/M8A1 – Black Ops 2 Weapon Guide

M8A1 – Black Ops 2 Weapon Guide

Video: M8A1 – Black Ops 2 Weapon Guide


Hello, this is XboxAhoy and this is the thirty-sixth episode of my Black Ops 2 Weapon Guide. This time, we're covering the M8A1. A new addition to the Call of Duty arsenal, this weapon is unusual in that it fires a four-round burst by default – and is unlocked at level 49. The M8A1 is a fictional derivative of the German XM8 rifle design, first seen in 2002. The rifle was produced by Heckler and Koch at the behest of the US Army, seeking a potential future replacement for the AR-15 platform currently in service.

The XM8 designation was assigned in the wake of the Objective Individual Combat Weapon (OICW) contract, a project which sought a futuristic all-in-one infantry rifle. The project fell through, but the XM8 design was brought about as a result – a modular derivative of the German G36 rifle design, making extensive use of modern composite materials. Ultimately, the XM8 project was discontinued in 2005 – the performance gains over the existing platforms in service not deemed worth the investment cost for replacement. Presumably, in Black Ops 2 the project resurfaced: the M8A1 designation indicating a derivative weapon that has entered into service. In-game, damage is moderate: you do have the ability to kill a close-range enemy with just 3 shots, but this is only within a very short distance.

In most cases, you can expect to kill in four or five shots: and it's worth noting that the M8A1 has no bonus headshot multiplier, so it's best to aim for centre mass. Penetration ability is on-par with most other assault rifles. The M8A1's rate of fire is incredibly high within its four-round burst: 1250 rounds per minute. As such you are able to down a mid-ranged target very quickly indeed with a well-placed shot. There is a mandatory delay between bursts, however – but this is relatively short: your sustainable rate of fire is a still-respectable 789 rounds per minute. Equipping select fire will turn the M8A1 into a fully-automatic weapon, but this comes at a cost: your rate of fire will be reduced to 940 rounds per minute, and recoil will be significantly increased – but you do retain the 3-shot potential. Hipfire spread is average, and combined with the rapid burst output can prove quite effective: as you should need only 3 rounds to connect to kill within hipfire ranges, a couple of bursts will quickly and reliably do the job should needs be.

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Recoil is low, and so while you'll need at least two bursts to kill at range, it is quite possible to repeatedly drill a distant target with multiple rounds from the same burst. The M8 isn't the most effective ranged weapon, but it can certainly perform at such ranges when asked. Aim time is standard for its class, at 250 milliseconds – and other handling traits are as expected, including your mobility – like its peers, you'll move at 95 percent of the base speed. Magazine capacity is fairly average, with the bonus two rounds factored in for the four-round burst. Because of the relatively rapid consumption, reloads can be frequent – you'll only get 8 bursts per mag – but resupplies are painless, taking 2.33 seconds to perform. Our build with the M8A1 is a versatile one, taking a mix of pick-ten options to form a resilient blend, stronger than a single-focus one. The M8 dominates in mid-range gunfights, so our class is quite mobile, with reactive and defensive options helping keep you in the fight – but we also introduce a stealth edge to give you the element of surprise at a closer range.

To that end, we help conceal your firing position with the Suppressor as our first pick ten choice. This will harm your ranged effectiveness, but the M8A1 is capable of placing multiple bursts on target in rapid succession – and in any case our class is designed for mid-ranged combat, keeping you within the deadliest envelope of your rapid burst. The ability to evade detection makes it easier to slip into the mix of combat, and occupy temporary firing positions that will help you to get the jump on your opponent with the near instant-kill of a close range burst. Next, we take two perks from the arguably most powerful tier, thanks to the Perk 1 Greed wildcard. First of our potent pairing is Ghost, allowing movement near your opponent without them detecting you on radar. This allows for a strong positional advantage in cases where they might expect to have your position highlighted, and as long as you don't linger in one spot for too long you can harvest the bounty of deliciously unaware opposition running blindly past you. Next, we elect another powerful first tier option in Flak Jacket – permitting extended stay in hotly contested zones, and enabling you to more effectively defend locations and capture key objectives.

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The ability to soak up the damage from a grenade or two will let you live longer, and paired with Ghost you can live it up in enemy territory at their expense. Next, in tier two is the ever-useful Toughness, able to turn the tables on an otherwise tilted gunfight. While most useful at a mid-to-long range, it's a useful perk with any weapon dependent on accuracy: and will help you to land your four rounds of the M8A1's burst more often. Perk 3 Greed helps us to round out our perk selection with two more from the final tier, for a penta-perk payload. First up is Dexterity, permitting more reactive fire whilst on the move, useful in tandem with our stealth choices. While burst fire weapons aren't normally the best choice for close range engagements, the M8A1's 3-hit kill and rapid rate of fire makes it quite effective as a reactive backup, and as such a rapid response can prove decisive. Next, Tactical Mask helps keep your sights clear and otherwise able to accurately direct fire even when your opponent is intent on using their tactical options – a nice complement to Flak Jacket, making for a build with a good defensive ability. Our final point spend is on a secondary – the burst fire of the B23R is a good thematic match, but any of the pistols will suffice as a fallback – a limited ammunition supply perhaps this loadout's weakest asset.

However, seeing as you'll be in the thick of it, you should be able to find a serviceable enemy weapon in the field, able to sustain you for longer streaks should you need a backup weapon. If you're confident in your ability to scavenge a backup, you could drop this selection in favour of some equipment or another attachment instead. That's our build – a potent hybrid between stealth and resilience that complements the M8A1's mid-range potency and offers unequalled ability to get closer to the enemy to tackle objectives, or in support of teammates on a similar approach. We do sacrifice equipment to achieve this blend, but this permits a gun-focused style of play, and the investment into perks over gun means you'll retain the majority of your effectiveness in cases where you're using an enemy weapon.


The M8A1 is a dependable choice, capable of dominating mid-range engagements with an ability to place successive accurate bursts. Compared to a three-round burst weapon like the SWAT-556, the extra round fired will guarantee more consistent performance: and the faster rate of fire will help land more shots on a moving target. Paired with low recoil, the M8A1 is perhaps the easiest burst-fire weapon to handle, with more forgiving hipfire than most as well. However, at longer ranges the weapon starts to lose its edge, with higher damage assault rifles, LMGs and sniper rifles taking the upper hand in terms of time to kill. At ranges where you might need at least two bursts, a sniper could snuff your streak in just a single shot. Paired with a short but otherwise mandatory burst delay, it might be wise to stick to mid-ranged engagements when tackling strong ranged opposition. Still, the M8 remains usable at most ranges, and can be dominant in a relatively wide mid-range band, and as such it is definitely worth considering.

So, if you're desperately seeking a reliable companion… …you might have found your soul M8. Thanks for watching, this has been XboxAhoy. Join me next week, when I'll be covering the Ballistic Knife. Until then, farewell..