The Weird Ways Games Use Calibers – Loadout

While Call of Duty 4’s iconic Barrett anti-materiel rifle and the loud, flashy Desert Eagle are each 50 caliber, in terms of firing them in our video games, they’re very totally different. With the assistance of Keeper of Firearms & Artillery, Jonathan Ferguson, we’ve come to the Royal Armouries museum within the UK to seek out out what caliber means, and what it tells us concerning the digital firearms we’re carrying into multiplayer arenas.

In this episode of Loadout, Dave Jewitt visits the Royal Armouries to speak to Keeper of Firearms & Artillery Jonathan Ferguson to talk about how video games deal with the subject of calibers – the large, the small, and the bizarre.

You can take a look at extra episodes of Loadout proper right here. –

You can take a look at our Firearms Expert Reacts collection right here. –

If you are curious about seeing extra of Jonathan’s work, you’ll be able to take a look at extra from the Royal Armouries proper right here. –

If you wish to assist the Royal Armouries, you may make a charitable donation to the museum right here. –


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  1. I had a lot of fun exploring the rabbit holes that researching calibers in video games took me through, and I hope you all enjoy the video as well!

    Like always, thanks for watching and supporting Loadout so far. I look forward to reading everyone's thoughts in the comments, but you can nudge me directly on Twitter @IrregularDave if you want to chat there too.

    I hope we managed to do the details justice on this one…even if I had to spell "calibers" the American way….


  2. I was always a fan of one of the background details in ARMA 3 regarding the standard issue rifle in that, and how the new 6.5mm cartridge became NATO standard. Off the top of my head I think it was for both reasons of ballistics as well as countering recent advances in body armour in ARMA 3's near future setting.

  3. 10mm Auto is roughly on par with .357 magnum, yet games like Fallout and Deus Ex seem to treat it like a .40 S&W and 7.62×51 as .30 carbine. I'm not sure if the weapon archetype comes first and they fit a real thing in or if they assign arbitrary values to these real things. I think one of the real issues is that health is treated as a binary value. You can be fit as a fiddle until you hit 0 because they can't be bothered to integrate wounding systems into the health values, it's usually a separate KO value only used for less-than-lethal weapons.

  4. Another weird thing that games do with calibers it’s making it a single type of ammunition for type of gun, like in Resident Evil games, where you have handgun ammo that fits all pistols, but SMG ammo it’s another type, even when it was supposed to be the same caliber.

  5. It gets more confusing in reality when firearms can either be rechambered for other sized cartridges, like a “Colt .45” firing 9mm Parabellum, or can use multiple cartridges, like a .357 revolver can also fire .38 Special cartridges. Or when you have different names for the same cartridge, like the .380 ACP is sometimes also called 9mm Short.

    Or even worse when you start into talking about the caliber of a tank gun or artillery piece where the caliber isn’t just the bore diameter but is the barrel length expressed as a multiple of the bore diameter. So for example the famous “88” mounted on the Tiger tank was 88 L/56 caliber, so the barrel was 4928mm long.

  6. I really like that for some reason Gamespot (and IGN) have started squeezing in some real-world info related to games, it's like you've heard of X, why not know the full (real-life) story anyway. Good job

  7. Once again, Fallout 4 mod to the rescue!
    Caliber Complex and the associated patches add every caliber….not some….ALL of them….even obscure tool room cartridges you've never heard of plus patches every weapon…even mod weapons to use them.
    It makes the game into Tarkov!

  8. Gamespot….you're doing something right here with these in depth firearm videos. Please continue this and find more topics to discuss and explain, mainly because lots of gamers are very ignorant to firearms, ballistics, calibers, etc. Informing more players of the correct info is key, especially the long debated clip vs magazine argument….and yes they are two different things to those who don't know.

  9. Alright Gamespot, hear me out.
    You now have two amazing series on this channel, obviously, the Weapon Expert React, and this, the Loadout.

    You need a brand new series, and sadly, these two series are all just about Weapon, and revolve around Royal Armories.

    I suggest you make a series called
    "Game Revisited" where you guys went full journalist mode about games throughout the year.
    Recalling old games like Why Twisted Metal was so popular back in early 20s, Guitar Hero, any recent games too, etc.
    Make 12 minutes fun and informative videos ala Vox videos or Business Insiders about games.

  10. I've been so desensitized by common calibers and cartridges that only 20mm anti-tank rifles, the higher end of the Nitro Express series, even selfloading artillery pieces can get a kick out of me now.

  11. A small clarification – kinetic energy is .5(mass)(velocity)^2. This means that an increase in velocity will increase kinetic energy much more than a proportional increase in mass. Ballistics are much more complex than just kinetic energy of course, but this is a quick illustration of the importance of velocity.

  12. Trying to be ultra-realistic with firearms is almost never a good idea for video games. Real-world guns are not built with "balance" in mind. They're built to excel and render each other obsolete, ideally. In a video game, that would be a problem because it would artificially limit players' weapon selection. Guns need to be balanced against each other, offering benefits and drawbacks such that ideally most if not all are worth using. Not everyone will use all the guns, but every gun should have some kind of use.

  13. This series has proved popular. May I suggest some cross over series. Such as fighter pilots reviewing planes and space ships in video games. A professional race car driver reviewing cars, in not only racing games, but games like GTA.

  14. I’ve always checked out of a game when .50BMG to the chest was survivable. I don’t care what kind of vest you have on, if you’re wearing anything short of an armored vehicle on your person you’re going down. 🤷🏻‍♂️

  15. You may want to consider not using the term "assault rifle" in future videos. For us in the US it is more of an "evil" made up term that our government is using to erode our 2nd Amendment rights.

  16. Huh, for some reason I always though Fallout's 10mm was supposed to be .45 ACP, just by a different name — although it's arguably meant to be more powerful than that even though the latter is actually ~11mm.

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