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Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

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Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Metal Gear Solid 3 Cover.jpg
Release Date: November 17 2004
Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Konami
Series: Metal Gear
Platforms: PC
PlayStation 2
Xbox 360
PlayStation 3
Nintendo 3DS
PlayStation Vita
Genre: Stealth

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a 2004 stealth-action / third-person shooter video game directed by Hideo Kojima, developed by Kojima Productions and published by Konami. A prequel to Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, this game takes place in the year 1964, and focuses on the Cold War exploits of Big Boss, a significant character in the Metal Gear series' backstory who had thus far not been a playable character. In a nod to the game's era and spy-thriller nature, several nods to the 1960s James Bond films can be seen in the game.

The game's story opens with Big Boss (referred to by his codename "Naked Snake" at this point in the series' timeline) performing a HALO jump into a fictional Soviet wilderness area named "Tselinoyarsk" (Cyrillic: Целиноярск or "The Virgin Cliffs" in English) to extract a defecting Soviet scientist by the name of Dr. Nikolai Sokolov who is working on a new superweapon platform in a nearby Soviet base, in an operation called the Virtuous Mission. However, a series of extreme events causes the Virtuous Mission to fail, and Big Boss is sent to Tselinoyarsk a second time to perform "Operation Snake Eater". His objectives this time are to destroy the new Soviet superweapon, known only as the "Shagohod", rescue Sokolov, and kill a traitor to both him and the United States.

An updated re-release of Metal Gear Solid 3 with the subtitle of Subsistence was the first of the non-portable Metal Gear titles to feature online multiplayer in a separate mode named Metal Gear Online. It was only online for a year after the release of Subsistence in each region, and each multiplayer weapon's description is accurate at the moment that Metal Gear Online was shut down.

A remake, Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater (stylized as Metal Gear Solid Δ: Snake Eater) for ninth generation consoles was announced in 2023.

The following weapons appear in the video game Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater:

Unless otherwise noted, each weapon is only available in the singleplayer portion of the game:



In a break from its predecessors, Metal Gear Solid 3 (MGS3) was the first in the Metal Gear series to use more than a single lifebar for the player character. A new stamina meter, previously only seen on boss characters in Metal Gear Solid 2 (MGS2), was incorporated into the game for the player character, and would slowly deplete over time or more quickly through certain attacks or environmental conditions. A low stamina meter would cause a great deal of "aiming sway" when aiming in First Person View, unless replenished by having the player character eat food or by performing a few other actions. Bosses defeated by stamina-depleting weapons or attacks (i.e., basically any weapon on this page that is listed as non-lethal, plus blunt-force melee attacks) would also drop certain special items, unlike MGS2. The game also introduced a "backpack" system in which a limited amount of items and weapons had to be pre-equipped so as to be available to the player (the previous Metal Gear Solid titles had the entirety of the player's inventory accessible at all times barring certain plot-related events). The backpack itself was represented by a small-of-back dump pouch attached to Big Boss' equipment belt, which had no problem containing every weapon on this page along with its associated ammunition. MGS3 was also the first MGS title to simulate recoil-caused muzzle climb and muzzle jump for its in-game firearms, and also the first to allow use of the iron sights on long guns (long guns in MGS2 only used laser sights and were completely accurate even when using full-auto fire). Whether a particular in-game gun had usable iron sights is detailed in its own entry.

Another new gameplay element is the inclusion of a fictional (and at times rather silly) hand-to-hand fighting style named CQC (or Close Quarters Combat) which includes actions like grappling an opponent or using one as a human shield while still using a gun, whereas in the previous Metal Gear Solid (MGS) titles, player characters were limited to preset hand-to-hand combos or hitting enemies with firearms, and to taking human shields while having no weapon equipped. CQC in this game was at its most effective when handguns or knives were equipped; player characters cannot grapple when long guns are equipped and will instead use them as improvised clubs. These knife-and-gun techniques were made up by the production team, and have no real equivalent in military close combat systems.

Keeping with the "on-site procurement" gameplay mechanic of the previous MGS titles, it is not possible to obtain or use weapons dropped from enemies in-game (they will simply disappear, with absolutely no in-game explanation given this time as to why the player character can't simply commandeer them)--thus, the only obtainable weapons in this game are those that are in storage or otherwise lying around the game's levels. Grenades held by NPCs are the only exception to this rule in singleplayer, and only when they are looted from an NPC's dead or unconscious body, or if the player makes Big Boss hold up an enemy for his items (somewhat unrealistically, ammunition for weapons that NPCs are never seen using in-game can be taken from them this way). Weapons could, however, be freely looted from other player characters in the game's multiplayer mode.

Finally, stealth in MGS3, taking place as it does largely in outdoor environments, is focused around the use of camouflaged clothing and face paint to match Big Boss' surroundings, unlike the previous MGS games which were centered more around staying outside of the vision range of enemies, making a minimum of noise, and sneaking behind cover rather than any sort of camouflage (a gameplay mechanic inherited from the earlier 2D titles in the Metal Gear series). Despite the fact that almost all weapons in this game don't come with camouflage of their own, they will not compromise Big Boss' camouflage unless fired or used (with the exception of the in-game sniper rifles).


Note: With the exception of the Single Action Army, all in-game handguns available to the player can be used while simultaneously taking a character hostage--the handgun in question can then be used to fire at hesitant enemies until it runs out of ammunition (a feature this game introduced to the MGS series), whereupon the player character will have to release the hostage to reload the handgun or switch to another weapon. The only exception to this rule is if the player holds a scientist hostage in front of enemy soldiers, as the soldiers will fire on Snake regardless of the danger posed to the scientist. One of the interrogation responses against the soldiers implies that the reason why this instance fails is because the soldiers do not get along with the scientists and thus have no qualms with killing them when held hostage by an enemy.

Mk 22 Mod 0 "Hush Puppy"

The Mk 22 Mod 0 "Hush Puppy" (a Navy-modified Smith & Wesson Model 39) handgun appears in the game upgraded as the "MK22 Hush Puppy" tranquilizer gun, a non-lethal option compared to the M1911A1. It can be fitted with a suppressor. The Hush Puppy in the game fires fictional 9mm tranquilizer rounds which, as usual in fiction, are always a perfect dose of anesthetic. As with the real-life gun, it has a slide locking mechanism to eliminate the sound of the weapon cycling after each fired round, which cannot be disengaged. It has a magazine capacity of 8 rounds, and is also available in multiplayer. Snake initially lost the Mk 22 when confronting The Boss on the Dolinovodno bridge late into the Virtuous Mission, but receives another one from EVA when meeting with her during Operation Snake Eater. Her dialogue when giving the Mk 22 to Snake implies it is the same one Snake lost on the previous mission.

Mk 22 Mod 0 "Hush Puppy" with suppressor attached - 9x19mm
Mk 22 Mod 0 in the Survival Viewer's model viewer.
Big Boss holding his Mk 22
Closeup on the Mk 22.
Nice shot of the Mk 22.


The M1911A1 is Big Boss' signature weapon in the game, it is chambered in .45 ACP and has a magazine capacity of 7 rounds. Big Boss initially uses a standard M1911A1 before it is dismantled by The Boss. After this, Snake receives a heavily-customized 1911 from Eva, who states it was probably captured from a US armory by the Russians, and probably belonged to an officer. The custom version has several professionally-done modifications including a polished feed ramp, polished slide flats, perfectly meshed slide, beveled magazine well, raised mag release, a skeleton hammer (referred to as a "ring hammer"), removed grip safety, three-dot combat sights with a raised front sight, stepping on the grip, front cocking serrations, and an extended thumb safety. Big Boss comments that this is the best gun he has ever used shortly before carving the wood grip panel to accommodate his knife. It can also be fitted with a suppressor via a threaded barrel. As with most of the other magazine-fed guns in the game, the extra round in the chamber is added after Big Boss does a "Tactical Reload" (via quickly unequipping and re-equipping the gun). This weapon is available in multiplayer, and is the only lethal pistol in that mode.

Colt M1911A1 - .45 ACP
The M1911A1 being dismantled by The Boss after she meets Big Boss on her horse. Note how the disassembly procedure - locking back the slide and removing the slide stop release - is that of a Browning Hi-Power, not a supposedly GI 1911 with a two piece guide rod, which requires the barrel bushing be removed and the slide lined up to remove the slide stop (this is possible with a full length guide rod). When she throws away the slide, you can see the barrel still in place.
The unmodified 1911A1 in the Survival Viewer.
While normally only usuable very briefly at night, early demos allow Snake to use the non-custom 1911A1 in Daylight at the Virtous Mission.
Reloading the Normal 1911A1.
Aiming the Normal 1911A1 with a supressor, it uses a different supressor model than the custom M1911A1.
Reloading the Normal 1911A1 with a supressor.
Canis Customs Colt Snake Match 1911.
Big Boss holds his custom 1911.
Western Arms Colt Snake Match 1911 with suppressor.
Big Boss' custom 1911 at the ready.

Makarov PM

The Makarov PM is the sidearm of every enemy in the game, although it is never available to the player. The Makarov fires 9x18mm Makarov rounds from an eight-round magazine. Many officer-type NPCs patrolling indoor areas in the game have Makarovs as their main armament.

The Makarov PM is most notably used by Major Ocelot during an ambush on the Virtuous Mission, when he spins it and effortlessly disposes of several KGB soldiers, one of which, in foreshadowing of his change in weaponry, was via ricochet shot. After trying what, according to Big Boss, is a Middle Eastern technique where you reflexively rack the slide to make sure there is a round in the chamber, despite it already being loaded, Ocelot causes a failure to feed jam. With the gun failing to go into battery, Big Boss ambushes him with CQC and subdues him easily. Big Boss tells him after that his techniques with the gun would be better suited for a revolver, which causes him to switch to the Colt Single Action Army.

According to Big Boss, Ocelot tends to twist his arm to absorb the recoil of the pistol, whereas a more stoic grip and stance would result in greater accuracy. SIGINT, however, theorizes (during a call to him after the encounter) that the jam was caused by a combination of the manual ejection, and the twisting action failing to provide enough resistance to cycle the slide correctly.

Eva also possessed a Makarov during the ending, which she intended to use to kill Big Boss, but she never used it due to promising The Boss not to kill him. In addition, Major Raikov always carried a Makarov on his person while doing rounds of the East Wing of Groznyj Grad as does Colonel Volgin. Although the player never actually uses the Makarov during gameplay, Big Boss himself used one once to hold Volgin up after disarming him, and also attempted to use it on The Boss, but the latter disarmed him before he could get the chance to do so.

Makarov PM - 9x18mm PM
As he is being confronted by KGB agents, Ocelot pulls out a Makarov PM.
Ocelot aims the Makarov PM.
The Makarov in the air.
The Makarov jams, giving Big Boss a chance to attack.
After seeing through (or rather feeling through) Big Boss's disguise as Major Raikov, Volgin aims his Makarov at him, before deciding to shoot Sokolov in his knees for no reason other than that he can. This gives Big Boss the opening he needs to disarm Volgin.
When The Boss faces the imposter, she is quickly able to disarm Big Boss of "his" Makarov (Actually Volgin's, as Big Boss disarmed him earlier) with CQC.

Colt Single Action Army

The in-game Colt Single Action Army is a 6-shot single-action only revolver chambered for .45 Colt, and is reloaded manually, one round at a time (though it can still be reloaded instantly by unequipping and re-equipping it). To fire, the hammer must be cocked first (which is done if the player uses the gun's iron sights), or the gun can be rapidly fanned from the hip. The in-game version's advantage over the semi-automatic custom 1911 is that the SAA's bullets will commonly ricochet off walls and hit targets even if you miss (the ricocheting bullets tend to bounce at angles that will hit enemies even if this would be physically unlikely). Some dramatic license is taken with this; in real life, at more severe angles and distances (especially after multiple ricochets), the bullets would hit with stinging, but nonlethal force.

Major Ocelot carries three of these revolvers as his signature weapons. After switching from his Makarov PM, Ocelot carried a heavily-engraved nickel-plated SAA with black grips, but switched to three blued models after being told that the engraving offers no advantage as well as forgetting that his new weapon only carries six shots. Ocelot professionally spins two of them and also uses a cavalry stock he fits on the the heel of the grip to fire it like a carbine rifle. As a sign of his ability (or likely, his brashness), he keeps all six chambers on both guns loaded, risking an unintended discharge should he drop one of his guns or have the hammer fall due to one of his numerous trickshooting stunts, including juggling all three of his revolvers at several points in the game for the purpose of playing a version of Russian Roulette. Real SAA users would usually carry with the chamber under the hammer empty and make do with five rounds, since the SAA's hammer did not have a catch and could strike a primer if it fell on the hammer or if the hammer was hit.

Ocelot's gun-twirling moves were later revealed to be the work of a Japanese actor named Tornado Yoshida, who was either motion-captured or used as an animation reference. A spoiler-heavy Youtube video of a side-by-side comparison of the two can be found here.

To show his enthusiasm for his new handguns (and to fit in with the love Ocelot had for them in the original Metal Gear Solid), Ocelot is heard to quip about the "joy of reloading" whenever he does so, especially in multiplayer.

While Ocelot is the main user of the SAA, The Boss for her part confiscates one of his three SAAs after he uses them to "test" Tatyana during Big Boss' torture sequence. She then uses it to shoot Big Boss in the left thigh with a "special payload;" how her "special payload" could correctly chamber and fire in a gun she took on the spur-of-the-moment is not at all clear. Big Boss can then use the SAA from that point forward in the game, but can also access an SAA before this point in the story in a new game, if the final dual with Ocelot is done correctly. In this final duel, Ocelot loads one of his .45 Long Colt SAAs with the round he wears on a necklace, which he claims is the same 9mm Makarov round that jammed his gun the first time he met Big Boss: this appears to be inserted into some type of caliber adaptor around the base of the casing to make doing so possible. The potential issue with the front of the casing rupturing due to lack of support is rendered rather moot by the fact that, like the time when he said "no more tricks," this is a trick.

This weapon was available in multiplayer, but only to the Major Ocelot special character. Unlike every other pistol available to player characters, the SAA cannot be used in conjunction with a knife for CQC techniques--it can only be used to pistol-whip other characters with the barrel in melee, in addition, it is the only non-sniper/RPG weapon that forces Snake to stand still while shooting, while the player isn't forced into first person, with the exception of the 3DS port, the Colt SAA forces Snake to stand-still while firing.

Colt Single Action Army with 5.5" barrel known as the "Artillery" model. The most common of the SAA revolvers as it is just the right length. - .45 Long Colt
Two heavily engraved nickel SAA revolvers, similar to the one Ocelot had before switching to 3 regular SAA revolvers.
Ocelot aims his engraved SAA at Big Boss.
A close up of the engraved SAA's detail.
Ocelot aims his plain Colt SAA at Sokolov.
Ocelot in the middle of juggling three SAA revolvers.
Ocelot: Let me face him. I've been waiting for this moment... time to get even!
Right before Big Boss' fight with Volgin, Ocelot wields two SAAs.
Ocelot aims his Colt SAA with a stock attached. He later loses this particular SAA during the motorcycle chase sequence.
Another view.

Shansi Type 17

The Shansi Type 17, a Chinese copy of the Mauser C96, is EVA's signature weapon, but it is never made available to the player. It is chambered in .45 ACP and has a 10-round capacity in its integral fixed magazine, which must be reloaded using stripper clips. She most notably uses it to shoot and kill several GRU soldiers near the beginning of Operation Snake Eater with a technique known as a "Bandit Shooting." EVA loses this weapon when Ocelot knocks it from her hands while in a motorcycle chase.

In an optional call, SIGINT explains the "Bandit Shooting" method during a radio call as a way of holding the gun sideways and using the recoil to create a horizontal sweep with the gun to clear a room, and questions where EVA learned it from.

Shansi Type 17 - .45 ACP
EVA reloads her Type 17 with a 10-round stripper clip. The pistol was usually issued with 5-round clips for simpler mid-magazine reloads. EVA is also shown firing only 8 shots in the preceding firefight.
EVA confirms Snake's assumption that her pistol isn't a Mauser original. These markings would be stamped on a real Type 17; firearm replicas often use printed markings in place of stampings, and one was likely used as a reference.
EVA holding her Type 17 Pistol during the motorcycle chase.
EVA's Type 17 after it is knocked out of her hands.

EZ Gun (modified FP-45 Liberator)

The EZ gun was created by SIGINT and is based on an FP-45 Liberator. SIGINT's version is a tranquilizer gun with a built-in laser sight. According to a radio conversation with The Boss it does not have a suppressor, instead using "silent" ammunition, presumably of a similar type to that used by the Russian PSS Silent Pistol. True to its name, Snake will never get hungry while using this weapon, nor will his camouflage index (a part of the game's GUI that determines how visible he is to enemies) ever drop below 80% when this gun is equipped. While the real Liberator is a single-shot weapon, the EZ Gun is treated as if it is bolt-action with an infinitely deep magazine. It is normally only available on the "Very Easy" difficulty, though it can be unlocked for other difficulties by collecting at least one of every edible item in-game.

The EZ Gun is also used in the "Snake Versus Monkey" mode in the two PS2 releases, where Solid Snake must capture a series of Ape Escape monkeys because of reasons. This mode is not present in the multiplatform Metal Gear Solid HD Collection release due to Ape Escape being the property of Sony.

Non-firing model of EZ gun featured in MGS series by kagerou works
The FP-45 Liberator Pistol - .45 ACP

Submachine Guns/Machine Pistols

M1928A1 Thompson

The Pain, a member of The Boss' infamous "Cobra" Special Forces Unit and the second boss of the game, uses a M1928A1 Thompson with a drum magazine in his fight with Snake. The Pain's version is made from either bees or hornets [!] and seemingly also fires them; he forms it by shouting "Tommy Gun!" and raising his arm, the hornets forming around it, then somehow managing to make themselves into a wood and metal sub-machine gun that actually functions. It is identified as an M1928A1 rather than a conventional 1928 by its straight foregrip, as opposed to the forward pistol grip on the regular 1928. The M1928A1 is never made available to the player.

M1928A1 Thompson with 50-round drum magazine, smooth barrel, and early 'simplified' rear sight that would be adopted for the M1 Thompson - .45 ACP
The Pain forms his "Tommy Gun." One frame later, it's a Thompson. You have to feel sorry for the hornet that has to be the firing pin.
The Pain with his fully formed "Tommy Gun", probably best not to question how his Bees/Hornets become wood and metal.

Sa. Vz.61 Skorpion

The Sa. Vz.61 Skorpion machine pistol is the standard-issue weapon for enemies in motorcycle sidecars or for those piloting flying platforms, and can be obtained by the player as well from a storeroom in Groznyj Grad. While modeled with a 20-round magazine, it actually holds 30 rounds of .32 ACP ammunition in-game. It is fitted with a highly anachronistic laser sight the size of a modern one; the laser had only just been invented in 1960. A laser diode which projected a continuous beam at room temperature would not exist until 1970. Additionally, the first firearm laser sights, created in the late 70s, were bulky helium-neon gas lasers (the LaserLok sight for the American-180 SMG being about the size of an entire Skorpion) which required a 10,000 volt power supply to switch on. Its iron sights cannot be used, unlike the AK-47 or XM16E1. It has both semi-automatic and fully-automatic firing modes; unlike almost every other firearm capable of fully-automatic fire, it possesses no muzzle climb, even when fired in full-auto. This weapon is available in multiplayer.

The real-life weapon uses a closed bolt blow-back system that locks the bolt for a millisecond in the rear position before slamming back home to reduce the immense rate of fire to a controllable 850 RPM, but the in-game version has an unrealistically slow rate of fire.

Sa. Vz.61 Skorpion - .32 ACP
The Skorpion SA Vz 61 in game, modelled with a 20-round magazine that somehow holds 30 rounds. The folding buttstock cannot be unfolded ingame.
A GRU biker aims his Skorpion SA Vz 61
After the battle with the Shagohod, GRU soldiers on flying platforms arrive on scene. Note the lack of a magazine. Also note the anachronistic laser sights used by the soldiers on completely historically-accurate personal flying vehicles.


Ithaca 37

The sole shotgun in the game is an Ithaca 37 (referred to as the M37) with a sawed-off stock and barrel, available to the player in the Peschera Cave in-game. It is also used by several members of the Ocelot Unit. Unlike many media depictions of shotguns with tube magazines, characters reloading the Ithaca 37 in this game will use a tube-like device (known in speed-shooting competitions as a shotgun tube speedloader) to insert all four shells into the tube magazine at once. Furthermore, this shotgun is not depicted with iron sights; accordingly, characters using it always fire it from the hip.

Ithaca 37 is actually a rarity in the USSR/Russia; similar to other rare Western weapons and equipment that were used by the enemy, it is implied that the M37's presence in Tselinoyarsk is due to Soviet agents stealing them from various Western-aligned countries, and that their usage was inspired by the British during the Malaysian Emergency.

The Ithaca 37 has a tube magazine capacity of four 12 gauge shells plus one in the chamber, and suffers from drastically decreased damage at range. This weapon is available in multiplayer, but due to its high close-range damage plus its tendency to knock other player characters down with a hit (an ability it also has when used against most NPCs in the singleplayer game), it was disallowed on many multiplayer servers.

Ithaca 37 with sawed-off stock and barrel - 12 gauge
M37 in the Survival Viewer's model viewer.
A member of the Ocelot unit holds his Ithaca 37.
Another member of the Ocelot unit holds an Ithaca 37.
An Ocelot unit member holds an Ithaca 37, while pursuing Big Boss after his escape from Colonel Volgin's torture chamber.

Assault Rifles


The standard-issue assault rifle for most of the enemies (both GRU and KGB) is the AK-47. The AK-47 can also be obtained by the player in Operation Snake Eater, and it is capable of semi-automatic and fully automatic fire. The AK uses 30 round magazines firing 7.62x39mm rounds. The AK-47 is also one of only three long guns which players can use the iron sights for. It was available in multiplayer. As appropriate for its cartridge, the AK-47 has more muzzle climb than the M16A1 when fired with or without using the iron sights.

A strange note about this weapon, is that on one side of the receiver it has the stamped style indent, and on the other side the milled style indent, further confusing this is that while it is called the AK-47 (Or RK-47 in the 3DS Port to match Peace Walker) in the final game, Ac!d/early versions of the game called this the "AKM". Furthermore, despite being standard-issue among enemies who nearly always wear camouflaged uniforms, the AK-47 was never depicted with camouflage of its own,

AK-47 Milled Receiver - 7.62x39mm
AKM Stamped Receiver - 7.62x39mm
A KGB agent with the AK-47.
Another view.
Close up.
A GRU soldier at Groznyj Grad with his AK-47.
A squad of GRU soldiers fire their AK-47s in full-auto at an escaping Big Boss and Eva during the game's motorcycle chase sequence at Groznyj Grad. Despite the fact that they are speeding away in a straight line from this squad, none of their bullets find their marks.


The AMD-65 is a Hungarian-made assault rifle based off of the AK-47 used by the Ocelot Unit. Like the Makarov it is unavailable to the player. According to SIGINT, the Ocelot Unit's AMD-65s were prototypes that were shipped to the Soviet Union for testing.

AMD-65 - 7.62x39mm
An Ocelot unit soldier with the AMD-65, being held hostage by Big Boss before promptly being slammed to the ground with a CQC move.
An Ocelot Unit soldier with the AMD-65.
Another Ocelot Unit soldier with an AMD-65, on the left.


The Boss' signature weapon is the "Patriot," seemingly a cut-down M16A1 fitted with an anachronistic Beta C-Mag carrying infinite ammunition (claimed to be from its "feed mechanism" being in the shape of an infinity symbol), with no buttstock or front sight, and has the addition of a short, smooth handguard and a muzzle brake. It is partially inspired by the real-life M231 Firing Port Weapon, which was designed to clear enemies from short ranges, around 10 to 20 meters, around the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, with the weapon's instruction manual strongly advising against using the M231 as an assault rifle. It is not completely based on an M231, due to the presence of a forward-assist and a rear sight which actual M231s do not have.

The Patriot shows some very strange ballistics in a cutscene where The Boss obliterates Big Boss' infiltration vehicle with sustained fire; the fired bullets tumble end-over-end, a term called "keyholing", as they exit the barrel, and at least one actually exits the barrel facing backwards(!), the severe keyholing seems to imply that the weapon's barrel lacks rifling. The Patriot is made available to the player right from the beginning of a second playthrough from a previously-cleared game save.

The game also classifies the Patriot as an "assault pistol" (possibly a mistaken fusion of the terms "assault rifle" and "machine pistol") when in fact, its caliber makes it an ultracompact carbine despite its resemblance to various real-life "AR pistols" (AR-15s cut down and/or possessing modified actions to fire from barrel lengths of 10 inches or less, and often lacking buttstocks). Another possible reason that the Patriot was classified as a type of pistol is the fact that The Boss always fires it one-handed like an oversized handgun, but Big Boss for his part puts his offhand on the weapon's handguard instead. Big Boss can also use the Patriot's rear sight for more accurate shots, though in reality this would be less-than-reliable since the Patriot has no front sight to properly align the weapon. Despite SIGINT describing the Patriot's recoil as "unbelievable," it is depicted as having no muzzle climb even when fired in full-auto by either The Boss or Big Boss.

The Patriot has a few additional properties unique to it in this game. When used by The Boss in her own boss fight, she becomes immune to anything Big Boss can throw at her if she is firing the Patriot directly at him, necessitating that the player either catch The Boss off-guard with ranged weapons by using stealth, or otherwise counter her CQC attacks to render her briefly vulnerable. Befitting its status as a bonus weapon, it can also be implausibly used to take down in-game helicopters (a feature not carried over to the next MGS game). To increase the emotional impact of a certain scene near the end of the game, the player is the one who must prompt Big Boss to fire the Patriot's final in-game shot.

Similar-looking Rocky Mountain Arms "M16-Style Pistol" - 5.56x45mm. This has a A2 upper and pistol grip, whereas the weapon in the game has the older A1 upper (simpler rear sight and forward assist but no brass deflector) and an original-style pistol grip.
The Boss firing her "Patriot."
Another angle of the same scene. Note the tumbling bullets.
Right before the final battle The Boss holds her unloaded "Patriot".
The Boss loads her "Patriot".


The M16A1 appears as the "XM16E1". It is chambered in 5.56x45mm, has a 20-round magazine, and semi-burst-auto fire modes, which The Boss and Sigint both suggest was done in the field by a gunsmith after the rifle reached Vietnam. It can be distinguished from a real XM16E1 by the full fencing on the lower receiver and birdcage flash hider. It also has a heavier profile barrel like the Model 611 M16A1, but this is likely just a coincidence rather than a deliberate choice. It can be obtained in both the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater, meaning at least two such rifles found their way to Russia. It can also be fitted with a suppressor. It is not used by any NPCs in the singleplayer game. The in-game version was modified by a gunsmith to sport camouflage tape and paint making it more suitable for jungle combat, and thus is the only weapon with its own camouflage (although it has no effect on the player's camouflage index). Like the AK-47, players can use the iron sights of this assault rifle, but unlike the AK, there's a slight zoom effect when doing so. This weapon was available in multiplayer. In early demos, the XM16E1 was just called "M16" and in the E3 Trailer, it was shown with a normal black appearance with no camouflage added to it (which would seemingly be reused for Portable Ops).

M16A1 with 20 round magazine - 5.56x45mm. What distinguishes it from the original M16 was the addition of a raised rib around the magazine release button, changing of the forward Receiver pins, and the addition of the forward assist button on the upper receiver.
XM16E1 rifle with 20 round magazine for comparison - 5.56x45mm
The "XM16E1" ingame. Note full-fence lower and A1 birdcage flash hider. Also note the suppressor collar in front of the front sight post, another nice attention to detail.

Fabrique Nationale F2000 with GL-1

The FN F2000 appears exclusively in the Subsistence re-release's "Secret Theater", it appears in the "MGS4 TGS 2005 Teaser Trailer" where as an joke, Snake is armed with both this and goggles that strongly make him resemble Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell, down to having Snake even crouch-walk like Fisher, it makes no apperance outside of this video.

FN F2000 with GL-1 - 5.56x45mm
The FN F2000 on Snake's back as he fights Raiden for the role of main character.
The only real close-up of the FN F2000, as Snake celebrates his victory over Raiden with a Cigar.

Sniper Rifles / Designated Marksman Rifles

Note: Sniper Rifles in the game's singleplayer mode have a degree of "scope glint" that can give away the user's location (when used by NPCs) or alert NPCs to the player character's general location under certain circumstances.

Mosin Nagant M91/30

The Mosin Nagant is The End's signature weapon, The End being the game's fourth boss and the third member of the Cobra unit that the player faces. It is a single-shot, manually-chambered rifle that has been modified to fire tranquilizer darts, and can be obtained by the player if The End is beaten with a stamina kill. It features the standard Soviet PU 3.5x scope as well as a custom-fitted folding skeleton stock and pistol grip. This weapon was available in multiplayer. For some reason, the rifle makes a loud report when used by The End during his boss fight, but it makes next to no firing noise when used by player characters, even though there is no way to fit a suppressor to the in-game weapon.

If contacted while Big Boss is holding the rifle, SIGINT will speculate that the skeleton stock and pistol grip were fitted for parachute jumps, but in the end simply says the master sniper must have known what he was doing when he had them fitted. SIGINT also advises Big Boss to go for "One shot, one kill" due to the bolt-action nature of the rifle, in spite of the fact that its tranquilizer ammunition makes it incapable of directly killing NPCs. Contrary to SIGINT's advice, the Mosin Nagant's lengthy reload animation can be bypassed by quickly unequipping and re-equipping it, like every other firearm in this game.

Mosin Nagant M91/30 - 7.62x54mm R w/ scope
The End takes aim with his Mosin Nagant.
Another view.
A third view. Note that The End's age spots had disappeared due to photosynthesis earlier.
The End taking aim while kneeling.

SVD Dragunov

Another sniper rifle in the game is the SVD Dragunov, which had only just begun serial production in the game's timeframe, a possible sly nod to the rare PSG-1 used in MGS1. It has two zoom options, and be seen being used by a member of the Ocelot Unit during an ambush shortly after Big Boss meets Eva, or at Sokrovenno if the player kills The End before his boss fight in Operation Snake Eater. It fires the same round as the Mosin-Nagant, the 7.62x54R cartridge from a 10 round magazine, but fires semi-automatically, and for some reason is shown to have no recoil-caused muzzle jump if Big Boss' stamina is high when firing, nor even barrel sway when aiming in this condition; this is unlike MGS2, where sniper rifles often swayed a great deal unless a certain item was used. This weapon is available in multiplayer.

SVD Dragunov - 7.62x54mmR
SVD in the game.
Big Boss, assisted by Eva, aims his SVD Dragunov at some C3 charges mounted on a bridge.

Tokarev SVT-40

Tokarev SVT-40 rifles briefly appear in several cinematic scenes as the main firearm of various Soviet foot soldiers during a military parade, based on actual footage of the May Day parades on Red Square.

Tokarev SVT-40 - 7.62x54mmR
SVT-40s seen in the footage.

Machine Guns

Stoner 63

The light machine gun configuration of the modular Stoner 63 weapon system is also used in the game. It holds 101 rounds of 5.56x45mm ammunition in the belt and Big Boss yells Rambo-style while firing it. It is available in multiplayer, but only as a pick-up weapon (i.e., it is not a weapon the player character can spawn in with). The weapon's iron sights cannot be used. The Stoner 63 can be found around the midpoint of the singleplayer game after facing the third boss enemy, or in a weapons shack at Groznyj Grad. The latter will remain available if the weapon was not previously picked up, even after Big Boss is stripped of all his ammunition and almost all his weaponry after his torture session, making it a valuable (if noisy) asset during that portion of the game.

Some Ocelot Unit members carry the Stoner 63 and will use it against Snake.

Stoner 63A, Commando configuration (designated Mk 23 Mod 0 by the US Navy SEALs) - 5.56x45mm
Stoner 63 in the game.
An Ocelot unit member with the Stoner 63 while Big Boss takes him down.


Fictional Soviet Grenade

A fictional grenade design with a slender cylindrical body and an RGD-5 style UZRGM fuze assembly is used for three types of in-game grenade: Chaff, Stun and Smoke.

Chaff grenades are a fictional miniature broad-spectrum electronic warfare device which combine the effects of a radar jammer and EMP-like effects on certain technology. Chaff consists of small aluminum strips that are specifically designed to confuse radar frequencies, and normally used by aircraft to fool radar-guided missiles. The individual strips are cut in such a way that they wreak havoc with a radar's transmitted frequencies. The Chaff Grenade's main effects are to prevent in-game enemies from being able to call for help via radio, and to fool the guidance systems of guided missiles fired at Big Boss. The game implies that this grenade variant was developed in the Soviet Union. This weapon is available in multiplayer.

The stun grenade is a "flashbang" type that uses magnesium-based powder to produce a massive flash and sound burst: in real life this causes extreme disorientation and temporary blindness, while the game increases this to outright knocking enemies unconscious. They are anachronistic: the first flashbang grenades were developed by Royal Ordnance Enfield in Britain for use by the SAS' counter-terrorist unit, and the first known use of the result, the G60 stun grenade, was in 1977 when the SAS assisted the German GSG-9 special forces unit in retaking a hijacked airliner at Mogadishu airport. In-game, they are stated to have been developed by the Soviets. They are available in multiplayer.

Smoke grenades are implied to have been developed by the Soviets in Tselinoyarsk (this is not really something that needed explaining since smoke grenades were common in World War 2) and according to SIGINT use a combustion agent combining zinc oxide, ammonium chloride (which is wrong, ammonium chloride is a product of the reaction, the base material is usually hexachloroethane), aluminum and "some other stuff," and releases a grayish-white smoke. It also has a tear-gas like effect on enemy soldiers and attack dogs: this is accurate, since the smoke from such grenades includes toxic zinc chloride, a skin and eye irritant and severe respiratory irritant. They are available in multiplayer.

RGD-5 Hand Grenade

The most common hand grenades in the game are Russian RGD-5 hand grenades. They are used by GRU soldiers, and can also be obtained by Big Boss in various areas in the game. The Pain also carries them, but instead of throwing them he orders his bees to carry and drop them at Snake's location (shooting them while they are held aloft by his bees will cause them to prematurely detonate). They are available in multiplayer.

RGD-5 High-Explosive Fragmentation hand grenade
The RGD-5 in game.

M15 White Phosphorus Grenade

The body of the game's "WP grenade" appears to be based on the American M15 White Phosphorous grenade, the WW2-era precursor to the more familiar M34 White Phosphorous grenade, fitted with the same Soviet UZRGM fuze as the other grenade types.

The in-game depiction is extremely unrealistic with the M15 basically filled with magic set-people-on-fire powder: it hardly produces any smoke (the real device was designed primarily for use as a smoke grenade), and unlike real WP smoke, the smoke the in-game grenade produces does not block thermal vision in any meaningful way.

Replica M15 white phosphorous grenade



The RPG-7 also makes an appearance in the game, which takes place three years after it was introduced. It is obtainable by the player and used several times by enemies. It has PGO-7 scope attached to it for accurate aiming, and is the most powerful weapon in the game, able to instantly kill large groups of enemies in one hit. The primary use of the RPG-7, however, is fighting Volgin's massive "Shagohod" vehicle, which is only vulnerable to fire from heavy weapons. This weapon is available in multiplayer, but only as a pick-up weapon and not a weapon the player character can spawn in with. Snake also uses the RPG-7 in a cutscene during the escape from Groznyj Grad.

RPG-7 - 40mm
The RPG-7 in game.
Big Boss aims the RPG-7 in the finale.
The warhead in flight.
Big Boss strikes a pose with an empty RPG-7.

Vehicle/Platform-mounted Weaponry

130mm M-65 rifled gun L/60

The 130mm M-65 rifled gun L/60 is mounted onto at least 6 Obyekt 279s (spelled "Objekt 279s") seen in-game. However, they were never used, as an enraged Volgin proceeded to total them while driving the Shagohod around Groznyj Grad. The tanks' history was explained in a radio call to SIGINT, where it implies that Volgin managed to secretly restart development of the tanks with the use of the Philosophers' Legacy.

Afanasev A-12.7

The Afanasev A-12.7 is mounted on all the Mi-24A helicopters in the game. Technically anachronistic, although various Codec calls implied that the choppers, alongside the gun itself, had been created far earlier than expected due to Volgin's use of the Philosophers' Legacy.

Afanasev A-12.7 mounted on a Mi-4A helicopter - 12.7x108mm
The Mi-24A with the A-12.7.


Able to commandeered by the player, DShKM heavy machine guns are found throughout the game. Two remote-controlled DShKMs are mounted on Volgin's "Shagohod" hovertank-thing, and Volgin uses them if he's not using the central volley gun in the "mouth" of the Shagohod. In the cutscene where Snake and EVA make it to the runway on Groznyj Grad, Volgin decides he hasn't been evil enough yet and uses the Shagohod's weaponry to fire at his own troops.

DShKM - 12.7x108mm
A mounted DShK.
The DShk mounted on the Shagohod.


The ZU-23-2 is a 23mm Soviet anti-aircraft gun. They can be commandeered by Big Boss and are capable of shooting down helicopters and flying platforms. They are found in the mountains of Tselinoyarsk and in the final battle with the Shagohod.

ZU-23-2 Anti-Aircraft gun - 23x152mm
The ZU-23-2 behind Eva.

M1931 Field Gun

A battery of Soviet M1931 field guns is seen in a cutscene describing The Boss's "involvement" in "The Bay of Pigs."

Soviet M1931 (A19) field gun displayed in Hämeenlinna Artillery Museum, Finland - 122mm
Stock film shows a battery of Soviet M1931 field guns firing, most likely during either World War 2 or in Cuba.



The predecessor to the C4 used in other games. Composition 3 is a real military explosive composed of 77% RDX and 23% plasticizer: like C4, it can be molded into any shape, and is stable enough to not be detonated by gunfire. Big Boss uses it to destroy the Shagohod's hangar, and it is likewise used by Eva to rig the rail bridge out of Groznyj Grad to deter pursuit. In the latter case, it is also implied that the C3 contains some type of shock-sensitive tamper-resistant fuze, such that it will explode if fired on or even touched in any way.

A block of C3.
Eva makes a heart made of C3.
The C3 being planted on the liquid rocket fuel tanks of the Shagohod's hangar.
The final block of C3 molded into the shape of a butterfly, just before Big Boss slams it onto the timer of the bomb. While he doesn't have a personal timepiece to keep track of the remaining time on the bombs (unlike Raiden of Metal Gear Solid 2), he does have some supernatural help telling him just how much time he has left before detonation. The butterfly-C3 also appears in Super Smash Bros Brawl.
The pack of C3 on the bridge.

Big Joe 5 and Little Joe Crossbows

The Fear uses a pair of crossbows, at least one of which has bolts laced with the venom of the Brazilian Wandering Spider, often said to be the most fearsome spider venom in the world. The "William Tell" is a "Big Joe 5" crossbow (some sources indicate this may have been a real nickname of the Big Joe 5) while the "Little Joe" uses its real name. Both were developed by the OSS during World War II, the "Big Joe 5" being intended for use at up to 200m while the "Little Joe" was a smaller device intended for eliminating sentries silently, for usage by the British military. The Big Joe 5 was only produced in very limited quantities, while the Little Joe never underwent production at all; surviving crossbows are rare, and the darts even rarer. Neither crossbow is ever available to the player. Ocelot later uses the Little Joe to threaten Tatyana, in a scene Big Boss can watch by spying on them in Groznyj Grad from a mountaintop.

Big Joe 5 crossbow.
Little Joe crossbow.
The Fear with his "William Tell" Big Joe 5 crossbow.
The Little Joe on the ground.
Ocelot spins the Little Joe.
The bolt of the Little Joe.

The Fury's Flamethrower

During The Fury's boss battle, he uses a custom flamethrower which appears to be a highly reworked version of the German Flammenwerfer 41. According to SIGINT, The Fury's flamethrower uses UDMH (unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine) and NTO (nitrogen tetroxide), a rocket fuel mixture, rather than the usual incendiary liquids used in flamethrowers. Since UDMH / NTO burns at about 3,000 degrees, firing the weapon once in a confined space should probably have killed both The Fury and Big Boss, The Fury twice over since it would fire him violently backwards because he is holding a rocket. Luckily, The Fury does not seem to realise that both chemicals are ridiculously toxic if inhaled and if he just sprayed one fuel tank into the air of the enclosed room they are in, Big Boss would at least be incapacitated, if not killed outright.

Flammenwerfer 41 flamethrower
"Everyone calls me Ben for some reason, can't they see my name is Ned?"
The flamethrower tanks on The Fury's back. The yellow flames are certainly not implying the kind of heat his weapon would generate; the jet should look like he is pumping out burning magnesium.

Lipstick Gun

The "Kiss of Death" is based on a KGB-issue 4.5mm single-shot pistol disguised as lipstick, one example of which was captured in West Berlin at an American checkpoint during the Cold War. In Tatyana's first appearance during the Virtuous Mission, Volgin forcibly confiscates the kiss of death from her when he notices her reaching for it, thus resulting in them suspecting she was KGB, although Volgin gives it back to her anyway, thinking she'll prove useful. Tatyana is implied to be using one when she attempts to threaten Sokolov into giving up the Shagohod's test data, but it turns out to be ordinary lipstick. She later tries to use the real one from earlier against Volgin, only to have him twist her arm (and the gun's barrel) away before she can trigger it.

There were originally going to be more espionage devices in Snake Eater besides the Kiss of Death, the chloroform-laced handkerchief, and the Cigarette Narcosis Gun (a disguised chemical dispenser that sprays knockout gas a short distance), but these plans were dropped after the Beltway Sniper shootings forced Kojima and his team to abandon going to the International Spy Museum to research more on spy devices used during the Cold War.

"Kiss of Death" KGB lipstick gun at the International Spy Museum - 4.5mm
Colonel Volgin inspects the Kiss of Death after taking it from Tatyana shortly after the Virtuous Mission fails.

MON-50 anti-personnel mine

These camouflaged landmines are occasionally encountered in the jungle. They are triggered by Big Boss' proximity to their frontal arc rather than through a trip wire or command detonation through a wire as in the real life version. They can be found using a mine detector (which uses a sound beacon) or seen easily through Big Boss' thermal goggles (the latter being a gameplay mechanic inherited from previous games). The game implies that the proximity detonation was a modification made by the GRU soldiers stationed in Tselinoyarsk after they stole several copies from American stores. Several claymores are also placed in Bolshaya Past South to further deter intruders. As with their incarnation in MGS2, placing MON-50 mines while holding down the "fire" button will outline (in red laser light) the mine's trigger zone. This weapon is available in multiplayer.

Although referred to as Claymores and explicitly mentioned to be American-made, the weapon bears a stronger resemblance to the MON-50 anti-personnel mine. Humorously, Sigint, when called about the weapon, alludes to the MON-50's development (it entered service the year after the game takes place) by mentioning that the Russians will soon develop "Claymoraski mines" since the Claymore's design is extremely easy to replicate.

MON-50 anti-personnel mine
MON-50 in-game.

M2 Flamethrower

The M2 Flamethrower appears in the game and is used by several specially-suited GRU flame troopers on the Krasnogorje mountain in Tselinoyarsk. While unavailable to the player in the singleplayer portion of the game, it is available to as a pick-up weapon in the multiplayer mode, and has infinite ammunition there. Somewhat unrealistically, shooting the fuel tanks on the backs of the GRU flame troopers in singleplayer with a lethal weapon will immediately cause them to be engulfed in a ball of fire, although SIGINT implies in a radio conversation that they had their fuel tanks self destruct upon defeat in order to avoid capture. In addition, the same radio conversation also reveals that they had procured the flamethrowers from American forces for study purposes, and that the GRU flame troopers were most likely planning to use the flamethrowers specifically against Big Boss, implying that they were doing so under Volgin's orders because he wanted revenge against Big Boss for killing off three of the Cobra Unit members by that point (or if the player kills more soldiers, doing it on their own volition to avenge their comrades).

M2 Flamethrower

M28 Davy Crockett Weapon System

The M28 version of the Davy Crockett Weapon System, a tactical nuclear recoilless gun, is a key plot device. Neither the launcher nor its ammunition are ever made available to the player.

At the end of the Virtuous Mission, The Boss is seen with a launcher and one fictional (though not physically impossible; see below) high-yield warhead, and promptly gives them to Colonel Volgin as a "gift" for her "new hosts." Volgin then uses it to destroy Nikolai Sokolov's OKB-754 research facility, by firing it in the most ill-advised manner possible. The resultant nuclear detonation triggers the events of Operation Snake Eater. The Boss later duplicates Volgin's feat by firing the second warhead (again, by hand, and even though she only had one warhead during the handover) to obliterate Groznyj Grad and Graniny Gorki.

In reality, the launcher, the warhead and their cases would weigh somewhere in the region of 300 lbs (136.1 kg), but both The Boss and Volgin are depicted in the game as being able to carry this entire load unassisted. The director's commentary for the game indicated that this was deliberate in order to showcase The Boss's physical strength. The real-life Davy Crockett's warheads were also fairly anemic for nuclear weapons, providing the explosive power of just 10-20 tons of TNT (in fact the warhead's primary damage mechanism would be radiological, from the ionising radiation and fallout), as higher-yield warheads would catch anyone firing the weapon in the blast radius given the weapon's limited range of 2 km for the M28 version and 4 km for the M29 version. The game handwaves the unrealistically massive destruction caused, by having SIGINT claim that the warheads used were experimental models with a higher yield than regular Davy Crockett warheads; this is not actually impossible, since the W54 warhead used by the Davy Crockett was also used by the Mk 54 Special Atomic Demolition Munition, which had a yield of up to one kiloton. The game also implies that the blast radius was at least three miles (or that the wind carried fallout that far), as Volgin's usage of the Davy Crockett in the Virtuous Mission was mentioned to have caused nuclear fallout at Rassvet potent enough that none of Volgin's forces could go there unprotected, when the briefing made clear that Tselinoyarsk was three miles west of the Sokolov Design Bureau. This is more than a little unlikely, since if the weapon had a vastly higher yield than normal while being the same size, there would be less highly radioactive unreacted material to scatter as fallout.

Of more immediate concern is that launcher is shown launching warheads as if they are self-propelled, which Davy Crockett warheads are not: instead, a propelling charge about the size of a LAW rocket launcher has to be inserted into the barrel, followed by a "launching piston" which transfers the force of the explosive to the projectile. Without this charge, the nuke would not leave the barrel of the launcher. Though the warhead is only armed by firing, it requires the setting of a timer safety dial on the base of the round to actually function; no character is ever shown setting this, and unless the timer was set to at least one second the warhead would never arm. In addition, firing the launcher in reality required the use of a triggering device linked to a cable that unwound from the back of the loaded launcher, with the device having no actual trigger of its own.

The real-life Davy Crockett was also inaccurate in testing and required the use of a spotting rifle to put its warheads on target, along with a tripod mount to offer a stable firing platform and the ability to precisely adjust the weapon's trajectory. Neither of these components are used by Volgin or The Boss. Though Volgin's case might be forgiven as an unlikely case of "point shooting" with the launcher tube and the fact that his target was visible to him, The Boss manages to place the warhead in the precise area necessary (via a ballistic, non-line-of-sight trajectory, no less!) to destroy both Graniny Gorki and Groznyj Grad, with no sign of having dialled in the correct trajectory beforehand (as that would require spotting shots and the tripod mount).

M-388 Davy Crockett nuclear projectile (W54 warhead) on M28 launcher - 120mm with 20mm spotting rifle. The version in the game has the 20mm spotting rifle (which had to use depleted uranium rounds to match the warhead's trajectory) misplaced and used as a carry handle.
The two pieces of the Davy Crockett.
The warhead. Oddly, despite it being repeatedly stated later on that The Boss stole two warheads and the second one being used, there is only one when the launcher is handed over.
The launcher tube, minus the tripod mount needed to provide a stable firing platform.
The backblast from firing. It's a miracle that it didn't kill everyone on the chopper.
In Subsistance's Secret Theater short "The Ultimate Weapon", The Boss loses a game of rock-paper-scissors to Snake and clearly takes it waaaay too hard.


Big Boss can find and attach TNT bundles on various surfaces (even on the backs of wandering enemies) for explosive detonation via radio trigger. They can also be used to demolish ammunition and food storage areas, causing guards to become hungry, slower to react, easier to knock out via CQC attacks, and to run out of ammunition faster. They can also be used to save some trouble later on by blowing up a Mil Mi-24 Hind A that was being parked at the Bolshaya Past base for maintenance.

The TNT in game.

Trivia: Plausibility and Practicality of the Shagohod

In real life, the Shagohod's Phase 2 as a concept would not be feasible at all, as firing a missile from a Shagohod-like launcher would have an utterly negligible impact on the overall velocity of the missile: starting from 300 miles per hour instead of 0 means very little when the weapon has to accelerate to around 14,000 miles per hour, and would certainly not save enough fuel to almost double the weapon's range. In addition, the guidance of ballistic missiles is inertial, based on a known starting location, and launching it at speed and at a non-vertical angle could not be done with the missile's existing guidance system. Finally and most obviously, Shagohod is said to fire the SS-20 "Sabre" IRBM, a weapon that would not be deployed until 1976. SS-20 appears to have been used because the equivalent period missiles, SS-4 Sandal and SS-5 Skean, used gantry launchers rather than a launch tube and were liquid-fueled, and thus would probably look rather silly on the Shagohod.

There are also several other problems to take into account for the Shagohod itself. Firstly, fundamentally the Shagohod would be detectable by satellites. The script ignores that all weapon systems have a logistical footprint, and the more high-tech, the bigger it is. A Shagohod would need specialised vehicles to fuel, maintain, tow and transport it, storage facilities for dangerous hypergolic rocket fuels, stockpiles of spare parts, workshops, support crew housing, communications to pass it targeting information, and so on. In addition, the vehicle needs a three-mile runway pointing roughly towards its target, and since it pulls itself with augers it would probably need either a special surface or to re-surface the runway every time a vehicle made a launch run.

In addition military vehicles cannot run 24/7; usually a significant percent of vehicles will not be available for operation at any given time because they are undergoing routine maintenance or being repaired. With something as complex and cutting-edge as the Shagohod having 25% of vehicles operational would be pretty impressive, which would mean multiple vehicles would be needed. Assuming this availability level, an operational Shagohod battery would probably consist of four or more likely five vehicles to ensure there was one ready-to-go when a launch order came. Needless to say, this would require an entire purpose-built complex that any idiot could find. These extreme requirements would also preclude Volgin's plan to export the vehicle as a means of nuclear proliferation, since few client states would have the ability to maintain such a facility.

Crew training would also be an issue; with a normal ballistic missile a launch drill can be run without ever opening the silo doors, but a drill run with a Shagohod would look exactly like a real launch to anyone observing. A satellite would be able to spot the rocket exhaust from the vehicle itself, and there would be no way of knowing if it was going to launch a warhead on this run or not unless the entire launch tube had been removed.

Additionally, the US and Soviet Union in real life had systems exactly like what the Shagohod is meant to represent already, respectively the Polaris and SS-N-5 SLBMs, which had been around since 1960 and 1963. Ballistic missile submarines do not need runways, can hide in about 70% of the Earth's surface and are much harder to detect. They fit into a role of nuclear deterrence called assured second strike, the principle that even if the enemy manages a first strike, they will not be able to prevent a large-scale nuclear retaliation. Shagohod would only be dangerous if nobody knew what they were looking for, and would really only be good for one launch, ever, before it was relegated to the second strike role.

The script also appears to be unaware that satellites and spyplanes were not the only system for detecting ICBM launches: the US had the RCA 474L Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS), a network of 12 radar sites built from 1960-1964 and designed to provide a 15-25 minute warning of approaching missiles, more than enough time to order a counter-launch before impact. Moreover, the Soviets knew this, since data on the system had been leaked in 1961, so Volgin would probably have ended up cancelling the first-strike focused Shagohod himself.

One possibly-intentional point of realism, though, is that the Shagohod's development (as a mobile land launch system) in 1964 is in line with period Soviet missile doctrine: the R-9 missile (one of two ICBMs identified as SS-8 Sasin) was originally intended to be a mobile system to thwart a first strike against Soviet silo complexes by NATO (though using wheeled launcher trucks instead of a hovercraft-thing): this was changed to a dual project developing silo-launched and mobile versions, but the mobile version never achieved the desired mobility and that part of the project was ultimately scrapped.

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