In the standard roll they are not, but when spent they act that way. 1 despair equals up to 3 threat. Again I am not saying that autofire does not trigger, I am saying, as per the rules listed above the weapon runs out of ammo before the damage for the autofire happens. Lets look at the rules again shall we?
You have mixed up the order of operations, advantages and triumphs are spent before threats and despair. this distinction is important.
Page 211 implies this order is primarily less technical, and more procedural, because 2 individual people are applying the checks.
"In the same fashion in which the controlling player determines how to spend advantages and triumphs in his combat check, the GM then determines how to spend any threat or despair generated in the check. Much as fortune might favor the player, bad luck and circumstances can conspire against him." Step 1 - Declare an Attack and Select TargetsStep 2 - Assemble the Dice PoolStep 3 - Pool Results and Deal DamageStep 4 - Resolve Advantage and TriumphStep 5 - Resolve Threat and DespairStep 6 - Reduce Damage, Apply to Wound Threshold, and Apply Critical Injuries
Step 3 is for the initial damage. Step 4 allows him to activate weapon qualities. Now why is the next step to resolve threat and despair BEFORE damage is actually applied in step 6. If you were not meant to use despair and threat to screw with the activation and damage then step 5 and 6 should be reversed.
In addition, going by the rules as you interpret them can cause unexpected consequences, as if the damage id dealt before threat and despair kicks in, that means the damage is dealt before damage reduction kicks in, meaning those hits bypass soak.
In addition this is very consistent with other parts of the spending despairs/threat in combat, as you can use it to cause the active character to lose the benefits of their prior maneuver, including any rolls they needed to use for that maneuver, and that costs less to do than to cause them to run out of ammo.
I understand that you folks seem to be focused on the enjoyment for the players, and that is all and good otherwise there would not be a game, but I dont think you are focusing on the bad side it can do to the players in NPC hands. And maybe y'all will modify it on that side, but I would not, I feel the rules should be consistent on both sides, so if an autofire can be used by PCs then the can also be used by NPCs, and autofire can kill any pc in one shot, and in a lot of cases kill more than one.