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The Rate of Fire (also firing rate, fire rate, RoF) of a firearm is the number of rounds that it can cycle in a given period of time. This is usually measured in rounds per minute (RPM). Modern automatic firearms can approach 1000 RPM, while certain weapon systems have attained rates as high as one million RPM.

In most games in the Battlefield series since Battlefield 2, many weapons available to players can have their fire mode selector switch manipulated, allowing players to change a weapon's firemode. All automatic, burst, and semi-auto weapons in all games in the series have a firerate limit. Newer games also have caps on manual operation, preventing players from cycling or firing any weapon faster than intended.

Single Shot[]

Single shot weapons only hold one round, meaning that they can only fire one shot at a time, and another round must be loaded after each shot. In gameplay terms, this means that the weapon's "magazine capacity" is 1, and the player must perform a reload after every shot.

The Martini-Henry is one example of a single-shot weapon. Many of the games' shoulder-fired missiles are also single-shot.

Manual operation[]

Manually operated firearms require the user to manually operate the action to chamber the next round, in contrast with semi-automatic and automatic firearms, which automatically load the next round. In gameplay terms, this creates a delay between two shots where the animation for operating the action will play, and holding down Fire will only fire one shot.

These generally have high power, because all of the shot's power is used to boost the bullet, while in (semi) automatic weapons, a part of the power is used to cycle a new round into the chamber. Their high power is offset by their much slower rate of fire.

Bolt action[]

A bolt action is a system in which one shot is capable of being fired with each slide of bolt attached to a weapon. Bolt action rifles have seen limited use in modern times outside of sniper rifles as automatic weapons have become more accessible.

The Straight Pull Bolt attachment in Battlefield 3 allows Recons to slide the bolt of a bolt-action sniper rifle for another shot without being forced to look away from their sights or scope.

The M26 MASS is a bolt-action Shotgun. The Obrez Pistol is a bolt-action handgun made from a sawed-off bolt-action rifle.

Lever action[]

Similar to bolt-action, a lever action weapon requires the user to activate a lever to extract the spent round and load the next round. Lever action weapons fell out of use by World War I, with few examples remaining in limited use.

The Mare's Leg is a cut-down rifle with a lever-action system, featured as a long-range sidearm in Battlefield 4. The full-length weapon hails from around the same time period as the Russian 1895, a licensed variant of an American lever action rifle.

Pump action[]

Pump action weapons—typically limited to shotguns—use a pump slide to extract and chamber cartridges. A tube situated next to the barrel is typically used to hold spare shells, although some weapons may use a detachable magazine.

To make up for their slower rate of fire, pump-action shotguns in the Battlefield series are typically balanced by having increased damage per projectile, being able to fire more projectiles per shell, and/or having lower spread.

Slam fire[]

An exception to the one-shot-per-trigger-pull scheme are weapons that allow for slam fire. Unlike conventional pump-action weapons, keeping the trigger held down on a slamfire weapon allows the next cartridge to be fired just as it finishes loading into the chamber. Slamfire weapons such as the M97 Trench Gun are treated like automatic weapons, though with a lower rate of fire.

Automatic operation[]

Automatic firearms use the energy of the previous round to chamber the next round. In gameplay terms, this means that there is very little delay between two shots, allowing for a far faster rate of fire.


A semi-automatic weapon will fire only one round per trigger pull (i.e. once every time the player uses the Fire), while also cycling the next round (unlike a bolt-action weapon). Recoil and distortion due to weapon heating tend to throw off the accuracy of further rounds in other firing modes—using the semi-automatic mode allows a shooter to place accurate fire at a distance.

A shooter at long range can often place more shots on target with semi-auto fire than with even a controlled automatic spray.

Revolvers are generally treated as semi-automatic weapons, firing one shot per trigger pull and having a negligible delay between shots regardless if they're actually single-action, double-action, or even semi-automatic. An exception is the Gasser M1870 where the user may hold Fire to continuously fire this single-action revolver while not aiming down sights.


An automatic or full-auto weapon allows the shooter to fire continuously while the trigger is depressed, i.e. holding down Fire. Machine guns are designed with this feature in mind, along with many assault rifles and PDWs. The G18 is an automatic pistol.

Automatic fire is often less accurate than other firing modes. The shooter may need to adjust their aim as recoil accumulates and the weapon drifts off-target.

By pulling the trigger for a short time, a shooter can burst fire an automatic weapon, even if a proper burst fire mode is not available. This may be necessary when the game allows for the weapon to overheat, or to preserve accuracy at long range.

Burst fire[]

Burst fire is a fire mode found on modern select-fire (see below) firearms.

In burst fire mode, holding down Fire will only pull the trigger once, but the trigger pull will cycle two or three shots. The weapons that use this mode tend to have lower recoil, allowing a shooter to place a relatively tight grouping with little effort. Certain other weapons are designed to enforce conservation of ammunition or better marksmanship discipline, such as the M16A4 and KH2002 (although the real-world KH2002 does offer automatic mode). As pulling the trigger early may result in a burst not being fired, finding the 'tempo' for each weapon is essential for maintaining a high rate of fire.

In Battlefield 4, the burst fire mode (whether the default or an alternate fire selection for the weapon) actually changes some of the recoil mechanics, as it adds the first-shot recoil multiplier to the end of each burst. This results in the individual shots of the burst only being acted upon by the base recoil values rather than having a noticeable "jump" between the first and second shot placement. This was added by the developers with the goal of increasing the effectiveness of burst weapons at range and reducing the effect of stacking first-shot multiplier values, as one will only noticeably experience the recoil increase if chaining bursts quickly at the maximum fire rate of the weapon.

The Beretta 93R is a notable burst-fire pistol.

Certain weapons, such as the AN-94 and AK-12, have a higher rate of fire while in burst fire mode. But coupled with the delay between bursts, the overall rate of fire is comparable to the same weapon's automatic fire mode.

Selective fire[]

Selective fire firearms offer a switch to select between semi-auto, auto, and burst fire modes, and are seen on most modern automatic weapons. In game, this is done either by re-selecting the weapon (with the Main Weapon key), or with a dedicated Fire Select key.

The key is sometimes used for non select fire weapons to activate special functions, such as switching magazines on the Burton LMR.

Maximum rate of fire[]

Certain weapons that are exclusively semi-automatic may have a limited rate of fire, such as the .44 Magnum.

This eliminates the problem of such weapons being bound solely to the speed at which one can press their fire key, since there are input devices that allow such functions to be mapped to other inputs, such as a high-velocity mouse wheel.