The Variable Rifle is a semi-automatic, scoped rifle with a high accuracy and rate of fire. It deals 32 damage per body shot and 64 damage per head shot, able to down an enemy in four body shots or two head shots. One can upgrade it for a maximum of 1200 parts and can buy five bullets at a relatively cheap price of 150 parts.
It shares the ability to fire both scoped and unscoped like the El Diablo. In terms of its damage profile, it compares most closely to the Enforcer and scoped Semi-Auto Rifle, the difference with the Semi-Auto being that it is a four shot kill. However, its maximum rate of fire is much higher, closer to that of the enforcer, and it is able to down targets rapidly.
As the weapon has a higher rate of fire than the Semi-auto, the time to kill is comparable or even faster, making it a cheaper alternative in the long run. In fact, the Variable Rifle has a higher rate of fire than even the Full-Auto Rifle when fully upgraded, making it a solid choice for medium range combat.
The scope provides the potential for the Variable Rifle to perform well at long range, but the Hunting Rifle or El Diablo is more suitable as players hit by the Variable Rifle may be able to find cover before the rest of the needed shots for the Variable Rifle can connect. The variable rifle is best served in medium range combat due to its higher unreliability at long range.
The Variable Rifle pairs well with the Enforcer due to the similar damage models, or even the Revolver if one lacks the DLC. However, it might be best served with the Burst Pistol or the Shorty as these sidearms can give a player versatility; the Variable Rifle for long and medium range, the two sidearms for close quarters. The best sidearm for the Variable Rifle in terms of damage dealt per bullet is the 9mm pistol. If the player shoots an enemy twice, it leaves the assailant with only 36 health left. The 9mm is the best choice in this scenario as it has a faster fire rate than the Revolver and Enforcer because all three of the mentioned sidearms require two more shots to down an enemy. One may still choose the Shorty or the Burst Pistol, but these would not suit the average medium-range fighter due to the fact that they are both inferior to the higher range and cheapness offered by the 9mm.
- The Variable Rifle is influenced by the Romanian paratrooper version of the PSL rifle as well as the Russian Molot VEPR, a civilian hunting carbine
- This weapon utilizes a Western 'Target Dot' reticule, which is odd for a weapon of Russian origin.
- The Variable Rifle is available in the pre-made Suppression class, alongside the Burst Pistol.
- This weapon resembles the Dragon Sniper from Uncharted 3.
- While the other scoped weapons utilise a red reticule in The Last of Us, the Variable Rifle features a green dot in its aiming reticule instead.