The MA5 series, collectively known as the MA5 Individual Combat Weapon System, is a series of air-cooled, gas-operated assault rifles produced by Misriah Armory. Part of the larger MA Series, the MA5 is the workhorse of the United Nations Space Command. Having been in service for more than fifty years, the MA5 series is the oldest rifle platform currently utilized by the UNSC, with more than a dozen models still in use. While the UNSC Marine Corps and the Navy use the MA5 designation, the Army refers to the weapon as the MA37.
The MA5 series rifle is an air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed weapon designed for automatic fire. It has an attached electronics suite that provides information on rounds remaining in the magazine, compass heading, as well as several other "housekeeping" functions. The rifle is rugged and sturdy, and performs exceptionally well in a variety of environments, especially given the perceived delicacy of the attached electronics suite. The MA5 rifle can be outfitted with a number of modifications including sound suppressors, a grenade launcher, an underslung shotgun, or a standard-issue flashlight.
The MA5 series rifle is a close- to medium-range weapon. It is most effectively used by fully automatic sustained fire at close range, or by using short, controlled bursts at medium range. Because of this, it is most effective at close range.
The MA5 series rifle is a bullpup rifle and is made of Titanium-A alloy. The rifle is gas-operated and fires from a closed bolt. The charging handle used to chamber the round is situated on the left side of the rifle and moves during operation. Once the first round is fired, the gases from that round and those to follow impinge upon a gas piston, which pushes back the bolt carrier, rotating the bolt inside which unlocks it and extracts the spent brass from the chamber and ejects it. As the bolt carrier group is propelled forward, it chambers another round. This cycle continues until the magazine is empty. Once the magazine is empty, the charging handle must both be pulled back and locked or must be fully cycled after a fresh magazine is inserted to chamber the next round. The magazine itself is located at the butt of the rifle and the magazine release button is located above the magazine well and has an arrow pointing down toward the housing.
The electronics suite is integrated along the top rail guard of the weapon. The MA5 is designed for the toughest of situations, able to be subjected to elements that would otherwise cause a weapon to malfunction, or render a weapon inoperable. The electronics suite contains an LED ammunition counter that displays the number of rounds remaining in the inserted magazine, as well as displaying a magnetic compass. The suite can also project a targeting reticule on the user's heads-up display or neural interface; if such equipment is not available, pop-up iron sights within the cowling can be used.
- Main article: M118 7.62×51mm FMJ-AP
The MA5 series rifle uses the M118 7.62×51mm Full Metal Jacket, Armor Piercing rounds. These rounds are designed to pierce body armor so the rounds are reasonably large, and are surrounded by a molded jacket of metal, which enhances its armor-piercing capabilities. More exotic ammunition types, like shredder rounds, are available for use, however these modifications are available only by Mission Conditional Requisition (MCR).
- MA37 Individual Combat Weapon System - The MA37, the UNSC Army's designation of the MA5, was introduced in 2437 and is still favored heavily by the Army despite newer iterations of the series due to its ruggedness and simplicity. The MA37 has a more skeletal cowling than other MA5 variants.
- MA5B Individual Combat Weapon System - Much less accurate in comparison to the MA5C and MA5D, it is often relegated to use in short-range combat. The MA5B receives a sixty-round magazine.
- MA5C Individual Combat Weapon System - An improvement upon the MA5B, featuring a heavier barrel with a one-in-seven twist, a stronger magazine spring mechanism, a lower-profile electronics housing, and a sturdier, more ergonomically designed trigger guard. It receives a shortened thirty-two round magazine; the reduced magazine capacity in relation to the MA5B is part of an effort to prevent wearing of the magazine spring. It is used by the Marine Corps and the Navy in short-to-mid range combat.
- MA5D Individual Combat Weapon System - The MA5D receives a thirty-two round magazine like the MA5C, and also an increased capacity thirty-six round magazine. At some point before 2557, it became the standard-issue fully-automatic rifle of all UNSC branches.
- MA5K Carbine - The MA5K is a carbine variant of the MA5 that used almost exclusively by Special Forces units. It receives a thirty-round magazine and is fairly modular, capable of being assembled in various configurations.
John-117 with an MA5B at the ready. The weapon's ammunition counter and HUD readout are visible.
List of appearances
- Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 16
- Halo Waypoint: Assault Rifle (defunct, backup on Archive.org)
- Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder - Locke & Load
- Bungie.net: MA5C Assault Rifle
- Halo: Contact Harvest, page 136-138
- GameInformer: Noble Team Profile #3
- Bungie.net: MA37 ICWS
- Halo: First Strike
- Game Informer: The Arsenal of Halo 4
- Halo 4 In-game description
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx cover art