'Standard' rifles come in 5, 10, 15, and 20ton packages, though any regular arm-mounted weapon may be converted into a rifle by purchasing a (weapons tonnage * 500c) rifle-upgrade kit. This in no way changes the performance of the weapon, but allows it to be interchanged on the field for a fresh rifle of the same size.
A rifle may carry any combination of weapons, ammunition, heat-sinks, or armor. All ammo-ed weapons must carry at least one ton of ammunition within the rifle itself (i.e., a mobile suit's internal ammo stores may NOT feed a rifle.)
Ammunition for weapons not contained in the rifle, electronics gear, C3 units, or anti-missile systems may NOT be contained within a rifle. TAG equipment, however, may be included in a rifle. Artemis FCS may be mounted on a rifle, but may be used only for missile weapons contained in that rifle.
Heatsinks may be added to a rifle to make up for some of its generated heat. The heatsinks must be of the same type as that of the mobile suit carrying the rifle, otherwise they are rendered nonfunctional.
To be fitted for a rifle, a mobile suit must allocate critical spaces in its arm locations as for a normal weapons combination. The mobile suit may NOT remove any of its arm actuators to make further room for the rifle. Therefore the maximum amount of room a rifle may occupy is 8 Criticals.
The mobile suit may place its full complement of armor on its arm, but must allocate free tonnage equal to the weight of its rifle to be able to use it (as for a normal weapon.)
Note: The mobile suit's hand actuator is taken up by sensitive rifle interfacing equipment and is designed for holding and replacing rifles only. It cannot be used to pick up objects, and can only be used to punch with a +1 to hit modifier. Any mobile suit that uses a rifle must be equipped with this equipment, which costs 5000c per hand actuator modified.
Any mobile suit that has a functioning hand actuator and that wishes to use a rifle may do so, but with a +2 to hit modifier for the weapons mounted on that rifle.
Hits on an arm location are treated as normal. The rifle is considered protected by the surrounding armor of the arm, and no special modification of the rules is necessary regarding its critical locations. Rifles that contain additional armor for the arm location have their armor deducted first, before damage penetrates to the mobile suit's actual arm. The damage is treated as if solely done to the armor of the rifle. Ammunition detonation occurs as normal, doing damage to the arm carrying the rifle and to the rest of the mobile suit as appropriate. Hits to the mobile suit's arm actuators create penalties for the use of the rifle as normal, but a hit to the mobile suit's hand actuator damages the rifle interface machinery and therefore has the added effect of making it impossible for the mobile suit to drop the rifle it is currently carrying.
For all normal battlefield purposes, weapons and attacks launched by a rifle are treated as for standard weapons.
At any point in the battle, if the mobile suit's interfacing hand actuator is still operational, the mobile suit may elect to drop its rifle. This procedure takes 1 round to execute, during which the weapons mounted on the rifle may not be fired. The rifle falls into the hex the mobile suit is standing in when the drop round was completed. If the mobile suit's hand actuator is hit before the end of the weapons firing phase, the dropping operation is jammed midway, and the rifle may not be fired or dropped for the duration of the battle. If a mobile suit's arm has been blown off during battle (and the hand actuator has not been hit specifically), the rifle that it carried in that arm is considered dropped and may be picked up as for a regular rifle.
At any point in the battle, a mobile suit may elect to pick up a rifle. Picking up a rifle requires two rounds of time (during which the mobile suit must remain within the hex that the rifle was in, though it may make facing changes), and TWO functioning hand actuators (one of which must be equipped with a rifle interface.) Since the rifle interface carrying hand may not lift objects, it is highly suggested that mobile suits do not equip both hand actuators with rifle interfaces, which would prevent a mobile suit from being able to pick up a rifle. In addition, at the end of the two rounds (prior to the next movement phase), the mobile suit must make a 6 or better on a 2D6 for a to-drop roll. If the roll fails, the rifle falls back into the original hex that it was in. Note, only 'upgraded' rifles may be picked up. Regular 'rifles' (unmodified) are fused to the mobile suit's arm and may not be removed.
At any point in the battle, a mobile suit may elect to reload ammunition clips for its ammo-ed weapons. (Clips may be carried as internal or external cargo. There are no penalties for clipped ammunition.) This requires TWO functioning hand actuators, and 3 rounds, during which none of the weapons on the rifle may fire. After reload, a loading roll of 4 or better on a 2D6 must be made for the ammunition to have been reloaded properly. If the roll fails, the ammunition jams and the ammo-ed weapon that fed from it is rendered nonfunctional for the duration of the battle.
If a mobile suit picks up and uses a rifle of the same size (tonnage) as the rifle it is 'fitted' for, it may use it with no penalty. If a mobile suit uses a rifle of size larger than that it was outfitted for, its speed is reduced by ((mobile suit tonnage without rifle] + rifle tonnage) / Engine rating) = new walking speed, round up.