Carbines are short and more compact weapon variants than full-length Assault Rifles. They are available to all classes.
The first carbines were shorter variants of muskets and later, rifles, used mostly by cavalry units during and after the Napoleonic. Although larger and harder to use than a typical pistol used by cavalry troops, they were more accurate and powerful than such pistols. Throughout the 20th century, infantry rifles gradually became smaller in size - weapons like the Gewher 98 (G98) proved to be cumbersome in trench warfare. The Karabiner 98 and later Kar98K variant, K for Kurtz, (Shortened) were carbine variants of the G98, created to be better suited in tighter spaces.
As the development of fully-automatic weapons continued, carbine variants followed. The American XM177 “Commando” and Soviet AKS-74U are such examples; the former being a carbine of the M16 rifle and precursor to the later M4 Carbine, the latter a carbine of the AK-74 assault rifle. The XM177 saw use in the Vietnam War by American troops, being better suited for jungle environments given the shorter barrel. The AKS-74U was mainly used by tank crews, who required a shorter weapon to fit in the compact space of a tank but retained rifle-grade power.
'Pistol carbines’ or ‘Revolver carbines’ are carbine variants of pistols and revolvers, which were comprised of a longer barrel and a stock. These modifications improves the accuracy and range of the weapon, but lessens the weapon’s usefulness in close-quarters, given the increased overall length of the weapon. Civilian versions of sub-machine guns are also called Pistol carbines, due to being semi-automatic only and using a pistol calibre.
With the exception of the 1858 Carbine, all Carbines are generally similar to Assault Rifles, with most being a variant of one that's seen in-game. They share the same magazine sizes, ammunition types and attachments as their Assault Rifle peers, and the Rate of Fire (RoF) is usually the same or similar to their parent weapon. However, Carbines have a shorter range than Assault Rifles and tend to be weaker at longer ranges as damage drops off sooner. Minimum damage values are also usually lower for Carbines, some requiring six Shots to Kill (STK) at the end of their damage drop-off. In contrast, Carbines have a lighter weight, faster reload and better hipfire spread, making them generally better suited to Close Quarters Combat (CQC) where their STK requirement are usually the same as Assault Rifles.
Usage & Tactics
Compared to most other weapons in the game, Carbines are a much lighter option and allow for easily infiltrating enemy lines and surprising enemies, much like Personal Defense Weapons. However, unlike PDWs, Carbines are effective in engaging enemies at a medium distance, due to a more compact spread and a more effective damage drop off, so one should not be afraid to fight back if engaged, especially considering how much more effective PDWs are in CQC than Carbines.
In addition to these other traits, Carbines are known for possessing some of the fastest reload speeds in the entire game, making them extremely effective in fighting multiple opponents at once, or in a set amount of time. Therefore, those who use Carbines may also be expected to fight on the front lines, where they may use their reload speed to their advantage to eliminate attackers or defenders. Still, it is unwise to use a Carbine where long range engagements are bountiful, as Carbines are rather weak at these ranges. In these cases, it is best to stick to ambushing.
As a weapon, Carbines best serve the mix between Assault Rifles and PDWs. While obviously favoring close to mid range combat, Carbines are still a very versatile weapon, being effective in different situations such as ambushing, scouting, and fighting in the front lines. While a lower than average damage drop off and low minimum damage hinder its capabilities at longer ranges, the Carbine's light weight and rather tight spread allow the firearm to get a little closer to any enemy that may be harassing the user over a distance, to where they have the advantage.
- Interestingly, the term ‘Machine Carbine’ was used to describe the Sturmgewehr 44 (StG 44), later to be classified as an assault rifle. It was also used to describe sub-machine guns such as the Owen Gun prior to the term ‘sub-machine gun’ becoming a universally accepted term. The term was used mostly by the British and Commonwealth Nations.
- Although most carbines are variants of another weapon, such as an assault rifle, battle rifle or other, some are standalone weapons, such as the M1 Carbine - being classified as one due to featuring a shorter barrel than usual infantry rifles.
- Despite their appearance and names, the M1 Carbine is not a carbine of the M1 Garand. The M1 Carbine is a separate weapon and fires a different, smaller calibre than the M1 Garand, called the .30 Carbine.