Borderlands 2:Gun types
Because of the differences between the same kind of gun between different manufacturers—a Jakobs shotgun and a Bandit-made shotgun don’t have similar performance apart from the fact that they’re both shotguns, for example—you should always give a gun a chance if it’s from a manufacturer you haven’t tried, or if it’s a combination of gun type and manufacturer you haven’t seen yet. Any rare weapon you grab is worth trying out, as well—the rarer a weapon, the more likely it’s accessorized and built using better materials, which can enhance aspects of performance in ways that aren’t immediately apparent on the stat card. Rarer components also increase the likelihood of the gun having unusual performance, like ricocheting or Explosive bullets. This might not be expressed on the stat card, so if you look for weapons based solely on qualities like their value and their damage rating and ignore the qualities of how they actually handle, you’ll miss out on some very cool stuff. Use the model viewer-like Inspect function on the Inventory screen or in vending machine menus to get a closer look at the gun’s actual accessories, optics, magazine, and barrel while evaluating it, and try before you trash!
So the manufacturer, level range, rarity, and parts of a gun make it what it is in terms of aesthetics and performance. But what types of guns are there, you ask? You don’t have to ask; the list is right here. Also, this book cannot hear you. Don’t actually ask it. Anyway, weapon types:
- main article: Assault Rifle
The workhorse of commandos from dozens of star systems, the assault rifle is a reliable gun type offering solid damage and all-around utility. Assault rifles tend to be best at mid to long range, where their combination of optics, accuracy, and fire rate makes the most sense. Assault rifles are built for solid damage over sustained time and distance, and they don’t get the outsize critical bonuses of weapons like sniper rifles and revolvers. (Criticals are, of course, still much better than non-criticals. Just not quite as beefy as with some other weapons, that’s all.)
- main article: Pistol
Pistols are one-handed weapons, typically using smaller-caliber ammunition than larger guns. But there’s still plenty of variety among pistols. Sure, there are humdrum examples like the Dahl Crappy Repeater you start your adventure out with, but don’t worry, it gets better. Just as there are basic semi-auto pistols, there are also fully automatic repeaters, element-slinging variants, and semi-auto revolvers that hit like dumptrucks. Since pistols fire, generally speaking, more slowly than SMGs, they tend to have harder-hitting individual projectiles, although the low-powered ammunition doesn’t enhance criticals… except on Jakobs revolvers. Pistols are the entry-level gun for Pandorans, few and far between, who aren’t yet veterans of gun ownership. The gateway gun. So, since they have the largest buying demographic, every manufacturer has a line of pistols—not true of any other firearm.
- main article: Rocket Launcher
Rocket launchers predictably fire rockets, which explode with spectacular results. You won’t find weapons that fire slower or take longer to reload, but you won’t get as much bang for your buck elsewhere, either. It’s not at all unusual to find a rocket that inflicts 10 times per hit what your closest damage sniper rifle can do. Naturally, some tradeoffs come with this power. The most obvious is that you can’t ever carry a huge number of rockets in reserve—no greater than 27 total, even with a maximized rocket SDU. Launchers have clumsier handling characteristics compared to other weapons. And the rockets themselves travel much more slowly than bullets do, which alters how you must aim. Still, rockets can be an invaluable tool, whether you save them for a rainy day against a boss or Badass or use them for extra punch against soft peons to easily score a Second Wind when you’re knocked down.
- main article: Shotgun
The ideal weapon for close encounters, shotguns discharge shells filled with pellets, each of which is essentially a bullet. Rounds don’t lose power with travel over distances, so firing a shotgun at something far away may still net you some damage if some of the pellets hit, though most of them generally miss. At close to mid range when you can coax all the pellets into striking the same target, a good shotgun can surpass just about anything for raw ferocity. As a bit of a tradeoff, Critical Hits from a shotgun are weak relative to other weapons because individual pellets scoring criticals isn’t as forceful as full-on rounds doing the same thing.
Shotguns can be terrific weapons in a pinch, especially against groups of fast, pesky enemies or against foes higher in level who are resisting damage, because of front loading. Front loading just means that you’re delivering all of the damage immediately when you pull the trigger. Put another way, you have to aim correctly only once, and you get the benefit of a dozen or so shots simultaneously. On the other hand, with non-shotgun weapons, you’d have to land those same dozen shots spread out either across a dozen trigger pulls, or over an automatic burst where it’s incumbent upon you to successively hit with each and every shot. Well, maybe you don’t have time to stand there putting every shot on target—maybe you don’t even have time to do that expertly while circle strafing. Perhaps the enemy’s too fast, too accurate. In these cases, you can pop out from behind cover just long enough to fire off a dead-center hip-fired shotgun blast, then duck back or simply sprint away, turning just long enough to fire one blast before continuing to flee. Lather, rinse, repeat, and you create lemonade out of awfully lemony situations. When you finally upgrade a Goliath into a God-Liath, you won’t wanna back off just because there’s now a flashing skull next to his name and he’s breathing right down your neck even as you sprint, will you?
- main article: Sniper Rifle
Sniper rifles are precision tools designed to let you bury a high-caliber bullet into the skag skull from 100 yards away. Their fast, high-damage projectiles score especially nasty Critical Hits, placing a premium on shots against touchy spots. Since sniper rifles are intended for distance work, they’ll almost always come with a sight attached. Sniper rifles propel bullets with extreme force, which means sniper rifles get more of a bonus from Critical Hits than other weapon types. Zero the assassin has an entire skill tree devoted to becoming a sniping specialist, if distance work is your true calling. But any character can get great mileage out of the power and range offered by these guns.
Submachine Gun (SMG)
- main article: Submachine Gun
Submachine guns are the halfway house between pistols and assault rifles. They typically feature high fire rates and moderate magazines and damage, making them ideal for close to mid range bullet spraying. They’ll often come equipped with elemental capabilities, which dovetails well with SMG fire rates—even if the chance to light the target aflame or corrode them is only ~10%, that’s still more or less assured after only about a third of a magazine of on-target shots from a typical SMG.