RPG vs. SMAW – Which is the Best Rocket Launcher? – Battlefield 4 (BF4)


Hi YouTube, Darth Here: I’ve done a few videos now talking about
armor and effectiveness of various armor loadouts. But what about if you’re the infantry on
the ground? A couple of you were wondering about a specific matchup between two popular
direct-fire launchers: the RPG and the SMAW. In this video, I’ll talk about the stats,
benefits, and occasions where I might use the RPG over the SMAW and vice-versa. First, let’s look at some numbers for the
two weapons. The RPG is billed as the “Powerful rocket-propelled Anti-Vehicle launcher capable
of disabling even heavily armored vehicles from the sides and rear.” While the SMAW is “High speed, low drag
Anti-Vehicle launcher with flatter trajectory but lower damage than the RPG-7V2. Most effective
against the sides and rear of armored targets.” And for the most part, they live up to their
descriptions. So let’s look at the damage numbers first. The RPG does 225 direct damage and 112 splash
damage. The SMAW does 200 direct damage and 112 splash damage. So the RPG has a slight
edge in direct damage and both do identical splash damage. For the RPG, a direct 90-degree shot will
do up to 28 percent damage to the front of a tank, 35 percent to the side, and 55 percent
to the rear. The SMAW will do up to 24 percent damage to the front of a tank, 30 percent
to the side, and 48 percent to the rear. Keep in mind that these values are greatly
affected by the angle of a soldier’s shot on the armored vehicle. The greater the difference
from 90 degrees, the less the damage. So the minimums are quite a bit different. Particularly
on tanks where armor is the thickest in front. However, against an Infantry Fighting Vehicle,
the launchers are not affected by which side is hit, all damage is treated the same. A
direct 90-degree RPG shot will do up to 38 percent damage to the front, sides, and rear
of an IFV. The maximum for the SMAW on each side is 34 percent damage. The minimums are
the similar to tanks. Now, there is a definite key distinction between
the SMAW and the RPG when it comes to armor. It’s all about light criticals and heavy
criticals. Criticals slow or completely stop a vehicle for ten seconds. A light critical
will slow the armored vehicle to its crawl speed, while a heavy critical will immobilize
it. This is where the RPG has a definite advantage. Against a tank, per shot, it takes 29 percent
damage to inflict a light critical, and 39 percent damage to inflict a heavy critical.
If the tank has reactive armor, it is 5-to-10 percent more damage required. With reactive,
it then becomes 39 percent for a light critical and 44 percent for a heavy critical, fully
disabling it for ten seconds. IFVs have the same thresholds. That’s a lot of numbers to keep track of.
The real difference is on tanks. What it comes down to is this: RPGs deliver more criticals
at wider angles than the SMAW. If the tank has reactive armor, it is more difficult with
a SMAW to light critical a tank with a side-shot. Additionally, the number of rounds to kill
a tank is 2-to-4 for an RPG, and 3-to-5 for a SMAW. That translates at least into one
additional reload time. Against the IFV and MAA, the two launchers
are a bit more evenly matched. Neither launcher can inflict a heavy critical against the IFV.
If the IFV or MAA has reactive armor, it is mathematically impossible to inflict any kind
of critical using the direct-fire launchers. That’s because the threshold for a light
critical is 39 percent damage, and at most the RPG does 38, and the SMAW does even less.
The RPG requires 3-5 rockets to kill an IFV, while the SMAW requires 3-6. Now let’s talk about splash damage. Both
launchers do 112 damage and that’s just enough to kill infantry. This damage starts
falling off at .35 meters and stops completely at 4 meters. So in order to get a killshot
on infantry, you need to land your rocket within .75 meters of an enemy on normal. On
hardcore, this tolerance increases to about 2 meters. What the SMAW lacks in damage, it makes up
for in speed and acceleration. The RPG starts at 30 meters-per-second and reaches a maximum
velocity of 80 meters-per-second in roughly 1.25 seconds. The SMAW starts at 40 meters-per-second,
and it accelerates faster, to its maximum velocity is quite a bit higher at 110 meters-per-second,
which it reaches in about 1.5 seconds. The SMAW can hit distant targets much faster than
the RPG, and there’s another advantage as well: the drop. The RPG drops at a rate more than twice that
of the SMAW. Because the RPG’s flight time is longer than the SMAW, it also drops significantly
more while traveling to the target. For the most part, you can point and shoot very distant
targets with the SMAW and not have to elevate your fire very much. On the other hand, because
the RPG is slow and drops substantially, you have to lead and compensate for gravity quite
a bit with the RPG. In attempting to get footage for this video,
I ended up shaving quite a few hairs off the tops of the heads of infantry as I’m much
more accustomed to the drop of the RPG than the SMAW. The two launchers are nearly identical in
terms of reload. With the SMAW clocking in at an even 5 seconds and the RPG at 4.8 seconds.
In reality, the difference here is less than 5%, so unless you’re spamming the fire button
as quickly as possible, you’re not going to see the big difference. As an engineer,
I find I’m repositioning and going for cover so often between shots that a .2 second difference
isn’t going to mean much. But one place I did notice a difference in
my limited testing was in quick-swapping to save some reload time. Quick-swapping in this
sense means changing to a secondary to cut down on the reload animation time. You can shave some time off the RPG reload
time. To do this, once you see the number in the bottom right corner change from a zero
to a 1, quickly swap to another weapon and then back again to be able to fire your launcher
faster. On the RPG, I noticed about a 250ms to 400ms reduction in time to get a round
off. With the SMAW and swapping, I saw either no benefit or a very small penalty to the
reload time. Honestly, this is such a gimmick, and so rarely useful that most players won’t
find any benefit to hyperfocusing on the timing as opposed to battlefield awareness. RPG vs. SMAW
So then which is the better launcher? I think it depends on the map, the player, and the
situation. In general, I prefer to use the RPG on conquest because it delivers more damage
to armor, and if you can get accustomed to the drop and speed disadvantages, it’s quite
a bit more potent. With the SMAW, you pretty well give up on slowing tanks without near-perfect
shots, and you become significantly less threatening to IFVs. The RPG is particularly effective
on city maps where the short ranges don’t really play well to the speed advantages of
the SMAW. However, on large conquest maps with wide-open
areas, I think the SMAW becomes much more of a viable option. Particularly because of
its speed and very low drop. I find that without a bit of luck, the RPG just doesn’t hold
up at long range on a moving target. With the SMAW, you’ll have that disadvantage
against armor, but the speed makes up for it on these maps. Another place where the SMAW shines is when
used against aerial targets, particularly helicopters. Because it’s a tad bit faster
than the RPG, and it flies straighter, the SMAW is a better point-and-shoot utility for
downing particularly annoying whirlybirds. Combine with the AA mine for a nice disable-shootdown
combination. Finally, if you’re playing an engineer on
TDM, the SMAW is going to be a slightly better choice than the RPG. The fast SMAW is more
difficult to get out of the way of than the RPG. Because they both have the same splash
and radius, it really is just about delivering accurate damage to a target. That’s it for this video about the RPG and
SMAW. What’s your favorite? Let me know in the comments below. If you’re new around
here, please check out my channel and consider subscribing. As always, thanks for watching,
and I’ll see you next time, YouTube.

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