I  have enjoyed playing Gears Of War since the beginning.  I have played many hours of multiplayer, and have learned alot.  I am not going to kid myself and say that I am the greatest Gears of War player that has ever lived, I am not.  But I do know what it takes to win, and more importantly enjoy the game.

This guide is solely about what weapons you should try out and when.  I will go into more detail about the starting weapons, because you will use these most of the time.

Picking your starting weapons

Usually I change my loadout based on a few different criteria.  But the most important are map and gametype.  If its a big wide open map (sandbar) try out the lancer or hammerburst.  If its smaller or has a few confined spaces try the retro.  But, when in doubt, go with the lancer. 

The Lancer

It has been with us since the beginning.  The chainsaw was a huge image in the original.  But its strengths lie in many areas, not just the chainsaw.

The lancer has great accuracy and range.  There are very few maps (if any) that you will find it lacking in this respect.  On top of this it has a huge clip.  This allows you to supress someone for a very long time.  And also outshoot someone with something such as the hammerburst.  While the hammerburst will down you faster, if they miss a few shots you will be left standing (and firing) while they attempt to reload.

As well the chainsaw mechanic has changed significantly.  You can only be interrupted while revving the saw.  So this means that once its going your enemy can't stop it until you are dead.  On the flip side if you see someone that you think is going to chainsaw, start shooting them.  This will prevent them from starting it at all.

I suggest using the Lancer for most maps.  If you are having an off day the reliability of this weapon can really help you turn things around.  Find good positioning to shoot at enemies from.  If you never run around with the chainsaw revved you should be fine.  Just aim for the center of mass and let the lancer do the rest.

The Retro Lancer

The Retro Lancer is an interesting addition to Gears multiplayer.  It is odd that very few people complain about it.  I like to compare it to a full auto shotgun.  At close range the retro lancer will beat any shotgun.  And you can close the gap with the retro charge.  You will find that its not very easy to shotgun someone who is retro charging.  It is better to just shoot them with your rifle.

Tactics for this weapon can be interesting.  I prefer to use it in games such as King of The Hill.  Retro charging can help you clear an enemy out of the hill and break the ring at the same time.  And it provides good stopping power for charging enemies.  Aiming down the sights is not necessary for close range, but will require some practice to get used to.  Never aim for the head just the chest, this thing kicks like a beast.

The Hammerburst

Oh the hammerburst.  I have loved this weapon since Gears 2.  I was often put down people who charged me with the chainsaw or gnasher.  It was an unappreciated weapon, but now it is even more versatile.  It has a iron sites mode, which allows accurate shots from long distance.  Oh and at an alarming fire rate with very high accuracy. 

This weapon is great for areas with open ground.  If you've got a good amount of distance between you and your opponent you have the upper hand.  Pulling the trigger increases the fire rate, with very little affect to accuracy.  I do not suggest using this on small maps.  While feasible it is not realiable in close combat due to its small clip size and slow fire rate when holding down the trigger.

The Gnasher

Everyone knows the gnasher.  It has been a staple ingredient of gears from the beginning.  And sadly this has led many to rely on it too heavily.  It is a strong weapon.  It has a surprising range and large clip size.  It makes me wonder why anyone would ever use the sawed off.  However you need to learn its range.  Too often I have seen people trying to outrange lancers with the gnasher.  It rarely works out.  Gears 3 is not a one weapon game, get used to it.

Tactics for the gnasher change from person to person.  Some aim, some dont, while some quickly aim by tapping the left trigger and firing quickly.  It is all personally preference.  I personally do not aim in close range fights.  However when in a shotgun duel with another player.  I often back off and shoot from the gnashers maximum distance while aiming.  Trying to get that one shot with the gnasher leaves you open to getting killed yourself. 

The Sawed Off

Everyone whines about the sawed off.  It is time to grow up ladies and gentleman.  Yes the sawed off is powerful when it shoots.  But the thing is, it only has one shot!  On top of that you literally have to be, well on top of the person to kill them with it.  If you are repetitively getting killed by the sawed off you need to learn to be aware of your surroundings.  You should not let people get close enough to used the sawed off.

If you are going to use the sawed off there are some tactics you should know.  First off, do not charge in.  I prefer to use the sawed off on larger maps.  Where I will only use it for defense.  If you charge and miss you are left in the open.  You may want to have to retro lancer to switch to.  Else you will be running around dodging shots hoping that it will reload sometime soon.  On top of this never aim with the sawed off.  You need to be quick with it.  Kill and get lost.  You don't want to be waisting any time standing around.  Hit and run tactics are the key to sucess.

The Smoke Grenade

Why use the smoke grenade?  Well it obviously provides cover to move and pick up weapons.  But what else can it do?  You can use it as a tag.  Allowing you to trap people for a short while, or at least give yourself warning that someone is on the way.  As well it can be used to trigger enemy tags.  Think someone is holed up near their frag tags?  Throw in a smoke and let their tags do the work.  As well tagging someone with the smoke will down them.  And while not a practical choice, it can be quite entertaining.

The Snub Nose Pistol

Everyone starts with this powerhouse, but is rarely used and I have no idea why.  Try using just the snub nose for awhile.  You will find yourself downing your enemies from all over.  And if you hit them in the head with the final shot they will lose their head!  This weapon is great for assisting with fire fights.  If you see someone in the middle of a fight whip out the snub.  You will find yourself surprised.

Snubbing is something I strongly support.  It is a weapon that can rip through an enemies health with impressive speed and range. 

Pick Ups

There are many weapons in gears 3.  I will not cover what each one does (for now).  Instead I hope to suggest some ideas for you to think about.

Pistols spawn on nearly every map, and yet I find myself being the only one who picks them up.  Often I will grab the boltok while watching people fight over the sniper.  Heres a hint, if you like the sniper, you will like the boltok.  2-3 shots to the chest will down someone.  2 to the head is a headshot.  The boltok is great and is something you should try out.  As far as the gorgon, I have not used it much, but it is powerful.  If you have more long ranged primary weapon equipped the gorgon can prove itself to be qutie effective in close combat.

Grenades... So many different types of grenades.  The first thing I will suggest is to learn when to use each one.  Ink/Incendiary are good for blocking off access to an area, and direct hits can produce a kill.  These two grenades should be used defensively or as bunker busters.  Nothing gets people moving like an ink grenade.  As far as frags these are great for tags.  And are perhaps better used as tags than thrown.  People tend to hang on to frags instead of tagging them.  If you tag them however there is a chance they will get you a kill sometime during the game.  If you die while holding them, they were useless.

Weapon pick ups in gears are about function.  If I spawn with a sawed off and retro (i don't, but for this case lets say I do), I may want to pick up the boltok for increased long range firepower.  Or if i spawn with a gnasher and hammerburst I may pick up the gorgon for some increased mid range power.  You should equip yourself with the most diverse set of weapons you can get ahold of.  Nothing beats having the right weapon for the job, and theres nothing quite as upsetting as dying because you don't have the right equipment.

It is my hope that more and more players will move away from solely using the gnasher or sawed off.  When this happens the game will become even more enjoyable.  But I promise you, that once you adopt the idea of using other weapons you will enjoy the game even more.