When hand cannon range was nerfed, pulse range was also nerfed. Time skip to today and hand cannons got range again but pulses were left untouched. At the moment 120s easily outrange pulses with their 44m range they can reach. Also, that 44m is just the range the damage fall off range where 2 head 1 body may not kill but a 3 head can still kill pass that mark.
The Noticeable Problem
So the problem is that up close pulses have the disadvantage because they have the slower ADS turn speed than a hand cannon and they are tracking weapons where you need to keep the burst completely on a strafing target. If the target is too close, this is too clunky to do.
At range, the 120s can out range them because the pulse is suffering both damage fall off and lower bullet magnetism.
So where do pulses have the advantage in this very very dominant 120 meta? Up close, disadvantage. Far away, disadvantage. At least having near the same range would allow more competition through bullet magnetism to register crits as crits and less damage fall off. 120s have so much range that the battles have evolved to people being fine with challenging from far away and this is where the range problem really comes into play.
Below I go into more details about disadvantages for those who want a further OPTIONAL read :
Why the Time to Kill Difference isn't as Strong as it Seems
Sure you may say they can out time to kill 120s, but most pulses have unreliable time to kill paths and consistency is much more valuable than time to kill. This is why 120s are heavily meta despite the "1 second ttk". 450s can 2 burst but most of the time you'll be 3 bursting, rapid fires can 3 burst but most of the time you'll be 4 bursting (I'm sure some reading this didn't even know rapid fires can 3 burst), high impacts can 2 burst but most of the time you'll be 3 bursting. Oh and 120s, the meta archetype by a long shot, flinches hard because they have built in high caliber rounds. These extra bursts push the time to kill to a bit above 1 second making the 120 actually kill faster because the 1 head 2 body or 2 head 1 body on a burst damage weapon is easier to manage on a strafing target. You can look at your favorite (or one you think is very skilled) YouTuber's vids and notice that they aren't 2 bursting often. They are 3 bursting with 340s and 450s. Maybe in the montage intro you'll see some but when you watch the raw game you notice this isn't as frequent as you'd think. Also, if you look even closer, like 90% of the kills aren't from primary weapon duels. Either they are shooting someone caught off guard or shooting at someone already in a fight or theyre using the shotgun. But when you see them in an actual 1 on 1 with a hand cannon user, you see they often disengage or die unless the person has bad aim that engagement.
In addition, time to kill difference doesn't affect burst damage weapons like hand cannons as bad as it seems on paper. Hand cannons play cover very well. The best unless you put bows in the argument. If someone has a faster time to kill gun than you, you peek shoot whereas an auto user, for example, needs to remain exposed to do effective damage. When you peek shoot with a hand cannon, you're extending the time to kill of both you and your enemy. Pulses can't peek shoot well because the duration of the burst is too long. Many times part of your burst hits the wall or only 1 bullet out of a burst registers against the hand cannon user who is also peek shooting.
Also, people say it is very unforgiving if you miss with a hand cannon but pulses also have a delay between when their next burst can start. So if you miss a crit and hit a body instead, against a strafing target, your time to kill goes up to over 1 second as well since you're waiting for the next burst to start. It isn't a full auto
Sometimes it feels like the game doesn't register time to kill differences. Have you ever shot with a 140 hand cannon and still traded with a 120? This can happen because of server lag etc. Same thing with adaptive pulses which are in the 0.9s ttk range so only barely barely faster than a 120, but you still trade or sometimes the 120 user somehow still kills before your third burst is done.
Think of it. If time to kill on paper is so important, why do so many feel comfortable bringing 120s into duels? Burst damage for cover + in air plays and the game's ability to register tiny time to kill differences, give more control of an engagement that is beyond time to kill on paper.
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