We all have already probably seen many times how much damage does a hit from the different weapons found in Dark Forces. However, I think it gives a wrong impression about how strong are these weapons really, because it ignores the firing rate.

Of course, the overall firepower of a weapon is the amount of damage that the weapon can cause in a specified time. To get a right picture about every weapon's firepower, its blast power has to be multiplied with the firing rate. The same principle applies to the Earth Army weapons: the energy of a single UZI bullet is rather small in comparison to the other firearms, but UZI's devastating firepower comes from the high firing rate. I did the same calculations and measurements for the weapons in Dark Forces, and got some interesting results.

The single shot power was measured as a maximum measured shield loss when Kyle gets hit by it, so we can name that unit SD (Shield Damage). Here are those measured values, together with the measured approximated firing rates, for the weapons of interest:


Single shot damage Firing rate (/min)
Punch 18 SD 120
Mod. Bryar pistol 10 SD 120
Blaster rifle 10 SD 420
Imperial repeater (primary fire - 1 bullet) 10 SD 300
Imperial repeater (secondary - 3 bullets) 30 SD 117
Fusion cutter (primary fire - 1 bolt) 15 SD 250
Fusion cutter (secondary - 4 bolts) 60 SD 128
Mortar gun 40 SD 92
Concussion rifle 30 SD 78
Assault cannon 30 SD 252
Missile 60 SD 52

Now, if we multiply the single shot damage with the firing rate, we get the amount of shield damage that the specified weapon can cause in a burst of fire of a one minute duration. These amounts are a better, more realistic indicator of a weapon firepower. Here they are sorted:


Firepower (SD/min)
Fusion cutter (secondary - 4 bolts) 7680
Assault cannon 7560
Blaster rifle 4200
Fusion cutter 3750
Mortar gun 3680
Imperial repeater (secondary - 3 bullets) 3510
Missile 3120
Imperial repeater (primary fire - 1 bullet) 3000
Concussion rifle 2340
Punch 2160
Mod. Bryar pistol 1200

Of course, it is almost impossible to make all four bolts of a secondarily fired fusion cutter hit their target. The top rating of the assault cannon is not a big surprise, but the blaster rifle's bronze is, at least for me. Although it is sharing the last place with the pistol in the bolt power, thanks to 420 bolts per minute, it got the third place. From this viewpoint, its firepower is superior to both fusion cutter and imperial repeater!
For the missile, the mortar gun and the concussion rifle, the practical firepower is higher, as they can cause damage to multiple enemies simultaneously. We all know that the first place actually belongs to the concussion rifle which can easily clear a battalion of troopers in one blast (play the first level of "Prophecy" level pack :).

For those who are working on a Dark Forces FAQ, feel free to take any data from here.