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From Doom to The Last of Us, we often begin video games clutching a humble handgun. Games tend to throw shotguns and machine guns at players along the way, but sometimes the modest pistol remains your best friend through much of the quest. We take a look at the trusty handguns wielded by heroes like Leon S. Kennedy, Squall Lionheart, and Solid Snake in this collection of bad-ass sidearms.
10. HE .44 Magnum – Resistance 3
Similar to Insomniac Games’ Ratchet & Clank, weapons in Resistance 3 become more powerful as you use them. The HE .44 Magnum’s primary fire packs a wallop on its own, but a secondary fire ups the ante by detonating the round. Upgrade it further and the bullet fragments into smaller pieces upon contact, each of which can be triggered to create a cluster of tiny explosions.
9. Pistol – Time Crisis Series
Light gun games are a thing of the past, but it’s hard to forget the first time you picked up the weighty pistol peripheral in Time Crisis. Unlike most cursor-based, shoot-from-the hip gun games, these arcade cabinets force you to aim down the sights and strategically use cover. The kick of each shot and moving slide make this plastic pistol feel genuine in the moment.
8. A.J.M. 9 – Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Sergeant Rex “Power” Colt wields an impressive array of guns, but his pistol is the first one players wield. This beefy firearm is reminiscent of officer Murphy’s sidearm from Robocop. The rapid burst fire, satisfying report, and blooming muzzle flash make it a gun to behold.
7. PP7 – GoldenEye
Rare didn’t have the license to use James Bond’s legendary Walther PPK, but the PP7 is close enough. This diminutive black pistol accompanies Bond on most of his missions, likely sporting a silencer for covert kills. Dual wielding a pair of suppressed PP7s turns Bond into a walking specter of death.
6. Gunblade – Final Fantasy VIII
The gunblades of Final Fantasy VIII are primarily used as swords, but careful timing allows players to fire off a round from the built-in handgun for extra damage. The gunblade brings the concept of a bayonet to a ridiculous new level.
5. Plasma Cutter – Dead Space Series
This sci-fi engineering tool isn’t technically a pistol, but it’s a handheld weapon and Isaac Clarke’s first defense against the necromorphs. Using the precise, rotating laser sights to dismember is a joy. Upgrade the useful gadget with enough power nodes and it becomes an unstoppable force.
4. M9 Tranquillizer Gun – Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Solid Snake’s PlayStation 2 debut allowed the covert operative to finally aim in first person. Lining up shots with the custom M9 tranq was a sadistic treat. Who can resist firing a dart into an enemy soldier’s neck or crotch and watching them fall to sleep moments later? Even better, the M9 makes pacifism playthroughs more manageable.
3. Ebony and Ivory – Devil May Cry
Dante deals the most damage with his massive swords and heavy gauntlets, but his trusty dual pistols are crucial for stringing together combos. These rapid-firing handguns are even capable of juggling enemies in the air or giving Dante a few extra seconds of hang time.
2. M6G PDWS – Halo: Combat Evolved
The cries of scorned Halo players still echo through the air thanks to this overpowered pistol. This standard issue pistol’s humble zoom function, steady fire rate, and impressive damage can drop enemies from clear across the Blood Gulch map. Who needs a sniper rifle when you start with an M6G?
1. Red9 – Resident Evil 4
Leon S. Kennedy has a selection of choice handguns at his disposal during his mission to save the president’s daughter, but this top-loading, Mauser Broomhandle pistol deals the most damage. The powerful handgun is shaky and slow at first, but fire rate upgrades along with an attachable stock make it into a devastating mini-magnum. Suddenly those 9mm round are more useful thank ever.
Did we miss your favorite handgun? Fire off on in the comments below.