Submachine guns are arguably the core weapon class in Apex Legends. Close-range firefights happen during every stage of a match and are especially common in Kings Canyon’s more loot-dense compounds like Slum Lakes. That’s compounded further by how dominant rusher-type Legends are in the current meta. Octane, Wraith, and Bangalore are omnipresent, and their up-close-and-personal play style is enabled by the powerful Peacekeeper and R-99.
So, like it or not, you will find yourself in some pretty intimate firefights, and when that happens you want to have the right hardware in your hands. Due to their fully automatic nature and effortless handling, SMGs offer the most competent response to close-range opposition.
This guide will introduce you to the mechanics of using an SMG, while focusing on the current fan favorite: the R-99.
SMGs are built primarily for close-range engagements. To that end, they allow you to move at 86 percent of your normal speed while aiming down sights. That’s much faster than with most other Apex Legends weapons and nearly on par with shotguns.
While shotguns are also intended for close-range use, SMGs have one notable advantage. Because of their high rate of fire, SMGs have a higher chance of connecting with at least a couple of rounds, whereas shotguns have the potential to miss completely. In Apex Legends, taking damage reduces player movement slightly, and subsequent hits compound this slowdown.
While a Peacekeeper can end most fights with the first couple of blasts, missing with them can just as easily get you killed. Meanwhile, a spray from the R-99 would have made your target more static, giving you the upper hand.
SMGs are generally easier to control than assault rifles and light machine guns, and they have faster handling and reload speed. Their advantages do not translate well over long range, however. At 40 meters, all SMGs lose their headshot multiplier of 1.5 base damage.
The power of your SMG will scale really well with each attachment you put on it. First and foremost, all SMG-class weapons should be equipped with extended magazines. Not only is this crucial for their sustained damage output, but it helps you reload quickly in the heat of battle.
Then come all other attachments, in the order that you find them. If your other weapon is an AR or a sniper rifle, you should prioritize kitting your SMG first.
SMGs are hungry beasts and require that you carry a minimum of two stacks of ammo, three if you can. If you favor mid-range firefights, a good barrel will actually reduce your ammo consumption, as more of your rounds make their way home. Even then, walking around with less than two full stacks of ammo is risky.
It is advised that you put a comfortable x1 scope on your SMG when you get the chance. While they support scopes with magnification of up to x4, SMGs in Apex Legends don’t perform well past the x1 point. SMGs also support the digital threat close-range scope, unlike ARs and LMGs – that would be your optimal choice, if you can find one.
With near-instant reloading and the highest baseline DPS in the game, the R-99 is a god-tier weapon at its preferred range, which would be up to 40 meters away. At that distance it’s still fairly accurate – especially with a good barrel – but it loses its headshot multiplier.
Landing headshots is key with the R-99. Despite its monstrous rate of fire, this is not a spray-and-pray weapon. Thanks to its low per-shot damage of 12, you can empty nearly your entire magazine into an enemy without dropping them.
To get the maximum out of your gun, try to flank your target and fire from a position where you can aim down sights for a moment before they return fire and force you to move. A moment is usually all it takes, as the R-99 can empty its entire magazine in a second.
That also means that your priority attachment for it is an extended light mag, because you will be reloading frequently. You will also be burning through ammo fast. While the other Apex Legends SMGs can run on two-to-three stacks of ammo, the R-99 needs three or four.
Following the extended magazine, you should grab yourself a good barrel and a digital threat optic, if you can find one. Your little friend will appreciate every new piece you attach to it, and a fully kitted R-99 is one of the best partners you can bring to the arena.
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Games player and write-abouter from Ottawa. Doom basically raised me.