According to Gearbox Software, there are over 17,750,000 different variations of weapons in Borderlands, as of its release. Borderlands uses a procedural process to generate its various guns in certain classes, such as handguns, shotguns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, and more, but with many variations of firing speed, reload speed, damage type and more.
Weapon Type & Proficiency
The different types of weapons are:
- Repeater pistols
- Submachine guns
- Combat rifles
- Sniper rifles
- Rocket launchers
- Eridian weapons
Specific Weapon Proficiencies apply to each weapon type and are displayed on the character screen. They boost a character's skill with the individual weapon types and can increase to a maximum level of 50 for each weapon type. Gains to the proficiency of the equipped weapon are made when experience is gained from killing enemies, and such gains happen regardless of whether the kill was made by the shooter, or an alternative source.
Inspecting a weapon on the ground or in inventory evokes the weapon's item card. The item card displays the name of the weapon, color coded by its rarity; its damage, accuracy, and rate of fire attributes; the maximum capacity of its magazine; the level of elemental tech, if any; the monetary value of the weapon, if resold at a vending machine; and up to five lines of additional information, including elemental effects, stat modifiers significant to the weapon, and weapon zoom.
Note that any weapon statistics displayed on an item card already take into account any bonuses listed on that card. A weapon with an item card that shows Damage 751 and +53% Damage has a damage stat of 751, not 1149.
- Main article: Special Weapon Effects
- Main article: Special Weapon Effects (Borderlands 2)
- Main article: Special Weapon Effects (Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel)
Flavor text is red text found on unique, legendary, and pearlescent weapons' item cards, just above any stat modifiers. Usually cryptic or humorous, these lines usually give a hint of what a weapon's special ability does, and are often a reference to a video game, movie, or any number of non-game things.
Borderlands uses a classification system for gear that follows a color-coding system for RPGs (which was pioneered by Blizzard's white) gun would be average, an uncommon (green) would be slightly above average, a rare (blue) would be a premium gun, a very rare (purple) would be a very strong gun, and legendary (orange) guns are second only to pearlescent. The rarity of each gun is indicated by color as stated on the page of each gun.). A common (
There are eight confirmed rarity levels. Weapons listed in the inventory screen might have a darker text color than what is shown in the weapon box when that weapon is selected, so it would help to compare, say, across all orange rarity weapons to check for differences in color.
Level Color Rarity 1 White 0-4 2 Green 5-10 3 Blue 11-15 4 Purple 16-49 5 Yellow 50-60 6 Orange 61-65 7 Dark Orange 66-100 8 Pearlescent 101+
Further rarity levels are present in-game, but are not assigned to weapons.
Level Color Rarity Item 9 Green 170 Backpack SDUs 10 Red 171 Health pickups such as Insta-Health vials and Healing Kits 11 Yellow 180-181 Cash bundles 12 Yellow 182-190 Cash bobbleheads 13 Orange 191-200 Elemental artifacts  14 Cyan 500 Supply drops in the Underdome coliseums
Generally speaking, the rarity of a weapon describes its power, with rarer weapons being more effective in combat. However, this is a very crude heuristic, with many exceptions. The rarity values assigned to a gun's parts do not necessarily correspond to how much damage they can do, nor can the weapon generator account for the gun's actual performance, synergy between parts (e.g. a Carnage shotgun barrel with an elemental accessory) or lack thereof (e.g. a low-accuracy sniper rifle barrel with a high-powered sniper scope), or a human player's preferences (e.g., preferring iron sights to a scope on a close combat weapon).
- See also: Legendary
- Main article: Elemental Damage
- See also: Status effect#Elemental Damage Over Time
The elemental effects include incendiary, shock, explosive, and corrosive. The damage of the elemental effect is a multiplier indicated by the elemental plaque and a "xN" in the weapon description, where N is a number from 1 to 4. The chance an elemental effect will occur depends on the difference between the level of the character and the level of the enemy. On all Maliwan weapons, a weapon description will include text reading "chance to cause elemental effect," "high elemental effect chance," "higher elemental effect chance" or "very high elemental effect chance", which implies that the gun has a greater than normal chance of causing its elemental effect, depending on the material quality of the weapon. Elemental attacks are added to the base damage of the weapon used and can have secondary benefits, such as a splash damage effect on multiple enemies.
Each element has a specific benefit to use against differing enemies:
- Fire is effective against enemies with unshielded flesh and may cause the target to burn for a length of time. There is a chance the fire will spread to nearby opponents.
- Shock is effective against shields, but is less effective against flesh and natural armor, such as chitinous plating, than a normal weapon of the same type. It also has a chance of briefly stunning an enemy.
- Explosive weapons have a chance for the round to explode in enemies, dealing much more damage and leading to an incredibly messy death on a critical hit.
- Corrosive is effective against armored enemies, slowly draining health and making them weaker to other attacks as the ongoing damage progresses. There is a chance that the acid will spread to nearby opponents.
Each element also has its own specific death animation:
- Fire slowly incinerates the target. Human victims will scream while burning. No trace of the victim will remain.
- Shock makes lightning arc up and down a target's body, eventually leading to the head exploding. The victim will leave a headless corpse and a few giblets.
- Explosive yields a loud bang and reduces the victim completely to giblets.
- Corrosive rapidly liquefies the target. Human victims will scream while melting. No trace of the victim will remain.
- Main article: Manufacturer
Weapon manufacturers produce weapons that incorporate specific attributes associated with their respective brands. An in-game means of learning these different attributes is to listen to Marcus Kincaid's vending machine sales pitches. These offer a comprehensive commentary on the manufacturers and their attributes.
There are twelve official weapons manufacturers in the Borderlands series:
- Atlas – Above-average balanced attributes.
- Bandit – Highest magazine-capacity; below-average balanced attributes.
- Dahl – Highest accuracy and recoil reduction, burst-fire when aiming.
- Eridians – Energy-based alien weapons – with no reload – only a recharge time (giving them infinite ammo).
- Gearbox – Balanced attributes; acquirable only through certain missions.
- Hyperion – Highest accuracy, damage and recoil reduction, above-average balanced attributes; high tech, expensive.
- Jakobs – Highest damage and accuracy, hidden critical-hit bonus, lever-action/semi-automatic weapons-only; heavy recoil, no automatic or elemental weapons, expensive.
- Maliwan – Highest elemental effect-chance, elemental weapons-only; high tech, expensive.
- S&S Munitions – Highest magazine capacity; high tech, expensive.
- Tediore – Fastest reload speed, cheapest price-tags; below-average balanced attributes (when reloading, gun is thrown like a grenade).
- Torgue – Highest damage, explosive ammunition; decreased accuracy and heavy recoil.
- Vladof – Highest rate of fire and recoil reduction, automatic weapons-only (as the trigger is held, rate of fire and recoil reduction increases); no semi-automatic weapons.
The various manufacturers offer weapons in different Material Grades. These change the appearance of the weapon, as well as further modifying the weapon's attributes, with higher grades offering stronger attribute augmentation. They also affect each manufacturer's weapon naming scheme.
- Main article: Gun Component Charts
This illustration of a hypothetical combat rifle identifies the different components that go into assembling a single weapon.
- Stock: Provides stability and accuracy. Smaller stocks and stockless weapons achieve faster reloads and equip speed in exchange for less stability.
- Body: Affects the weapon's firing rate and damage rating.
- Barrel: Affects the weapon damage ratings and accuracy.
- Magazine: Affects ammunition capacity, reload speed, and equip speed. The smallest magazines increase damage.
- Sight: Affects field of view when zoomed, with the degree dependent on the quality of the sight or scope.
- Accessory: If present, may provide one of a diverse range of benefits including elemental effects, damage modifiers, and stability bonuses.
- Grip: Represents the Manufacturer, with no further effects on the weapon. (As a notable exception, the Atlas Patton derives its increased damage from its proprietary grip.)
- Main article: Weapons by prefix (Borderlands)
Following the game's random weapon generation AI, a system formulates each weapon's model number and name according to its type, manufacturer and capabilities.
- See also: Weapons category page
Due to the number of possible different weapons that the game can generate, this Wiki does not contain a page for every variant. It instead lists groups of similar weapons by their title.
- Main article: Unique
- See also: Guaranteed Drops
These weapons and modifications have a 100% chance to be dropped by a specific enemy, or be contained in a specific location.
- Main article: Ammunition
Most weapons in the game require ammunition (or ammo for short). The exceptions are Eridian weapons, which rely on an alien power source which will slowly recharge, and certain rare exceptions such as The Dove, and some other dark-orange rarity-leveled weapons. Ammunition can be acquired in several ways throughout the game; ammo can be purchased from ammo vendor, dropped by killed enemies, concealed in lootable objects, or it may be regenerated by a class mod, skill, or special weapon effect.
Types of ammunition:
- Combat Rifle Ammo
- Repeater Pistol Ammo
- Revolver Ammo
- Launcher Ammo
- Shotgun Shells
- SMG Ammo
- Sniper Rifle Ammo
A character is able to carry a specific amount of each type of ammunition. At the start of the game, a character is only able to pick up ammunition of a particular type after they have acquired a weapon of that class. As the game progresses, and characters increase in level, they will be able to purchase Ammunition SDUs from the ammunition vending machines.
Weapon Damage Multipliers
The base damage of a weapon is the amount of damage the target should take on each successful hit. Some weapons' item card Damage stat will show the base damage and a multiplier, represented by flashing yellow multiplier text (such as "x7") alternating with the damage number. If a multiplier is present, the weapon will fire the number of projectiles given by the modifier for each trigger squeeze. Take note that in some cases, certain features of the weapon will lead to the consumption of more than one unit of ammunition expended per shot fired.
The most common type of weapon to show damage multiplier stats are Shotguns, firing several pellets per shot (the number of pellets varies according to Shotgun type). Other weapon types can have a damage modifier, but in such cases these are special features rather than a typical feature of the weapon.
Comparing a single-shot Rocket Launcher to a Helix Rocket Launcher:
- A normal Rocket Launcher with 500 damage and a 3 round magazine. With every pull of the trigger, 1 rocket is fired and will do 500 damage to its target and 1 round of Launcher ammo will be used, its potential damage per magazine adds up to 1,500.
- A Helix Rocket Launcher with 200 damage with a x3 modifier, and a 3 round magazine. With every pull of the trigger, 3 micro-rockets will fire at the target in a spiraling pattern doing 200 damage per micro-rocket if the target is hit and 1 round of Launcher ammo will be used, its potential damage per magazine adds up to 1,800.
Damage Per Second (DPS)
- Main article: DPS
Damage per second, or DPS, is a commonly used way to compare the effectiveness between skills, weapons, or other damage-dealing methods in various games.
- Currently, the number of variations of weapons in Borderlands 2 is unknown, but Randy Pitchford, a Gearbox boss, has said "There are enough where it doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter. If you imagine there's a lot more, but you also see the variety is wilder than Borderlands 1 (Yin-Poole, Wesley, How many weapons are in Borderlands 2?, Eurogamer).
- Programmatically looking through the Borderlands 2&The Pre-Sequel game data (Apocalyptech, count_weapons.py in the FT/BLCMM Explorer project) suggests the following figures (including legendary, unique, seraph, and pearlescent weapons, but not considering the same weapon in different levels to be unique):
- Borderlands 2: 2,736,589
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (with luneshine): 34,527,769
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (without luneshine): 16,145,310
- Similar datamining has been done in Borderlands 3 (numbers current as of 2020-11-09) https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1S_yhhguQGXslpM5dL3CXa4SDf4W_Fu3fTjK_4Fhq5ag/
- Without taking anointments into consideration: 69,002,788
- With taking anointments into consideration: 4,007,410,150
- The illustration above showing the various weapon components is chimeric: a Torgue Support Machine Gun, but with a high-quality Combat Rifle sight. As a machine gun, it would be a Torgue HLK440 Deathly Mauler. Were it a combat rifle, it would have to have a different magazine and manufacturer, and would therefore be a Dahl HLK420 Deathly Stomper.