“An advanced automatic shotgun. Fires steel ball shot in semi or full auto.” —Trader description
The AA12 (Auto-Assault 12) is the tier 3 weapon available for the Support specialist. The AA12 is a fully automatic combat shotgun with rate of fire and magazine size comparable to assault rifles, but which lacks in total magazines compared to assault rifles. It also has smaller spread than other shotguns and thus has a longer effective range. The high rate of fire and damage output is enough to kill a Fleshpound under most circumstances. The AA12 has the largest ammo reserve of the shotguns at 80 shells by default. The AA12's alt-fire option switches it to semi-automatic, which can be used to preserve ammunition. The AA12 has the lowest single shot damage of all four shotguns, however it has the highest rate of fire, DPS and second highest accuracy, making it a desirable choice for support specialists.
The Support Specialist perk gives bonuses and discounts for the AA-12.
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Price and ammunition
The AA-12 has a base cost of £4000, being one of the most expensive weapons. The support specialist perk offers discounts on this cost at intervals of £400 per level, to a current minimum price of £1200. The ammunition cost is £40 for one 20 round magazine; £160 for a full refill at the base level, and £208 at level 6.
AA12 comes loaded with 20 shells with 40 shells of 2 full drum mag at spare. Its maximum ammo pool is 80 shells, making it carry one loaded and 3 to spare at most without any perk bonuses. Support Specialist shotgun ammo carried bonus extends this ammo pool up to 104 shells, allowing Support Specialist to carry one magazine loaded with ammunition enough to fill 4 spare drum magazines.
AA-12 spreads 5 pellets per shot with each pellet dealing 30 damage with 1.5x headshot multiplier. With a very low 150 (base) damage per shot, the AA-12 isn't powerful when fired once; instead it boasts an extremely fast rate of fire to take down crowds or tough zeds. Along with its large drum magazine capacity of 20 shots, the AA-12 fires tightly spread pellets to help focusing damage to carve a path through crowds of specimen while providing hefty and stable DPS until magazine empties. Support Specialist gains damage bonus of 10%, adding 15 extra damage per 5 pellet buckshot up to a maximum of 90 extra damage by level 6, granting 240 damage per shot to AA-12.
Being magazine loaded, it shares initial 75% pierce efficiency and 3 additional target pierces behind first target of other magazine loaded shotguns such as HSG-1 and Vlad the Impaler. At its base value, each target pierced cause pellets to lose 25% damage which is reduced by Support Specialist perk bonuses down to 2% damage loss per target. For the recoil spread value and fire rate, it shares the same 0.2 second shot delay and 1125 unit radius spread at maximum distance per shot with Combat shotgun; approximately 12.5% larger spread than standard Shotgun.
Before the reload, it can deal up to 3000 damage over the course of 3.8 seconds that scores 789 damage per second from up close and losing efficiency as distance grows due pellet spread. Considering 3.133 seconds reload time, after the reload this huge burst reduce down to 432 damage per second over the course of 6.933 seconds. At the hands of level 6 Support Specialist it barely deals 4800 damage from bodyshots at full efficiency making it 1263.15 damage per second before reload and 692.34 damage after reload. By sheer headshots, AA-12 has the potential of dealing up to 7200 damage at the hands of a level 6 Support Specialist on paper but its wide recoil, kickback on the move and loose spread at distance leaves huge margin for error.
- While the AA12 is capable of fully automatic fire, this is rarely required. Using the semi-automatic fire mode will help conserve ammunition and allow it to be used as an efficient crowd control weapon with the freedom of switching back to tackle heavier specimens, such as the Scrake. Semi-auto usually considered to allow specimen to come abit closer between well paced shots to chew through the lot of them when magazine is running low before a weapon switch.
- The AA12 is accurate for a shotgun, so aiming for the head is effective with 1.5x headshot multiplier. If facing a combinated attack, it's wise to trace the big specimen's chest level to sweep clear behind them then focus on their head or center mass if desperate. When facing a big speciment strafing to the sides for quick fake to go the other way around would give you a small opportunity for a clear sightline.
- Being a shotgun, the AA12 still benefits from the Support specialist's penetration bonus, so lining up several specimens helps conserve ammo. Pierce ability not only help about stacking small specimen kills but combined with tight spread it offers longer effective range to eliminate medium threats such as Husk and Siren from a corner hold safely. Stray single specimen that steer away from the lined up group of specimen however, has to be picked out by a reliable sidearm to manage ammo.
- At higher levels of the Support specialist perk, it is possible to carry any other shotgun in combination with the AA12, allowing the player to adapt their shotgun usage to the situation while also carrying an additionaly sidearm. At low mid levels by level 2, it's only possible to carry HSG-1 with AA12; by level 3 Support gains the capacity of carrying a middle weight of 8 kilogram shotgun with any heavy shotgun such as AA12 or Hunting shotgun only.
- On higher difficulties, the damage figures of an AA12 drum magazine alone is not enough to take down a Fleshpound or a Scrake. If left with no other options, the AA12 can be used to tenderize a fraction of a large specimen's health before a quick weapon switch for a bigger finishing spike. However, the AA12 should generally be used for eliminating large groups of smaller specimens when the team is on the verge of being overwhelmed. AA12 at high difficulties always should be paired by a weapon switch combo for the burst. Else it should be focused at big specimen's throat after a few pre-damaging shots from another shotgun before switching to AA12 and dumping it.
- Scrake can easily be killed by AA12 if most of the shots focused on its head. Easier way to achieve this without enraging Scrake to get retaliation is flinching the Scrake first by some melee tool like Katana or Fire axe alt-fire heavy swings or Machete alt-fire jab at its face, else Lever-action rifle headshot capable to cancel its chainsaw swing from up close. After Scrake got denied from his initial chainsaw swing, player can crouch and uppercut Scrake with about 7-8 shots to its chin from AA12 to kill him safely. When sufficiently leveled for the difficulty, without any flinch, AA12 still can finish the Scrake but required shots amount may grow to 10-15 shots due spread, and it must be precisely aimed at its head from a safe distance as it enrages.
- An entire AA12 magazine won't be enough to kill a Fleshpound at Hell on Earth difficulty with high player counts alone with their 50% innate resistance to most conventional weapons. AA12's highest damage potential being 4800 at most from bodyshots, halving this damage means Fleshpound will catch up to you while you're reloading in no time after enduring the entire magazine. At times of desperation, pace two seconds between 1-2 AA12 single bodyshots before dumping AA12 at Fleshpound's head as much as you can as he's enraging, then score a few more shots to amber core as he runs towards then swiftly switch to another shotgun for a bursting finish off. This should deal immense damage if not kill him outright, just it wastes almost entire magazine while you can use it to clear masses of specimen or waste less ammo.
- Fleshpound can be enraged on top of stacked grenades with pre-damage. Shoot one AA12 shot to its center mass, toss a nade then immediately shoot once again to stack two more grenades as he enrages. From medium distance you may try to have a clear sight first to shoot once, stack 2 grenades around FP then shoot 3 more shots from AA12 to enrage it and toss another grenade. When first grenade go off, they will explode in a chain to deal massive burst to Fleshpound and anything close by. Rest of the magazine can be used to sweep clear behind Fleshpound and kill him if he were to survive the tripple grenade stack at high player counts and difficulties. As range between player and Fleshpound grows larger, try to squeeze more than one shot between tossing grenades to stack them.
- If Fleshpound followed by a Siren or just peeked around the corner, it's better for Support Specialist to observe or sweep first instead of directly engage at Fleshpound directly. Siren scream can exterminate grenades if she's not kept busy with sustained gunfire to distract her or tap fired to deny her scream as she nods. When Fleshpounds appear around corner positions, Support Specialist either have to wait for a teammate to adapt for a role of sweeper or takedown else he will have to lose ground while observing following spawns and slowly or try to align her with Fleshpound to dispatch the lot of them in one fell swoop. When Fleshpound appears from a corner, a cautious emergency grenade behind the Fleshpound before engaging in, might help you to stagnate the pillowed spawns or give you a clue about any presence of a Siren.
- A Commando, Berserker or a Firebug killing Siren for you, means you can takedown Fleshpound with less hassle; but if the helping teammate is a Sharpshooter or another Support Specialist, your role depends on the encounter. Other Support Specialist or Sharpshooter teammate may choose to takedown Fleshpound which leaves you to sweep the pillowed specimen behind it without going too close guns blaring near the soon to be enraged Fleshpound. They will be attracted to the gun noise as they finish their enraged shriek.
- If nobody is there to sweep for the Support Specialist against a combinated attack, to take the matter at own hands, you can try to shoot around the Fleshpound to sweep Gorefast and other trash while cutting the crowd for killing Siren at distance. To be safe, shots can be paced for giving three step moves to the Fleshpound between shots as you may deal some chip damage by mistake. If desperate and there's still distance between Fleshpound and Siren a single nade toss aimed right behind FP to reset its sight enrage timer and make Fleshpound give way for clear sightline to Siren. In case Siren is just behind the Fleshpound, same scenery could play but you will only have time to toss two grenades total at most, as you will be forced to get rid of Siren from your stray fire before you throw the second grenade.
- While the AA-12 is certainly a powerful weapon, it still suffers from the down fall all shotguns have - spread at range. At 50 feet, the AA-12 is rendered almost useless and has a lengthy reload time of over 3 seconds. Therefore, it is wise to carry a secondary, long range weapon such as the MK23, lever-action or Single Piston Long Musket for purposes of clearing trash, picking off long ranged threats like Husks and flinching Scrakes respectively.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Very high rate of fire and damage per second;
- Smaller spread than other shotguns;
- Cheapest shotgun ammo at £2 per shot;
- Only loses 25% damage per pierce at base offperk;
- Onperk damage loss of 2% per pierce won't mitigate its pellet damage much;
- Excellent sweeper against a large crowd;
- Can pierce and damage up to 4 targets total;
- Large drum magazine capacity;
- Fastest reload per shell loaded of any shotgun.
- Very expensive at £1200 minimum with perk bonuses;
- Heavy, at 10 blocks;
- Low pellet damage is punishing at range due random spread;
- Less pellet count spread with each shot;
- Kickback control required for sustaining fire rate;
- Low ammo pool even with extend perk bonuses;
- Slow magazine reload, a fraction of a second faster than HSG-1;
- Damage per second suffers from the lengthy magazine reloads;
- Cannot cancel reload like the pump-action Shotgun or Combat shotgun.
The weapon is the Atchisson Auto Assault-12 gauge (AA-12) with a 20-round drum magazine.
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