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The Weapons of Quake III: Arena

Updated on October 22, 2013

The weapons of Quake III: Arena are the stars of the show. They dictate the way you play and, along with armor and power-ups, your chances of winning. Each weapon has it's own distinct characteristic and a situation in which it performs well so it's imperative that you know your weapons when heading into the Arena.

The Gauntlet
The Gauntlet | Source

The Gauntlet

Along with the Machine Gun, players spawn into the Arena with the Gauntlet. The Gauntlet is a circular melee weapon akin to a power saw. It's frequently used to humiliate your opponent. Every kill made with the Gauntlet will award the Humilation accolade and a satisfying announcement broadcasted throughout the map.


  • Damage: 50 per hit
  • Range: Melee
  • Effect: Knockback


  • Charging headlong into the enemy with the Gauntlet will probably get yourself killed. It's much better to use it as a back stab weapon especially if you've already dealt significant damage to him.
  • If you have the Quad, the Gauntlet will kill an opponent in one hit.

The Machine Gun
The Machine Gun

The Machine Gun

The Machine Gun is a default weapon. Along with the Gauntlet, players spawn into the Arena with the Machine gun. As a starting weapon, the Machine Gun is used to fight an opponent while trying to get a more powerful one. The Machine Gun is a hit-scan weapon and is pretty accurate especially for a starter weapon.


  • Damage: 5 per hit
  • Rate of fire: 10 Bullets per second
  • Type of fire: Automatic
  • Range: Long


  • The Machine Gun is a pretty decent weapon despite being a default. However, it's still extremely advisable to grab another gun instead of trying to engage with just the Machine Gun.
  • Since the Machine Gun has a very good range, it can be useful to finish off an opponent you hit a Railgun with. Conversely, you can use the Machine Gun to chew through an opponent's health, setting him up for a Railgun kill.

The Shotgun
The Shotgun | Source

The Shotgun

As per usual, the Shotgun is a close ranged weapon that fires pellets that spreads as it travels. At close range, the Shotgun is comparable to (and even arguably, better than) the Rocket Launcher. Although powerful, the Shotgun loses its punch with range. The Shotgun also has a slight delay between shots that can be quite dangerous if you miss.


  • Damage: 10 per pellet, 11 pellets per shot
  • Rate of fire: 1 shot per second
  • Type of fire: Semi-automatic
  • Range: Short


  • The Shotgun excels in close range combat and is mediocre in anything else. Try ambushing your opponent off corners for maximum effectiveness.
  • The Shotgun can counter the Rocket Launcher in close ranges as well. The hardest parts would be avoiding his rockets and trying not to get hit with splash.
  • Try to use the Shotgun as a finisher against damaged opponents in close range.

The Grenade Launcher
The Grenade Launcher | Source

The Grenade Launcher

Since there is no grenades in Quake III, the Grenade Launcher is the gun that takes its place. The grenades do hefty damage directly and has splash. However, the grenades themselves hav a bit of delay before exploding making it hard to time the explosion to secure a killing blow. It's mainly used to zone out enemies away from armor or power-ups or to cover corridors where an opponent may flank you.


  • Damage: 100 direct impact, 1-99 splash hits
  • Rate of fire: 1 Grenade every 800 milliseconds
  • Type of fire: Semi-automatic
  • Range: Mid-range


  • The Grenade Launcher is very difficult to directly engage an enemy due to the timed explosion of the grenades. In that sense, it's much better used for zoning and to stop your opponents from chasing you as you escape.
  • If you know the time an armor or a power-up is going to spawn but can't get there fast enough before your opponent does, the Grenade Launcher is a good weapon to zone him out as you move in to take it.

The Rocket Launcher
The Rocket Launcher

The Rocket Launcher

The most iconic weapon in the Quake II arsenal is the Rocket Launcher. The rockets fired from the gun produce a significant amount of splash damage around the point where it hits. The Rocket Launcher is also used to perform 'rocket jumps', a technique where you use the launcher's splash and knockback to push your jump higher than a normal jump does. This is an effective way to reach higher platforms as well as moving around quickly.


  • Damage: 100 direct impact, 1-100 splash
  • Rate of fire: 1 rocket every 800 milliseconds
  • Type of fire: Semi-automatic
  • Range: Medium to long range


  • Aim the Rocket Launcher at the feet of your opponent. The knockback will send them flying up in the air making it easier to predict where they land. Fire another rocket at that projected location to do maximum damage.
  • As with the Grenade Launcher, the Rocket Launcher can be used in zoning opponents away from armor/power-ups.
  • When aiming, try to aim your splash more so the actual rockets as hitting an opponent directly with a rocket in a game as fast as Quake is extremely difficult.

The Lightning Gun
The Lightning Gun

The Lightning Gun

The Lighting Gun is one of the more unique guns of Quake III. It fires a continuous stream of Lighting up to a certain range. The range is rather limited although the Lighting Gun deals damage fast especially if you can keep the stream on your opponent.


  • Damage: 8 per ticks
  • Rate of fire: 20 ticks per second
  • Type of fire: Continuous
  • Range: Medium


  • The Lightning Gun requires a good aim as well as prediction skills. You need to keep your aim on your target to deal maximum damage while being careful to avoid moving out of range of the gun.
  • Against a large number of targets, sweeping the room with a Lightning Gun will deal damage pretty fast. This is especially useful in team play modes.

The Railgun
The Railgun

The Railgun

Along with the Rocket Launcher, the Railgun is probably one of the most used guns in Quake. The Railgun is the 'sniper weapon' of Quake III. It fires a laser almost instantaneously at a target that kills anyone without armor. The Railgun recharges for a bit after every shot which gives you a bit of a disadvantage when you use it in close ranges.


  • Damage: 100
  • Rate of fire: 1 round every 1.5 seconds
  • Type of fire: Single-shot (requires a 1.5 second recharge time before firing again)
  • Range: Very long


  • The Railgun has a significant tracer line when shot, alerting the enemy of your location. It's best not to stick around after firing unless you can take the kill.
  • You can combo the Rocket Launcher to chew through an enemy's defence and use the Railgun to finish them as they escape.

The Plasma Gun
The Plasma Gun

The Plasma Gun

The Plasma Gun is an automatic weapon that fires balls of blue Plasma. The Plasma themselves have a bit of splash and can be used to 'plasma jump' although the move itself is less popular than rocket jumping. It's an excellent weapon in long corridors although at range, it's quite easy to dodge the projectiles themselves.


  • Damage: 20
  • Rate of fire: 10 balls per second
  • Type of fire: Automatic
  • Range: Medium


  • The Plasma Gun excels in medium range especially in tight corridors.
  • It can be used for zoning although to a lesser extent than the Grenade Launcher and the Rocket Launcher
  • Like the Lightning Gun, it can be used to sweep a room full of enemies dealing a huge amount of damage.
  • With the Hazard Suit power-up, you can use the Plasma Gun against a wall to perform a 'plasma climb'.

The BFG. Also called Big F*cking Gun, Big Friggin'  Gun, Big Fragging Gun.
The BFG. Also called Big F*cking Gun, Big Friggin' Gun, Big Fragging Gun.

The B.F.G.

The BFG is sort of a special weapon. It's rarely seen out in the open and often requires some sort of secret to obtain. The BFG is an extremely powerful weapon. Think Plasma Gun that shoots rockets instead of plasma. The splash is very significant.


  • Damage: 100 per round, 1-100 splash
  • Rate of fire: 5 per second
  • Type of fire: Automatic
  • Range: Medium to long


  • It's especially satisfying to use in a room full of enemies. Just fire away!
  • Be careful with the splash. it's easy to become over-eager with the BFG and forget that the splash still deals a significant amount of damage.
  • Chances are, you wont be holding on to the BFG long so once you get your hands on it, try to get as much kills as possible with it.


What's your favorite Quake III gun?

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