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This article is about the carbine wielded by The Boss. You may be looking for the Patriots, the secretive organization that controlled the United States.

The Patriot was a carbine made specially for The Boss, who used it during the Cold War. After she was defeated by her protégé in combat, The Boss gave the Patriot to her successor, Big Boss.


The Patriot was a modified version of the XM16E1, with a shortened barrel and the stock removed. It was designed in order to create a carbine that combined the feel and quick handling of a handgun with the force of a rifle. The relatively light weight meant that the Patriot had a strong recoil, and was notoriously difficult to aim. The fact that The Boss used it one-handed was a testament to her skill.

The Patriot used 5.56x45mm ammunition and was fitted with a hundred-round drum magazine, with the internal feed mechanism shaped like an infinity symbol (∞). The blast of the muzzle was said to resemble the sound of a threatened rattlesnake, and that no one who heard the sound would live to tell the tale. The bullets didn't leave the gun straight; they flip and twist upon leaving the gun.

Use by The Boss

During Operation Snake Eater, The Boss used the Patriot to destroy Naked Snake's drone aircraft in Dremuchij, Tselinoyarsk, drawing the attention of GRU Spetznaz soldiers in an attempt to drive Snake away. Later, she used the Patriot to battle Snake at Rokovoj Bereg, making frontal attacks against her impossible and forcing Snake to attack her blindside.

Use by Big Boss

Naked Snake reluctantly prepares to fire the Patriot at its former owner.

Following her defeat, The Boss handed the rifle to Snake on her deathbed, which he subsequently used to end her life at her request. The Patriot was the only weapon that Snake brought back home to the United States, due to his equipment being disposed of by Ocelot during Snake's escape from Tselinoyarsk. Rewarded with the title of Big Boss for defeating his former mentor, he later laid the Patriot upon The Boss's grave in respect.

Fifty years later, following the Guns of the Patriots Incident, Big Boss confronted Solid Snake with the Patriot at the same cemetary housing The Boss's grave. Holding the rifle in one hand, Big Boss initally brought the rifle to bear on his former subordinate and enemy, before dropping it to the ground.

Behind the scenes

The Patriot first appears in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. By completing the game it can be unlocked for use by the player in subsequent playthroughs. The Patriot returns as an unlockable weapon in subsequent games.

Game Patriot weapon description Wt. Icon
MGS3 An assault pistol developed for The Boss. Uses 5.56mm x 45 ammunition. The feeder mechanism inside the drum magazine forms an "∞" shape. 1.5kg Patriot.jpg
MGS4 A hand rifle, and the primary weapon The Boss used against Snake when he was dispatched to assassinate her.
PW The assault pistol that The Boss, the Mother of Special Forces and mentor of Naked Snake, carried with her into her final battle. It is essentially a truncated M16 that has been fully revamped with custom parts. Because the Patriot fires rifle rounds from a pistol-sized frame, it is extremely difficult to control, bucking like a wild bronco in the user's hand. It never runs out of bullets - perhaps, as some say, because The Boss left a piece of herself inside it. 2.5kg

Design and presentation

The Patriot may in fact be based on a rather obscure M16 variant called the M231 Firing Port Weapon, a weapon first produced in the 1980s and designed to be fitted to the hull gun ports of early Bradley IFVs. The Boss' version has a much shorter barrel (indicating it to be based on the early 11-inch barrel FPW prototype rather than the 15.7-inch final version) and uses a modern Beta C-Mag, designed in the mid '80s. However, all modern M4 carbine variants can easily be modified into a weapon exactly like The Patriot. While an M16/M4 may appear to have a stock, while The Patriot doesn't, the stock on modern M4s (carbines and rifles) are actually auxiliary pieces, superficially attached to a buffer tube, which is itself integral to the firearm's upper receiver. So any M4 carbine could be turned into The Patriot by 1) removing the stock, and replacing the buffer tube with a pistol buffer tube, 2) replacing the upper receiver with a pistol length barreled one (could be 7.5" or 10.5"), and 3) using a Beta C-Mag.

The Patriot's tumbling bullets.

Bullets from the Patriot are seen to tumble end-over-end after exiting the barrel, probably an effect of the weapon being chambered with the more common M855 rounds, although Hideo Kojima cited in the director's commentary for the game that the tumbling effect was the result of its short barrel.[1] The M231's barrel uses a different twist from the common M16 and M4 and therefore is only supposed to use the M193 round. When M855 rounds are chambered, the rounds tumble as seen in the video, which is a problem for accuracy at any range, also negating any penetration capability of the rifle caliber. Given that the weapon's extreme firing rate and lack of stock, tumbling rounds are probably its least concern in terms of accuracy. However, the tumbling effect also causes the bullet to impart far more lethal wounds on impact. If the bullet is tumbling, its frontal surface area is greater at the moment of impact, which equates to less penetration. In a sense, the energy is being used to rip the flesh apart rather than to push through the flesh. This causes a hydrostatic shockwave, which damages nearby organs and nerves, it causes a larger wound cavity, and it tends to cause the bullet to become lodged in the wound cavity. Gunshot wounds are significantly more lethal when the bullet remains in the body.

The tumbling effect is one of the primary reasons the M855 cartridge was designed, though it was designed to tumble AFTER it has penetrated into flesh. When fired through a 16" or 20" barrel, it flies straight through the air (twisting along its long axis, of course, due to the rifling) and only begins to tumble when it hits flesh. When fired through a shorter barrel, the bullet does not attain as much spin as it would when fired through a longer barrel. The rifling on the inside of the barrel causes the bullet to accelerate its rotation as it moves through the barrel. A longer barrel means more time to accelerate the rotation, which means the bullet will spin faster in the air. This imparts significantly greater stability to the bullet, resulting in less tumbling. It is the same principle that is at work when one throws a football, spinning it before launch. The increase in stability leads to drastically improved aerodynamics - the frontal surface area, which makes contact with air, is smaller when the bullet is flying straight, sharp point forward. This is the primary reason sniper rifles tend to feature longer barrels.

However, in short range encounters, one is concerned less with aerodynamics and more with lethality. A tumbling bullet, though not capable of maintaining speed or accuracy at range, will cause far more damage than a sniper round of an even larger caliber. Sniper rounds seem as though they must cause more damage, but this is in fact not true. They are designed for range and accuracy, not necessarily for lethality. The smaller 5.56x45mm round has been shown to be more lethal than the 7.62x51mm round, primarily because of its tumbling action. A tumbling bullet is more likely to sever arteries than a single hole punched through the body, so it makes sense to use such a weapon if logistics don't require you to be firing from a distance.

The only caveat when using a weapon like The Patriot (in a real-world scenario) is that the tumbling effect virtually eliminates the bullet's chances of penetrating body armor, even of the soft variant. When dealing with body armor, you want maximum penetration, which is inversely correlated to lethality. You want a small frontal surface area on the bullet, which basically means you want a sharper bullet. It's easier to penetrate a kevlar vest with a needle than with an axe, basically. The problem with this is that, once the needle penetrates the vest, it does minimal damage. It may require several armor penetrating rounds to take down an armored opponent, but the more lethal hollow-points, for example, will not even penetrate the vest at all. So when dealing with soft targets, armor penetrating rounds offer a distinct disadvantage.

However it is also known that an M16, especially earlier ones produced in the 1960's that have terribly battle-worn barrels would cause the bullets to tumble mid-flight anyway.

Someone with as much skill as The Boss would know this, however. It seems that she has adapted this weapon for her fighting style, despite primarily dealing with armored opponents. If the player aims for the head, a tumbling bullet will almost certainly cause instant death. On the other hand, an armor penetrating round will not offer any advantage against the unarmored head target, and will in fact introduce the chance of not striking a vital brain region. It is publicly thought that a hit to the brain will guarantee death, but this is wrong.

It is well-known in the medical field that a direct hit to the prefrontal cortex will usually cause brain hemorrhaging leading to death, occasionally cause instant death, and occasionally cause no effect at all - not even permanent brain damage. Many areas of the brain are not vital to sustaining life, and not suffused with blood enough to present a risk of death from bleeding out. For this reason, a single shot to the head will have much greater chances of being lethal if the surface area of the traveling bullet is larger. Again, a tumbling bullet has a much larger surface area to make contact with than a bullet traveling straight through the brain. A straight bullet may only impact a few regions of the brain, and coincidentally do virtually nothing, while a tumbling bullet might create a hydrostatic shockwave that traumatizes an entire hemisphere of the brain, causing instant death.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

When Naked Snake receives The Boss's weapon in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, he identifies it as "a Patriot", implying that there may be more than one in existence. On the other hand, Sigint mentions in a radio call that the Patriot is "one-of-a-kind."

After completing the game and beginning a new playthrough on the same difficulty, the Patriot will appear in Snake's backpack. Calling Sigint with the weapon equipped prompts him to ask where Snake got it (since The Boss is still alive and using the Patriot), with Snake responding that he shouldn't worry about "the details." In-game, the Patriot has infinite ammo and never needs to be reloaded, which, according to Snake, is due to the shape of the internal feed mechanism (∞).

The Patriot handles very similarly to the XM16E1; however, it is lighter, slightly noise-suppressed, demands less stamina, has infinite ammo, and the front sight and fire selectors have been removed. The Patriot can only be fired on full-automatic mode. While the Patriot does indeed have noticeable recoil, it is strangely lighter than the XM16E1's, the AK-47's, and even the Scorpion's. This is probably because the Beta C-Mag weighs it down. The already-light recoil can be controlled by crouching or going prone.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Big Boss holding the Patriot for the final time.

The Patriot can be unlocked for use by Old Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots after earning the Big Boss Emblem, then saving the endgame data ("Epilogue: The End"); the weapon will be available in subsequent playthroughs using the corresponding save file. It can also be acquired through a certain password in the Extras Menu (pkhhnwhsjt). When it is used, a part of the "Snake Eater" theme can sometimes be heard.

Although Big Boss possesses the Patriot in the game's ending, it is unclear whether he had previously used it in combat. An unidentified assault rifle is wielded earlier in the series by Big Boss in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.

During the two year and three year anniversaries of Metal Gear Online, as well as the day of its shut down, all participating players were granted use of the Patriot.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

The Patriot in Peace Walker.

In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the Patriot can be developed from design specs held by Kazuhira Miller, which are obtained during the "Date with Kaz" Extra Op. The description also references its infinite ammunition, although with a notably different explanation for it: claiming that it was because The Boss left a piece of herself inside it. In terms of the overall mission order, not counting the Monster Hunter related missions, the Patriot is also the last weapon/item to be developed in the R&D menu. Its development requirements after unlocking the design specs are an R&D level of 99, the completion of the M16A1 (w/shotgun) rank 4, and a member of R&D with the "Patriot" skill.

Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater Pachislot

Pachislot "Battle Win" screen featuring the Patriot.

The Patriot reprises its story role in the Pachislot adaptation for Snake Eater and features as one of the "Battle Win" screens in the game's various modes.


Notes and references