The USAS 12 is unlocked at level 4, as soon as Create-A-Class is available.
The USAS 12 has inconsistent damage for a shotgun. The USAS 12 fires nine pellets per shot, tied with the KSG 12 for the most pellets per shot in its class. At any range short of ten meters, the USAS 12 will deal 25 damage per pellet, needing four pellets to kill. Damage decreases linearly until 17.5 meters. At 17.5 meters, the USAS 12 will deal a pitiful five damage per pellet, needing twenty pellets - more than two shots worth of pellets - to kill. The USAS 12 ceases to do damage at any range beyond 17.5 meters. The USAS 12 has a four pellet kill range of ten meters, a five pellet kill range of 11.9 meters, and a six pellet kill range of thirteen meters. In Hardcore game types, the USAS 12 will always need at least two pellets to kill, and at certain ranges, will need up to six pellets to kill. The USAS 12 has a steep damage drop off and will be very ineffective at the edge of its effective range, so users need to get in close with the USAS 12. The USAS 12 has low penetration power, making it ill-advised to shoot through objects.
The USAS 12's damage output increases severely when using the Damage proficiency. At any range short of ten meters, the USAS 12 will deal 35 damage per pellet, needing three pellets to kill. Damage decreases steeply and linearly until 17.5 meters. At 17.5 meters, the USAS 12 will deal seven damage per pellet, needing fifteen pellets to kill. The USAS 12 ceases to do any damage beyond 17.5 meters. The USAS 12 has a three pellet kill range of 10.8 meters, a four pellet kill range of 12.7 meters, a five pellet kill range of 14.1 meters, a six pellet kill range of 15.1 meters, and damage per pellet rapidly deteriorates after that. Damage won't improve the USAS 12's consistency at the edge of its effective range by too much, but Damage will heavily improve the USAS 12's close quarters capability.
The USAS 12 may be fully automatic, but its rate of fire is very poor, with the USAS 12 firing at 139 RPM. That's still more than double the fire rate of pump action shotguns, but the USAS 12's rate of fire is well behind the AA-12 and the Striker. The USAS 12 provides a blend of close quarters damage and elevated damage output, striking a healthy medium between the two.
The USAS 12's accuracy is decent. The USAS 12's iron sights are simple and clean, although there is no statistical advantage to aiming down the sights with the USAS 12, as doing so doesn't tighten the shot spread on this shotgun. The USAS 12 has good hip-fire accuracy. The recoil per shot may be high, but it is inconsequential, as the USAS 12 fires so slowly that the recoil perfectly resets before the next shot can be fired.
The USAS 12's handling characteristics are solid overall. The USAS 12 allows users to move at 100% of the base speed, and the USAS 12's reload speed is poor overall, but good for a shotgun. It is one of only two shotguns to reload with a magazine instead of reloading shell by shell. The USAS 12's reload animation is 3.2 seconds long, or 3.93 seconds long if the magazine is empty. The user can Reload Cancel after 2.37 seconds. A 2.37 reload cancel is very slow, but it is a much better overall reload speed than most other shotguns.
One of the USAS 12's main weaknesses is its magazine capacity. It has the smallest capacity of all shotguns, holding just six rounds per magazine. While any one shot has the potential to kill an opponent, holding only six rounds is not a lot of ammo on tap. Even with the great power and slow rate of fire, those six rounds can disappear in an instant. Despite the small magazines, the USAS 12 provides users with a starting ammo loadout of 36 rounds total, tied for the largest starting ammo loadout in its class.
For the USAS 12, only two weapon proficiencies matter, and those would be Range and Damage. These weapon proficiencies aren't unlocked until very late through the weapon level process, but these weapon proficiencies are well worth the wait. Range is the first one that is attained, and it'll increase the USAS 12's range values by 25 percent, making the USAS 12 much more consistent and capable of engaging enemies out to a further range. Damage is unlocked after Range, and it has a much greater benefit, increasing the USAS 12's damage by forty percent, allowing for three pellet kills to be atteined, and more four and five pellet kills to be attained as well. If using the Specialist Strike Package, always use Damage, as Range can be gained through the Specialist Bonus, whereas Damage cannot be obtained in this manner.
The USAS 12 has access to all of the standard shotgun attachments. The optical attachments are avaialble, and serve as nothing more but decoration, seeing how the USAS 12 has no use for aiming down the sight. Still, these attachments should be used when given the chance to use them, just to complete challenges that will allow the user to level up the USAS 12 more quickly.
The Silencer is a horrible choice on the USAS 12, as it cuts down on the USAS 12's total range by 25%. The USAS 12 is the one shotgun that cannot afford to lose any range, seeing how the USAS 12 has a severe damage drop off compared to other shotguns. The Silencer should only be used either in tandem with the Range Proficiency, or used to complete challenges to level up the USAS 12.
The Grip is the only attachment that the user gets for a long period of time that will have any tangible benefit, and even then, it doesn't have much benefit on the USAS 12. It'll make the USAS 12 have less problems with recoil, but it doesn't have any recoil problems to begin with.
Extended Mags is the only attachment on offer that provides any serious benefit to the USAS 12, increasing the USAS 12's magazine capacity and starting ammo loadout by fifty percent. Extended Mags is extremely helpful on the USAS 12 in particular due to its small magazine capacity. Extended Mags is by far the best attachment available on the USAS 12 and should be used at all times when given the option. However, Extended Mags is the dead last attachment to be unlocked on the USAS 12, so users are going to have to wait a long time before they receive the only useful attachment to the USAS 12.
One unique hidden feature of the USAS 12 is that it increases sprint time by 75% (like the MP9 and Skorpion) when equipped on all platforms, similar to the effects of Extreme Conditioning. This effect can be combined with the Extreme Conditioning perk to allow the player to sprint 3.5x longer.
On January 25, 2012, the USAS 12 and KSG 12 were given a buff. The USAS 12 now shoots 9 pellets by default (like the KSG 12), as opposed to the default 6. This essentially gives it a 50% damage increase and a more reliable sense of shots to kill, due to the additional pellets.
- Grip - Unlocked at weapon level 2.
- Silencer - Unlocked at weapon level 5.
- Red Dot Sight - Unlocked at weapon level 12.
- Holographic Sight - Unlocked at weapon level 17.
- Extended Mags - Unlocked at weapon level 26.
- Kick - Unlocked at weapon level 4.
- Focus - Unlocked at weapon level 9.
- Attachments - Unlocked at weapon level 14.
- Melee - Unlocked at weapon level 19.
- Range - Unlocked at weapon level 23.
- Damage - Unlocked at weapon level 28.
- The Marksman III challenge is oddly achieved upon 300 kills with this weapon as opposed to the usual 75. The Marksman IV challenge is also unusual as it is achieved at 1000 kills.
- Despite the Elite description claiming that it has the highest damage in the shotgun class, the Create-a-class information says that the KSG 12 and Model 1887 have higher damage. When considering the close-range damage, USAS 12 is in the middle, being more powerful than the AA-12 and Striker, but weaker than the SPAS 12, Model 1887, and KSG 12. At long range, the USAS 12's damage is the second lowest, being only slightly higher than that of the AA 12.
- During the reload animation, the player accidentally hits the magazine on the side of the magazine slot before getting it in.