That’s why they should have just created some sort of rifle that functioned about the same as the old pistol. Before Halo 2 came out, I was saying that they should just do that, make it one of the default spawning weapons, and balance the rest of the weapons and gameplay around it. It would certainly have been better than the “spawn with a crappy weapon and then look for something better” design that they ended up using, although it was partly saved by the decent dual wielding combos you could make with the SMG.
The new single shot rifle seems to fit my original idea, but it remains to be seen how it will actually function in the final game, and whether it will be a default spawn weapon. The biggest issue that I have with Halo 2/3’s multiplayer is that the maps are so big and open, and yet there are so few long range weapons and none of them are available when you spawn. IMO the pistol was why Halo played so well, it gave you a weapon that could function well at most distances, but there were still other weapons on the map that were stronger in their own areas of expertise (sniper rifle, shotgun, plasma rifle, rockets, etc).
Halo 3 sort of felt like a “safe” game that built on the Halo 2 foundation, so I’m interested to see what Bungie might do now that they seem to be moving away from that.