MA5B Individual Combat Weapon System
|MA5B Individual Combat Weapon System|
60 round box magazine
Short to medium (300 meters) 
- "Hey, soldier, is that an assault rifle in your hands or are you just happy to see me?"
- —Janissary James
The MA5B Individual Combat Weapon System, abbreviated MA5B ICWS and commonly known as the MA5B assault rifle, is a standard-issue service rifle for the UNSC Marine Corps and the Navy. It is produced by Misriah Armory as part of its MA5 Series.
- Main article: MA5 Series
The MA5B Assault Rifle is an air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed, fully-automatic bullpup rifle that fires 60 rounds of 7.62x51mm ammunition. It possesses a built-in ammunition indicator and magnetic compass for orientation similar to that of all other MA5 series rifles.
The most pressing negative aspect of the MA5B is its inconsistent accuracy. Firing the weapon in short bursts will allow much higher accuracy, as opposed to holding down the trigger. Most of the bullets will stay within the reticule. One round fired may produce a perfect bull's-eye, but the next may fly out of the targeting reticule and slam into the dirt a dozen meters from the same target. This has led to the belief that the rifle is very incapable of hitting targets greater than close-range; this is untrue. If attacking targets at surprisingly long-ranges, one can effectively wound or kill that target by firing in single shots or bursts. Unfortunately, this lack of consistent accuracy has tarnished the image of the rifle, and the problem has kept the MA5B out of the hands of those who prefer less spontaneous weapons.
The MA5B in both offensive and suppressive situations remains one of the UNSC's most reliable weapon. When fired in short bursts, or even single shots, there is a significant increase in accuracy, and the rifle's armor penetrating ability makes it key for handling even the toughest of infantry, having the ability to kill an Elite in about 45 rounds in close quarters. The MA5B rifle is effective at killing light armored infantry at close-to-medium range, and the high rate of fire combined with the high ammunition capacity allows its user to spray the whole area with suppressing fire. The MA5B also gives the user an ammo count on its digital readout, as well a compass pointing toward the arbitrary magnetic "north" position. In the hands of someone who can control their trigger finger, the MA5B becomes a deadly weapon in CQB situations.
The MA5B is not without disadvantages, its main disadvantage being its horrible accuracy when fired at a range of more than forty meters. At that range, enemy infantry may be hit by a few bullets, or not be hit by any bullets at all. The MA5B Assault Rifle performs poorly against energy shields unless firing on full automatic at close range without giving a shielded infantry time to cover. In comparison to modern assault rifles it can be more related to an oversized sub-machine gun, as it is underpowered and lacks the ability to select a fire mode.
The MA5B Assault Rifle is one of the weapons which players will love and loathe in equal measures. The rifle's rate of fire makes it a devastatingly powerful weapon in close range combats, and its melee attack usually ensures victory over close quarter battles. The only disadvantage is its reloading time, which takes about 1.5 seconds, which gives your opponent enough time to put you down with a hail of plasma bolts. In a skilled player's hand, the assault rifle can easily put down two to four opponents per magazine.
- The MA5B Assault Rifle has one of the fastest melee speeds in Halo: Combat Evolved.
- One strategy is to charge forward while firing in controlled bursts, then when in close range, break out into full auto, followed by a melee or two. This is a tried and true tactic for taking down shielded Elites.
- Another tactic for medium range AR combat is to "rapid-pulse" the trigger; in other words, rapidly press your finger down on the trigger. This will result in rapid, accurate, and controlled bursts. This is very useful in the early levels of the game. However, this is impaired by the fact that the MA5B has somewhat low accuracy, although all projectiles will hit within the reticule with this tactic.
- Combined with grenades, the MA5B decimates enemy ranks. Charge forward and toss some fragmentation grenades to clear out the weaker enemies and soften up the stronger ones, then before the dust clears, hose down anything that's still moving.
- If you can't find a shotgun on a Flood-infested level, do not panic. Use the MA5B as a primary weapon while backing it with a Plasma Pistol as secondary. When the Flood get too close, just hold down the trigger and watch them wilt under the large volume of bullets. However, do not just stand there shooting, back-pedal into a previously secured area as the Flood can be overwhelming in waves.
- Use melee on infection forms to save ammo - though if your shields are at max, do not even worry about them. Unless there is an entire swarm of them, they will simply burst on your shields, doing no substantial damage.
- On Normal, less experienced players find that a good tactic is to use a Plasma Rifle or Plasma Pistol to deplete an Elite's shielding, and then switch to Assault Rifle to finish them off. The player can do the same thing with an assault rifle, followed up by a headshot from the M6D magnum, if the player chooses not to carry two full auto weapons at once. This is handy as even on Heroic the assault rifle can drop an Elite's shields at close range, if the player uses an entire magazine and follows up with a melee attack in order to drop the shields and cause said Elite to stagger back, which they can follow up by shooting it in the head.
- The MA5B's accuracy degrades after exactly 1.5 seconds of sustained fire. In order to use this weapon to its fullest, you must learn the most efficient bursts to use at different ranges. It takes just 16 rounds to kill one opponent.
- When used with effective grenades, the Assault Rifle can hold its own. Back-pedal and use any grenade you have handy, and let the weapon take care of your enemy after his shields are down.
- A combo of either plasma rifle or plasma pistol with the Assault Rifle is effective in killing the enemy; the plasma weapons can down the enemy's shields with ease and the Assault Rifle can reduce their health in seconds.
- The weapon can be used to suppress enemy's movement and/or vision with great effect; at medium range, it can deliver sufficient damage to down the enemy's shields; its sustained fire will cause many flashes on an enemy's screen enabling for a more effective retreat. This helps when facing vehicles since it can give the driver a hard time keeping control.
- The MA5B was heavily inspired by the MA–75B assault rifle from the Marathon series.
- Robert McLees at Bungie has compared the basic design of the MA5B to that of the Fabrique-Nationale FN F2000. According to The Art of Halo, McLees did not know of the F2000 until after the game was even finished; "I don't know when the images of the FN F2000 appeared, but I didn't see them until three or four months after the game shipped, and I thought 'Oh great. Now everyone's going to think I swiped the design from Fabrique National.' It was surreal to see how close the Halo assault rifle was to its real-life counterpart... and it was all totally by accident."
- There is a second melee animation for the MA5B, in which the user holds the weapon vertically and clubs anyone in front of them with the back end of the weapon. This animation is used in a few Halo Custom Edition maps, but was taken out of the official game. This animation is similar, if not identical, to the melee animation used for the MA5C from Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved, the compass on the MA5B Assault Rifle points "north" to Threshold, seen in the sky. Since compasses operate on a magnetic principle, this is likely because Threshold provides the greatest nearby magnetic signal, and is arbitrarily designated 'north'. In Halo: The Flood, it seems that Ensign Lovell designated west randomly.
- In the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary announcement trailer, the MA5B uses the MA37 assault rifle's model as a placeholder. The weapon's model has since been changed to the MA5C model from Halo 3.
- Typically, the MA5B is not a headshot-capable weapon, however, in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, if the Grunt Birthday Skull is activated, it is clearly seen scoring headshots on Grunts.
The MJOLNIR HUD, showing the targeting reticule for the MA5B and ammo readout.
The MA5B as it appears in Halo Wars.
Side profile view of the MA5B in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.
 List of appearances
- Halo: The Fall of Reach (First appearance)
- Halo: Combat Evolved
- Halo: The Flood
- Halo: First Strike
- Halo Graphic Novel
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
- Halo: Contact Harvest
- Halo: The Cole Protocol
- Halo Legends
- Halo Wars
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
- Halo: Glasslands
- Halo: Fall of Reach
- Halo: The Thursday War
- ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page ??
- ^ i love bees, hey_soldier.ogg
- ^ Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary announcement trailer
- ^ Halo Waypoint: Halo: Anniversary Exclusive
- ^ Youtube: Halo: Anniversary Exclusive Pre-Order Grunt Funeral Skull