Every hero needs a trusty weapon at his or her side when facing down legions of evil. Just the same, every villain needs a means of destruction to enact evil schemes. For countless characters in film, television, and books, guns have played a major role in actions scenes that thrill and enthrall.
While modern guns are commonly featured in everything from Westerns to Crime Dramas, they rarely stand out in the minds of audiences.
However, when creators take the time to craft a unique and memorable weapon in their stories, countless audience members come to remember and love the strange guns put on display. From the very first science fiction stories to today’s new generation of comic book adaptations, these are the 15 most memorable and imaginative guns in fiction that in the end are just plain cool.
As a rule for the list, the firearms you see here are fictional creations. So iconic weapons like Dirty Harry’s .44 Magnum and James Bond’s Walther PPK are not included, but they are still fantastic pieces that have made their mark on audiences for decades.
For a more civilized list of weapons, read The 15 Coolest Swords in Fiction.
15. The Samaritan – Hellboy
It’s enormous and extremely deadly, so it’s the perfect fit for Hellboy. Used by the half human/half demon paranormal investigator in his pursuit of all things evil, Hellboy’s Samaritan revolver comes equipped with a huge stockpile of ammunition. Each of these giant bullets is specially equipped to take out a different kind of creature, helping Hellboy keep the world a little safer.
14. Sonic Shotgun – Minority Report
The only completely non-lethal gun on the list, the Sonic Shotgun from Minority Report still packs a huge kick. Sending out a shockwave instead of ammunition, police, or anyone else who commandeers the weapon, can take out a nearby target efficiently and with little chance of lethal effect. Still, no one want to be on the receiving end of one of these blasts.
13. DL-44 Heavy Blaster – Star Wars
It’s not so much the features on this weapon as it is the instantly recognizable look and role in science fiction history that lands the DL-44 Heavy Blaster on this list. Han Solo’s weapon of choice is this rogue’s gun comes in handy when confronted with Stormtroopers and bounty hunters alike. Of course, it’s best usage comes when it’s shot first.
12. The Gravity Gun – Half-Life
The gun has no ammo. Instead, it’s claws allow the user to harness gravity for whatever may be needed at the moment. The Gravity Gun lets the user pull any object toward him- or herself or fling anything away with awesome force. This means that a lazy user can bring that soda can that is just out of reach into their hands, or allow a freedom fighter to shoot a spinning saw blade through a row of enemies. How effective is the Gravity Gun? That’s up to you to decide.
11. Lawgiver – Judge Dredd
When you’re dealing with the scum of the Earth in a desolate future, you need a gun that can do it all. Judge Dredd’s Lawgiver gun responds to voice command in order to change its settings and fire any ammunition that this one-man judge, jury, and executioner needs. From flares to bullets to grenades, Dredd’s Lawgiver lets him take on any opposition in the most brutal way possible.
10. A-1 Disintegrator Pistol – Looney Tunes
Not to be confused with the Acme Disintegrating Gun, which disintegrates itself, Marvin the Martian’s ray gun can turn any enemy into a pile of ash in a single shot. While the target can somehow turn him or herself back into normal form, especially if it’s Daffy Duck, it’s still quite impressive. The perfect weapon for one of the best aliens in any cartoon.
9. Coulson’s Destroyer Gun – The Avengers
It’s intimidating just to look at, and with good cause. Created by S.H.I.E.L.D. and modeled after the Asgardian Destroyer Armor’s destructive capabilities, this weapon shoots out a massive blast of power that is able to ever take down a god momentarily. It’s one of the most memorable moments in The Avengers, just make sure there isn’t anyone sneaking up behind you.
8. The Phaser – Star Trek
It’s one of the most iconic weapons in all of science fiction. But it also looks kind of lame in all of its forms. From tiny blaster to TV remote, the phaser has helped members of the federation protect themselves and their outer space missions for decades. Being able to switch between stun and lethal settings helps crew members appropriately respond to any situation semi-diplomatically.
7. ARC Gun – District 9
It’ a ridiculously overpowered piece of alien technology, but that’s what makes it so memorable. Sending a vicious lightning bolt out with the pull of a trigger, the ARC Gun turns any target into a bloody Rorschach test, splattering them in a gruesome and awe-inspiring manner. The downside? You have to turn one of your hands into a Prawn claw in order to use it.
6. Lancer – Gears of War
Bayonets may have worked just fine during the Revolutionary War, but when you’re a soldier tasked with taking out the vicious and tough Swarm, aliens that have risen from your world’s core, you’re going to need something stronger. So why not take your heavy duty machine gun and strap a chainsaw to the front? If your hail of bullets hasn’t taken out your enemy, you can just shred them to pieces with the Lancer’s saw. Get some!
5. Megatron – Transformers
Cheating because it’s the only gun that’s actually alive? Maybe, but everyone knows that Megatron was simultaneously coolest and most confounding when he could transform into a tiny blaster. Sure he may need Starscream to fire him and the mass-displacement problem led to the live action movies make him change into a tank, jet, and truck, but you can’t replace a handgun that wants to rule the galaxy!
4. Needler – Halo
The Halo series is filled with fantastic weapons, but few are as imaginative as the Needler. A weapon forged by the Covenant but so-opted by Master Chief and his marines, this neon gun sends out a hail of glowing purple needles that arc after the target, piercing him again and again. It’s deadly enough already, but when wielded with skill, an overdose of needles will cause a fatal explosion. It’s cool, original, and frightening when put in the right hands.
3. Megabuster – Megaman
It’s synonymous with Megaman, the intrepid robot hero working to save the Earth from the evil Dr. Wily and his robot minions. While Megaman may be able to upgrade the Megabuster with the upgrades he gets from each boss he defeats, nothing can beat the classic cannon. Allowing Megaman to either fire smaller energy blasts or charge up for a huge explosion, the Megabuster lets the hero blast his way through anything that gets in his way.
2. The Colt – Supernatural
Forged by Samuel Colt and imbued with extremely deadly magic, The Colt has the ability to kill any mystical creature short of Satan, God, or Death itself. Even creatures that can be killed by only very specific means can be permanently destroyed by a shot fired from the Colt. But a weapon with such power has to have limitations. This revolver was found by The Winchesters with very limited ammo left and no way of creating more. So once this powerful ammunition is gone, it’s gone forever.
1. Portal Gun – Portal
The Portal Gun may be able to create two portals that allow anything to travel between them instantaneously, but the true power of the weapon is imagination. Users who master The Portal Gun realize that it is more than just a means of traveling between two points, but a way to harness physics for anything you need. From flinging yourself across humongous chasms to turning everyday objects into deadly projectiles, the Portal Gun is pure genius.
Honorable Mentions: Mal Reynold’s Pistol, Deckard’s Detective Special, BFG 9000, Noisy Cricket, M41A Pulse Rifle, Vera, Gristle Gun, The Golden Gun, Blunderbuss
Have your own personal favorite firearms? Let us know in the comments below!