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I now have access to three (3) different assault rifles. The second rifle fires in bursts and is listed as having higher accuracy than the M-8 Avenger but the kickback is fierce and makes fighting with the weapon very different than the standard rifle. I have yet to even fire the third one as I was afraid to use it upon finding it, fearing I would end up low on the learning curve for this new, potentially completely different weapon.

Is there any way to compare and test them with mods before just blindly taking them into combat?

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Yes, the Spectre Shooting Range on the Citadel. It's directly opposite of Udina's office on the Embassy level. The Spectre Offic is marked (3) in the map below, just enter there and turn right to get to the Shooting Range.

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There is a weapons bench there where you can change your loadout and mod your weapons and three targets you can move to different distances. The three targets are shield, health and armor, so you can check the effect your weapons have on those. You can also try out your powers on the range, though that is only useful for pure damage abilities and less so for other powers.

There are three controls on the range, the one on the left lets you change the target distance. With the control in the middle you can get the targets to move near you so you can inspect how well you hit the targets. The control on the right resets the health of the targets.

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The only problem I have with the firing range is that there's no cover to get behind, meaning you can't test the recoil etc from behind cover. –  Mr Smooth Mar 15 '12 at 17:08

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