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I knew Borderlands 3 was something special when I ran across a gun, fired it a few times and then did a double take. I went back to inspect the gun, only to realize it was a reference to Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. That's the kind of magic that happens in Borderlands 3's extensive slate of weaponry.
Surprisingly, many of the generated weapons feel unique across the various manufacturers and levels. You might find a sniper rifle that discharges elemental damage with no impact, only to follow that up with one that pops heads with a satisfying BOOM. There are shotguns that shoot like submachine guns, assault rifles that discharge like flamethrowers, and pistols that explode when you throw them.
Gearbox has also crafted several wholly unique weapons: spoils from boss encounters and quests, legendaries that drop randomly, and much more. So here are a few of the coolest guns that we here at USgamer have found personally, or seen other players in the Borderlands 3 community gushing about. It's worth noting that you might not get the exact same roll and name listed here; the Superball comes in slightly different versions for example, but always retains the basic weapon capabilities and naming structure.
There are a number of Borderlands guns that are a reference to some facet of pop culture. Hell, there's an item that's seemingly a reference to Gearbox Software founder Randy Pitchford's controversial misadventures with a USB drive. But few of the references are as direct and wholesome as the Graceful Superball. This is not a useful weapon, as it shoots glowing balls of fire that bounce along the ground at a very slow rate. But the fireballs are familiar; they move like a 3D version of Super Mario Bros' Fire Flower power-up. That's what the "flower power" description is referring to, while the "Superball" is a reference to Super Mario Land's Fire Flower replacement. I don't like the pistol, but it's a cool little addition to Borderlands 3.
The Boring Gun
Thus begins the absolute dominance of shotguns in Borderlands 3. The Boring Gun tend to drop off of Troy Calypso, one of the main villains of the game. This weapon is anything but "boring" though; the name refers to the sawblades that tunnel along the ground every time you pull the trigger. The standard version shoots three sawblades, but you can find some with a perk that pushes that up to six. These tiny metal monsters absolutely shred all enemies in your path in a blood spray. How very Texas Chainsaw Massacre of them.
This is the shotgun that fires like a submachine gun. Not only does it discharge three projectile at a time, the firing rate is damned good. If you have a character that loves to get up close and personal, legendaries with "the Butcher" suffix are going to be one of the favorite weapons. I literally avoided shotguns for the entire campaign, only switching to the weapon type once I got one of these bad boys.
This is another shotgun, but it's a callback to one of the best weapons available in Borderlands 2. Not only does the Conference Call do a lot of damage in all its permutations, it also has a front-facing shield that returns ammo to the gun when it absorbs damage and its shells create more shots when they hit a target. It's a crowd-control monster, doing a ton of damage to a large group, and it generally drops from the Katagawa Jr. boss fight.
The guns in Borderlands 3 tend to lean in different directions, depending on their manufacturer. When you reload most Tediore guns, you throw away the entire gun, which sometimes does cool stuff on its own. The Smart-Gun XXL is one example, a reward for finishing off the Gigamind boss fight. When you reload the weapon, it creates a living brain on metal legs that hunts down enemies and explodes in sweet, sweet Radiation damage. It's the best gun for the post-apocalypse.
One Pump Chump
This Jakobs shotgun is a reference to the popular One Punch Man manga and anime series. You can only chamber a single round at a time, meaning you need to make every shot count, but if you do hit with it, the results are amazing. Why? Because every version of the gun carries a perk that makes it do at least 1,000% weapon damage, with random rolls being reportedly as high as 1,500%. You have to solve a puzzle and fight a boss that can kill you in one hit, but if you succeed, this mad weapon is your prize. (Most of the time.)
The Handsome Jackhammer
This submachine gun is a reference to Handsome Jack, the villain of Borderlands 2 and Tales from the Borderlands. It's basic stats are just okay as a weapon, but where it excels and delights is its additional effect. Like the Smart-Gun XXL, this is a Tediore weapon, meaning it has a reload effect. The Handsome Jackhammer bounces five times, exploding in a wide radius each time it bounces. In an enclosed space, almost nothing can stand against this testament to Handsome Jack's legacy, plus it occasionally spits out Handsome Jack quotes!
This rocket launcher does a ton of damage like other weapons of its type, but instead of discharging rockets, it shoots… hamburgers. It's more of a grenade launcher, as the burgers bounce on the way to their target and split upon impact. It's a mid-game quest item with a super-cool animated burger skin; you won't want to keep it long, but it's very, very cool. And the special text on the weapon—"Dayum Dayum, DAYUM!"—is clearly a reference to a YouTube burger review that went viral.
This is a submachine gun that you can get relatively early in the game, but it's actually more useful for endgame play. Each version of the Predatory Lending forgoes the use of normal submachine gun ammo. Instead, every bullet is $1 from your wallet. Like I said, early on that's not great, but in the endgame, a Predatory Lending is a weapon that can be quite useful in long fights when you're out of ammo. And at that point, you're likely rolling in money, so no harm, no foul.
This relic of the ancient Eridian civilization is Borderlands 3's infamous "Gun Gun". It's powered by the rare Eridium resource, which can also be used to purchase cool gear on Sanctuary. For every 10 Eridium used, the Fabricator shoots out 10 guns at random. You have no idea what you're going to get; could be complete trash, could be a spread of legendaries. The Fabricator is a kickass roulette, a microcosm of Borderlands 3 contained in a single weapon.
That's ten weapons that honestly could be showcase guns in any other shooter, but they're just another gun on the pile in Borderlands 3. And that's before you get in Anointed guns, or other weapons that will likely come as part of updates to the base game. Borderlands 3 is a cornucopia of guns, just waiting to be equipped, shot, and thrown away from better guns.
If you haven't jumped into Borderlands 3 yet, you can take a look at our review, which highlights a game that stands up to recent competitors like Destiny 2. We've also written about the strange situation surrounding Borderlands 3's reviews. Borderlands 3 currently lacks crossplay, and Gearbox has already confirmed that there won't be DLC characters.
For more on Borderlands 3 why not check out our skill tree breakdowns for Zane, Moze, FL4K and Amara. Elsewhere there’s our Borderlands 3 Weapons Guide where we detail all of the weapon manufacturers in the game. For a loot at the best ways to make money, head here. There's also our guide on Eridium to look at. Finally, why not head over to our Borderlands 3 Steam Guide to see whether or not the game is making its way to Steam anytime soon.