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 succeeded, The Boss gave the Patriot to her successor, Big Boss.



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

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. It 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.


Operation Snake Eater

See also: Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater

Naked Snake was given the Patriot after defeating The Boss at Rokovoj Bereg, where he used it to eliminate her. He carried it with him back to the United States, where he laid it upon The Boss's grave in respect. It was also the only one of Snake's gear to return to the United States with him, due to Ocelot throwing out his backpack when confronting Snake on the WIG.

Guns of the Patriots Incident

See also: Liquid Sun, Solid Sun, Third Sun, Twin Suns, Old Sun, and Naked Sin/Naked Son

Fifty years later, after the events of the Guns of the Patriots Incident, Big Boss appears before Old Snake in the same cemetery, holding the Patriot with one hand (although he did not fire it).

Behind the scenes


Big Boss holding the Patriot for the final time.

Because of Big Boss carrying the Patriot in the ending of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, as well as the gun Big Boss used in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, upon close inspection, resembled the Patriot, it has then been speculated that Big Boss used the Patriot during Zanzibar Land.

Shortly after Naked Snake gained the Patriot from The Boss upon defeating her, he says "A Patriot?" in reference to the gun, implying that there was more than one Patriot in existence besides the one The Boss used. On the other hand, Sigint mentioned in a radio call regarding the Patriot that it was one-of-a-kind.

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


Patriot menu icon in Metal Gear Solid 3.

"The Patriot. An assault pistol developed for The Boss. Uses 5.56mm x 45 ammunition. The feeder mechanism inside the drum magazine forms an "∞" shape. Weight: 1.5kg."
―Patriot description in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

After completing Metal Gear Solid 3, beginning a new game on the same difficulty causes the Patriot to appear in Naked Snake's backpack. Calling Sigint with the weapon equipped causes him to ask where Naked Snake got it (since The Boss is still alive and using the Patriot). Snake tells Sigint not to worry about "the details." In-game, the Patriot has infinite ammo and never needs to be reloaded, which, according to Naked Snake, was due to the shape of the internal feed mechanism (∞).

The Patriot handles very similarly to the XM16E1; however, it is lighter, slightly silenced, 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

"A hand rifle, and the primary weapon The Boss used against Snake when he was dispatched to assassinate her"
―Patriot description in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
The Patriot can be used by Old Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4 after unlocking it by 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.

In Metal Gear Online, during the two year and three year anniversaries of the game, as well as the day of its shut down, all Metal Gear Online players participating in the anniversary event also gained the use of the Patriot.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

"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. Weight: 2.5kg."
―Patriot description in Metal Gear Solid: 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

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Aside from it reprising its story role in the Pachislot adaptation for Snake Eater, it was also used as one of the icons for a battle being won during its various modes.


Notes and references