Ever since the original Doom, guns have held a place of honor in the video game world.
First Person Shooter games dominated sales charts and sold billions of copies over the last few decades.
So today, we’re going to look at some of our favorite fictional guns that entertained us over the years.
Follow along as we examine cool firearms and the games that popularized them.
Video Game Guns
1. M16A4 – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
You wanna talk about a weird meshing of games, guns, and my own life, then Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare and the M16A4 would take the cake.
In 2007 when the game premiered, the M16A4 armed the majority of combat Marines, and in 2008 yours truly would carry one as well.
In single player, the M16A4 might not have mattered much, but in multiplayer, it dominated.
It quickly became a balance issue, and the M16A4 could kill in a single burst. When equipped with an M203, the gun absolutely dominated.
The rifle was superbly accurate, and at medium range, it dominated.
At close range, it could be risky due to the pauses between bursts, but if you didn’t miss, you’d take ‘em down.
I learned a lot of fascinating curse words in matches where I wielded an M16A4 and went 20 and 5.
It quickly became known as a ‘newb’ weapon and really needed to be nerfed.
However, patches and updates were much slower in 2008, and consoles certainly didn’t support them.
Sadly, MW2 nerfed the M16A4, but I’ll always remember the days of dominating with my musket.
2. NES Zapper – Duck Hunt
I miss light gun games. At one point, the only games my brother and I had was the combination of Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt.
Duck Hunt entertained us for hours at a time and was the only game I ever remember my dad trying.
For you youngsters, Duck Hunt was a game where you tried to shoot ducks as they crossed the screen.
Ducks flew across the screen, and you had three rounds to take them out. As the levels increased, the targets moved faster.
You utilized a light gun called the NES Zapper to shoot the ducks.
This specialized controller was the shape of a pistol with an actual trigger and all. You pointed it at the TV and blew ducks away.
The game was simple but so much fun.
Sadly, light gun games have faded from relevance. The simple premise, challenging difficulty, and unique controller made it something else entirely.
I had to get those ducks and defy that laughing dog!
3. Cerebus – Dirge of Cerberus
Final Fantasy isn’t exactly known for its gunplay. It’s a sword and sorcery game that famously utilized turned-based combat for the majority of the games.
However, gunslingers appear here and there.
Vincent Valentine famously wields a 1911 pistol in Final Fantasy 7, and later in his own game, Dirge of Cerberus, he gains the Cerberus pistol.
This is a three-barreled, three-cylinder revolver, so it’s easy to see where the name came from. It fires three rounds at a time and is customizable.
In Dirge of Cerberus, we see that it can be outfitted with longer or shorter barrels, and can become more powerful, faster firing, and even hold more ammo at will.
The pistol ejects and reloads much like a Scholfield with a hinge system that makes reloading 18 rounds quite quick.
The game heavily involves the gun and player in a bit of gun-fu. It’s an awesome weapon from an okay game that is a spin-off of an amazing game.
I take note any time a game implements a 3-barreled, triple-cylinder, semi-automatic revolver.
4. BFG 9000 – Doom
For those who confine their gun obsession to the real world, you might not have heard of Doom or the BFG…
But if you’ve ever picked up a controller or wielded a mouse in anger on a digital battlefield, you’ve probably heard of the BFG — or at least seen it referenced.
In Doom, either the original or the excellent Doom remake, you play a badass, demon-slaying murder machine.
Over the course of the game, you wield some truly incredible and inventive hardware including some super nice pistols and a weaponized chainsaw.
The BFG is on another level though (heh, video game joke).
BFG literally stands for Big F*cking Gun and, oh boy, is that accurate.
Doom is basically the granddaddy of modern shooter video games. But it’s also sort of the progenitor of big dudes carrying absurdly oversized guns and mowing down waves of enemies in video games.
In a game full of giant, overpowered awesomeness, the BFG stands on its own.
In short, if you’re looking to cause a lot of mayhem in a short amount of time, you can certainly do worse.
The BFG has been referenced in a number of other works, so it’s definitely one of the most widely-known guns on this list.
5. Portal Gun – Portal
If you play computer games, or modern games at all really, you’ve probably heard of the Portal series.
Or at least, the Half Life series which takes place in the same universe as Portal.
In Portal and its sequel Portal 2, you play an unwilling human test subject named Chell who is awakened after years in a cryogenic coma to find that the apocalypse has come and gone.
You must now outwit the rampant artificial intelligence that insists on subjecting you to increasingly deadly tests.
To do this, you are given the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device or Portal Gun.
The Portal Gun allows you to place two portals on certain surfaces that you can then travel between.
This lends itself to some interesting puzzle-solving as you move through the Aperture Science laboratory and try to keep GladOS, the AI, from killing you.
The gun allows you to instantly teleport across rooms, or even send enemies through them to their death.
This inventive and interesting mechanic coupled with some of the most amazing dialogue ever recorded makes for a genuinely great experience.
If you play nothing else, play this one. It takes about an hour to complete depending on how good your puzzle-solving skills are.
6. AMT 1911 Hardballer – Hitman
From 1977 to 2002, Arcadia Machine and Tool produced the 1911 Hardballer, which was arguably the first stainless Colt 1911 clone ever made — a neat little claim to fame.
For whatever reason, the prolific Hitman series adopted the AMT Harballer or just “Baller” as the protagonist’s signature weapon.
For a game that lets you kill people with toasters, ties, and tires, and a myriad of other inventive weapons, the fact that a humble 1911 became something of a franchise signature is impressive.
There is still something incredibly satisfying about forgoing the complicated route and just shooting your way into, and then out of, dangerous situations.
7. 211-V Plasma Cutter – Dead Space
In the Dead Space series, you play as Isaac Clarke, a humble engineer who stumbles upon a horrifying alien attack in space…where no one can hear you scream.
You are forced to face off against reanimated corpses called necromorphs brought back to life by an alien infection.
These corpses of course mutated and challenge the player’s creativity when it comes to defeating them.
As Isaac is an engineer, it’s somewhat fitting that his iconic weapon would be a modified piece of mining equipment.
Imagine you’re in a zombie apocalypse, but have to completely disassemble each zombie, separating the arms, legs, head, and torso from each other to keep them from healing and attacking again.
In that situation, a gun that fires a line of hot plasma would be a pretty solid addition to your kit, right?
I really like the idea behind the Plasma Cutter. Unlike the BFG, you’re given the Plasma Cutter immediately but…it limits the amount of ammo you have.
In Dead Space, you’re a nerd with a limited-use laser gun.
This makes shot count vital and forces the player to be strategic.
8. Golden Gun – GoldenEye007
GoldenEye007 was a game that popularized FPS, and the signature multiplayer mode entertained millions from dorm rooms to couches in South Georgia homes.
In multiplayer mode, the titular “Golden Gun” spawns at a central location on the map. Players must fight to take possession of it.
It’s extremely powerful and rewards accuracy with an instant kill. This was, of course, the best way to piss someone off…insta-killing them whenever they came near you.
The only way to take possession of the gun was to kill the person holding it — ending friendships and ruining familial bonds by causing those you love to rage each time you killed them.
9. Gravity Gun – Half-Life
The gravity gun is one of the primary weapons in the Half-Life series, which takes place in the same universe as Portal.
In these games, you play an unprepared and under-equipped engineer that must fight off an alien inva….wait we already did that one.
Uhm, you’re an engineer trying to solve a giant alien conspiracy that produces zombies….yeah, that’s still basically Dead Space.
Let’s just talk about the gun.
The Gravity Gun makes use of the game’s advanced physics engine so you can move objects to either solve puzzles or blast enemies.
Like the Plasma Cutter, the Gravity Gun is a very strategic weapon. But it can’t kill outright until one particular point in the game where…well, I won’t spoil it.
Fact is, it’s rarely a lethal gun but that’s what makes it a fairly unique gun on this list — a position it shares with the Portal gun.
10. Ray Gun – Call of Duty: Zombies
The CoD game series has sold almost as many copies as the Bible, and there’s a new one every year. It sounds great but has led to some…less than great additions to the series.
I’m looking at you, Infinite Warfare.
We already mentioned CoD once but had to add this one to the list too. has rebooted itself somewhat and gone back to its WWII roots with the unimaginatively titled Call of Duty: WWII.
Now, throughout even the most lackluster of CoD games, there’s always been one bright spot...zombie mode.
It’s mindlessly fun blasting zombies left and right with your buddies while trying to survive wave after wave of the horde.
And the standout of the zombie mode has always been the Ray Gun.
The Ray Gun is an alien handgun that the player wields sparingly, but when you do, zombies don’t stand a chance.
Unless you screw up and kill yourself with it.
See, the Ray Gun does what’s called “splash damage” which means it kills what it hits, but also damages things around it, often fatally.
This “splash damage” is great when you’re firing into a group of zombies that are a good distance away, but it can kill you deader than the things you’re firing at if you’re too close.
This makes the Ray Gun yet another very strategic weapon to use.
The fact that it looks an awful lot like our logo is pure coincidence.
Video games and guns go hand in hand, especially when it comes to first person shooters.
From iconic games like Duck Hunt to more modern affairs like Call of Duty, guns help define the game and make it more memorable.
Which ones do you think should have made the list? Let us know in the comments below. Want to nerd out some more, check out the Top 10 Video Games for Hardcore Gun Nerds.
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Personal favorite: Lancer Assault Rifle from Gears of War. The chainsaw as a melee weapon was crazy fun.
Enter the Gungeon anyone?
I always liked the "Death Machine" mini-gun in Black Ops.
Nintendo Duck Hunt gun?