The Smart Gunner - Sio's Commentary

  1. Summary

Herein are Sio’s thoughts on the role of the Smart Gunner. I shall not go into the intricate details of the lore surrounding the M56 Smartgun; read a proper Wiki for that. However, I shall share my thoughts and advice involved with the M56 Smartgun.

  1. Superior Situational Awareness, Weapon Optimization, Ammunition Management, and Rate of Fire

The M56 Smartgun provides you a number of advantages that are superior to virtually any other marine on the battle field:

  • You have night vision.
  • Slightly enhanced visual range.
  • You have a built in toggling motion tracker.
  • You can swap between standard munition and AP version of your ammo without having to change drums.
  • This weapon has an “autofire” feature! Don’t use it. Target manually for ammunition / power conservation purposes. Just don’t use it.
  • You are highly mobile; you can deploy your weapon system without tools or having to set up a tripod / bipod.

  1. Tactics / Strengths
  • You are a walking Sensor Beacon. You are capable of preventing / anticipating ambushes. You can provide information to your fellow marines - namely with your night vision, extended sight range, and motion tracker. You should be talking to your squad and giving them tactical call outs.

  • “Focused Fire” Xeno slayer. While other marines are juggling shotguns to solo a xeno or trying to hunt down runners, your weapon system allows you to help deliver the killing blow to many xenos. During pushes or thrusts into frontline, it is ideal for you to be right behind the robustos who are chasing / tagging xenos. You should be dumping as many rounds as you can - the appropriate type of ammo based on your target - on the biggest / meanest looking xeno in front of you - and you should be focusing the xeno which everyone else is focusing on; your combine fire power will help being down that xeno much, much faster than if you get distracted or target ‘other xenos’ that no one is paying attention to.

  • Ammunition / Power Management. All your cool abilities / benefits come at a price: you require a battery and ammunition to keep fighting. The more abilities / systems you activate, the faster your batteries will drain. Thusly; I would highly suggest that you practice firing “controlled bursts”; don’t be afraid to have long bursts so long as it’s worth it and you are doing something with those rounds. You should be picking and choosing your targets and rationing where you are spraying your bullets. In defensive / siege situations, try not waste drums needlessly.

  • Pouches / Web Gear. Someone who read this guide / commentary pointed out that taking two general pouches for ammo over taking medical pouches / supplies is a bad idea. I agree! You should always bring medical supplies - and I assumed that other marines played like I do: I use WEB GEAR! Get yourself black or brown web gear and then stash your the contents of your medical pouch (injectors?) into your web gear. No you can toss that old medical pouch and set yourself up with two pouches of your choice!

  • The M56 smart gun excels in the offensive. if you are not pushing / killing xenos or covering marines, your are ultimately wasting power and ammunition. This does not mean you should charge like an idiot into the fray - ignoring coms / your SL / etc. It means you should learn to read the battle space and when is acceptable to burn up your rounds.

  1. Weakness / Vulnerabilities
  • Lacking Backup Weapons. Sure, you can carry a pistol and a pistol belt with your load out. Alternatively, you should also take to general pouches and stuff 2 more drums into your pockets; the M56 is much more powerful and useful than any one pistol; I would like to think the choice is common sense. However, this means you generally will not have a backup weapon should you lose your Smartgun, rig, or optical mount. Situations such as a corpsman stripping you for a defib – but a xeno push causes the marines to fall back; thus losing your equipment. Without your gun, harness, and optical mount, you are just another marine; it’s time to find another weapon or replace your M56.

  • Complicated “Reload” Sequence. As your drum runs out, there will be a raspy ‘clicking’ sound to indicate as such. This a ‘hint’ that you are low. When you do run out of rounds, reloading if a bit more complicated than just popping another maazine in. You will have to “alt-L. Click” the gun to open the loading tray, click again to remove the spent drum, place a new drum in, and then alt-L. Click to close the loading tray again. This could happen at the worst of moments - so you need to keep an eye on your ammo and perhaps consider loading a fresh drum if you are very low – around 45-30 rounds. I personally just empty the drum so that “empty” and “full” drums are not missed on the battle field.

  • Big. Fat. Target. On. Your. Back. Because you are realistically and without question a valid threat to the xenomorphs, do not be surprised if the xenos make a b-line straight for you to off you / drag you off. You are, after all, an extremely potent combatant on the battle field and your removal from the fight is a rather significant blow to the marines efforts. The xenos will do quite a bit to get at you - sacrificing themselves, ambushing, feints, etc, and they will pull off these maneuvers to try to explicitly pick you off. Thusly, you need to play with the mindset that the xenos will target your specifically, will ignore other marines to get at you, and that you are considered a high-value target. Which is unfortunate, because it is usually your job to push with marines into tight, closed in spaces during a ‘push’.

  1. Wrapping Up / Final Comments.
  • You are an exceptionally versatile, dangerous ‘simple-to-use’ role which has an uncomplicated loadout; yet requires a lot of common sense and ‘intuition’ to avoid getting yourself killed and to utilize your weapon system properly.

  • Because of the nature of your loadout and job on the battle field, it is easier for medical issues to ‘catch up’ with you if you are hurt too badly; make sure you take care of yourself and take some sort of self-treatment loadout.

  • The xenos will focus you and will set up traps / ambushes / lures / baits for the explicit purpose of killing you; be on guard.


I think taking general pouches is a waste as you become overly reliant on corpsman for every injury that you incur. Taking the EZ injector pouch, or two and filling an empty auto injector pouch, are better options for the stalwart smartgunner.

“Well just stay back!” cries the person who has never found themself in the unfortunate occasions known as “competent xenomorphs” or “you made a stupid decision” . You WILL be injured, whether it be from an unexpected lurker, a barreling charger crusher, or a queen screech downing you, letting that rav get a few hits. You DO need your own meds so when you get up, you can keep fighting

Also, you mentioned them being a big target, a bounty all xenos want to claim. So then how do you counter this? Bring a machete pouch. Being able to reverse-burst in a quicker manner can mean the difference between a second chance at life or a capture for those fiends.

Otherwise, good analysis.


Thank you for making this guide. It is a credit to our small community. Guides like this really help people out and make people think of new ways to play the role.


Ah, my mistake.

I assume that many players empty their medical pouch into their web gear to free up pouch slots–

If you do that, you can then safely use both pouch spots for general storage! I’ll amend that.

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This is not… quite true? Autofire is generally a pretty terrible thing to have toggled on for the following reasons:

  • It consumes a fuckton of power, taking 3x accuracy improvement and 10x the motion detector
  • Every 2 seconds, it fires a singular bullet at one xeno in MD range, which needless to say, is completely useless.
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Agreed, autofire is a complete waste of power- It’s even worse ever since Morrow’s addition of DV9/M56 power cells, restricting your power supply. Considering you need to toggle it on/off to even keep it working (as it auto-disables upon not wielding), it’s just bad.

I’d like to add “unwield your damn gun to run away” as a personal point too.
The best way to avoid dying to a xeno blob is to run away, not slow yourself down by wielding to fire 12 bullets before getting morbed by the queen and friends.

Smaller, additional points-

  • For the love of god and all that is holy, do not shoot the hedgehog shield. Press Z to quickly unequip your gun to stop shooting and run away from the shrapnel.

  • Change ammo modes frequently depending on what target you’re firing at. If you know how armour works, then you know that shooting most armoured xenos with precision rounds = pea shooter damage.
    Counter-intuitively, some xenos have significant armour you wouldn’t expect e.g. boiler, spitter.

  • Don’t bother shooting at steelcrest fortified defenders. Even with AP, you’re doing next to no damage. It’s not worth shooting it unless literally everyone else is, or someone’s flamed it.

  • Roundstart, activate MD, recoil reduction, accuracy improvement and leave them on for the rest of the round. Each battery should last approximately 4 drums. (2500 power = 1 drum, approx).

  • Reload when you’re down to around 50 bullets. If you want, you can save the drum in your belt slot, and switch belt mode to take the first object you placed in (so you only take out full drums).
    People like to wait until all their ammo is spent, or all the power is gone before they reload to avoid feeling ‘wasteful’- But you’d be surprised at how often you run out of bullets mid-securing a kill, or saving someone else.

  • If you’re not at the main push, go to the main push. Don’t be that one SG who stays at FOB all round unless explicitly ordered to.

  • Stick near the SADAR, Pyro or GL if they’re good at their job. These guys either stun or apply strong DoT effects- Follow up on their attacks, and the marines will kill far more xenos than they otherwise would.

  • Be aggressive when you need to be. If you’re new to SG, then just stick behind marines and stay alive. Once you get a hang for risk though, frontlining every once in a while to kill a paincrit xeno isn’t a bad idea.

Just my extra two cents.

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I’d like to add something regarding a smartgunner’s loadout: I usually carry a machete pouch and a first aid kit pouch (the one with four injectors). I also have a splint and a roll of bandages in my harness. My webbing vest carries two DV9 batteries, an MRE, a canteen filled with medicine, and a suicide HEDP (death before capture, after all). With 3,500 rounds and two spare batteries, I’ll last for quite a while. If I need to recharge my batteries, I’ll use the recharger that doctors bring with them for their defibrillators.

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As a platinum SG, this guide is so great and I would have killed for it when I started playing the role. I would like to echo the med pouch sentiment. Injectors are your friend!

I would also like to add a courtesy point. Do not take both SG drums from the prep room. Leave one for your fellow SG. Yes you technically can take both, but it’s inconsiderate.


The point I’m making is don’t use autofire.

I think it’s best to manually aim your weapon rather than rely on autofire.

I might re-word that to be a bit more clear. :smile: