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Warning: This page is incomplete and out of date. I am no longer working on it. Refer to the Gunslinger Guide for your gunning needs.

This page is an alternative to the Gunslinger Guide, focused on how to choose a handgun for play in the Clockworks. Some of the advice here applies to player-vs-player, but some doesn't. The advice applies equally well to F2P players and P2P players. I don't discuss fighting tips or anything like that.

For more general equipment advice, or to learn about me and why I write this stuff, return to my user page.

Damage Type

Damage type is the single most important consideration in choosing a handgun (or sword). There are four types of damage: normal, piercing, elemental, and shadow. Each monster family is vulnerable to, neutral to, and resistant to certain damage types. Hitting a monster with its vulnerable damage type gives you about 25% extra damage; hitting a monster with is resistant damage type penalizes you about 75% of your damage.

Monster Family Vulnerable To Neutral To Resistant To
Gate Icon-Slime.png Slimes Shadow Elemental, Normal Piercing
Gate Icon-Gremlin.png Gremlins Shadow Piercing, Normal Elemental
Gate Icon-Beast.png Beasts Piercing Shadow, Normal Elemental
Gate Icon-Fiend.png Fiends Piercing Elemental, Normal Shadow
Gate Icon-Undead.png Undead Elemental Piercing, Normal Shadow
Gate Icon-Construct.png Constructs Elemental Shadow, Normal Piercing

Notice that all monsters are neutral to normal damage. This means that normal damage is general-purpose; it never incurs the 75% resistance penalty, but it never achieves the 25% vulnerability bonus either. A normal gun is a good choice, for example, for a sworder or bomber who wants a general-purpose gun as his fourth weapon, for getting out of sticky situations.

If you are into guns, then there is no particular reason to own a normal gun at all. Instead, you want to own a piercing gun, an elemental gun, and a shadow gun. If you have the weapon slots to carry all three, then do so; you'll deal huge damage to any monster. If you have only two weapon slots to fill with guns, then carry two of these three guns at a time. Before you enter a stratum of the Clockworks, examine the gate map, to determine which two seem most useful. For example, if you are carrying piercing and elemental, then use piercing on beasts, fiends, and gremlins, and elemental on undead, constructs, and slimes; you'll deal huge damage to beasts, fiends, undead, and constructs, and moderate damage to gremlins and slimes.

This same damaged-based advice applies to swords, and to mixtures of swords and guns. For example, a popular mixed setup is a piercing sword, an elemental gun, and a shadow sword. The reason is that guns are useful against turrets, and all turrets are vulnerable (gun puppies, howlitzers) or neutral (polyps) to elemental. The user carries all three of these, or just two at a time.

This damage-based advice doesn't quite apply to bombs, which are more idiosyncratic. But let's return to guns.

Handgun Basics

Although damage type is the primary consideration in choosing a gun (or sword), here are some other qualities to consider:

  • Some guns let you walk while firing, while others do not. The latter are extremely dangerous, until you get used to them.
  • Clip size determines how many shots you can fire before reloading. Many people avoid reloading by not emptying their clips. This technique penalizes small-clip guns.
  • Knockback is useful for defense, especially in crowded rooms. However, in a party you must take care not to knock monsters into your teammates. This is especially true for Polaris.
  • All seven status effects — fire, freeze, shock, curse, poison, stun, and sleep — are useful to inflict on monsters, so consider weapons that inflict them. (There are a couple of tactical exceptions to watch out for, such as fire on oilers and shock on quicksilvers.)

Here is a summary of all of the 5-star guns: damage type, status effect, clip size, and miscellaneous notes.

Name Damage Status Clip Range Walk? Notes
Valiance Normal 3 Y
Volcanic Pepperbox Normal Fire 1 N
Neutralizer Normal 3 Y Catalyzer-type.
Supernova Normal 3 Y Higher damage at longer range. Big knockback? Irritatingly huge animation?
Iron Slug Normal 2 N
Blitz Needle Piercing 2 9? N
Plague Needle Piercing Poison 2 N Less damage than Blitz Needle.
Callahan Piercing Stun 2 7.2 N
Magma Driver Elemental Fire 2 Y
Hail Driver Elemental Freeze 2 7 Y
Storm Driver Elemental Shock 2 Y
Nova Driver Elemental 2 Y More damage than the other elemental Drivers.
Polaris Elemental Shock 3 Y Higher damage at longer range. Big knockback. Irritatingly huge animation.
Argent Peacemaker Elemental 6 8.2 Y Damage bonus vs. undead: Medium.
Umbra Driver Shadow 2 Y
Biohazard Shadow Poison 3 Y Catalyzer-type.
Sentenza Shadow 6 7.6 Y Damage bonus vs. gremlins: Medium.

So Which Handguns?

I'm working on this section, but slowly.

Armor and Trinkets

There are three armor sets that give handgun bonuses: Justifier, Shadowsun, and Nameless. There is also the related Deadshot line, which is not actually specific to gunners. Unlike the sworder armors, these gunner armor sets do not protect against statuses. Popular shields for gunners include Grey Owlite Shield, Volcanic Plate Shield, and Crest of Almire. Swiftstrike Buckler is tempting, but its protection is terrible.

Name Damage Status Offense
Shadowsun Stetson normal, piercing poison penalty, curse penalty handgun damage bonus Low
Shadowsun Slicker normal, piercing poison penalty, curse penalty handgun damage bonus Low
Justifier Hat normal, piercing handgun speed increase Medium
Justifier Jacket normal, piercing handgun speed increase Medium
Nameless Hat normal, elemental handgun speed increase Medium
Nameless Poncho normal, elemental handgun speed increase Medium
Deadshot Chapeau normal, shadow curse undead damage bonus Medium
Deadshot Mantle normal, shadow curse undead damage bonus Medium

For the Royal Jelly Palace, where most of the damage is normal and piercing, the best choice is the Justifier or Shadowsun armor. For the Firestorm Citadel, where most of the damage is normal and shadow, but there is also lots of fire, Deadshot armor seems good, but fire protection would be nice.

I recommend to any new player that he or she build a general-purpose armor set before building more specialized sets. Gunners should consider getting Sunset Stetson/Duster, and then upgrading one piece to Nameless, and then upgrading the other to Justifier or Shadowsun. Gunners should also consider the combination of Divine Veil with Justifier Jacket or Shadowsun Slicker; this setup covers all four damage types and a few statuses.

There are trinkets to enhance your handgun attack speed, damage, and charge time. Coordinate these with the unique variants on your guns, the gun bonuses on your armor, and the Medium charge time reduction that comes automatically at heat level 10.

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