shells are used in booby traps triggered by tripwires in some levels.
The AK-74 appears in the game as the "Kalash," chambered for 5.45x39mm ammunition and possessing a 30-round magazine capacity. Despite its ubiquity in real life, the AK-74 is actually one of the rarer guns available in-game and fetches a high price at markets, which could be explained by how the remainder that survived the nuclear exchange were quickly snapped up by the warring factions in-game (i.e., high demand + no new units being manufactured = high price). The Kalash can be purchased with/without a scope or a laser sight. It also sports a woodland green color scheme and an orange bakelite magazine with a cutout in the center to allow the user to track the remaining rounds. Non-camouflaged AK-74s possessing wooden handguards and solid magazines are found scattered throughout the game in various states of disrepair, but are unusable.
Khan in the game possesses a unique (and unobtainable by the player) variant of the Kalash that has a bayonet in the shape of Artyom's trench knife.
Modeled after the Sten submachine gun, this is a fictional scratch-built compact assault rifle with a side-feeding clip, much like the Sten in real life was easy to manufacture without advanced tools and had a side-feeding magazine. The "Bastard," however, uses a clip as it lacks a spring and merely holds the bullets in place while the gun's mechanisms feed the ammunition and its entire container through the gun's barrel from left to right while firing. It possesses a 30-round clip capacity, is chambered for 5.45x39mm ammunition, and is available in suppressed or unsuppressed variants.
The player character receives an unsuppressed Bastard Carbine free of charge at his home station armory. Many NPCs use the unsuppressed version as well, but none use the suppressed version.
The Kalash 2012 is a fictional bullpup assault rifle chambered for 5.45x39mm ammunition that was produced in the year 2012 as the replacement for the Russian military's AK-74M service rifle, one year before the nuclear apocalypse in the game's backstory. Visually, the Kalash 2012 somewhat resembles the FN P90, both its general layout and its use of a top-mounted magazine (with a capacity of 40 rounds) that must turn rounds 90 degrees to feed into the chamber, but also incorporates design elements from the AK rifle series. It sports an olive drab paint job, a triple rail system, an AK-styled front sight (moved to the top of the gas tube instead of near the muzzle as is the case with most AK rifles), a AK-74-styled flash suppressor, FN P90-styled ergonomics for the trigger hand, and a full foregrip instead of the hole for the off hand's thumb used on the FN P90. For some reason, a charging handle or similar device is absent from the weapon, as is a location on the gun to eject spent casings. The standard version uses a laser sight and iron sights, and a variant is available that uses a scope and suppressor along with the laser sight.
The design of the gun and the fact that it fires the 5.45x39mm cartridge suggests it may have been designed as an attempt to create a compact rifle of similar design to the P90 that didn't sacrifice stopping power or accuracy and is easy to maneuver, allowing it to fill a variety of roles very easily. The name "Kalash 2012" also suggests it is a fictional version of the AK-12 rifle, a modernized Kalashnikov variant currently being offered to Russian armed forces. Despite it being an interesting design, there are a few glaring flaws in its design:
- There is no method to eject spend casings, cock the weapon or clear jams.
- The trigger guard and thumbhole handguard are too far back to be used comfortably with the stock.
- There is not enough room in the stock to house the bolt and buffer spring, nor is there space to house the AK-type gas system.
Its late production date makes it one of the rarest weapons in the game, probably resulting from the fact that there weren't many produced before the bombs fell and the surviving warring groups took all surviving rifles they could get a hold of. Accordingly, the only NPC to use it is Colonel Miller, the chief Ranger, who uses it after taking one from the caches at the D6 military command bunker.
Referred to as the "VSV," this weapon is visually based off of the VSK-94, but unlike its parent firearm it is chambered for 5.45x39mm ammunition instead, fed from a transparent magazine containing 20 rounds. It retains the parent firearm's fully automatic and semiautomatic firing modes, and can be purchased with or without a scope. A laser sight is fitted under the barrel as well. It can use Military Grade ammo, but its silenced nature relies on the low-quality underpowered "dirty" ammo - a full-power (MGR) 5.45 renders it fully audible to enemies.
DShK Heavy Machine Gun
The DShK can be seen mounted at various roadblocks or combat trolleys in game, or at several gun stores. One of the player-usable versions does not require ammunition but does possess an overheat gauge. The ones at roadblocks often sport large searchlights, but no player-usable ones have this accessory.
Given the difficulties of manufacturing and maintaining firearms and their ammunition, coupled with the collapse of the pre-apocalypse industries dedicated to such tasks, it is no surprise that this class of weaponry has experienced a resurgence in the game's setting, with more easily manufactured ammunition, more quiet shots, and no need to pay for or make gunpowder. There are two types.
A homemade pneumatic weapon, referred to as the "Tihar," firing 15mm ball bearings from a spring-loaded tube that serves as a magazine, with a 15 ball bearing capacity. The ammunition is propelled by a cylinder of compressed air, which attains its pressure by a handpump at the end of the handguard. A handy pressure gauge will show how much relative stopping power and distance the next shot will attain, with each shot draining a small amount of pressure from the cylinder, but this is only visible when the scope is not used (or mounted). It is possible to overpressure the cylinder for extra stopping power and range, but if not quickly used, the extra air will leak out and the gun will go back to normal power levels.
The Tihar Airgun is capable of using a scope, turning it into a makeshift sniper rifle. Thanks to its subsonic and large-bore ammunition, the Tihar is perfect for quietly sniping targets from afar, but these same features make its shots less useful against human enemies wearing body armour (due to the low velocity and low sectional density of its spherical steel ammunition). It is also capable of fully-automatic fire.
The Helsing is a pneumatic speargun. It appears to be built around a revolver frame where the barrel has been replaced by a revolving cylinder which holds eight metal bolts, each in its own barrel, in a pepperbox formation (like later pepperbox-type firearms, the Helsing will rotate the cylinder and its barrels with every trigger pull, making it similar to a double-action revolver). Located under that is a hand-operated pump mechanism used to compress air which is stored in a tank that is integrated into the stock. Its name is likely a reference to the Gas Operated Automatic Crossbow used in the film Van Helsing.
Like the Tihar Airgun, the higher the pressure attained, the greater the damage and the range achieved by the ammunition. The Helsing's bolts are recoverable and reusable, and are, oddly enough, also the most expensive type of ammo (one Military-Grade Round can purchase only one bolt, whereas you can get five "dirty" 5.45x39mm rounds for the same price, or two shotgun shells), which is strange since the bolts would require no high technology or gunpowder to make. The Helsing can come with or without a scope.
Artyom's Lighter is apparently constructed from a firearm cartridge of some sort, possibly a DShk 12.7x108mm round. The fuel canister is formed by the empty cartridge case with the flint wheel ignition system mounted on the "lip" of the case, while the cap seems to have been made from the spitzer tip of a DShk bullet (with the lead core removed, leaving only the hollowed-out metal jacket). It is similar to souvenir bullet lighters which can be purchased in shops in various countries. However, no one shown smoking in the game is ever depicted using a lighter, and the question of how Artyom ever obtained the lighter is never answered. Artyom for his part can only use it for lighting the fuses on Pipe Bombs or checking his map and compass in dark locations. It never seems to run out of fuel either.
A common feature of Metro station roadblocks and combat trolleys for use against the Mutants. It has unlimited ammunition, but does possess an overheat gauge.
Military Grade 5.45x39mm Ammunition
In a world where central governments have collapsed and conventional scrip or precious metals are no longer of any value, Military Grade 5.45x39mm rounds have thus become the universal currency throughout the Moscow Metro system. They are available in both curved stripper clips or longer straight clips, the latter of which contain more ammunition and are much rarer. No other calibers of Military Grade Ammunition are available in-game, which is odd since the Russians have large stocks of older 7.62x39mm ammunition that could be of more use against the mutants (the shorter effective range of 7.62x39mm ammunition is less of a problem given how many mutant types must close to melee to do any damage, and the larger diameter of such rounds could offer more raw stopping power against them).
The player can use Military Grade 5.45x39mm ammunition to purchase weapons, other types of ammunition, or other miscellaneous services, or use them in firearms of the appropriate caliber for extra damage in combat.
Pipe Bombs are the game's version of grenades. They have a fuse made of detcord that will take 5 seconds to burn down once ignited. When lit and thrown, enemies can hear them coming and will get out of the way. This works both ways as well. A bomb with protruding nails can be found, and is stored in a different slot in your inventory. These can be thrown against surfaces or enemies, and upon contact the nails will pierce and stay stuck to the surface or enemy until detonation. NPCs will often carry them in pouches on their person, but why they don't have caps on the end with the fuse to keep the fuses from getting wet is never explained. These are occasionally seen in tripwire booby traps as well, and every time Artyom disarms one he will put the Pipe Bomb into his inventory if he doesn't already have his maximum amount.
A scratch-built railgun, using the same magazines and ammunition as the Tihar. Instead of compressed air, however, it uses electricity from a hand-powered generator to propel a 15mm ball bearing to extreme speeds. Like the Tihar, the Volt Driver drains power with every shot and will need recharging from its hand-cranked generator to return to full power (though how a hand-powered generator can quickly generate enough electricity to propel a ball bearing to hypersonic speeds is never explained, nor how the rails avoid melting from friction.). Even without ammunition, the Volt Driver can deliver a nasty shock by touching an enemy with both its rails at once, essentially functioning as an oversized stun baton. However, the weapon lacks any kind of sighting system other than a laser sight.