And now, because I get way too obsessed over the gear in this game and I feel like I should just have something to reference next time instead of reading through all the books to find the perfect gun, here is an analysis of every firearm in Shadowrun 5th Edition.
Other Shadowrun Armory Posts
The golden boy of the assault rifle category. Other guns are more accurate, others have deeper magazines, others even have some of that lovely integral recoil compensation, but no other gun has everything. I’d call Ares’ flagship rifle a jack-of-all-trades weapon, except everything about it is better than what you’d expect from that description. The Alpha is the workhorse of any automatics-focused gunslinger, one that you can buy and run with out of the box without necessarily needing to spend time and money on customization. It’s already got a smartgun system, it’s already got an underslung grenade launcher, it can do everything from semi- to full-auto, it’s got plenty of bullets in the mag, it’s got inherent recoil comp that you can improve even further if you’ve got a few nuyen for some cheap gas venting and stock modifications…you just can’t get better than this. Grade A weapon, from everyone’s favorite weapons corp.
While the gun itself is beautiful, there are two minor issues to keep in mind when owning one as a shadowrunner. First off, it’s the most expensive assault rifle, as befitting its status as a top-shelf Ares weapon. Second, and this is a problem shared with many other rifles, it’s illegal as hell, and difficult to hide, so you’re not going to be able to take it everywhere, and if you get caught with it you’d better be ready for things to get loud. Those concerns aside, the Alpha is what we’re going to be comparing every other weapon of its class to, because if you think you’re going to see enough heavy combat to require an assault rifle then you’re going to need a damn good reason to risk your life with anything less than the best. And make no mistake, the Alpha is the best.
Durable as fuck baseline rifle, and a damn fine selection if you just want something to throw lead when you pull the trigger. If your local gangers are on top of their game, then they’ve probably got a couple crates of these for when they need to get serious with someone, and every local militia in the world uses them as the tools of the revolution. That common nature means they’re less likely to get traced back to you after a run, which might be something to consider. Strap a smartlink to the top, add a foregrip and a shock pad, and you’ve got something almost as good as a factory-model Alpha for less than half the cost. It is also–rarely for an assault rifle–restricted rather than forbidden, so as long as you have the right (fake) license you won’t get arrested just for owning one. In short, I consider this to be the go-to gun for people who need a big plan B piece but don’t see combat as a full-time job. The Alpha is the superior weapon in many ways, but the AK-97 will get the job done.
Run & Gun
Same line as the AK-97, except for those people who need a little more excitement in their lives. In addition to having an underslung grenade launcher, the 98 model is right back to being illegal even with a license, so you lose some of that protection from legal scrutiny that an AK usually buys you. The grenade launcher is also wildly inaccurate, but that won’t matter as much if you get a smartlink. Alternatively, you could load it with gas grenades instead of more permanent solutions, so that missing your mark has less potential to have catastrophic results.
If you want a cheap two-for-the-price-of-one gun to stick on a drone, the AK-98 is an excellent pick. If you want a grenade launcher on a gun that you expect to carry yourself, just get an Alpha already.
The M23 is cheap, and you get what you pay for. That’s about all that can be said for it. A decently-sized magazine and ready availability are the only things that might commend it to your average runner, that and the low price tag. I would not recommend using this on anything other than drones unless you go and mod it heavily–add in some gas venting and a smartgun system, and the M23 begins to resemble an actual firearm. Even then, though, the AK-97 is a much better option on the cheaper market.
If your local gangbangers are less well-off, but you still live in a seriously dangerous area where they need to be heavily armed or get trampled under, expect to see some of these around the neighborhood. Don’t dismiss them out of hand–shitty guns in inexperienced hands can still kill you if they send enough bullets your way–but don’t bother using one yourself.
The HAR is, essentially, the upscale corporate counterpart to the AK-97. This gun is more often faced by shadowrunners than used, as it’s a perennial favorite of security response teams. The included gas venting and laser sight make it easy to use without being expensive, which is exactly what the corps want for their expendable goon squads. If you want to use one of these yourself you’ll be able to refill your ammo supply from fallen sec troopers, or blend in as one if you have the right uniform. Just remember to ditch any spare magazines you pick up from dropped security weapons before you leave the facility, as they’ve probably got RFID tags in ‘em.
This gun can work for you for the same reason it works for corpsec: it’s decently cheap and easy to handle, while still hitting almost as hard as an Alpha.
Now, here’s a gun that can give the Alpha a run for its money. It’s got less inherent recoil compensation and can’t fire semi-auto, but better accuracy and a whopping sixty-round magazine. This is the weapon of choice for the burstfire maverick, someone who has the skill to make use of that excellent accuracy. Be sure to mod some recoil compensation into it, but if you do that it’s hard to find better than this gun. The Raiden’s only real problem is that it’s just as illegal as the Alpha, and rarer–you won’t be starting the game with this beauty.
Nissan Optimum II
Run & Gun
This is an older model, and it shows. The Optimum II has got the same accuracy as the Alpha and the same built-in smartlink, but hits in a lower weight class and carries less ammo in the mag. The included shock pad on the stock is a nice touch, but those cost a pittance to buy yourself and you can throw one on the Alpha for better effect. The one interesting feature the Optimum brings to the table is the underbarrel shotgun, which is useful if you like to be able to switch between different ammo types at the drop of a hat–load the shotgun with gel rounds and the rifle clip with APDS and you’ve got a nice multipurpose tool. That said, the high price and rarity of this piece mean you’re probably better off picking up something that can give you more bang for your buck, unless you need to impersonate an Imperial Japanese Marine for some reason.
Run & Gun
The XM30 assault rifle can also be turned into three other guns, two of which–the LMG and sniper variants–use different skills than the base gun (Heavy Weapons and Longarms, specifically). Accuracy is decent across the board, if somewhat weak for a sniper rifle, and damage is universally low, which plays to operators with higher weapons skill. The ability to fit either an underbarrel grenade launcher or shotgun to any of the different builds is a nice touch, but if you can afford to carry around a bunch of different guns then you can find a better weapon for each and every possible version of the XM30. On the plus side, you only have to install customizations once, which makes logistics easier if you want to develop a collection of different weapons for different roles. Also, if viewed strictly as a submachine gun, the carbine variant is quite good, with higher damage and armor penetration than any of the pure submachine guns, though the magazine size isn’t anything to write home about. Keep this hidden under a longcoat and you’ve got a nice surprise for when you need to go loud.
Run & Gun
For when you need to make people keep their fucking heads down. Ares’ High Velocity Assault Rifle has a combination of high inherent recoil reduction and a sizable magazine meant to encourage operators to flip the fire selector to rock-and-roll and never let it up. And you’re going to need that full-auto ability on this one, because the HVAR also has the lowest damage of the assault rifle class. That, and the lack of ability to take barrel modifications, puts the HVAR in a definite niche category, with better options available for almost every purpose. If all you want is two full turns of suppressive fire, look no further; for a reliable means of making the opposition drop in a more permanent way, keep moving.
That said, the HVAR is a very nice weapon for people for whom combat is a side job. Your decker or rigger who still wants to be effective in combat, though perhaps not as effective as a dedicated street sam. What Ares’ high-velocity toy lacks in weight it makes up with its ability to throw absolute piles of lead downrange, and for someone who isn’t likely going to be strong enough to handle heavy recoil without help from gun mods the HVAR’s extensive built-in recoil reduction is a godsend. Those full-auto bursts compensate for the lack of skill in the average HVAR user, keeping them competitive in a firefight.
Shiawase Arms Monsoon
Gun H(e)aven 3
This is a weird one. Technically speaking, it’s got a staggeringly-large capacity of one-hundred-twenty rounds at its disposal, but those are split between six different barrels instead of one clip, which makes reloading a pain in the ass. Its penetration is weak for a rifle, and it can’t burstfire, which limits you to either single shots or full-auto. For all that it’s pretty cheap for what that nuyen gets you, and it’s certainly not a bad weapon. Just strange. Use suppressive fire liberally and remember to aim between long bursts, and it’ll work out fine.
Also, as this fine gentleman on Reddit pointed out, you can keep different ammo types in each barrel. With six barrels of twenty rounds each, that’s quite a spread you could get going there. I’d suggest half APDS and half stick-n-shock, but with that many barrels you could also get some of the more conditional ammo types as well–a barrel each of AV rounds and flechettes for exceptionally hard or soft targets would be great additions.
Gun H(e)aven 3
For the discerning marksman. The Inception has excellent accuracy made better with a built-in laser sight, less armor penetration than you might wish but some built-in recoil comp and a halfway decent magazine size. It’s also legal to own, which for a weapon of this caliber is unexpected. The lack of full-auto makes this more of a DMR than a full assault rifle, but it’s not bad at all in that role, if that’s what you’re looking for. It might be a bit less versatile than the competition, but it’s still a respectable tool for someone with the high skills needed to take advantage of its accuracy.
Krupp Arms Kriegfaust
Gun H(e)aven 3
This thing is trying to be a marksman rifle, and not doing it quite as well as the Inception. While it does have higher accuracy and a nice scope, it also carries fewer bullets (in a drum instead of a box magazine, for some reason) and hits for less damage. The ad copy claims that it uses reinforced materials and high-caliber bullets, but the stats do not back that claim up. It’s relatively cheap, but still more expensive than some guns that, except for that beautifully high accuracy, are much better. For the same price you could buy yourself an AK and some mods, and save yourself a whole lot of pain later on when someone you’re trying to put down gets back up again.
Gun H(e)aven 3
Don’t make me laugh.
Also, don’t buy this gun. The fact that it’s cheaper than most pistols should be warning enough, but just in case you decide to commit suicide by walking into a fight with this, know that the accuracy is garbage, as is the ammo count and penetration. Absolutely no attempt has been made to make this damn piece usable by compensating for recoil, and while the damage is decent you’re not going to be putting enough rounds on target for that to matter. This might be good mounted on a cheap suicide drone–slap it on a Crawler and you’ve got a 7000-nuyen creep capable of autofire, which ain’t a bad price for a combat bot–but under no circumstances should you put one in metahuman hands, unless those hands belong to someone you don’t really like.
Ultimax Rain Forest Carbine
Gun H(e)aven 3
Despite being called a carbine, the Ultimax RFC is basically a short-range, extremely cheap sniper rifle. This beauty comes with exceptional accuracy, a very nice scope, high-caliber damage and armor penetration and a respectable clip size for a semi-automatic weapon. If it weren’t semi-auto only, I’d be advising everyone to get this thing. If you’re skilled enough that losing the ability to burst-fire doesn’t matter to you, then by all means buy this gun, because anything that gets hit by it is fucking paste.
EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that the stats for the RF Carbine in Gun H(e)aven 3 are changed in the errata for Shadowrun Missions. Normally I consider Missions-specific errata to be optional rather than required, but the stats listed there for the Carbine make a hell of a lot more sense than the ones in the book, turning it from an extremely powerful rifle to a weapon that, while still hitting hard and shooting reasonably straight, isn’t quite the giant looming over its fellows that it used to be. If you’re using the Missions stats (and you probably should), pick up a Carbine if you want a burst-fire rifle that you can still legally own. If you aren’t concerned with the law, though, get an Alpha instead–it’s better, and also cheaper.
The Frontier is a decent rifle, but is kind of expensive for what you get. Melee hardening and extreme environment adaptation are not that useful, in my experience, and do not justify that much of a price tag. Maybe your situation is different–maybe you’re running week-long ops in terrible wildernesses. If you aren’t, though, just buy an AK already.
What the hell is this?
I mean…it does carry a lot of bullets, and it’s certainly dirt-cheap, but it doesn’t fire less than full-auto, doesn’t have any recoil compensation to speak of, fires low-caliber bullets for an assault rifle, and only has three accuracy. Also any sort of glitch will make it continue firing until you run out of ammo, which is an unpleasant sort of situation. I can see the niche it’s supposed to occupy–a machine gun for people who can’t afford a machine gun–but I really, really hope to never find myself there.
Save your money until you can buy a proper machine gun, and stop wasting my time.
Less expensive than the HK XM30, and with fewer options, but the same sort of idea. This weapon simplifies a lot of logistics, letting you apply mods once and carry around whatever sized configuration you feel like you need that day. If you want to have a wide variety of weapons to choose from, but can’t afford a lot of luggage, consider the HL-13. The XM30 is better, but also a thousand nuyen more expensive, so if you decide to go for a modular gun you’re going to be making your decision between these two based solely on price.
The Carbine is a class of weapon introduced in Street Lethal, with a weight between SMGs and assault rifles. They tend to have damage equivalent to lower-caliber assault rifles, with assault rifle armor penetration and SMG ranges. They’re also slightly easier to conceal than most assault rifles. They’re good to buy if you want to have heavy firepower on hand but you know that you’re not going to be able to hide a full-size rifle.
Rock-solid, no-frills, back-to-basics carbine. Which is unusual for Ares, to be honest–I’m used to them putting out the best-quality stuff out there, but this thing is just a super cheap bang-stick. It’s a perfectly reasonable weapon to buy and use, but you ought to add some targeting and recoil compensation modifications to it if you decide to go with this as your mainstay.
Tacticool bullshit. The M23A2’s only redeeming feature is that single point of recoil compensation, but that’s not even close to being enough to save it from my disdain.
Honestly, it’s a solid enough firearm. If you find one in the wild, don’t feel bad about keeping it and using it. Just don’t buy one.
Unless you really, really want that extra two points of concealability, don’t buy this gun. The AK-98 is the exact same thing but cheaper and better.
If you do decide you need a carbine as opposed to a full-size assault rifle, remember that the Artemis uses SMG ranges, not rifle ranges, which means that you’re going to be a hell of a lot closer to whatever you’re firing its grenade launcher at. Use with caution.
Colt Cobra TZ-120
The Cobra plays the FN HAR’s role in the submachine gun class, being the perfect combination of easy to handle and cheap that corps love for their security services. Colt’s flagship SMG isn’t especially stellar in any specific category, but it’s got all the functionality you really need right out of the box. Pick up a Cobra if you don’t want to have to mod your gun, but still want a good piece.
FN P93 Praetor
This baby is the king of the SMG class, or at least king of the ones you can start the game with. It’s illegal to own, since it was designed for use specifically by Interpol agents, a detail which will likely make you easier to track down if you’re using it. If you’re careful about covering your tracks, however, the Praetor has got good accuracy, decent damage and inherent recoil compensation that can be boosted with a few judicious mod choices. If you’re picking up one of these, take the time to mod it, and treat it well, because this is a very nice gun. Its only downside is that it doesn’t come with an integrated smartgun system, instead packing a built-in flashlight, which is an odd design choice for an otherwise very advanced weapon.
A smart and respectable choice, if a little low on ammo for a weapon capable of full-auto fire. It doesn’t have the best stats, being one of the lower-damage SMGs and with only average accuracy, but it does come with a smartgun system and a sound suppressor, which helps keep it competitive. Definitely a professional choice, if not a stellar one.
Ingram Smartgun X
The Smartgun X is for all your spray and pray needs. This weapon can’t go below burst-fire, and the magazine isn’t particularly deep, so don’t carry it into an extended firefight, but for most everyday uses the integral smartlink, suppressor and recoil comp make it an easily-handled and effective weapon. It’s not the most accurate gun in the world without the aid of the smartlink, so be careful of hackers.
SCK Model 100
A decent, professional weapon with good stats all around, but nothing particularly special. Solid accuracy, nice damage and a bit of recoil comp with the stock, with the standard small SMG magazine made less onerous by the fact that it can’t do full-auto fire. That same lack makes the Model 100 more for highly-skilled professionals than someone just wants to be able to contribute in a firefight. Don’t bother picking it up if you can’t reliably put rounds on target.
This old-school submachine gun’s only real virtue is its cheapness. Damage is low, accuracy is low (if helped by the included laser sight), and it can only do burst-fire. Frankly, I can’t see a reason for someone to get this gun. Someone looking for a cheap automatic would be better served by a machine pistol.
Run & Gun
This would be a professional, solid choice for an SMG even if it couldn’t turn into a briefcase at the touch of a button. The folding stock and suppressor mean it’s quiet and easy to handle, and while the damage, accuracy and magazine aren’t really anything special they’re certainly good enough for work against people who aren’t expecting you to be armed, which is sort of the point. If you have the money to spare for this admittedly expensive toy, and you often work in corporate environments where you need to sneak in a gun, this is something you might want to pick up and keep in your back pocket. You probably won’t ever need it, but if you do you’ll be damn glad to have it.
HK Urban Combat
Run & Gun
Remember when I said that the Praetor was the king of the SMG class? That’s only because you can’t get the Urban Combat at character generation without taking a Restricted Gear quality. This piece is slick as fuck, with the highest accuracy of the SMG class, some fat heavy hitters in a deeper than usual magazine, and hydraulic recoil comp. And, best of all, it doesn’t pop on MAD scanners at all, so if you have a nice coat to hide it under–a Mortimer of London overcoat, perhaps, or a simple lined coat–you can bring this baby right through security. The downside to this lovely feature is that it can’t take any further modifications, which means your average runner isn’t likely to make much use of the full-auto feature. Also, it costs almost as much as an Alpha assault rifle. But if you can afford it–and if you can find one–this is the most useful tool you’ll find in the submachine gun category.
Gun H(e)aven 3
I’m honestly not sure who, exactly, this gun is meant for. It’s marketed to metahuman shooters such as orcs and trolls, and frankly in my mind offering such a shitty weapon to that particular market makes Krime seem kind of racist. Its one virtue is the inherent recoil compensation, and the fact that it costs very little of your precious nuyen–but much like with the Uzi IV, if you’re looking for a cheap automatic you’d be better served by a machine pistol than this rust collector.
Gun H(e)aven 3
Ares is, for the most part, my favorite weapons manufacturer. If you see their name on something then you can be guaranteed that it will be, if not top of its class, then at least very close. The Sigma-3 is a small exception to that rule. It’s not bad, mind you, just confusing. It’s an SMG that’s trying to be an assault rifle, which I guess isn’t that surprising coming from Ares, with a drum magazine that I can’t help but feel would just make the damn thing harder to hide, thus negating the main reason to get a submachine gun instead of a rifle. It does hit respectably hard, for what it’s worth, and that drum mag certainly won’t run empty on you, and it does have a lot of fancy features out of the box including a powered slide mount to make it easier to modify to your own tastes, but I can’t shake the feeling that if you want what the Sigma-3 is trying to offer you should just buy yourself a Kalashnikov.
This is a weapon that seems good, that I really want to be good, but I just can’t figure out a role for.
EDIT: As WillAsher pointed out in the comments, with the release of the Hard Targets sourcebook the Sigma-3 gets a lot more interesting, since you can put an ammo skip system on any weapon with a cylinder or drum magazine to easily switch between ammo types. Slap one of those on the Sigma and with fifty rounds in the drum you can be prepared for a lot of different situations. Will recommends twenty ex-ex, twenty APDS, and ten miscellaneous or mission specific rounds like silver, wood pulp or capsule, and that seems like a damn fine loadout to me. Fitting that much versatility into a package the size of an SMG takes the Sigma-3 from being just an assault rifle wannabe to being useful in its own right.
Cavalier Arms Gladius
Gun H(e)aven 3
Much like the Krime Spree, this is a cheapass SMG with shit accuracy but an inexplicable point of inherent recoil comp. Unlike the Krime Spree, the Gladius has a laser sight to help compensate for how bad the weapon is otherwise, can be toggled to burst-fire, and has a collapsible stock to help deal with the recoil. It’s a better weapon than the Spree that is also cheaper than Krime’s model, so if you just want something that will put bullets down range without actually hitting a damn thing, I guess you could do worse. Ain’t that a glowing recommendation.
Seriously though, if you’re considering this thing, just buy a Steyr TMP or Black Scorpion machine pistol instead.
For when you really want to hose down an area without caring if you might hit someone you like. This is a weapon you’re more likely to see in the hands of security than shadowrunners, due to the profile sharing feature. If you want to use one, though, it’s actually a pretty good weapon, mostly because of the fact that you’re getting a really deep magazine for a reasonable price tag. Beware of hackers when using the Tsunami, as with any gun with a safe targeting system installed, and maybe install some recoil compensation to help deal with the fact that it can’t fire semi-automatic shots. I’d easily recommend a Praetor, Urban Combat, or Sigma-3 over this, but those are all also more expensive than the Tsunami, so if you want a decent gun for cheap, here you go. Just remember to buy a good firewall to go with it.
Onotari Arms S-3k
Very cheap for a folding weapon, but has uninspiring stats and it takes a while to unfold. If you can possibly bring a different SMG or heavier armament in a bag or something, do that, because the S-3K isn’t actually that good of a gun, except for the ability to carry it around in more places than you can carry other weapons. Personally, I use a machine pistol for that, but if you think you can get away with hiding the bulk of this folding SMG then it couldn’t hurt to bring a little extra firepower to the table. As for me, I prefer the Cavalier Flash and PPSK-4 machine pistols.
Ares Crusader II
The Crusader II would be the first and only choice I would recommend to your attention if it weren’t so expensive. For your money you do get a very fine weapon, make no mistake, with high accuracy boosted by an internal smartgun system, gas venting to deal with recoil, and a hilariously large magazine size for a weapon that can’t go full-auto; but unless you make heinous mistakes that by all rights should end in your death, you shouldn’t ever need to fire forty rounds from a fucking machine pistol, and there are options that are flat-out better if you take the time to mod them. Still, if you’re willing to spend the money and don’t want to have to customize your piece, the Crusader does handle very well out of the box, and will serve as an excellent hidden gun for all those times you can’t carry your Alpha around with you.
Ceska Black Scorpion
This gun is cheap, and that’s about all I can say. It’s basically a light pistol with a stock that can burst-fire. If that’s what you’re looking for, by all means, get yourself a Scorpion. At least you won’t have broken the bank on it. Just don’t rely on it for anything more dangerous than threatening gangers with.
The cheapest full-auto weapon that will fit in one hand. Not that you’ll ever want to use that full-auto capability without adding some way of compensating for recoil, but still. If you want an emergency backup piece, there are worse options–at the very least you can use it for suppressive fire while everyone else breaks for the door.
PPSK-4 Collapsible Machine Pistol
Run & Gun
If you can get it, this is the machine pistol you want to have. The whole point of this class of weapons is to have something concealable that’s a little heavier than a pistol, and boy does this one deliver on that promise. It is mad expensive, but worth every red nuyen. As the name suggests, the PPSK-4 Collapsible folds up into a little box that has better concealability than a holdout pistol with much better accuracy, burst-fire and a wonderfully deep magazine. When you finally have the money to start upgrading from your starter kit, a PPSK-4 should be at the top of your spy toys shopping list.
Onotari Arms Equalizer
Run & Gun
An otherwise perfectly serviceable machine pistol with a magazine capacity that, at first glance, looks like either a typo or a bad joke. It’s got higher damage than most, making it not bad for a quick spray-and-pray, but for the same price you can get something that won’t run empty the first time you pull the trigger. Your call on whether or not the damage is worth blowing your load in the first couple seconds of the fight.
Run & Gun
Better than the Equalizer, but only barely, and holy shit people, who thought that a full-auto weapon with a fifteen round magazine was a good idea? Goddamn.
Like the Equalizer, the Ultimax 70 can’t flip over to semi-auto, so you’ve got at best five pulls of the trigger before you run dry. If that’s not a problem for you–and if you use this as a backup or emergency piece, I guess it shouldn’t be–it does have nice accuracy and handling.
Fianchetti Military 100
Gun H(e)aven 3
Like the Equalizer and Ultimax 70, the Military 100 is a full-auto-capable weapon with a very low ammo capacity. It’s high enough to be useful, though, and it does have a semi-auto mode that the other two lack, so of the three it’s the one that I would be most comfortable recommending. If you really need to have a full-auto machine pistol, I’d seriously consider getting a basic TMP instead of this, unless you feel that you need a cooler-looking pistol. The Military 100 is basically the gun from Robocop, so at least you’ll look intimidating with it.
Gun H(e)aven 3
A Military 100 without the semi-auto option or smartlink, for seventy-five nuyen less. It does have recoil compensation, and a decent enough accuracy with the built-in laser sight, so I don’t feel all that bad recommending it, and it’s a clear sight better than either the Equalizer or Ultimax 70. If you expect to do serious work with your machine pistol, there are certainly worse options, though I’d like to make it clear that this is by no means the best or even second best one. The magazine size remains low, but that shouldn’t matter if you stick to three-round bursts, and it’s nice to have the option for suppressive fire (even if that would take the entire magazine). If you really want this gun, by all means, use it, but otherwise a Military 100 does everything it does just a little bit better, with the minor exception of recoil compensation.
Gun H(e)aven 3
This is my favorite of the machine pistols, despite the tiny magazine size. The fact that you can’t use full-auto on this thing makes the fifteen-round mag not matter as much, and I feel the high accuracy, built in suppressor and high-caliber rounds more than make up for it in any case. With a little recoil modification and an attached smartlink, this gun is the best packet of concealable automatic firepower that money can buy.
The description of the Flash compares it a lot to the PPSK-4, but it’s pretty clear that the two machine pistols fulfill completely different needs. The PPSK-4 is for when you need to really hide some automatic firepower, with an incredible ability to be concealed at the expense of taking a moment or two to get set back up afterward. The Flash, on the other hand, is about having automatic firepower in hand fast. Combine this thing with an arm slide and you can have a machine pistol in your hand as a free action, which essentially gives you another initiative pass of fire in your first turn. In my mind, that’s more than worth the high price tag. It’s also not a half-bad machine pistol by itself, with decent damage and lower accuracy helped by an integrated smartgun system.
Frankly, I can’t see a reason for an automatics-focused character with some extra money to not have one of these. Because of the way Shadowrun’s combat system handles initiative, speed counts more than anything, and the Flash/arm slide combo reliably buys you an extra fraction of a second at the beginning of a fight, right where it counts the most. That’s more than worth the nuyen.
Fichetti Tiffani Needler
The most expensive holdout pistol, the Needler isn’t a bad choice by any means, especially if you want something that will match a disguise–a Needler found in the pocket or purse of an executive raises less eyebrows than a different weapon might. This thing can only fire flechettes, which makes it less than useful against hard targets, but if you’re down to a holdout pistol in the face of armored opposition you’re fucked anyway, so it’s hard to argue that the Needler’s lack of penetration would make much of a difference either way. Its main problem is the cost, which is really fucking high for the dinky little pocket-shotgun that it is.
If you don’t want to spend the cash on a Needler, the Special is likely what you’ll be carrying in that ankle holster of yours. This gun is harder to detect on MAD scanners, making it more likely to get through security with you, and the six-round magazine is the largest of any holdout pistol. It’s hella cheap, too. This is my personal favorite option in the holdout category. No frills gutter-trash junk, but it’ll come as a surprise and that’s what counts.
Walther Palm Pistol
The one-shot wonder. This tiny over-under derringer only holds two bullets, which can both be fired at once if you so choose. It packs a bigger punch than other holdouts, but you’d best be damn sure that you drop whatever you’re shooting on the first try. Or buy more than one. They’re not quite as cheap as the Streetline Special, but the Palm Pistol ain’t about to break the bank.
Fichetti Tiffani Self-Defender 2075
Run & Gun
This is for when you need a gun that will blend in with the fashionable crowd, but you can’t afford a Needler. It looks pretty, but so far as shooting goes you’d be better off throwing rocks.
Colt New Model Revolver
Gun H(e)aven 3
Very accurate, especially for a holdout, and more bullets than usual for this category, but unfortunately that comes with a smaller caliber of round. In the hands of someone highly skilled enough to take advantage of its accuracy the New Model Revolver could be a beautiful surprise, but otherwise it’s a plinking gun. If you get this, you’ll probably want to ignore it’s normal ammo in favor of capsule rounds filled with toxins. DMSO mixed with narcoject is the usual favorite, but pepper punch will do in a pinch, and is actually cheaper than normal bullets to boot.
A knockout gun like the Parashield dart pistol, but without the requirement that you take a specialized skill to use it. It’s a good idea, with one major problem–it’s expensive as all hell. You can get almost exactly the same thing by buying a Streetline Special and firing capsule rounds filled with narcoject and DMSO, for a tenth of the price. Don’t bother purchasing the One.
This is essentially a cheaper and worse Needler, with the twist that it’s absolutely invisible to MAD scanners. Between the two, I think I’d actually recommend the Sting over the Needler, mostly because it’s a third of the price. Plus the whole point of holdouts is to sneak them in places, and the ceramic body of the Sting really helps with that.
Terracotta Arms Pup
Holdout pistols can’t take accessories. That’s the one thing that makes the Terracotta Arms Pup worthwhile; it comes with a smartgun system, which no one else has been able to figure out how to fit into a holdout-sized package, and an optional (and very expensive) silencer. If you want every single armament you own to be silent, then this is basically your only option in the holdout category. If stealth isn’t a consideration…well, it’s still pretty good, actually. Kind of pricey for a holdout, but you get what you pay for.
Ares Light Fire 75
This is a covert ops tool, and a damn fine one. The integrated silencer is better than the stock models you can get for other guns, the clip size is good, accuracy is high (though that tends to be the case for light pistols), and it comes with a smartlink. The only real downsides to this gun are the price and the illegality–otherwise, I’d be suggesting everyone who can use pistols buy one. If you’ve got the money and feel like you might need to assassinate someone, the Light Fire is an excellent option.
Ares Light Fire 70
A Light Fire 75 without the smartlink, and slightly more accuracy for some reason. You can still get the improved Light Fire silencer for this piece, though it costs extra, so you might want to consider this if you don’t care about the tech bonuses from the smartlink and want something that you can legally own.
A solid option with a large magazine size and a burst-fire mode. If you’re willing to spend a little more money there are better options available, but this certainly isn’t a bad one, especially if you have worries about ammo capacity. It’s one of those guns where you’re probably not going to need extra magazines, so that’s one less thing to worry about carrying around.
Colt America L36
This is the average handgun. Accurate enough, hits harder than the Light Fire and 201T, and a small magazine that doesn’t matter as much because it’s only got a semi-auto mode. It’s also remarkably common, so if you’re looking for a weapon you can throw into a dumpster after a murder, or one that won’t be commented on by the cops, this is what you want. It’s almost worth picking one up to wear openly so that people don’t look a little deeper and see that you’re packing something heavier as well.
Fichetti Security 600
This is a security weapon, with the usual laser sight and folding stock meant to make it easier for poorly-trained guards to handle. It also has a magnificently deep magazine, sporting thirty rounds in a semi-auto weapon that will never burn through it all in one firefight. It’s one of the more expensive options, but lets get real for a moment–these are light pistol prices we’re talking about. You can afford it. If you want something that will be effective right out of the box without customization, and which you won’t ever have to reload in the middle of a fight, the Security 600 is your baby. Stick it in a pocket and forget about having to carry spare magazines.
This one ain’t bad if you want a little more bang for your buck. It’s a revolver, so your semi-auto specializations won’t apply, and if you’re firing the option it has for larger-caliber bullets you won’t be doing any semi-auto bursts–not that you would want to anyway, at that ammo capacity. It’s not a bad gun, overall. Straightforward, versatile firepower.
Fichetti Executive Action
Run & Gun
Burst-fire-capable pain in a small package, but with no recoil compensation and no accuracy aids. Despite its flaws the Executive Action remains a very nice pistol, mostly because the errata removes the need to spend a complex action on burst-fire. It is, essentially, a cheap and more easily-concealed machine pistol, perfect for the pistoleer who wants a little more power to play with. Just remember to put some recoil compensation on it–a folding stock or gas venting wouldn’t go amiss.
Shiawase Arms Puzzler
Run & Gun
Stat-wise, the Puzzler isn’t really anything special. It’s the fact that you can disassemble it into pieces that don’t look like weapon parts that’s the selling point, allowing you to sneak it in pretty much anywhere. With low accuracy and damage, the Puzzler isn’t going to last you for long in a real firefight, but it might be enough to plug someone who has an actual gun that you can take, or drop the target of a wetwork job. If you don’t have the Armorer skill you’re likely going to struggle with reassembling it, but if you do then this is a nice little spy toy for your kit.
If you can afford one, I’d suggest getting a WW Infiltrator from the Street Lethal sourcebook instead of the Puzzler. It’s the same concept, but in heavy pistol form, which means it hits a bit harder when you need it.
Run & Gun
This piece is actually pretty nice, despite getting made fun of in the shadowtalk entry under its description. It’s got longer range and better accuracy than other pistols in its class, and a sizable magazine. It doesn’t exactly hit for much, but if you’ve got the skills to take advantage of the accuracy this is a pretty good choice for a sidearm.
Colt Agent Special
Gun H(e)aven 3
Clean and simple killing power. The Agent Special is for when you absolutely need to be sure that you’ll make one target very dead in the time it takes them to realize you’ve got a gun. Those high-caliber rounds come at a cost, however, with lower accuracy than the rest of its class, a tiny eight-round magazine and an aggressive drop-off in effectiveness at range. If you want a small gun that hits like a heavy pistol, this is for you, but I’d suggest buying it alongside another pistol and using the Agent Special only when conditions allow. Like the name says, this is for when you’re operating like a secret agent, at close range and with surprise.
Cavalier Arms Adder Slivergun
This thing is basically the Viper Slivergun’s little brother. It’s more accurate than it’s heavy pistol counterpart, but packs a smaller punch, smaller magazine, and can’t do burst-fire. It’s reasonable enough when compared to the Viper. Compared to other light pistols though, the damage boost over something like a Colt America L36 is not enough to compensate for the armor penetration difficulties caused by the flechette ammunition, the accuracy is worse than just about every other gun in its class, and it’s got no interesting features to make up for the fact that it’s on the higher end of light pistol prices. If you want a light pistol that punches outside its weight class I recommend an Agent Special, unless you really think your pocket piece is going to need the range advantage and twenty-round mag of the Adder.
The question you want to be asking yourself, as a shadowrunner who wants to carry an extremely concealed light pistol on your person, is this: do I want to buy a Puzzler, or a Ghost? The Puzzler is less expensive and harder for security to identify if they search you, but it’s also a lot harder to find and you have to have the Armorer skill to put it together and take it apart. The Ghost, meanwhile, is extremely concealable and has some nice recoil compensation from its electronic firing mechanism. It also comes with a smartgun system, which is a damn fine touch. Between the Puzzler and the Ghost, I think I prefer the Ghost. It’s more expensive, but in this case you get what you pay for.
Colt Coral Snake
Despite the picture in the book looking like a semi-auto, this is actually a revolver. Quite a decent one, too. The cylinder only holds five rounds, but each of them hits decently hard, and since it’s single-shot only you’re not going to be spraying bullets everywhere anyway. Overall, this is a good piece if you want to punch outside of your weight class a little bit, or if you don’t want to buy two kinds of ammo–it uses heavy pistol ammunition, so you could buy this for everyday carry and get a heavier pistol for more serious work, if you wanted.
Ares Predator V
Everyone loves the classics. The latest model in the Predator line has the usual inherent smartlink, high-caliber rounds, nice ammo capacity and high price tag–all marks of fine Ares craftsmanship. No recoil compensation to speak of, but that’s standard for heavy pistols. Just remember to take the time to aim and you’ll do fine with this one.
Ares Viper Slivergun
A sleek, powerful weapon with burst-fire capability making up for poor accuracy. The magazine size is something I’d expect to see on a light pistol or automatic, and should keep you going for a while without having to reload. If you don’t mind being a little less effective against hard targets, this is a very practical option, though I’d suggest adding a smartgun system to it. It’s cheap enough to get an internal one built in without too much hassle. Actually, it’s cheap, period, especially for what it gives you. Overall, I’d have to say that the Slivergun is the best bang for your buck in the heavy pistols category, and if efficiently spending your nuyen is your only concern then this should be your top pick.
Get this if you can’t afford a Predator, or if you don’t have a smartlink. Otherwise, ignore it. It’s an older model, and it’s starting to show its age.
Colt Government 2066
Reliable, very accurate heavy pistol. It doesn’t come with a smartlink and doesn’t hit as hard as the rest of the heavy pistols, but it’s also reasonably cheap, and otherwise performs just as well as the Predator V. If you want a semi-auto .45 and want to avoid the commonality of the Predator line, I’d go with the Government 2066 instead of the Browning Ultra-Power. It’s a nice little piece, which you could make better by adding on a smartlink and maybe a touch of recoil compensation. It’s modeled after the classic 1911 handgun, which means it looks good as well.
This is a ganger’s gun, not a professional’s. If that’s the vibe you’re looking for, by all means, pick up a Roomsweeper–it’s certainly cheap, and firing shot from it gives you rock-solid close-range burst damage. Its ability to adjust the choke means you also have some options if people are dodging your shots. Just don’t be surprised if you run out of ammo in the middle of the fight.
Ruger Super Warhawk
This is the fuck you gun. This is Dirty Harry, Hellboy, and every wild west gun bunny that ever made it into legend. This is chrome and blood and the sound that means you’ll never hear right again. Buy a Super Warhawk if you expect to be swaggering a lot.
Run & Gun
This is the Super Warhawk’s younger, more reasonable brother. More accurate, and with an odd seven-chamber cylinder, this revolver hits in a lower weight class than Ruger’s chrome behemoth, but also doesn’t break your wrist every time you go to fire it. Unless you’re specialized in revolvers, there are better options available. On the plus side, like the other revolvers available, it’s easy to get, cheap, and you’ll never have an enemy hacker ejecting your magazine for you.
PSK-3 Collapsible Heavy Pistol
Run & Gun
If you can get ahold of one of these, it’s a nice alternative to your Streetline or Needler, but you’re going to pay good nuyen for a weapon that hopefully you won’t have to use that often. Much like the PPSK-4 machine pistol and the Puzzler light pistol, put this on your spy gear shopping list once you’ve got some money and contacts.
Run & Gun
I really like the Guardian. Built-in smartlink, burst-fire, hits hard, inherent recoil comp and an association with high-class VIP protection and noir trids. It’s also an expensive gun, and the magazine size is nothing to write home about (especially for a burst-fire weapon), but by the time you need to reload you should have been able to put down whatever was troubling you. A serious piece for serious work, and definitely the most aggressive heavy pistol available.
Onotari Arms Violator
Run & Gun
Do you want to attract enemy hackers while using a mediocre heavy pistol packed with way more electronics than it needs? Your bizzare dreams have been answered by Onotari Arms. Every item that might have been in this gun’s favor is more than balanced out by something else. On the one hand, the Violator does have inherent recoil compensation, but so does the Guardian, and the Guardian can burst-fire. On that first hand again it is very cheap for a gun that comes with a smartlink, but it also comes with an electronic safety and safe-targeting system that is going to be a playground for anyone who gets past your firewall. It is the only way you’re going to be able to get all these electronics to fit into one gun, and frankly the thing is a marvel of engineering, but it’s all just not that useful. Save yourself the headache and buy something else, unless you really love Saeder-Krupp’s weapons subsidiary for some reason, or unless you’re really frightened of getting mind-controlled and want something that you know for sure won’t fire on your allies.
Colt Future Frontier
Gun H(e)aven 3
This piece is somewhere between the Super Warhawk and the Deputy, though it’s more expensive than either. It’s also not as useful as either of those other two revolvers. If you really want to use a single-action revolver in a world of cyberware and machine guns, you should probably get a Warhawk instead.
It does look very nice, for what it’s worth, and if you are for some reason committing to a cowboy motif then go for it.
The description in the book explicitly compares the Manhunter to the Savalette Guardian and the Predator V, but I think the Guardian is a class above either of those, so I’m going to have to disagree with that assessment. The Manhunter is another bigass semiauto, nestling in right next to the Predator V and the Browning Ultra-Power. With it’s larger magazine size and same every other stat it’s essentially a strict upgrade to the Ultra-Power, though with a holographic instead of laser sight and for 60 more nuyen. Similarly, it’s cheaper than the Predator but doesn’t have the smartgun system. The Manhunter explicitly has no electronics on it at all, in fact, aside from the holo sight, which is nice for those times when your decker gets his ass handed to him and some corpsec spider is rooting through your gear’s systems. The stated lack of electronic parts also makes this weapon (thematically, at least–the weapon’s description doesn’t actually make any mechanical difference but I think it feels right) a good candidate for the ceramic gun treatment.
I like this gun. I like it a lot. Attaching a shotgun barrel to a pistol is the very definition of punching outside your weight class. It’s only real downside is the fact that both the shotgun part and the pistol part are single-shot only, which tends to be common with revolvers but does limit your options quite a bit when using it. Also, for some reason it’s over twice the cost of a Super Warhawk, and almost five times the cost of a Deputy. I like this gun a lot, but I’m not sure if it’s entirely worth that thousand nuyen price tag.
Despite the age of this weapon, the Ares Striker is actually quite a good pistol. It needs some mods to bring it up into the top tier of weapons, but it’s cheap enough that you should be able to afford to customize it a little bit. Replace the silly-looking red-dot sight with a smartgun system, and it’s almost as good as a Predator for quite a bit less money. A reliable sidearm for someone who doesn’t expect to be using it all the time, but wants to be able to go hard when they do.
Uh…well, it’s cheap, I guess.
The whole point of the Barrens Special is that it’s for when you need a gun right now, you don’t know anywhere to get one, and you aren’t particularly picky about what shape it comes in. It’s a gun you use because everything has gone sideways in the worst possible way. The Barrens Special isn’t much to get you through such transcendentally fucked situations, but at least it’s something.
Same line as the Browning Ghost. This gun is strictly better statwise than the PSK-3 Collapsible, but is less concealable and more expensive. Your call on which specific attributes of the two guns mean more to you.
This is a single-shot break-action pistol that fires rifle rounds. It’s got longer range than your usual heavy pistols, hits like an assault rifle, and is accurate like a light pistol, but that one-round capacity is kind of hard to get past. As an assassination weapon, this punches far outside of its weight class to ensure you get that clean one-shot one-kill opportunity; as a weapon for a serious firefight, look elsewhere.
In fourth edition, the Ruger Thunderbolt was the gun to get if you were a serious pistols user. In 5e, the Cavalier Thunderstruck tries to do what Ruger did in years past, except instead of Ruger’s Thunderbolt we’re going to be comparing it to the Savalette Guardian, because they’re incredibly similar pistols.
What the Thunderstruck has over the Guardian is recoil compensation. It starts with three, and you can mod it up from there, letting you build an incomparably easy-to-handle weapon that hits hard and fast. What the Guardian has over the Thunderstruck is the ability to fire semi-auto, and the fact that uncompensated recoil isn’t doubled like it is with the Thunderstruck. Also, it’s a bit cheaper.
As for which one you want to buy…it’s kind of six of one, half a dozen of the other, to be honest. The Thunderstruck is strictly better in some ways, but you can mod a Guardian to be almost as good and keep the ability to fire semi-auto shots instead of only burst-fire. Which one you get depends on how seriously you’re going to be using your heavy pistol. If you’re building a gun-platform cyborg or a pistols adept, then the Thunderstruck with expanded magazines and some additional recoil compensation will be a dream come true for you. If you’re going a little less hard on pistols, than you probably want a modded Guardian, since it’ll be cheaper and does 90% of what the Thunderstruck does.
At first glance, this pistol looks like a kid’s idea of what would make a badass gun. If you look at the stats, though, it quickly becomes clear that the Gemini actually has a useful purpose in a shadowrunner’s arsenal, mostly due to its astonishing armor penetration. Sure, the rules around its duel-clip system are a bit weird, and the ammo capacity is nothing to write home about, but load it with APDS and you’ve got a nice anti-armor sidearm that you can use in a pinch to deal with paracritters and up-armored opposition. Remember to mod in some recoil compensation, though–it fires two bullets at once, so your recoil penalties are going to stack up faster than usual.
HK Urban Fighter
The HK Urban Fighter is nicknamed “The Invisible Gun” for good reason. This is what you want when you need a heavier pistol to bring through security with you. Hermetically sealed magazines, ceramic frame, barrel-integrated silencer…the only downsides to this piece are the price and the availability, which are both so high that I honestly can’t recommend buying it (seriously, it’s almost 2k nuyen for a sidearm). If money is no object, get this gun; otherwise, there are better options available, but keep this one in mind for when you get rich.
Morrissey makes high-fashion pistols, which really tells you everything you need to know about who might want to carry one. If you’re playing a face with the pistols skill, pick up an Alta or Elite to complete your corporate troubleshooter look. They’re not bad guns, so you won’t be at a serious disadvantage in a firefight, but there are better options for more combat-focused characters. Between the two, the Alta is more expensive, but it’s also more accurate, carries more bullets, and shoots further.
Same line as the Alta, pretty much. The Elite is a great concealable piece, but it only carries five rounds, so I wouldn’t necessarily rely on it for situations where you’re actually planning on using it. My advice would be to carry an Alta when you can get away with it, and an Elite when you can’t.
Both of these guns should only be carried by face characters, or people with an interest in high fashion or corporate looks. There are better tools available for everyone else.
Nemesis Arms Praetorian
Despite looking like a flintlock pistol, this weapon is actually a particularly vicious semi-automatic handgun. The flintlock mechanism on the side is just for show; in the grip of this weapon is a twelve-round magazine full of modern high-caliber bullets. If you want a pistol that doubles as a pretty good knife, then the Praetorian is for you. If you just want a gun, however, you’re better off getting a Predator, which has slightly better shooting stats for slightly less nuyen.
Onotari Arms Vagabond
Now, this isn’t something you we’ve seen before from Onotari Arms, a weapons brand that is usually all about over-designed how-much-hardware-can-we-cram-into-this-frame Eurojank. The Vagabond is a respectable medium-heavy revolver, slotting in nicely between the midweight Cavalier Deputy and the chrome-and-blood madness of the Ruger Super Warhawk. With high damage and better armor piercing than usual for a heavy pistol, the Vagabond has a clear niche that it fills perfectly. Put this weapon in the hands of a skilled shooter who doesn’t want to waste ammunition.
A more expensive but better-quality Puzzler. Not much else to say here. Buy it for your spy kit, if you can afford it.
Cheap, reliable ghetto-trash. If your local gangers haven’t graduated to automatics, this is the heavy firepower they’ll be bringing to the table. Despite being on the lower tier of shotguns, the T-250 isn’t actually that bad a piece; I’m especially a fan of the sawed-off version, which you can hide under a big coat or in a gym bag. Compared to the other shotguns available it’s not stellar, but damn if you can’t beat that price. Note that it doesn’t have the best accuracy in the world, so you might want to use buckshot and widen the choke a bit to make sure you’re hitting what you point it at.
This is what your professional room-clearer is going to be using. Burst-fire, high damage, optional high-capacity drum mag, laser sight–the Enfield has it all, at a price that shouldn’t pose any issues for your average gun bunny. It’s a military-grade weapon and thus illegal for civilians to own, of course, but keep it out of the eyes of the cops and the AS-7 will treat you well. Accuracy is a little on the low side, but it’s a shotgun–you’re not going to get pinpoint marksmanship here. For someone who’s serious about using a shotgun as their main weapon, the Enfield is the best option by far, until you can get your hands on an AA-16.
PJSS Model 55
An accurate hunting weapon, not a gun for real combat. Don’t bother owning one unless you really need to pass for a hunter, but you should at least be aware of this piece’s existence, because if you run into someone out hunting while you’re on a run in the wilderness they’ll probably be carrying something like this.
Run & Gun
The premier combat shotgun. This is basically an Enfield with a larger drum, extensive recoil compensation and full-auto capability. It’s also nearly impossible to get ahold of, and illegal as all hell, but if you absolutely need to kill every motherfucker in the room, accept no substitutes.
Not much else to be said here. When you want to rock and roll, this is your instrument.
Run & Gun
Another full-auto shotty, more accurate than the AA-16 but without the option of a drum magazine. This gun is meant to hose down one target and then either switch to another gun or duck back to reload. It’s not a bad weapon, but you’re going to want to bring a lot of spare clips with you. Which might not be so bad, if you like to swap ammo types a lot, and at least the included smartlink makes ejecting spent magazines easier.
Run & Gun
A decent burst-fire shotty, worse than the Enfield by virtue of, like the AM-CMDT, not being able to use a drum mag. It does have a smartlink and shock pad for pretty cheap, which is nice. Load it with something that hits hard and you’ve got a damn fine gun at a damn fine price.
Run & Gun
A basic, solid shotty waiting for you to mod it to greatness. It doesn’t hit as hard as the military shotguns, true, but it does have top and bottom slide mounts for easy accessorizing, and it’s reasonably cheap. Get this if you don’t expect to use it much and want a gun that won’t draw much comment, or if you want something you can customize to your own particular tastes.
Gun H(e)aven 3
An inexpensive shotty that hits as hard as a military weapon, but is legal to own, with its only real downside being the abysmal accuracy. Get it a smartlink or a laser sight, though, and you’ve got yourself a cheap piece capable of dishing out some major damage. Well worth a look for people who want a weapon for an emergency rather than day-to-day use, and definitely Krime’s best offering in the small arms category.
Winchester Model 201
Gun H(e)aven 3
If you want a super-accurate shotgun, don’t get the PJSS. Get this instead. Double-barreled, so you only get two shots, but that sweet accuracy means you can make those count. A professional will probably want a heavier tool, but if you need to pose as a high society gamesman the Model 201 is a damn fine piece to bring along for the ride.
Winchester Model 2066
Gun H(e)aven 3
This is…it’s classy, all right, but less useful than pretty much any other shotgun. Low accuracy, low damage (for a shotgun, anyway, which is to say it still hits hard) and a very slow lever-action mechanism. Get this along with a Future Frontier revolver to complete your cowboy costume: otherwise, skip it.
Winchester Model 2054
Gun H(e)aven 3
Get this shotgun if you don’t expect to ever fire it. The low magazine size won’t serve you well in a real firefight, but the laser sight and stock should make handling it easier for a less-skilled operator. And it’s cheap, on top of that. Put it in the rack above the door on your rigger van and forget about it until the shit hits the fan.
Shiawase Arms Rain
Gun H(e)aven 3
Another weird stacked-barrel gun from Shiawase Arms. This one is wonderfully cheap, but that’s about the only thing it has going for it. It has the same stats as a T-250, except for some recoil comp from the stock. If you want a cheap shotgun and don’t mind that you can’t get a sawed-off version, the Rain might work out okay. Just don’t expect to do serious work with it.
Gun H(e)aven 3
This shotgun would be pretty nice if it weren’t crammed full of enough electronics to make any enemy hackers cream their pants, and if the action were a bit faster. As things stand, though, it’s only single-shot, has a smallish internal magazine and doesn’t even have a trigger–you have to fire it wirelessly. If you want to make a statement about how much you trust your firewall, be my guest, but a wireless shotgun is a pretty stupid way of doing that.
This shotgun has two ammo feeds from two internal magazines, and that’s literally the only thing to recommend it. If you want what the Northstar can give you, buy an Enfield AS-7 with a drum magazine and give it the ammo skip mod from Hard Targets. You’ll get a better weapon for less money.
A full-auto-only weapon with an internal magazine. Great.
At least it’s cheap. If you want a full-auto shotty and you can’t afford a Mossburg or AA-16, this is pretty much your only option. I personally wouldn’t want to use this as my main weapon, but if you mount it on a drone then you could put out a hilarious amount of buckshot if you wanted to.
Available in chrome or “Super-Street-Chrome.” Yeah, that sounds about right.
The shotgun portion of this weapon is terrible, and the hammer portion is only okay. What the Whammy’s mostly good for is taking down doors and walls–it lets you use Agility + Clubs instead of Agility + Strength for breaching actions, so depending on your build that could be useful for your high-agility pointman. Otherwise, it’s 2k nuyen for a practically useless shotgun and a club.
Ares Desert Strike
This is a basic, no-frills professional sniper rifle. Scope, shock-absorbent stock and beautiful reliability. It isn’t the absolute best long rifle out there, to be sure, but it gets the job done, and I consider it to be the base level of effectiveness for a dedicated sniping weapon.
Cavalier Arms Crockett EBR
This is basically a cut-down, long-range assault rifle, and should be used as such. If you want to transition between assault and sniping roles, then this is your tool, right up until you can get your hands on a JP-K50. Personally, I like the Crockett. It’s a precise instrument for the operator who understands that sometimes the real world gets a little sloppy.
Ranger Arms SM-5
If you want to work as an assassin, you want this gun. It’s that simple. The SM-5 is the classic rifle in a briefcase, carried by true professionals. And you have to be professional to use it, because you can’t jostle it very much–if you get involved in a running firefight with Ranger’s legendary assassination tool, you start losing accuracy fast as the fragile targeting mechanisms get knocked out of alignment. If you carry the SM-5, therefore, you should also have a backup piece, preferably something like the Puzzler or one of the foldable guns that you can carry around in a similar fashion, to keep the low profile that this rifle’s carrying case buys you.
This is your disguise gun. Pretend to be a hunting enthusiast when the cops come, and show them your fake license, and hope they don’t look around too long and find the real heavy hardware you’ve got hidden away. Unless you can’t afford anything else don’t bother using the 950 in an actual fight.
This is the downscale model of the Remington 950. It’s a hobbyist weapon, and as such not a bad thing to pick up if you want to convince people that that’s all you are.
Terracotta Arms AM-47
Run & Gun
If you can actually get this behemoth of a weapon into a position where you can viably use it, then rest assured you are going to wipe the floor with anything that you point it at. The difficulty comes in transporting and hiding the thing–if you’re a human or elf, then the AM-47 might well be taller than you are, and if you’re a dwarf you can forget about it. It’s also crazy illegal and one of the most expensive guns out there, which makes sense considering it hits like an assault cannon and has both a smartlink and a built-in commlink (a pretty nice one, too). That sort of firepower and electronics doesn’t come cheap. This is a top-of-the-line military-grade weapon, and any plan involving it is going to be based entirely around trying to figure out a way to get it into the proper position without being noticed or arrested, because once you’re there it’s just going to be point and click. If you know you’re going to be doing a lot of ops in the wilderness, or if you’ve got a van to carry it around in, this is a definite contender for best gun out there. Subtle it ain’t, but sometimes you need to get unsubtle on someone.
Onotari Arms JP-K50
Run & Gun
Finally, Onotari Arms does something right, even if only by accident. The JP-K50 was originally designed as a dragon-killer, and despite failing at that goal it still has that history of durability and high firepower. It’s basically an upscaled Crockett EBR, and it’s what you should graduate to eventually if you started your running career with the Crockett.
Run & Gun
If you ever find yourself scrambling around some backwoods house looking for a gun, this is likely what you’ll come across. It’s complete garbage, and I’m sorry to have to tell you that whatever’s got you unarmed and looking for a gun in the backcountry is probably going to kill you. High-caliber round, but that’s about the only thing it’s got going for it. The Pioneer 60 has the distinction of being the only weapon this cheap and this common that I can’t see a professional potentially making use of.
That said, if you’re on a desperate shoestring budget, it is a hard-hitting gun for cheap. I could see a ganger in a street scum game doing some good work with this one.
Barret Model 122
Run & Gun
Old-school .50 caliber class, right here. It’s got the same problem as the AM-47, where it’s hard to hide and get into position, but also similar to the AM-47 once you have it there you’ve got it made. It’s got lower damage but higher armor penetration than its troll-sized cousin from Terracotta Arms, and also comes with a suppressor, which is something every sniper needs. Get this if you’re planning on shooting soldiers, hardcore corpsec troopers or vehicles.
The worst true sniper rifle of the lot, and also the cheapest, this Russian classic gets nano-printed in back alley machine shops a lot, making it a nice throwaway weapon for long-range assassinations. Don’t bother with it if you can afford something better, but if you need a sniper rifle and you need it now, this’ll do.
The PSG Enforcer is surprisingly cheap for what that nuyen buys you. It’s got two clips, both of which are pretty sizable, though the accuracy and damage are both slightly lower than I’d want to see on a dedicated sniper rifle. The Desert Strike is a better marksman weapon, but it’s also 6500 nuyen more expensive, which is a sizable chunk of change, and the Enforcer has enough interesting features of its own that I don’t feel bad recommending it. Security teams looking to have a bit of versatility probably have some of these on hand.
These are only found in the Gun H(e)aven 3 supplement. They’ve got their own range table because of that, but they’re basically sniper rifles, and will be treated as such by me here. They are also generally not good combat tools, more useful for when you want a weapon you can carry legally, so bear that in mind as you read through these–a sporting rifle that I’m praising here is still probably not going to carry you through any particularly heavy work.
Gun H(e)aven 3
The 2003 is essentially one piece of metal, barely any moving parts, hardcore reliable and is the unchallenged god of accuracy. It’s a very old piece, so most modern accessories won’t work with it, but there’s not a whole lot of improvement you could’ve given to it in any case. Five high-caliber rounds in an internal magazine that should be easy enough to reload for someone with enough agility to take advantage of the pinpoint accuracy, which is so high even the most modern high-tech sniper rifles can’t achieve it without smartlink assistance. My only real advice about using this lovely weapon is to be careful about policing your brass afterwards; it’s old enough that you can’t get caseless ammo for it.
Accurate, elegant boom-boom. They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.
Winchester Model 2024
Gun H(e)aven 3
The Model 2024 certainly isn’t a bad piece, overall. It can’t stand up to a real sniper rifle, of course, but it does have the advantage of hitting hard and being pretty cheap for what you get, and the included scope is a nice touch. This is an accurate, professional hunting tool, and isn’t an awful choice for your backcountry trip. If you can get your hands on a Springfield M1A, however, you’ll likely want to pass this one by.
Gun H(e)aven 3
This gun hits hard, and that’s about the only thing going for it. If you’re not an experienced shooter but still want a hunting piece, you might want to consider it, since the lower accuracy won’t bother you and anything you do hit should go down right quick.
Gun H(e)aven 3
The M1A is basically a better version of the Winchester 2024 for cheaper, and without a scope. Unlike most sporting rifles this one has an external magazine, with a reasonable amount of bullets in it. It hits hard and accurately, and overall is a damn fine weapon for the money. Put a smartlink on it and you’ve got a legal gun that could easily work for you on any dangerous mission as well as any hunting trip.
Gun H(e)aven 3
This one’s a classic American weapon, and is still pretty decent. There are better options available, sure, but if you really want to haul around an antique at least you won’t die because of your weapon choice if you pick this one. If you can find an original, sell it–those things are worth a fortune as collector’s items.
Springfield Model 1855 Reproduction
Gun H(e)aven 3
There is no reason why you should ever be using a cap-and-ball musket in a modern operation, unless you’re a hardcore unionist who’s still pissed that the South rose again and wants to make a point using period-appropriate firearms. Do not purchase this weapon as anything other than a joke.
That said, putting one of these on a drone to take advantage of the sensor accuracy would be pretty entertaining.
Edit: With the addition of new alchemy rules in the Hard Targets sourcebook, the Model 1855 now has an actual use: it’s the only gun in the books that can fire alchemically-enchanted bullets. Or musket balls, in this case. There’s a 50% chance that the enchantment doesn’t work anyway, but that’s better than the 100% failure rate of any other gun firing magic bullets.
Marlin 3041 BL
Gun H(e)aven 3
This is a weak, less accurate hunting rifle with a basic scope and inexplicably high armor penetration. If you need a legal weapon that can deal with hard targets, the 3041 is a pretty good choice–load it with APDS, and you’ll punch completely through light armor and most paracritter hides.
Gun H(e)aven 3
This rifle is bolt action, which means single-shot only, but that and the low ammo capacity are the only real downsides. It’s got very nice damage, along with armor penetration that I’d expect to see on an anti-material rifle. The scope is excellent, accuracy could be better but is decent enough, and the price tag is low. As icing on the cake, it comes with extreme cold adaptation, for the handful of times that’ll come up. If you want a legal hunting weapon, and you don’t mind single-shot only, then the X71 is a fantastic choice. Just make sure you don’t get in too close with it, as you’ll likely need to reload before any serious firefight is over.
Gun H(e)aven 3
Super common and super cheap, and that’s all this rifle has going for it. It’s not aggressively bad like some others, but it’s still a pea-shooter, meant for kids and hobbyists. If you need to grab a gun fast, at least this one won’t raise eyebrows, but get a serious gun as soon as you can. Don’t buy a 79S for yourself.
LIGHT MACHINE GUNS
Lower caliber than most, but easy handling and burst-fire capability makes the Valiant a popular choice. The smaller rounds mean it’s not going to do as much damage as even a standard assault rifle, but it does have a little more armor penetration to compensate for that. Remember to abuse the heavy range advantage you have over your rifle-toting enemies and you’ll do fine with this weapon.
GE Vindicator Mini-Gun
Run & Gun
Inaccurate, expensive and powerful as all hell. The Vindicator fires a smaller-caliber round similar to the Valiant, but at a much higher rate that tears through armor like tissue paper, and the custom 200-round belt means you won’t need to ease up on the trigger until everything has hit the ground. If you really, really need to ruin someone’s day, you can’t get much better than this.
Plus it looks really cool. Who doesn’t love miniguns?
Run & Gun
A high-tech gun from Shiawase Arms, the Nemesis is expensive, hard to find and surprisingly accurate for a machine gun. It’s got a lot of electronics, but frankly I don’t think they make it any better than the Valiant. The accuracy is nice, but overall I’d suggest getting something cheaper and less over-designed.
Gun H(e)aven 3
Cheap, cheap, cheap! And just as good as the more expensive guns to boot, though it can’t do burst-fire. Since the only recoil comp is from the bipod you’re going to want to set it up before firing, or mod it a bit–throw some gas venting on, maybe a shock pad, and the Wave is flat-out better than most other guns in its class, except perhaps the Vindicator. Thank you, Krime, for your perpetual dedication to the field of heavy weapons.
Krime Triple Series
The Krime Triple-Troll Minigun, Triple-Ork Microgun, and Triple-Dwarf Nanogun are all absolutely wonderful firearms. Hilariously inaccurate (par for the course with Krime, unfortunately) and unable to fire at anything less than full-auto spray-and-pray, these Gatling guns are nevertheless very effective at what they’re supposed to do. The Triple-Troll is essentially a Vindicator with half the ammo and one less accuracy for a full third of the price of GE’s beastly minigun, which is a bargain that you can’t afford to pass up. The new suppression rules offered in Street Lethal for miniguns make even the low-damage Triple-Dwarf exceptionally useful, for when you want to absolutely coat an area in saturation fire. Bring along a Krime Pack for extra ammo or mount on a drone with some deep ammo bins for maximum effect.
MEDIUM MACHINE GUNS
This is your basic medium machine-gun. It’s got an appealing no-frills approach to it, without any electronics or recoil compensation to speak of. If you want to mount a machine gun on a vehicle or drone, the Stoner-Ares M202 is one I would highly recommend, since the lack of inherent modifications means it comes at a reasonable price for a heavy weapon. If you want a MMG for personal use, you might want to pick up a different one, since you’ll likely need to mod it to make it usable and there are others that come with some built-in accessories that could save you some nuyen. It’s also the only one you can start with at character creation, so if you’re getting a medium machine gun at game start it’s going to be this one no matter what its stats are.
FN MAG-5 MMG
Run & Gun
Expensive, but it hits like a truck and has very nice handling, especially if you set it up on the tripod. Accuracy is a little on the low side, but you’re going to be firing full-auto bursts from this thing so that doesn’t really matter that much. The ad copy mentions that this is commonly seen mounted on vehicles, and if you want a hard-hitting automatic for that role than this is certainly a good contender. I would not recommend using them on any drone other than a Steel Lynx or something similar that has some survivability–putting this on a rotodrone is just going to see you lose more cash when it gets shot down–but it would make a grand addition to your team getaway vehicle.
Run & Gun
Good accuracy and some recoil compensation make the Ultimax MMG not the worst choice in the world, certainly, but there are better guns. Instead of buying this gun, I suggest modding a M202 to get a gun with more armor penetration for cheaper.
HEAVY MACHINE GUNS
This is very much a gun that you will not be personally carrying around. Mounted on a vehicle it’s not bad, with a no-frills design just waiting for you to slap on some mods to really bring out the beast. If you’re looking for personal weaponry, look elsewhere: if you’re looking for something that will surprise the hell out of pursuit cars when you open the back door of your van and open fire, the RPK is a classic, reliable option. Hit ‘em where it hurts.
Ruhrmetall SF-20 HMG
Run & Gun
This weapon looks really, really slick. It’s got enough recoil compensation that you could conceivably mount it on a rotodrone, which is nice, but the price tag is way outside of the effectiveness you’re getting. The gun looks rad as hell, it’s a really nice piece overall, but unless you have nuyen coming out of your ears you’re probably better off going with a customized RPK.
Run & Gun
Cheaper than an RPK, but less accurate and doesn’t hit as hard. The description and shadowtalk really gives the HMG-2 a lot of grief, but frankly it’s not that bad a gun. If you’re looking for an upscaled assault rifle for your troll heavy to use, this is a pretty good choice. If you can afford an RPK, get that instead, but otherwise the HMG-2 ain’t too shabby.
The main advantage of the Cannon is that it’s semi-automatic instead of single-shot, which means that if you want to experience throwing 120 nuyen downrange in a single initiative pass you can semi-auto burst whatever poor bastard has had the misfortune of attracting your attention. It’s also the cheapest assault cannon available, so it’s likely what you’ll be picking up first if you decide you need that kind of firepower in your life. Just be aware of the low accuracy, and consider putting a smartlink on it–cannon ammo is too expensive to waste on missed shots.
THE get fucked gun. Accurate thanks to the smartlink, hits like a truck and with a very deep magazine, anything that gets touched by the Panther is going to be straight-up gone once the smoke clears. It’s also twice as expensive as the Krime Cannon, but that nuyen buys you a weapon that will fucking level whatever you point it at. Don’t fire it at anything that can dodge, obviously, but any glancing hit from this thing is likely to put your target in the dirt. Use it as an anti-vehicle weapon; the Panther is overkill for pretty much everything else.
Ares Thunderstruck Gauss Rifle
Run & Gun
Now, this is a nice one. It uses energy clips and gauss ammo, which makes keeping it loaded a little more complicated, and the rounds aren’t as large as a standard cannon, but the armor penetration and accuracy are unmatched in its class. It’s expensive, but not as much as most of the true assault cannons, and it looks damn cool. If you can’t afford a Panther, get this, is my suggestion.
Ogre Hammer SWS Assault Cannon
Run & Gun
This is less a weapon and more a lifestyle decision. It’s got the usual high damage, but less armor penetration than other cannons, as well as accuracy that is surpassed only by the Thunderstruck. The magazine size is small, but unlike most cannons it’s a box magazine, not an internal one, so reloading is less of an issue. The main reason to get the Ogre Hammer, though, is the electronics–it comes with an advanced safety, internal commlink, and a scope with all kinds of enhancements on it. You could get all that for cheaper individually, though, so unless you’re really averse to having to customize things yourself there are better options.
Ares Vigorous Assault Cannon
Run & Gun
A decent, low-cost assault cannon, though not as cheap as the Krime Cannon. The Vigorous’ main selling point is the very large magazine, with twelve rounds in a gun that is single-shot only. Accuracy is low, so you may want to add on a smartlink if you pick up this no-frills Ares product, but aside from that it’s a pretty good cannon, especially for the price.
Gun H(e)aven 3
Very accurate, but for most people the cheaper Krime Cannon is going to be a better choice. Get this if you’d like a Cannon but would be regularly hitting the limits of the Cannon’s accuracy–it’s only a 2k difference in nuyen, which if you’re buying an assault cannon should be chump change.