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Weapon Review -- the P90

PainMan356 February 10, 2010 User blog:PainMan356

So I've decided to write my own reviews of certain weapons found in the Campaign and Special Ops modules (?) of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Once I play the Multi-Player version, I'll adjust my reviews. The observations are based entirely on my own experiences in playing the game. I've been playing FPS games for more than a decade so I hope my experience is found to be valulable by other players. I welcome all polite, intelligent comments/discussion.


My favorite carbine, it not only has a high cyclical rate of fire (900 RPM) but a huge magazine capacity for a relatively small weapon, 50 rounds. It's bullpup configuration, i.e. the clip is behind the trigger, allowing for a smaller weapon without reducing the length of the barrel. This design also allows the clip to be integrated into the weapon, reducing the need for a bulky and inconvenient exterior attachment (e.g. the Thompson SMG's and PPSh-41's 50 round drums). It's unique look makes me wonder why it has never been used in a science fiction movie. It would require little or no "gussying" up, much in the way George Lucas chose the Sterling SMG for the Star Wars movies for the Stormstroopers' standard weapon. (By contrast, the Mark 10 in James Cameron's Aliens is a Thompson SMG hidden inside an elaborate plastic housing.

Unfortunately, it is not very common, usually found only a few times on a level. And, unless you find an Ammo Drop, conservation of ammo is a necessity. The high rate of fire (as compared to the slower rates of the M4 and AK-47 and others) can burn off a clip very quickly. The trigger is sensitive enough to allow firing one round or short bursts, making its big mag very useful. It also cuts down on the need for frequent Tactical Reloading (i.e. replacing a clip before its empty, this is considered "best practice" in actual combat as it ensures that a soldier has a full magazine when he's most likely to need it, a sudden ambush, an attack on a small room, a swarm attack, etc) which is common with more standard sized mags, 25, 30, 32 rounds.

However, if you find a fully-loaded, or can re-up, this weapon serves very well in both close quarters fighting (especially in the Special Ops "Suspension" mission) and medium range shooting. The recoil/sway is mild and it fires well from the hip. Nearly every one that I've found has had a Red Dot laser site; in fact I've yet to find one without it.

The maker, Fabrique National (also the maker of the SCAR-H rifles and the M240, made an unusual move and developed an entirely new bullet for the rifle, the 5.7mm. Its purpose is to defeat body armor, something it is reported to do well. Although this is nowhere mentioned in the game, it easily penetrates body armor, unlike some other rifles, the SCAR-H for example, which in my experience usually requires 5 to 15 rounds to kill my target. The lethality of the 5.7mm round reduces the need for head shots or multiple rounds. Both of which, obviously, are real advantages in pitched fire-fights. All of this further enhances the advantage of the large capacity clip.

The one real drawback to this design is the slightly longer time it takes to reload the P90, requiring the user, in a heavy fighting, to find cover or switch weapons; tho' it takes nowhere near as long to reload as do the belt-fed weapons.

Since Juggernauts do not appear in the "Suspension" mission, I haven't had a chance to test it against their body armor to see if it is truly effective against a heavily armored opponent. I'm hoping it will provide an alternative to the M240, the only weapon that I've found can consistently bring down a Juggernaut at close range (tho' the Intervention sniper rifle will kill them at longer distances, it's manual bolt action makes it essentially useless when a Juggernaut has closed to within a dozen meters or so, or other hostiles at point blank range).

It is also unfortunate that the P90 is never found with an ACOG site. Though in life the weapon has no mounting for third-party sites, it can be fitted with FN's own optical or infrared laser sites, this is hardly relevant in a computer game. I hope to find it, in later Spec Ops missions, and multi-player, fitted with just such third-party sites or even scopes. (If this isn't the case, please let me discover this for myself!)

I wish this weapon were more plentifully found, as it would be my weapon of choice.

Grade: A-


  • Large magazine capacity -- a good compromise between the speed of changing small sized clips and belt-fed weapons.
  • Need for frequent Tactical Reloading is reduced because of 50 round capacity.
  • Sensitive trigger easily allowing for single shots or (small) burst firing.
  • Very minimal sway or recoil, thus keeping the weapon on target is easy.
  • High lethality, often making kills, even at distance, with few or one shot. Easily sets vehicles on fire.
  • Penetrates armor easily. (As noted, I've yet to test it against a Juggernaut.
  • Every one I've found has had the Red Dot laser site attached.


  • A rarity in Campaign mode and unavailable in some Spec Ops missions.
  • Large capacity mags mean ammo must be husbanded, especially since discarded weapons often have fewer than the 300 round maximum.
  • Somewhat slower magazine replacement time, requiring some forethought as to where reloading will take place as well as keeping an eye on the remaining amount of ammunition during a firefight.
  • Lacks any sites except for Red Dot laser.

Its maker Fabrique National Herstal, or FN, (the same company that makes the SCAR-H rifles and the M240 light machine gun, among other weapons used by the US military) calls it a "Personal Defense Weapon" and was designed, as its bullpup configuration demonstrates, to be used by personnel not normally expected to engage in combat--a distinction now almost as meaningless as front lines as has been made manifest in the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan--or in situations where its small form factor is useful.

The company also designed a pistol which takes the same 5.7mm round. At least one authority is of the opinion that the round is not very effective when used in the pistol.

For detailed technical information, see its webpage at FN's website:

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