|'Mech type||Inner Sphere BattleMech|
|Chassis||Kallon Type IV|
|Communications System||Garret T11-A|
|Targeting Tracking System||Garret D2j|
|Heat Sinks||10 single|
The definitive anti-aircraft 'Mech, the Rifleman was first fielded in 2505, making it among the earliest 'Mechs ever built. Designed as a medium fire-support platform, the Rifleman was plagued with a variety of problems since its debut and was ill-suited as a front-line combatant. However, its combination of long-ranged weaponry, including rapid-fire autocannons, and its excellent targeting and tracking system ensured it would remain a viable battlefield unit through half a millennium of combat.
Kallon Industries built the first RFL-1N Rifleman for the Hegemony Armed Forces, but chronic overheating problems forced a return to the drawing boards, with an improved RFL-2N introduced fifty years later. Kallon's engineers still believed the 'Mech suffered too much from overheating, and tried to fix the problem with the definitive RFL-3N by replacing some of its heat-intensive energy weapons with autocannons. Although a marked improvement, the engineers were still not satisfied with the end result and tried to produce a 'Mech which would address the issues of heat management, protection and endurance which continued to plague the Rifleman. Their response, the JagerMech, featured several improvements over the older 'Mech but did not wholly replace it, instead complementing it whenever the two served in the same unit together.
With the collapse of the Star League and start of the Succession Wars, the Rifleman was scattered amongst the militaries of the Successor States. House Davion fielded the largest concentration of Riflemen and used them to good effect in their battles with House Kurita. Unfortunately, combat losses increasingly forced many Riflemen to be deployed directly on the front-lines, where their deficiencies in close combat against similar-mass 'Mechs was apparent. After the recovery of the Helm Memory Core, rediscovered lostech was used in an attempt to improve upon the venerable Rifleman, with manufacturers deploying a number of new variants around the time of the Clan Invasion.
By the time of the FedCom Civil War, new prototypes of Rifleman variants were still being worked on, but the aging 'Mech had since acquired a poor reputation due to its weak protection and bad heat management. The 'Mech experienced something of a revival though when Kallon's factory on the moon Talon was subjected to a blockade by the 7th FedCom RCT, disrupting production of the newer JMS-7 JagerMech. The company brought up their experimental RFL-8D Rifleman to full-scale production as just a temporary measure, but the improved 'Mech wound up being fielded by both Loyalist and Allied forces during the civil war. Additional variants were introduced since then, with both the Free Worlds League and Word of Blake making use of advanced Riflemen during the Jihad.
Weapons and Equipment
The Rifleman's focus on fire-support and anti-aircraft work dictated a heavy load of long-range weapons to the exclusion of everything else. It carried a particularly heavy battery of two Magna Mk. III Large Lasers paired with two Imperator-A medium autocannons, one of each mounted in each arm. Two Magna Mk. II medium lasers were split between the side torsos to provide backup. One ton of autocannon ammunition was carried in the center torso, enough for short, sharp engagements but not enough for extended periods of combat. The 'Mech's ten heat sinks were grossly inadequate for constant fire, but in an anti-aircraft role, the Rifleman was expected to have time to dissipate heat while the target aircraft turned for its next pass.
The Rifleman suffered from a miserly amount of armoring - just seven and a half tons total - with its rear torso particularly thin. It also lacked hand or lower-arm actuators, hampering it in a melee confrontation, and was not particularly fast, with a cruising speed of 43.2 km/h. When operating in its intended role of providing overwatch for other 'Mechs, these deficiencies were not terribly noticeable, and it could still overpower lighter opponents by dint of its size. These drawbacks did mean that a commander would only commit their Riflemen in a head-on confrontation with heavy enemy forces as a last resort.
An exceptional piece of electronics, the Garret D2j targeting-tracking system allowed the Rifleman to maintain an accurate lock on swift-moving aerial targets and achieve excellent accuracy. The Garret T11-A was equally impressive as a communications system, although its distinctive wing-shaped design tended to draw the enemy's attention...and their fire.
The Rifleman was limited to turning its torso 40° to either side, seemingly presenting a significant blind-spot in the rear to exploit. However, its ability to flip its arms over and use those weapons to target enemies behind it presented a nasty surprise for an enemy attempting to come up and engage the 'Mech from the rear.
- The first production version of the Rifleman weighed fifty tons and used primitive technology. Each arm carried a single large laser and medium laser. It was protected by eleven and a half tons of Primitive Armor and used a primitive engine to reach a top speed of 64 km/h. Though it served in the Reunification War, this version of the Rifleman was usually used by militia and second line forces thereafter. BV (2.0) = 931
- Introduced in 2556, this version replaced the primitive components with standard armor and engine. The freed space and weight allowed engineers to fit in sixteen heat sinks. The large lasers were removed from the arms and replaced by PPCs, while two more medium lasers were added, one in each side torso. Production of this model continued until the RFL-3N was introduced. BV (2.0) = 1,093
- The second of two variants designed by Hanse Davion and debuting in 3026, the 3C removes the large lasers and autocannon/5s in order to mount a pair of Autocannon/10s in their place and add an extra ton of armor. Two tons of ammunition for the larger autocannons were carried in the right torso. BV (1.0) = 860; BV (2.0) = 1,066
- The 4D was the first of two variants designed by Hanse Davion; introduced in 3021, it was intended to compete with the heavier Warhammer. It replaced the autocannon/5s with PPCs and removed the medium lasers, using the freed-up weight to mount five extra heat sinks. In spite of the extra heat sinks, this model suffered from significant overheat problems. BV (1.0) = 869; BV (2.0) = 1,173
- Effectively a flawed compromise combination of the RFL-3C's armor profile, the RFL-5M's weaponry and a larger Vlar 300 XL from the Clanbuster cache, the RFL-5CS was hurriedly developed for the Battle of Tukayyid by ComStar. An attempt to enhance the Rifleman's endurance, the RFL-5CS's higher speed of 86 km/h allows it to more easily redeploy, where the swap to Imperator Ultra Autocannon/5s and an extra ton of reloads keep it in the fight longer, ten double heat sinks able to deal with the heat generated by the UAC/5 and the retained Large Lasers. While highly successful if properly supported and screened by short-ranged escorts, unfortunately only a modest increase of armor and removal of any supporting weaponry meant that isolated RFL-5CSs became easy prey for targeted fire against their arms or headhunter Elemental teams. BV (2.0) = 1,303
- A recovered-technology version of the RFL-4D, the 5D was introduced in 3050 for the Federated Commonwealth. Based on the earlier 4D, it replaces the PPCs with Defiance 1001 ER PPC models and restores the original model's medium lasers to the side torsos. A 240-rated XL engine was used to free up weight for the mounting of seventeen double heat sinks and an increase in armor protection to nine tons. Production of this model was taken up by Kallon Industries on Talon, Trellshire Industries on Twycross and Red Devil Industries on Pandora. BV (1.0) = 1,115; BV (2.0) = 1,395
- The 5M is another product of the Gray Death Memory Core technology boon, built by Kallon Industries at Thermopolis for the Free Worlds League. Introduced in 3049, it retained the same energy weapons as the original 3N but replaced the standard autocannons with Imperator Ultra models; though the ammunition load remained a single ton, it was moved to the right torso and protected by CASE. Twelve double heat sinks were mounted and another ton of Kallon Royalstar armor was carried. The free weight for all these changes was created by the use of a Hermes 240 XL engine. One thing which wasn't replaced however were the Garret comms and targeting systems. BV (1.0) = 1,062; BV (2.0) = 1,227
- This production model of the 6X introduced in 3069 replaces the Small Lasers with a head-mounted C3 slave to aid it in targeting. It leaves everything else except for the autocannon intact. They are replaced with a pair of Mydron Snakekiller light autocannon/5s in each arm. Each arm is fed by three-ton ammunition bins, each of which are protected by CASE. The large ammunition bins allow a variety of ammunition types to be used. BV (2.0) = 1,274
- The 6X was another experimental design by Kallon's Talon plant, intended as a fast-response anti-aircraft 'Mech and introduced in 3063. Its top speed was increased to 86 km/h through the use of a larger XL engine and its chassis replaced in favor of an Endo Steel model. It carried dual LB 10-X autocannons with four tons of ammunition, paired with ER Medium, and ER Small Lasers. The jump jets and one heat sink are removed. BV (1.0) = 1,275; BV (2.0) = 1,464
- Developed for the Free Worlds League, this model carries a Silver Bullet Gauss Rifle in each arm. The torso mounted ER medium lasers remain. Each Silver Bullet has a ton of ammunition available. To make room and weight for these weapons, the 'Mech has an Endo Steel skeleton and an XL engine. BV (2.0) = 1,302
- A Project Phoenix model built by Vicore Industries and introduced in 3066 by Kallon, the 7M was intended to act as a long-range sniper unit. It was armed with two Light Gauss Rifles, six ER medium lasers, a small laser, and a Guardian ECM suite. Both the Blakists and the Free Worlds League used this Rifleman to provide protection to their command units. BV (1.0) = 1,166; BV (2.0) = 1,521
- This Rifleman carries an ER Large Laser and LB 5-X in each arm, supplemented by the typical torso mounted ER medium lasers. Thirteen double heat sinks are fitted into the XL engine and the Endo Steel frame. Two tons of LB-X ammunition is carried in a CASE II protected bay in the right torso. BV (2.0) = 1,398
- This variant was produced during the Jihad as a field refit kit. Using an Endo Steel chassis, XL Gyro, and XL engine allowed designers to increase the top speed to 97 km/h and include six jump jets. Light Ferro-Fibrous armor protects the 'Mech, while each arm mounts a Light PPC and Snub-Nose PPC. BV (2.0) = 1,645
- The definitive Project Phoenix model, the 8D is intended as more of a line unit. It mounts two Mydron Model RC rotary autocannon/5s with six tons of ammunition split between the arms, a pair of Bright-Blossom ER medium lasers also mounted in each arm, eleven double heat sinks and twelve tons of Kallon Royalstar armor, the heaviest of any known Rifleman variant. Until the arrival of the 7X, it was also the only known Rifleman variant to mount jump jets, with two McCloud Specials (Reinforced) models in either leg for a total jumping distance of 120 meters. To carry all this additional weight, the 8D uses a Kallon Type XV Endo Steel chassis and Hermes 240 XL engine, although it still mounts the same excellent Garret electronics. BV (1.0) = 1,664; BV (2.0) = 1,777 or 1,664
- The Rifleman 9T is armed with a pair of Light PPCs backed up by a pair of light autocannon/5s for medium range sniping. These are backed up by a pair of ER medium lasers for close combat. All of the 'Mech's weapons are linked to a Targeting Computer for increased accuracy. The 9T also uses Stealth Armor, making it much harder to hit at long range. BV (2.0) = 1,546
- Rifleman C
- A Clan-tech retrofit of the standard Rifleman, the Rifleman C was used by Clan Jade Falcon second-line garrison forces during the invasion. This field modification removed all Inner Sphere weaponry of the original RFL-3N, and instead carried two Clan-tech Large Pulse Lasers and LB 5-X ACs split between the arms. The weight savings allowed for the addition of two single heat sinks. BV (2.0) = 1,335
- Rifleman C 2
- This version was produced for Clan Jade Falcon by Red Devil Industries in 3083. Using an experimental XXL engine and Improved Jump Jets to provide mobility, the chassis is protected by ferro-fibrous armor. Each arm mounts an ER Large Laser and improved heavy medium laser. BV (2.0) = 2,150
- Rifleman C 3
- Built by Clan Sea Fox and based on the Rifleman C, this variant uses an ER Large Laser and Ultra AC/5 in each arm. Each autocannon also has a ton of ammunition allocated to it. Two ER medium lasers are carried in the torso. Clan ferro-fibrous armor and Endo Steel provide enough weight savings to allow these weapons and fourteen double heat sinks. BV (2.0) = 1,871 
- RFL-3N Rifleman Janos Marik
- Originally a stock RFL-3N gifted to Janos Marik by his father, the future Captain-General removed the medium lasers and swapped the AC/5s for longer ranged Imperator Smoothie-2 AC/2s, retaining the Large Lasers. The weight saved went into more armor, especially over the head and center torso ammo bin, and additional heat sinks.
- RFL-3N Rifleman Legend Killer
- Long rumored to have piloted a uniquely customized variant, one possible version of Gray Noton's infamous "Legend-Killer" using only Succession Wars era technology was supposedly built around a lighter 180-rated engine, its lowered ground speed offset by the inclusion of three jump jets. Offensively this variant reportedly retains the Large Lasers and AC/5s with their single ton ammo bay but drops the medium lasers in exchange for four extra heat sinks and an extra half ton of armor. BV (2.0) = 1,101
- RFL-3N Rifleman Legend Killer 2
- Another possible version of Gray Noton's "Legend-Killer", this Third Succession War tech level variant retains the 240 rated engine of the RFL-3N but adds four jump jets for enhanced mobility. Their inclusion is made possible by the removal the Large Lasers, moving the torso medium lasers into their mounts. Still carrying a single ton of reloads, eleven single heat sinks frees weight for nine and a half tons of armor. BV (2.0) = 1,209
- RFL-3N Rifleman Sneede
- The personally built 'Mech of Cranston Snord's Irregulars member "Shorty" Sneede, his Rifleman is a FrankenMech featuring a Phoenix Hawk head, Warhammer right arm and the left torso and arm from an Archer, with only the center and right torsos and both legs left from the parent design. Built around the 3N's standard 240 rated engine, much of the weapons and ammunition from the donor 'Mechs was retained, Sneede's custom being armed with a right-arm mounted PPC, left-torso mounted LRM-20 with two tons of ammo, and four medium lasers - one in the left arm and one in each torso section. Carrying a total of fourteen single heat sinks, Sneede's patchwork Rifleman is clad in nine tons of armor.
- RFL-4DA1 Rifleman Baia
- A unique variant based on the RFL-4D this variant removed all weaponry except for the two arm-mounted PPCs. The lasers that were removed were replaced by armor and heat sinks.
- RFL-7N2 Rifleman Habeas Corpus
- Named as a nod to his initial ambitions of becoming a barrister, originally a stock RFL-7N2 gifted by his uncle, Trenton Marik removed its lasers for additional armor and a larger autocannon magazine, retaining the Oriente Model O LB 10-X autocannons and Ceres Arms Striker Light PPCs.
- RFL-X3 Rifleman MUSE WIND
- The Rifleman MUSE WIND was an experiment by Nigel Griffin to combine Clan and Inner Sphere equipment in a production 'Mech. An Inner Sphere produced chassis, XL engine, XL Gyro, double heat sinks, and Jump Jets form the core of the 'Mech. The ferro-fibrous armor that maximizes protection comes from the Clans, as does the weaponry: Each arm mounts a HAG/20 and the torso-mounted medium lasers are Clan Medium Pulse Lasers. The HAG ammo is protected by an Inner Sphere CASE system. BV (2.0) = 2,012
From MechWarrior Online:
- RFL-DB Dao Breaker
- Featured as a custom Solaris VII 'Mech the "Dao Breaker" is configured to carry twin class 5 Autocannons, twin Large Lasers and twin medium lasers.
- RFL-LK Legend-Killer
- MWO's apocryphal take on Gray Noton's infamous "Legend-Killer" plays to the rumors it used lostech, outfitted with a 240-rated XL engine and built on an Endo Steel frame to free up the weight to swap the classic RFL-3N's AC/5s for LB-X Autocannon/10s fed with three tons of reloads. With the RFL-3N's large and medium lasers retained, the remaining weight saved after the LB-X autocannons goes towards an extra half ton of armor while a swap to double heat sinks gives it unexpected endurance in the arenas.
- RFL-DNA Diana
- Piloted by Silvan Vaughn who had been working to destabilize the Federated Suns worlds near the Capellan border. His Rifleman named "Diana" was a modified RFL-3N built with an XL engine and an Endo Steel Frame. The large lasers in the arms were removed, the medium lasers mounted in the side torsos were retained, and the AC/5s were replaced with lostech Gauss rifles and two tons of reloads.
The RFL-1N Rifleman
- Rifleman II - Known as the Rifleman II, the RFL-3N-2 was an upgrade fielded by the SLDF Royals, adding twenty tons to its overall mass. BV (2.0) = 1,543
- Rifleman IIC - One of the 'Mechs the SLDF took with them when they left the Inner Sphere was the Rifleman. The Clan variant is five tons heavier and mounts four Large Pulse Lasers, jump jets, and an active probe. BV (2.0) = 2,122
- Rifleman III - A Rim Worlds Republican design, this was a prototype Assault BattleMech which was equipped with stealth system and Gauss Rifles. Only a single unit was produced, which was forgotten in course of time after the liberation of Terra.
- JagerMech - The JagerMech was created by Kallon Industries to fix the design flaws that plagued the Rifleman.
- The Rifleman C was retconned in RG:ilClan v8 from the previous version in The Battle for Twycross, pages 46 & 48 and Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, page 121, increasing the number of heat sinks.
- In German products, the unit's proper name was altered to Kampfschütze, a made-up-word literally meaning Combat Marksman. The model code was accordingly changed to KMS-3Z.
- In French products, the unit's proper name was directly translated as Fusilier.
- The Rifleman was based on the Destroid Defender robot design from the anime Super Dimension Fortress Macross.
- Evidently popular among some Leopard CV crews is a show called The RFL-3N, most likely meant as a parody of 50s-60s television series The Rifleman.
RFL-5M Rifleman from TRO:3050
RFL-6X Rifleman from TRO:Phoenix
RFL-7X Rifleman from TRO:3085
RFL-X3 Rifleman MUSE WIND from XTRO:Davion
Experimental RFL-1N Rifleman from XTRO:Primitives IV
Rifleman from RG:ilClan v8
Model of a Rifleman from MWO
Rifleman miniature from BattleTech: Inner Sphere Battle Lance
- Field Manual: 3145, p. 189: "Fronc Reaches"
- Technical Readout: Clan Invasion, pp. 142–143: "RFL-8D Rifleman"
- Objectives: Periphery, p. 31, "King Dumount Defense Facility"
- Objectives: Periphery, p. 32, "Pride of Granada Industries"
- MUL online date for the Rifleman
- Technical Readout: 3039, pp. 293–294: "RFL-3N Rifleman"
- Combat Operations, p. 121
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged, p. 473
- Technical Readout: 3025, p. 82
- Experimental Technical Readout: Primitives, Volume 4, p. 5: "RFL-1N Rifleman"
- Technical Readout: 3025, p. 88
- Technical Readout: 3050, p. 150
- Technical Readout: Project Phoenix, p. 38
- Warrior: En Garde, ch. 2
- Experimental Technical Readout: Primitives, Volume 4, p. 22
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 134
- Combat Operations, p. 127
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged, p. 472
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 111
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 136
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged, p. 474
- BattleTech: Battle of Tukayyid, p. 164: "Rifleman RFL-5CS"
- Rifleman RFL-5CS entry on the MUL
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 137
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 111
- Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 8, p. 32
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 138
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 113
- Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 8, p. 33
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 139
- Technical Readout: 3085, p. 250
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 114
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 140
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 115
- Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 8, p. 34
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 141
- Combat Operations, p. 130
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 116
- Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 8, p. 35
- Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 8, p. 36
- Technical Readout: 3085, p. 251
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 142
- Technical Readout: Project Phoenix, p. 27
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 118
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 119
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades, p. 143
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 120
- Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 8, p. 37
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix, p. 122
- Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 8, p. 38
- ForcePack Record Sheets Wolf's Dragoons, p. 4
- BattleTech: Legends, p. 51: "The Succession Wars era - Janos Marik - RFL-3N Rifleman [Modified]"
- Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrade, p. 117: "RFL-3N Rifleman (Legend Killer)
- Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrade, p. 118: "RFL-3N Rifleman (Legend Killer 2)
- Cranston Snord's Irregulars, p. 13: "Cranston Snord's Irregulars - Attack Lance - MechWarrior Samual "Shorty" Sneede"
- Strategic Operations, p. 192: "Maintenance, Repair, Salvage and Customization
- Shrapnel Issue #4: "The Bye-Bye Brigade"
- BattleTech: Legends, p. 161: "The ilClan Era - Trenton Marik - RFL-3N Rifleman [Modified]"
- Experimental Technical Readout: Davion, p. 5
- MechWarrior Online Solaris-7 Sale Page
- MechWarrior Online Rifleman Sale Page
- MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, Heroes of the Inner Sphere
- BattleMech Manual, p. 94: BattleMech Quirk Table - Rifleman Entry.
- Technical Readout: 3075, p. 169
- Record Sheets: 3075 Unabridged - Age of War, p. 30
- Experimental Technical Readout: Gunslingers - Basic Info on the Rifleman III.
- DropShips & JumpShips, p. 54: "Leopard CV Class DropShip"
- The Battle for Twycross
- BattleTech: Battle of Tukayyid
- BattleTech: Legends
- Combat Operations
- Cranston Snord's Irregulars
- Experimental Technical Readout: Davion
- Experimental Technical Readout: Primitives, Volume 4
- Field Manual: 3145
- ForcePack Record Sheets Wolf's Dragoons
- Fortress Republic (MWDA novel)
- Historical Turning Points: New Dallas
- Master Unit List
- Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 8
- Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged
- Record Sheets: 3050
- Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrade
- Record Sheets: 3067
- Record Sheets: 3075 Unabridged - Age of War
- Record Sheets: 3085 Unabridged — Project Phoenix
- Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades
- Shrapnel, issue #4
- Solaris VII: The Game World
- Story of the Legend-Killer
- Strategic Operations
- Sword of Sedition (MWDA novel)
- Technical Readout: 3025
- Technical Readout: 3039
- Technical Readout: 3050
- Technical Readout: 3055
- Technical Readout: 3075
- Technical Readout: 3085
- Technical Readout: Project Phoenix
- Total Warfare Style Record Sheets: Phoenix Upgrades
- Warrior: En Garde