BattleTech: Mech Overview: Horned Owl/Peregrine

Howdy, Star Colonels, and welcome to Mech Overview. This week we are taking a look at the Horned Owl, also known as the Peregrine (bird connotation), not to be confused with the Perigrin (author connotation). It is also frequently referred to as a Zaku, at least locally, because, look at it.

Wolf’s Dragoons Gamma Regiment Horned Owl. Credit: Jack Hunter

This is a Zaku. I don’t even watch Gundam and I was able to pick out immediately that this is, in fact, a Zaku. It is apparently noted in universe for being unusual looking and pretty non-threatening in appearance with all of those rounded plates and small weapons. It looks like a big round friend and it is absolutely not the iron right fist of the horrific state apparatus of the Clans. I mean look at him, he is so friendly, couldn’t hurt a fly. Mr. Horned Owl is here to help and probably like, bond with a teenager in a heartwarming tale of transcending your nature as a war machine and embracing peace and humanity.

Or it’ll open the fuck up because beneath the bubbly shapes and disarming appearance this is one mean bastard of a BattleMech, one of the scariest light mechs in the game and a genuine 1v1 threat to nearly every other mech in the game if piloted well. I have personally seen one of these 1v1 a King Crab and win. It is an insanely dangerous mech. Over the last few months of regularly using it, the Horned Owl has consistently outperformed and outpaced mechs three times as big as it in my games. The sheer threat coming out of Mr. Owl cannot be overstated. So let’s talk some stats.


The Horned Owl is 35 tons of violence, sharing a weight range with the Jenner, Panther, and Adder. 35 tonners can be deceptively powerful if used right. The Horned Owl is not an OmniMech, so each variant can make major structural changes to the mech. The identity of the Horned Owl in general is as a light mech hunter and duelist, being great in 1v1s against anything slower or lighter than it. It is one of the first generation of second line Clan mechs, along with most of the Striker Star that it comes in. This first generation is chock-full of incredibly high quality mechs that are tournament threats to this day, so it is peers with a lot of the absolute best mechs in the game.

We haven’t even talked about its greatest advantage, which is how incredibly non-threatening it seems. The Horned Owl is all soft round shapes and the model is very short and small. On a table with, I don’t know, a Banshee, an Orion, and some other big heavy hitters, the Horned Owl can fade into the background as an unimportant, non-threatening little scout mech. This is a fatal mistake, as this little bastard has knives and will stick them into the kidneys of anyone who writes it off or stops looking at it for too long. It is really easy to distract your opponent away from the Horned Owl, or for them to lose track of how much damage is stacking up from the little guy while they are busy fighting the big scary Banshee or whatever. Genuinely, referring to the Horned Owl as a little guy and a friend is a tactic I have used in games, it makes people sympathize with him, and pity him as he really is just a little guy. The Horned Owl will consistently betray their trust and walk off the table with two or three kills and a pay raise though. Do not underestimate the Little Guy.

Due to it not being an Omni, most variants have structural changes one way or another, so let’s get into those.


These mechs have all been reviewed based on a standard F through S scale, which you can find described on our landing page here (along with all of our other ‘mech reviews, the name of the box you can buy to get any of the mechs we have covered, and our general methodology).

Peregrine Standard

The Standard model comes in at 1434 BV and is a hell of a first showing. For that BV you get a 6/9/6 35 tonner with okay armor for the weight; not incredible armor but perfectly adequate. For weapons it is very simple, with a center torso mounted large pulse laser and a pair of medium pulse lasers, one in each arm. The Horned Owl also notably has a standard engine which, combined with the center torso LPL, makes it much more durable than it seems at first, as it can lose both side torsos without losing it’s main gun. Heat management is fine, the Horned Owl is heat neutral at a run and only builds +4 with a full 6 hex jump. This is a very simple light mech, but from personal experience very few other medium or light mechs in its price range can win a 1v1 against it, and it works great in massed combat too!

The Horned Owl, as mentioned above, is cute and disarming and can often get lost in the sauce of a big swirling battle. If it is chipping in damage along with a friendly assault mech or heavy mech, it will often end up doing more damage over the course of the fight and living a lot longer as the enemy focuses down the big scary thing. Any sort of big thing makes a great buddy for a Horned Owl, as it can angle to get good shots in relative safety as your big Templar, Banshee, Fafnir, or whatever else draws fire. If your opponent is shooting light mechs first, you are up against a more experienced/tactical player than usual, and should adjust your plans, but against a lot of players this will work literally every time. The Adder can similarly pull the “I’m just a little guy” card, but in my opinion the Horned Owl Standard does it better and for less BV.

Fantastic base configuration; this is actually nearly always the Horned Owl that I use when I bring mine out. Genuinely incredible mech.

Rating: A

Horned Owl 2

This one is less good but a good bit cheaper. For 1191 BV it has the exact same armor, movement, and everything internal as the Standard, but trades the weapons out for six LRM-5s, which is certainly a choice. For me the single funniest use for this mech is placing down Thunder LRM minefields, as it has enough LRM tubes to create a single hex of max-strength mines which can be a hell of a deterrent away from an important hex of heavy woods or a ridge with good vision. Six LRM-5s is decent damage, usually around 18 or 20 depending on cluster rolls if everything hits, but it is such a let down compared to the accuracy of the base model’s pulse lasers. I can see uses for this if you need an LRM mech in an otherwise very fast force, but the Clans have plenty of high speed LRM boats that will do it better.

Rating: C-

Peregrine 3

Model 3 over here has a pretty high BV cost of 1545 and a pretty deranged design. We once again have the same movement and armor, but trade the weapons out for a single ER PPC, a targeting computer, and six light machine guns. I am really not sure why Infantry Guy decided that a 6/9/6 mech that should, ideally, be very far away from the front sniping away with its PPC needed a fuckton of anti-infantry firepower, but here we are. It is a genuinely baffling decision and in my opinion the mech would be better off as a strange haggard Pack Hunter/Devil with just the ER PPC and maybe an SRM pack or LRM for backup. I don’t have it in me to rant and rave about the sheer idiocy of putting a ton of anti-infantry guns on what is, in terms of role, basically a tank destroyer, but it is an incredibly strange decision.

The mech is also just kind of mediocre even outside of that. We aren’t quite at the true BV pain zone of the various 7/11/7 Clan ER PPC dorks, so Fast Sniper syndrome isn’t strong here. It just is not making fantastic use of the frame in the way that the Standard model’s pulse lasers do. Kind of a waste but not really that bad; I am just tired of strange anti-infantry hybrid variants of expensive Clan mechs.

Rating: C

Horned Owl 4

Slightly aesthetically different, the Peregrine 4 is, in fact, completely identical to the Standard in terms of armor and movement. At 1198 BV, it is pretty cheap for a Peregrine. The weaponry of the Standard model is changed out for four ATM-3s and an ER medium laser. ATMs are very good, this is a pretty cheap mech, but I am kind of unexcited. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll do good work; the short ranged alpha on this mech is very high due to HE ammo, and ATMs are a flexible and very fun weapon, but it just doesn’t excite me the way the Standard does. The reliability of those pulse lasers is hard to give up. Alright mech in all honesty, but I always find myself wishing I had a better ATM caddie or a different Peregrine.

Rating: C+

Peregrine 5

At 1523 BV, the Horned Owl 5 is a weird one. It once again has the same structural components, and at this point why isn’t this thing a fucking OmniMech if literally no variants are going to swap out the armor, structure, engine, and jump jets? These are all functionally just omni-configs. For weaponry, this one mounts a heavy medium laser in the center torso and an ER large laser in each arm. I don’t love this, as the ER large lasers can’t be fired without heating the mech up; it isn’t the absolute worst heat management I have ever seen and the build up is pretty mild if you find a nice woodland to park in, but I find this to be a bit of a waste of the decent movement ability of the Horned Owl. Mech is once again sorta fine but really unexciting.

Rating: C

Horned Owl 6

Thank god they let someone make a good one. By good one, I of course mean almost the exact same thing as the Standard. For 1475 BV, a slight hike in BV compared to the Standard model, you get the same weapons and structural components, but you lose the jump jets to gain a targeting computer. This is my second most used variant after the Standard and it is very easy to get good use out of this mech. The Horned Owl 6 is even more chained to the buddy system than the Standard, as it lacks the jump jets to easily escape pursuit over rough terrain, but it does even more damage if left to its own devices while your enemy shoots something bigger. A -3 to hit bonus is just a stupendously good thing to have in BattleTech, shifting your average to hit from an 8 or 9 to a 5 or 6, and making otherwise impossible or unlikely shots significantly more common. Trading off jump jets is a hard sell, especially to me, Jump Jets Georg, the strongest soldier of the jump jet, but this might be worth it. I rate it slightly lower personally, but you could make a case for the 6 being the better variant and I would have trouble arguing with you.

Rating: A-

Peregrine 7

The 7 is, quite literally, the only Horned Owl variant that makes any changes to the core chassis at all. For a very steep 1725 BV you get a 5/8/7 light mech with more armor than the Standard. It gets that extra 2 hexes of jump distance over a standard 5/8/5 from a partial wing, which the BMM helpfully describes as “Falling with style.” This gives it the highest potential TMM of any Horned Owl at +4, the gold standard for proper high TMM. For weapons it carries an ER large laser, 2 medium pulse lasers, a light TAG, and a targeting computer. This is a pretty decent amount of gun and the Horned Owl 7 here manages heat alright, not quite great but also far from actively bad. I actually like the look of this, stat wise, quite a lot, but 1725 for a light mech is enough to make me balk a bit. It isn’t terrible but I would rather have a Standard or a 6 and save some BV.

Rating: C+


There are no actively bad Horned Owls. There are ones that I think are a bit less good, but none of them are actively bad mechs if you like the sound of them. The standard, base model just got absolutely everything right though, and it is hard to justify any of the variants compared to such a fantastic little dorkus of a mech. The 6 can be better if you are applying the principle of “Just a little guy” correctly, but the standard model is, in my opinion, much more flexible due to the jump jets. I have used both depending on the force I am running them in though, and I have never had either of those variants disappoint me. The one that I saw 1v1 a King Crab and kick it’s ass was a Standard though, for what it is worth. Fantastic little mech, I am so scared about what pits of hell and depravity I am going to have to go through after I am done looking at the Striker Star. All the mechs here are good, its frightening. Cheers.

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