Weapon Guide

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Allocating and using weapons effectively gives you a sizable advantage against raiders, who barely have any knowledge on how to properly use them.

Here is a list of ways to use each weapon, and how to counter enemies that are using them. More detailed information on using each individual weapon can be found on their respective pages.


Weapons that can only deal damage in hand-to-hand combat. Many melee weapons outdamage guns at melee range, and have the added benefit of forcing enemies into melee combat—putting gun-armed raiders at a grave disadvantage as they can only fight using their guns as melee weapons—and staggering any pawn that's even attacked in melee.


  • Pair with shield belts to protect colonists while they close in on the enemy.
  • Fight back against enemy brawlers trying to break your ranks.


  • If only melee enemies present, conduct a melee block against them.
  • Shoot them down before they enter range (much harder with active shield belts, easier if you have EMP weaponry).
  • Outrun and kite with fast movers.


Blunt weapons include the club or mace. The mace is always the smarter choice due to superior DPS.


  • Attack enemies heavily protected against sharp damage.


  • Burst them down before they can deal much damage.


There is a much larger variety of sharp weapons, from the cheapest and weakest knife, to the strongest but most expensive longsword. Spears or longswords should be your choice for raw damage.


  • Use as a general purpose melee weapon for dealing damage.


  • Most armor and clothing protects well against sharp damage.

Body Parts

These are body parts, both natural and artificial, rather than wielded weapons.


  • Generally inferior to dedicated melee weapons. Don't give to melee pawns.
  • Give to ranged colonists to allow them to hold their own against melee attackers.
  • Arm and hand replacements do little to help ranged combat, but a player balance implants (which require natural limbs) with the combat and non-combat buffs offered by replacements.


A human naturally has 4 base attacks. While listed here, they should not be used except in emergencies. Fist (Right), Fist (Left), Teeth, Head

Artifical Replacements

Body parts can be replaced with artifical parts for a variety of state boosts. Currently, there is only one dedicated combat replacement part, the power claw, however other replacements also affect DPS.


Rather than replacing parts, these are implanted into the body part. These require the body part to be natural, i.e. not bionic or prosthetic.


  1. Spears and longswords should be given to the highest skill melee colonists, who will make the most out of their high DPS while being able to dodge enemy melee blows.
  2. Maces should be given to some brawlers to deal with heavily armored enemies, and wardens to down prisoners with less risk of fatally injuring them.
  3. The ikwa is capable of dealing quite some heavy damage. It can be given to moderate-skilled brawlers as both a practice and a combat weapon.
  4. The gladius is somewhat middling with its DPS. It should be given to potential brawlers for them to practice melee, before upgrading them to better weapons.
  5. Knives or clubs are a decent choice for non-combatants as a self-defense weapon, or when you lack materials and technology to make better weapons early-game.
  6. Incidentally, the knife can be used as a good practice weapon due to its fast attack speed.
  7. Power claws can be used to replace the hands of a ranged soldier who will engage the enemy in front-line combat. For a slight penalty to shooting accuracy, the soldier will be able to fend off enemy brawlers easily and help peel for others as well.
  8. For Beta 18 or earlier, Scyther blades should be reserved for colonists with little purpose beyond melee combat, due to its heavy manipulation penalty. Even so, consider giving them power claws instead, as low manipulation means they will miss a lot.


These are weapons that reach out and hurt someone at a distance. Though they can be used in melee if necessary, they are not intended as such and serve poorly, though better than bare fists.

Neolithic ranged

These weapons are crafted cheaply using wood, but have low overall DPS and only perform well in short range. They include the short bow, recurve bow, greatbow and pila (throwing spears). Often used by tribal archers during battles.

It's well advised to switch these out as soon as possible with guns which easily outperform them.


  • Use them as a supplementary ranged weapon before you obtain better weapons such as guns.


  • Out-range them using long-range guns.
  • Charge at them with shielded melee.
  • Most armor and clothing protects well against sharp damage.


Low-tech weapons with moderate-long range. While these have a decent maximum range (23 to 30 tiles), in actual combat they are only practical at around half that range. They don't deal much damage per shot, either, not enough to one-shot (without a lucky head shot).
  • Short bows are the weakest ranged weapon, but at least it's something against threats.
  • Recurve bows are a significant upgrade, and good for moderate-skilled colonists.
  • Greatbows are the equal of the smaller handguns (of similar quality) in damage, and are superior in range and stopping power. Give greatbows to your most skilled colonists, and don't be in a hurry to replace them until you have a better quality, non-hand-gun weapon.


A short-medium throwing spear that has a long wind-up and cooldown time but deals high damage on hit. Its shots deal enough damage to incapacitate or even kill insufficiently protected colonists should they be struck in vital areas. Pila also boast one of the best stopping power values in the game; even if you don't one-shot a target, it's likely to be stopped in its tracks, giving you time for another shot, and (if you hit) then another, until you get it right.
These are best suited for moderate-high skilled ranged archers.


A staple for either side of battle, man-portable guns are the go-to method of dealing ranged damage. Even if you're playing as a tribe, it's recommended to pick these up for use instead of using bows or pila.
  • Basically anything that calls for ranged firepower.
  • Most armor and clothing protects against bullets, which are "sharp" damage.

Hand guns

Low-caliber weapons that fire rapidly but have lackluster damage output and average range. Allthough technically "one-handed", Rimworld makes no such distinction; each pawn can equip one and only one weapon (with some "utility" devices in a belt slot).
These should only be relied on during early-game, when enemies are unarmored, or hunting (very) small game.
  • Equip on colonists with less shooting skill as the fast fire means missing is less punishing.
  • Give to colonists to quickly improve their aim, regardless of level.
  • Lowest damage-dealers of all firearms.
The lowest tier of firearm. It is cheap allowing it to be acquired early-game from raiders, or crafted after relatively little research and material cost. Better stopping power than others in this sub-category, sufficient to stagger a human.
A fast-firing but shorter ranged pistol. While it has a higher DPS than the revolver, its low stopping power makes it unable to stagger advancing humanoid enemies.
Machine pistol
A light sub-machine gun. It fires a 3-round burst with a low aim time and cooldown, and the third shortest range of all firearms. Its bullets deal so little damage that they can't even shoot off a finger.
It is good if you want to reduce the risk of accidental permanent damage, such as to take/recapture prisoners or down berserking colonists, but it isn't the best for stopping escaping enemies due to its lack of stopping power.


Short-ranged weapons with ranges of less than 20 tiles. These require you get up close to the enemy to shoot them, leaving you more vulnerable to enemy fire, but in return deal heavy DPS.
  • Use as a supporting weapon to shoot down incoming melee enemies or return fire against short ranged enemies.
  • Deal massive damage in a melee blocking attack.
  • Equip on non-combatants for self-defense.
  • Deprive them of any nearby cover to expose them.
  • Shoot with long-ranged weapons.
  • Close in on them with shielded melee.
Pump shotgun
A weapon that fires a single high-damage blast of pellets with a significant stopping power. These can severely injure an enemy, sometimes killing them outright if you hit a vital organ and they lack protection.
It is fairly accurate within its range.
Chain shotgun
The shortest ranged weapon in the game, a chain shotgun fires a triple burst of buckshot. It deals immense single-target damage with massive stopping power, but its short range can hamper its effectiveness.
It's a powerful but somewhat situational choice.
  • Tight quarters, such as defending inside your base, or assaulting inside an enemy's. Also excellent for pure DPS when you can control the engagement range, such as in killboxes.
  • Shred large targets with its high DPS, as it can land most of its shots against them.
  • Fire at bunched-up enemies who are more likely to take hits from this weapon.
  • Flank low-damage enemies.
  • Give to lower skilled gunners, as they excel at ranges where shooting accuracy has less effect.
  • Burst them down from a distance before they get in range.
  • Force them into melee combat before they can pull off a single burst.
  • Spread defenders apart to reduce collateral damage.
Heavy SMG
Close to "medium" ranged (19), this weapon fires a 3-round burst of heavy slugs. These pack quite a punch and are moderately accurate. An excellent choice in terms of short-range DPS, though its effectiveness quickly drops outside short range.
  • Excellent generalist weapons - comparatively low cost with solid, though not exceptional, DPS and without sacrificing too much range.
  • Give to lower skilled gunners, as heavy SMGs perform well at ranges where shooting accuracy has less effect. This is especially true when compared to other generalist weapons that rely on their longer range, such as the assault rifle.
  • Kiting and/or target submachinegunners from range
  • Force them into melee combat before they can pull off a single burst.
  • Wait around corners or otherwise force them into very short range, and ambush them with chain shotguns.


Well-rounded guns with a moderate maximum range of around 24-30 tiles. They deal excellent DPS at range if they can hit their mark.
  • Give to your moderately skilled gunners.
  • Deal heavy damage to entrenched low-DPS or short-ranged targets.
  • Focus fire on them to take them out first.
  • Out-range them when they are entrenched.
A light machine gun that fires a 6-round volley with good stopping power. While it has good damage potential, it has poor single-target accuracy with the bullets rarely hitting the same target.
  • Weak against single targets, stronger against larger groups of enemies
Charge rifle
An excellent weapon that fires a burst of charged energy packets. Its good accuracy and high DPS means that defeating the enemy is no problem with this. It should be your standard weapon at mid-late game situations.
Though it works good even if used alone, it's best to add other longer-ranged weapons to the mix to make up for its mediocre range.
Charge lance
A high-tech weapon that sends a heavy pulse at high velocities towards targets. It is able to cripple unprotected limbs in one shot, and deal serious hurt to enemies.
It can be used to single out targets at range.


Long-distance guns with a maximum range of 32 tiles or longer. Their main advantage lies in dealing damage from a distance to out-range short-ranged gunners, for they don't deal good damage up close.
  • Give to your best shooters who will make the most out of the long range.
  • Shoot down short-ranged gunners.
  • Conduct hit-and-run or kiting attacks with ease.
  • Fire at a distance, while letting other shorter-ranged soldiers take the hits.
  • Take down other enemies who can provide fire support for them.
  • Burst down with high-DPS weapons when unsupported.
Assault rifle
A versatile gun that works at long ranges while still dealing satisfactory damage at close-medium range. It works as a lower-tech version of the charge rifle when range is more important than DPS, and has potential as a kiting or hit-and-run weapon at higher qualities with a skilled and fast-moving shooter.
Bolt-action rifle
A long-range rifle that fires a single powerful bullet. It is more suited for novice snipers (level 10 or lower) as it's rather skill-friendly. Its faster fire rate also makes it better for kiting moving targets.
It isn't nearly as likely to kill as the sniper rifle, making it better if your goal is to incapacitate rather than kill. It also fares better than the sniper rifle in terms of DPS.
A more curious weapon, the minigun fires an immense 25-round barrage of bullets that can rain down on a group of enemies.
  • Rip enemies to shreds, even single targets, from medium distances- its poor accuracy is negated by its sheer firepower.
  • Aim behind or within large groups of enemies to deal heavy damage to them.
  • Spread out colonists to make them harder for the minigun to hit.
Sniper rifle
The longest-range weapon in-game, the sniper rifle fires a high-damage bullet with a long aiming and cooldown time. It has decent killing potential, instantly killing if it scores a shot on a vital organ without being deflected.
Although a single shot hits hard, over time Its DPS is absolutely abysmal; it is the weapon dealing the lowest single-target DPS in-game, and even simple bows beat it.
It has a niche purpose for hit-and-run attacks as its extended range allows your snipers to fire from safety, but its slow fire rate makes it a poor choice for kiting.


Weapons that have their role changed due to updates.
Minigun (pre-Beta 19)
A more curious weapon, the minigun fires an immense 30-round barrage of bullets that can rain down on a group of enemies, but can't hit single targets at all, due to its forced miss radius. Shooting skill does not matter for this weapon at all.
  • Equip on Trigger-happy colonists, regardless of shooting skill.
  • Aim behind or within large groups of enemies to deal immense damage to them.
  • Shred enemies at point-blank.
  • Spread out colonists to make it much harder for the minigun to hit.
  • Shield belts can easily negate most of the minigun's damage as it can't be focused on a single target.
Charge lance (pre-1.1)
A high-tech weapon that sends a heavy pulse at high velocities towards targets. It is able to cripple unprotected limbs in one shot, and deal serious hurt to enemies.
It should be your go-to long range weapon from midgame onwards.

Area-of-effect weapons

Explosive weapons are a force to be reckoned with, whether by raiders or colonists. With correct use, they can deal heavy damage and disruption to the opposing side. Most armor protects poorly against explosive blunt or heat damage, making them a decent choice against heavily armored enemies.

An important thing to note is that explosives are not blocked by cover, but are stopped by walls. This means your colonists covering behind sandbags will be hurt by the explosion, but not those hiding behind a wall.


Mortar attacks on sieges and raids are effective if the mortars have the time to aim and fire. Each shell has great destructive potential if they connect, but they take a long time to reload and aim, and have poor accuracy. Different types of shells have different uses.

They also allow you to effectively utilize your colonists who are poor at combat, as mortar accuracy is unaffected by colonist skill, however colonists incapable of violence will outright refuse to man a mortar.

Always remember to manually unassign colonists from mortars; if you don't, they will continue standing there until they eventually collapse from exhaustion, starvation, or have a mental break.

An important point to remember is that while your colonists are better at dealing with single or spread-out enemies, mortars are designed for heavily grouped enemies. If you diffuse your enemies, the mortars will not be able to hit the enemies easily.

If you are short on manpower, you can automatically assign a colonist to fire 1 shot from each mortar. However mortars will not cool down unless there is someone manning it.


  • Assign colonists inept at combat to man mortars.
  • Aim at least 16 tiles away from your soldiers and allies to prevent friendly fire.
  • Fire on static targets, or aim ahead of moving ones.


  • Stay inside the 30-tile blind spot when safe to approach.
  • Spread your fighters apart to reduce potential damage done each shell.
  • Keep moving to avoid the shells.

High-explosive shells

The most straightforward way of bombarding enemies. Each mortar shell deals great amounts of explosive damage.


  • Aim around 4-8 mortars at each group of enemies.
  • Use only against large groups of enemies.


  • Most shield belts can absorb 1 hit from the shell.
    • Against these enemies, hit them with the EMP shell first (see below).

Incendiary shells

These deal low damage, penetrate shields and set things on fire. The fire can cause disruption among the enemy ranks, as they frantically run trying to put out the flames.

Be careful with these as the fires can spread across wide areas, potentially causing extensive collateral damage.


  • Set entrenched or shielded enemies on fire to make them vulnerable.
  • Constantly disrupt siege camps with its incendiary blasts.
  • Pair with brawlers for additional flame damage as melee attacks stop enemies from extinguishing them.


  • Immediately draft nearby colonists to put out their burning comrades.
  • Firefoam poppers can rapidly extinguish fires and fireproof a region.

EMP shells

A situational ammunition that can't deal any physical damage, but stuns mechanoids, mortars and shuts down shields. They have a massive blast radius that can easily catch a sizable group of threats at once.


  • Instantly down the shields of a large melee charge.
  • Stun a large group of mechanoids, giving you time for a counterattack.
  • Disable mortars to counter sieges.


  • N/A (not used by enemy)

Firefoam shells

Another type of situational ammunition. It spreads firefoam that fireproofs and extinguishes fires in a region.

Inaccuracy, high cost and the mortar blind spot make it impractical.


  • Extinguish fires from a long distance that have the potential to spread across the map if unchecked.
  • Allow colonists incapable of firefighting to help with firefighting efforts.


  • N/A (not used by enemy)

Antigrain warheads

Rare but powerful, these warheads can annihilate a whole group of incoming raiders if it connects.


  • Use only when facing tightly grouped enemies.
  • Support with EMP mortars to break down shields first before firing.
  • Aim dead center at any enemy.


  • N/A (not used by enemy)

Thrown explosives

Commonly encountered in raids, thrown explosives are cheap and effective, yet short-ranged.


  • Deprive them of any nearby cover to expose them.
  • Constantly move to avoid them and throw enemies off-aim.
  • Shoot enemies down before they get in range.

Frag grenades

These deal heavy damage in a small radius a short time after landing.


  • Deal heavy damage to entrenched raiders.
  • Pair with distractions to allow grenadiers to close in to the enemy ranks.


  • Evacuate colonists to avoid the damage. Keep watch on all times so you can catch them in time.

Molotov cocktails

A makeshift incendiary that explodes instantly on impact.


  • Use it as a quick and easy source of fire that can light up anywhere you wish.
  • Smoke out entrenched or shielded raiders if given distraction.


  • Immediately draft nearby colonists to put out their burning comrades as well as any burning structures nearby.
  • Estimate where the molotov will land and evacuate colonists accordingly.

EMP grenades

These do no physical damage but inflicts EMP which has some useful purposes. They have a fuse.


  • Aim ahead of enemy melee charges to take down shields.
  • Alternate between groups of mechanoids to constantly lock them down.
  • Disable enemy turrets if given the chance to move in.


  • Evacuate shielded colonists from the area of effect so they don't wind up without shields in the face of gunfire.
  • Evacuate pawns with any advanced brain implants Content added by the Royalty DLC or they'll get brain shock
  • Evacuate pawns with advanced stomach replacements Content added by the Royalty DLC) or they'll stop fighting to vomit. Less important than the previous two, but still dangerous at an inoportune time.
  • Do not rely on turrets to take down the enemy.


Longer-ranged than thrown explosives, but otherwise acts like them.

Incendiary launcher

A medium-distance incendiary weapon that functions much like the molotov cocktails. The difference is that you can't aim it at anywhere- the target has to be a structure or a pawn.


  • Quickly and easily expose entrenched or shielded enemies from a relatively safe distance.


  • Immediately draft nearby colonists to put out their burning comrades as well as any burning structures nearby.
  • Shoot them with medium-long ranged weapons.

Weapons of mass destruction

Single-use weapons that deal massive damage over an area. They are extremely powerful to use, and extremely dangerous to face up against.

Rocket launchers

These weapons can easily down, maim or kill several pawns at once with high-damage explosions. They can be fired from a great distance making them harder to interrupt.


Doomsday rocket launcher

Fires a large incendiary cluster-burst that injures a large group of targets while setting them on fire, and can penetrate walls with its incendiary blasts.


  • Aim at a large group of enemies to injure them, then finish them off with other weapons.


  • Distract them such that they fire far away from any structures.

Triple rocket launcher

Fires a 3-round salvo of high-damage rockets with a small blast radius.


  • Aim at tough enemies or priority targets that need to be eliminated.


  • Distract them with expendable pawns such as animals.
  • Move quickly to avoid being hit by its explosions.
  • Block the rockets with durable walls.

Orbital targeters

These single-use items call down fearsome firepower from ancient satellites orbiting overhead. They have even more destructive potential than rocket launchers- indeed you should be grateful that enemies never come into battle using them.


  • Aim ahead of enemies to create a death zone for them.
  • Aim at the center of a static raider party to annihilate them.
  • Deal with heavily armored enemies easily.
  • Use these weapons first, then finish off stragglers.
  • Save them for tough or numerous enemies.

Orbital bombardment targeter

Calls down an orbital strike that deals massive damage. It has the ability to single-handedly foil a raid, especially before raiders have scattered and taken up positions.

Orbital power beam targeter

Calls down a beam that incinerates everything near it. This obviously includes any unsuspecting raider party trying to wreak havoc on your colony.


These one-use items can be useful in turning the tide of a raid, provided you can use them correctly.

Psychic insanity lance

This artifact instantly drives a humanlike or animal berserk, causing them to attack any nearby pawns.

You can use this to cause great disruption within the enemy's ranks as enemies will switch targets to engage the berserk pawn, distracting them. It's best used on a shielded melee target who will then channel their rage onto their nearby ranged allies, forcing them to engage in unarmed combat.

It can also be used to enrage animals from a distance, unleashing them upon the enemy attackers.

While berserk pawns may not deal much damage on their own, the resulting fire directed in panic at the berserker can greatly weaken an incoming attack—especially if the berserker is wearing a Shield belt to block fire.

Psychic shock lance

This artifact instantly downs a humanlike or animal, with a chance of causing brain damage.

Not as useful as a psychic insanity lance against raids, but can still be used to great effect, by downing an attacker that might cause huge damage such as a rocketeer.

It's also somewhat useful if you want to capture a specific raider with good stats, though you need to get him before the effect wears off, and you risk brain damage which can ruin a previously good potential colonist.

Psychic animal pulser

This artifact instantly drives all non-player animals into a manhunter state.

In an animal-rich biome such as a temperate forest or arid shrubland, nearly any humanlike/ mechanoid raid can quickly get devastated.

Before you even consider using this, you should be very careful; the animals will also turn on your colonists. You will need to keep the animals out, and your colonists in. Make sure you get all your tamed animals inside first, restrict your colonists and animals to indoors areas only, and have a stock of food handy. Once the animals fall asleep they will exit their rage.