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's empire-specific handheld
's empire-specific handheld weaponry.

Weapons are the bread and butter of the game PlanetSide. They are practically essential to do anything in PlanetSide, as PlanetSide is a war simulator and weapons are the basis of any war. The weapons in PlanetSide are highly diversified, from grenade launchers to shotguns to sniper rifles. Understanding the differences between the weapons is important to understanding PlanetSide.

Because of the multitude of weaponry available to a player in PlanetSide, it is very easy to get overwhelmed. Knowing when to use each weapon is very important, but playing through the game normally will eventually teach a player which weapons to use in what circumstances. Every weapon in PlanetSide serves some type of purpose, the goal is to learn which weapons to use and when and why.

Acquiring Weapons

When a player first spawns in PlanetSide, they automatically have a Suppressor, their Empire-Specific pistol, a combat knife, four boxes of standard 9mm ammo, one box of AP 9mm ammo, and one box of whatever ammunition that empire's empire-specific pistol uses. However, to use the more advanced weaponry which is more prevalant on the battlefield, the user has to go through a slight process.


To be able to acquire certain weapons, a player needs certain certifications from a certification terminal. There are only six weapon certifications, and all characters have one of them. The six weapon cerifications are as follows:

All characters are required to have Standard Assault, and Medium Assault is the prerequisite to the other four weapon certifications. Thus, Medium Assault is a very popular certification, and almost every character has it.


In addition to this, the Heavy Scout Rifle requires no certification, but it does require the player to have a 2 Year Term of Service to be able to acquire it. Currently, the Heavy Scout Rifle is the only weapon in the game to have such a requirement.

Equipment Terminal

After a player has the correct certification or Merit, they must purchase the weapons from an equipment terminal. In addition to this, when they purchase a weapon, to be able to use it, they must have the correct type of holster in their armor.


All armors have holsters in them, and certain weapons go into certain holsters. There are two types of holsters: pistol holsters and rifle holsters.

Pistol Holsters

The pistol holsters on an armor are always going to be slot 1 and sometimes slot 3. These are smaller weapons, as the pistol holster is only 3x3. The weapons that use the pistol holster are:

  • All Empire-Specific pistols
  • AMP
  • Spiker
  • Hand-Held Grenades

Even though Hand-Held Grenades are fired through the pistol holster, when stored in the inventory, a handheld grenade only takes up a 2x2 slot of inventory.

Rifle Holsters

Rifle holsters are much larger, and the Infiltration suit does not even have any rifle slots. Rifle slots are slot 2 and 4, and are reserved for more powerful weapons. These are the weapons that a player will usually use when in combat. The weapons that use the rifle slot are:

Although Medium Assault weapons and Special Assault weapons use rifles slots, they do not take up the full 9 x 3 space. This doesn't make a difference in the holster, however, when storing these weapons in normal inventory, they only take up a 6 x 3 space.


When a player purchases a weapon, the weapon only has the ammo that comes in the magazine. To truly utilize a weapon, a player needs to purchase ammo boxes as well. Generally speaking, a weapon needs at least two boxes of ammo to sustain a good amount of time on the battlefield. There are exceptions to this rule, but this is generally speaking.

Also, many weapons have two types of ammo: standard ammo and AP ammo. Standard ammo is white in color, and is designed to take out other infantry. AP ammo is gold in color, and is designed to take out enemy MAX's and vehicles. The only weapons with these sorts of restrictions are Standard Assault, Medium Assault, and Heavy Assault weapons.

The exceptions to this rule are Ancient Technology and Vanu Sovereignty weapons. The Beamer and the Pulsar have an inherent AP mode which allows the user to switch to armor piecing on the fly without worrying about different ammo types. The Lasher and the Ancient Technology weapons are already effective against all type of enemies without different ammunition types or firing modes designed specifically for them.

Weapon Classes

There are over 20 different weapons in PlanetSide, but they can be classified into a few groups of weapons to make it easier to understand. Each and every weapon has a role on the battlefield.

Combat Knives

The combat knives of PlanetSide are the Chainblade, Mag-Cutter, and Force-Blade. Knives are generally a soldier's last resort, although many Infiltrators do use the combat knives as primary weapons, usually with the help of the Melee Booster implant. Also, all knives have a Force Attack funcion which allows them to become much more powerful, but it emits a loud sound which notifies people to the presence of a knife wielder.

No matter what type of armor you're using, the combat knife can always be selected by using, by default, the 5 key. You cannot unselect the knife, as it is part of the body armor, and you will therefore always have it with you. You cannot loot enemy knives.

Basic Weapons

All characters start with these weapons, as these are the weapons that come with the Standard Assault certification.


Pistols are generally used as back up weapons, although Infiltrators are forced to use these as weapons if they do not use the Combat Knife or the Adaptive Construction Engine. Also, many soldiers use pistols as a back up weapon, since many of them use the same ammo type as their corresponding empire's Medium Assault and Heavy Assault weapons. There are two main classes of pistols, long range pistols and short range pistols. Also, when a player spawns, they will have their Empire-specific pistol with them.

Short range pistols are what Infiltrators tend to like to use. These are the AMP and the Mag-Scatter. These weapons are designed to be close range, so, naturally, the Infiltrator, as a generally close range class, can use this to their advantage. Also, many Snipers and Medium Assault users like to take one of these weapons as a close range weapon rather than using their long-range weapons for close range combat.

Long range pistols is a slightly misleading name, as these pistols still are not anywhere near Medium Assault range. However, these weapons can be used effectively in ranges over 20 meters, which is somewhat advantageous to Infiltrators, as they can kill enemies outside of the 20 meter Darklight range without fear of being detected by Darklight. The long range pistols are the Beamer and the Repeater, which means the New Conglomerate has no available long range pistol without looting.

*Note: The Spiker is also a Long Range pistol but it is classified under Medium Assault and will be talked about later.*


This is the most basic rifle weapon in the game, and does the lowest damage per shot of any rifle. The Suppressor is incredibly accurate, and can be used for some long range work. However, generally, if a player has a certification above Standard Assault, they don't want to be using the Suppressor. A player spawns with the Suppressor when they first spawn out of a Spawn Tube or AMS.

Medium Assault

Medium Assault is one of the most bread and butter certifications in the game of PlanetSide. Almost every character has it, as it is the pre-requisite for Heavy Assault, Anti-Vehicular, Sniping, and Special Assault. Medium Assault weapons are all good in all situations, but they do not excel in any one situation.

Empire-Specific Assault Rifles

These are perhaps the most balanced weapons in the game. They can be used in pretty much any situation, be it long range or short range. These weapons are used by many characters due to their versatility, and are especially newbie friendly due to this. However, even veteran characters use these weapons. These weapons are the Cycler, Gauss, and Pulsar. While these weapons can all be fired in fully automatic, this can only be reliably used in close range combat. For longer range combat, burst firing is preferable to keep the Cone of fire under control.


Another incredibly versatile weapon, the Punisher is not as good as the other three Assault Rifles at being an assault rifle, but it has one major advantage over them: a single shot grenade/rocket launcher. The Punisher, in secondary fire mode, can fire a single grenade or rocket, which expands many of it's uses. The general idea behind the Punisher is to first soften a target using a grenade or rocket, and then to finish them off using normal shots. However, the Punisher suffers from long reloads, as a user not only has to reload the single shot ordinance launcher but also the normal 9mm ammo. Also, to be the most effective with the Punisher, it is most effective to turn Auto-Reload off so that the game doesn't automatically reload the single shot ordinance launcher as soon as you fire so you can switch to the 9mm ammo to finish off a target.


The Sweeper is the most powerful close range weapon in the Medium Assault certification. As a shotgun, it's use is quickly diminished at longer ranges, but it has a tighter spread than the Heavy Assault weapons and can therefore be used at a slightly longer range. Some players even prefer the Sweeper to it's big brother, the New Conglomerate Jackhammer. However, this all comes down to personal preference.


This is an Ancient Technology pistol with quite an interesting role. Users can charge up the shot, but the longer a shot is charged up, the more ammo is expended. However, fully charged, the Spiker does do quite a bit of damage with quite an impressive splash for a pistol. Infiltrators tend to enjoy using the Spiker, as it has a fairly long range and a good damage ratio. However, careful ammo management is important to get many kills with it.

Heavy Weapons

One of the most heavily contested and debated about certifications, Heavy Assault is designed to be at the forefront of any attack. It is the most expensive of any hand-held weaponry certification, at four certification points along with the Medium Assault certification, but you still see quite a few weapons from this certification out on the battlefield. These weapons are designed to be room clearers and have a very low time to kill in close range combat.


The Lasher is the Vanu Sovereignty's Heavy Assault weapon. The Lasher features a "lash" which does damage to all surrounding targets after a Lasher orb hits the ground, an enemy, or anything. This makes the Lasher quite an effective indoor room clearer, as the wall and the floor will often lash towards enemies and do damage, even if the Lasher user does not directly hit the enemy. However, the Lasher suffers from incredibly slow projectile speed and high Damage Degradation, which makes the weapon usless after a fairly short range. However, because of the slight lash, a Lasher user can hit enemies around corners, which allows the Lasher to double as a weak Special Assault weapon.


The Jackhammer is the New Conglomerate's Heavy Assault weapon. The JackHammer is an automatic shotgun with a rather high pellet spread but a high damage output. It is the only Heavy Assault with a secondary mode, which is a triple shot mode, where three shotgun slugs are propelled out of the JackHammer in rapid succession. This is an instant kill at close range, but due to the slight pause between switching fire modes, the JackHammer's secondary mode is rarely used, unless in conjuction with the Third Person camera. However, even without it's secondary mode, the JackHammer fills it's role nicely as a room clearer.


The Mini-Chaingun is the Terran Republic's Heavy Assault weapon. The Mini-Chaingun, sometimes shortenned to just MCG, is a rapid firing machine gun with a very high magazine capacity. With 100 shots per magazine, the MCG can pour out quite a bit of lead. However, because of the nature of the weapon, careful cone of fire management is required for slightly longer ranges, but because of this, the MCG has a slightly longer range than the other two Heavy Assault weapons. However, to be utilized the most efficiently, an MCG user must crouch, even in close range combat to minimize the cone of fire.


The Maelstrom is an Ancient Technology Heavy Assault weapon. The Maelstrom is an incredibly versatile weapon which has both potential for anti-personnel and anti-armor use. In primary mode, a vortex whip comes out of the end of the Maelstrom, which, while it does not do as much damage as the normal Heavy Assault weaponry, can be used if needed. The secondary mode fires a grenade which does quite a bit of damage and can lash, similarily to the Lasher , through walls and around corners. The final mode is the same as the secondary mode, except there is a two-second fuse on the grenade, which allows the weapon to be used as Special Assault.

Sniper Rifles

Sniper Rifles are the handheld infantry weapons with the longest range, and are quite useful in outdoor battles. Generally, they pale in close range combat, but they can be used in close range battle if needed. All sniper rifles come with an 8x zoom, which is very helpful. However, unlike other FPS's, there are no one-hit kills, even with sniper rifles, since there is no are-based hit detection.

Bolt Driver

The Bolt Driver was the only Sniper Rifle in the game for two years. It has the highest damage per shot of any handheld infantry weapon in the game, doing 100 damage in total. However, a player wearing any armor besides an Infiltration suit will have some of the damage absorbed by armor, so therefore, it usually takes two shots to down an infantry. The cone of fire is too wide while standing to be used in long range, so therefore, snipers must crouch to do long distance damage. Also, a Sniper must practice a technique called leading to hit moving targets. Leading involves moving the crosshair in front of where an enemy is moving so that the crosshair will settle before they reach it and so that, while the bullet is in flight, the target will move into the bullet.

Heavy Scout Rifle

The Heavy Scout Rifle is similar to the Bolt Driver in many ways, using the same ammo type and having almost the same animations, but it differs from the Bolt Driver in two important ways: damage and refire rate. The Heavy Scout Rifle is noticably weaker than the Bolt Driver, taking 2 - 5 shots to down an infantry, but it has a 10 round magazine which allows it to be fired rapidly in semi-automatic mode. However, the cone of fire blooms after every shot, so cone of fire management is very important.

Anti-Vehicular Weapons

Anti-Vehicular weapons are an infantryman's best way to deter vehicles. These weapons are not designed to allow an infantry to solo most vehicles; rather, most are designed to simply deter a vehicle or to destroy a vehicle when many of these weapons are grouped together. Vehicle destruction takes teamwork, otherwise, these weapons are very good at deterring vehicles that would normally annihilate infantry.

Long Range Weaponry

The Empire-Specific Anti-Vehicular weaponry tend to lend themselves better for outdoor work. These are much longer ranged, and, while they can be used effectively indoors, tend to shine in outdoors combat.


The Lancer is the Vanu Sovereignty's Anti-Vehicular weapon. This features a fast travelling bolt which does quite an impressive bit of damage to vehicles. The Lancer has a charge up time of about a second, which means the user has to lead targets not only for the bolt travelling time, but also for the charge up time. Learning how much to lead is a learned skill which takes time. The Lancer has an effective range of 300 meters, which gives it a 50 meter advantage over the other Empire-Specific Anti-Vehicular Weaponry.


The Phoenix is the New Conglomerate's Anti-Vehicular weapon. The Phoenix features a guided missile, which allows the user to compensate for vehicle movement in flight, as well as fire around corners and around obstacles. This allows the user to be completely under cover while firing - a liberty that not many weapons afford. However, during this time, the Phoenix user is completely vulnerable to attack. The Phoenix missile will explode after 250 meters of travel, and will explode on contact with any material. Alternatively, the Phoenix user can trigger the missile to explode by hitting the fire button (default: Mouse 1) to compensate for near misses. The Phoenix also has a dumbfire mode to avoid the vulnerability of using the primary fire mode.

Because the Phoenix does do quite a bit of damage, comparable to the Decimator, the Phoenix can be utilized quite effectively indoors against MAX's. It operates pretty much as a reloadable Decimator indoors, which means it has a slightly higher time to kill, but can still be effective in a pinch. It is probably the most effective of the three empire-specific anti-vehicular weapons indoors.


The Striker is the Terran Republic's anti-vehicular weapon. The Striker features lock on missiles, which allows it to hit fast moving vehicles with ease. However, to keep the missile tracking a target, the Striker's reticle must be kept on the target. Also, when a vehicle is locked on, the driver and all passengers of the vehicle are warned, which gives them ample time to react. However, because of the lock-on feature of the Striker, the Striker is the only weapon which can reliably deter enemy aircraft. The Striker's missiles explode at 250 meters. The Striker also has a secondary mode which launches dumbfire missiles.


The Decimator is more of a short range anti-vehicular weapon, and is more designed to be used against MAX units. The Decimator is a 3 shot non-reloadable rocket launcher which fires only dumbfire missiles which do a considerable amount of damage. The Decimator kills full-health MAX Units in three shots, and, while it is difficult to hit moving vehicles, stationary vehicles also suffer from quite a bit of damage from Decimators. However, the Decimator suffers from a huge relaunch time, which usually means a Decimator user has to use cover between shots.

The Decimator also features a second mode which shows the user the missile in flight, similar to the Phoenix, but the user cannot guide the missile. Rather, they can detonate the rocket at any time of their choosing, which is useful for hitting moving vehicles, since a Decimator user will often miss moving vehicles.

Special Assault

Special Assault weaponry is fairly unique, but all of them can be summed up in one word: suppression. Generally, Special Assault weaponry is designed to be used as suppression, to deter an enemy from moving through a certain area. However, each of the three Special Assault weapons are fairly unique.


By far the most popular Special Assault weapon, the Thumper is a grenade launcher which can fire either Plasma, Fragmentation, or Jammer grenades. The weapon can be used on explode on contact, which is useful for lobbing grenades over walls and cover, or on a three-second fuse, which allows the grenades time to bounce around corners. The Thumper is incredibly versatile, but Thumper users must be careful when firing grenades, or else the grief will come in quickly.

Rocklet Rifle

The Rocklet Rifle is a handheld rocket launcher which fires 6 rockets in rapid succession. With normal rockets, the Rocklet can kill an infantry even wearing a Reinforced Exo-Suit in one magazine. The rockets also do quite a bit of vehicle damage, and can be used as a weak Anti-Vehicular weapon. With fragmentation grenades loaded, a Rocklet operates as an aircraft deterrent, as the fragmentation grenades act as flak and explode in close proximity to air vehicles, which does quite a bit of damage. However, it acts only as a deterrent, as it requires quite a few shots to compeltely down an aircraft.

The Rocklet has two firing modes: single shot and empty magazine. Single shot fires rockets or grenades one at a time, while the empty magazine mode, after a short pause, fires all rockets or grenades left in a clip in rapid succession. This allows for quicker kills, but the cone of fire jumps dramatically in this mode.


The Radiator is an Ancient Technology grenade launcher which fires grenades that explode into a very large pain field. This field slowly damages enemies, completely ignoring their armor, and eats away at their health. Thisincludes enemies inside of a vehicle, which allows a coordinated radiator team to kill all drivers and passengers inside of a vehicle without touching the vehicle at all, which makes it ripe for hacking. However, the radiator generally does damage too slowly for this to be useful. The Radiator has two firing modes similar to the Thumper: explode on contact and time-fuse grenades.

Hand Held Grenades

These are hand held versions of the Jammer grenade, Fragmentation grenade, and Plasma grenade grenades which are also used in the Thumper and the Punisher. These take up a pistol slot, but are actually stored in the inventory slightly smaller than normal pistol weapons. These can be incredibly useful, as they can hit enemies around cover and make them weaker, and lure them out into attacking you in their weakened state.

General Use

The weapons in PlanetSide are not extraordinarily difficult to utilize. To fire a weapon, use the fire button (default: Mouse 1). Some weapons have more than one fire mode, which can be switched to on the fly (default: mouse 2). If you are carrying more than one type of ammunition for the same gun, you can switch them with a slight delay (default: x). It is impossible to learn how to effectively use weapons through words, but there are general tips that can be learned.

Close Quarters Combat

At ranges of less than 10 meters, generally, a Heavy Assault weapon is the best choice. Close Quarters Combat tends to involve running at full speed while firing, and not worrying about cone of fire. Strafing is important for dodging enemy fire, and constantly keeping your reticle on the enemy is incredibly important as well.

Long Range Combat

In long range combat, cone of fire management becomes incredibly important. Generally speaking, fully automatic fire is never recommended for long range combat, as the cone of fire blooms far too much to be useful. Also, at these long ranges, it is important to remember that gravity does play a slight effect, and it effects the slower bullets more. You may have to compensate for this.

See Also