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Let's talk loadouts
Thread for discussing loadouts. Feel free to share your current loadouts, what you're thinking about going for, ask questions about what to upgrade to etc. etc.

First thing that's been asked a bit - what do I upgrade to from my sidewinder? It does kinda depend on what you want to do, but I think the general plan is for shooty shooty makethemdead. For that, I'd recommend the Cobra MkIII wholeheartedly. It's *pretty* nimble, not as much as the sidewinder or the eagle I think, but it's pretty darned good. The shields aren't fantastic, but you can deck out the hull something crazy. I wouldn't step via the Eagle or anything, just save up and get it.

I'm running one and I know Ale is as well and he'll vouch that it's a good ship. Mine's been pretty much fully upgraded, Ale's has some options to go still. 
Here's the loadout I've got:
2x 2F Gimballed Multi-cannons
2x 1E Gimballed Beam Lasers
Core Internals
Reactive Surface Composites
4A Power Plant
4A Thrusters
3A Life Support
3A Power Distributor
3A Sensors
4C Fuel Tank
Optional Internal Modules
2x 4D Hull Reinforcement Package
4A Shield Generator
2x 2D Module Reinforcement Package
2A Auto Field Maintenance Unit
Utility Mounts
0D Kill Warrant Scanner
0I Point Defence

Reasoning behind all of the above.
Multi-cannons - kinetic damage is what kills the hull best. Lasers are better for shields, so make the bigger mounts the kinetic ones. Multicannons are a very DPS weapon, rather than bursty (Think Soldier76 vs McCree). The gimbal mounts reduce the damage compared to the fixed ones, but make it a lot easier to get rounds on target. Normal cannons have a mag size of 5 IIRC, and Gimballed weapons have a jitter over targets, so I'd rather get more shots out.
Beam Lasers - Gotta take them shields down somehow, and they do a decent bit of damage themselves. You can supplement the Multicannon fire on the hull with these as well for maximum damage, however both at once will use energy quicker than it's made. Also helps keep damage up while the multi-cannons reload.
Reactive Surface Composites - The top tier bulkhead, at this tier you have to choose if you want better protection from Kinetic/Explosive or Thermal (laser) damage. I've been finding that what's been killing me the most is the kinetic stuff, plus like I said, kinetic is more of a hull killer than beam. Military grade composites are the best balanced bulkheads, Mirrored Surface Composites will open you up more to kinetic fire. Not worth it, boost the kinetic resistance and accept that lasers will hurt a bit more than they used to.
4A Power Plant - Necessary to provide enough power.
4A Thrusters - They do provide the best turning speed, as well as actual speed. I ran the 4Ds for a while since they're the lightest and their optimal mass was closest to my ship's. Then I tried these and I'm not looking back. I can boost up to 428 M/s, with max non-boost speed at 299 M/s (4 pips to engines). Turning is up to 43 Degrees/s pitch, 107 Degrees/s roll and 11 Degrees/s yaw, and it's a noticeable improvement on the 4D.
4A FSD - Ok, this is possibly the only one that's not really intended for helping with the combat, but it does grant the greatest jump range. Putting the 4D (lightest) one in wouldn't affect my turn speed and makes a difference of 1 extra M/s boost speed and 2 M/s extra normal speed. Might as well have the jump range for when we're going somewhere (e.g. turning in Alliance/Empire bounties)
3A Life Support - This isn't a necessity so much, but something I decided on when I started playing originally. This was from hunting around the Hazardous RES around Zaragas 4 where I ended up having my canopy blown out and I realised that 5 minutes to get out of combat and back into Jenner Hub was actually cutting it a little fine. 3A gives you 25 minutes, so you could realistically choose to take on a couple more guys before you leave if you fancied / get interdicted on the way back and have no worries.
3A Power Distributor -  Again, getting the power out where it needs to be as best as possible. I'm always re-distributing the pips on the distributor and usually end up letting my shield capacitor run dry. Being able to get that filled up again ASAP when I do (and the same with weapons) is essential.
3A Sensors - You gotta be able to target someone to kill them with Gimbals. Plus you want to find the guys to shoot. Better sensors increase your "there's something out there" range, along with your "Ah, that's what it is" range and also your "Oh shit there's a sneaky bastard with practically no signature there" range.
4C Fuel Tank - Largest you can get, only options are module size and no need to downsize it.

Now for the fun bits:
2x 4D Hull Reinforcement Package - Like I said, the shields on this aren't great (Highest generator has a strength of 124Mw, which stacks up to a total of 103.3 Thermic damage). Those 2 beam lasers I've got could take that down (not counting any recharging going on) in 6.5 seconds. (I could do the maths on how long that would actually take with the power from the capacitor charging it, but let's be honest, it's sub 10 seconds. That's 2 class 1 lasers. Bigger ships are gonna tear through that in no time, so let's focus on how we can improve our survivability. I could get a shield booster to keep propping it up, but that generates heat and needs power, plus takes a few seconds to restore an extra 1/4 of capacity maybe. Chances are they'll go before it finishes deploying. By adding these bad boys though, I can take my hull points up from 420 all the way to 1080 (making it just over 2.5 times stronger than it was). Since that's based on the Reactive bulkheads, it went from taking 560 Kinetic/300 Thermic/525 Explosive damage, up to 1499.4 Kinetic/803.2 Thermic/1405.7 Explosive damage. I'm about 2.6x harder to kill now.
4A Shield Generator - As much as the upgraded hull will save my bacon the most, that health doesn't repair itself. Shields do, so that's a repeatable 206.7 Kinetic/103.3 Thermic/247.0 Explosive damage that I can soak up (plus extra for recharging as damage is taken without them collapsing.
2x 2D Module Reinforcement Package + 2A Auto Field Maintenance Unit - These all contribute to solving the same problem - I can take a pretty hefty bit of damage now, but my modules can be targetted specifically and knocked out while my ship's still at 80%+. Some of those aren't a problem (e.g. cargo hatch since I have no cargo room), but some are a bit more important (e.g. thrusters/Power Plant / Weapons). Once my multi-cannons start losing their integrity they start to malfunction and jam up for 5 seconds or so at a time. While they're both working, they'll eat up 84% of the damage directed at a module (each is a 60% reduction, the stack is multiplicative. I.E. each allows 0.4 to get through, so 0.4 * 0.4 = 0.16. 16% of damage gets through.) and deposit it against that instead. Once one is dead, it's up to 40% getting through. Keeps my modules going much longer, so I don't have to worry nearly so much about my guns not firing or my canopy being breached. External modules get half as much reduction (30% instead of 60%) which means external modules take 49% of the damage directed at them (0.7 * 0.7 = 0.49) The Auto Field Maintenance Unit repairs modules, so I can repair the damage that does end up getting through, plus it can repair those module reinforcement packages as well. Maths that others have done puts it at repairing 10x as much on these for the same "ammo" as a normal module, so repairing these effectively makes you able to repair 10x more damage with it. Sources are This comment, which also references This comment by one of the devs.
0D Kill Warrant Scanner - Get more money, easy. Not really worth going for any of the higher ones, the power draw ramps up compared to the range it works at. 2.5KM is a sensible range to be in to shoot anyway, so you just lose out on a few seconds of scanning as you approach, no big deal.
0I Point Defence - Shoots down incoming missiles/torpedoes. Makes sense. ECM would only work against ordinance with a seeker, this also shoots dumbfires. Like the Multi-cannons, they have a magazine and a reserve, so there's a small time of vulnerability while you're reloading. Still better than a shield booster, chaff or an ECM.

Options you could consider doing with the weaponry would include missiles. Explosive damage is close to kinetic in numbers, however the missiles particularly excel at taking out modules in particular. Not run the numbers for trying to hit the power plant say, but certainly the external modules will get hurt by these guys. They're not meant as a primary weapon though, they're very much a secondary, unlike the multicannons above.
Cheers Luv! The Cavalry's 'ere!

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