OpenArena features 12 different weapons, plus the offhand grapple. Each weapon has got its own distinctive features. Gaining experience with all of them, and choosing the right one at the right moment, may result very useful for you.

This page explains them, as they work in the main game. Be aware that some mods may vary weapons behavior in various ways, or may even add completely new weapons. Also, be aware that old mods might not feature the newer stuff included into baseoa, such as the Missionpack weapons and other options introduced across OA's release history. Likewise, mods may feature options which aren't present in OpenArena. For these notes, check the appendix.

Useful things to know about weapons[]

Weapon design is changed from Quake III Arena, but they work the same way.

Each weapon has got an unique fire type.

You can find weapons and their related ammo boxes (a.k.a. "ammo prisms") around the arena.

If you are playing with simple items option enabled, you can still distinguish weapons from ammo pickups due to the fact ammo icons have got a border that recalls ammo prisms.

Killed players may drop their weapon, allowing other players to pick it up.

Important: the autoswitch weapons feature makes your character automatically choose the weapon you just picked up, and you may wish to select the autoswitch mode you prefer or to completely disable it, according to your taste. OpenArena 0.8.8 added some new autoswitch modes which are not supported while playing with old mods.

Usually you enter the game with the gauntlet and the machine gun only, but some maps allow you to spawn with other weapons in your inventory. In Elimination, CTF Elimination and Last Man Standing modes, instead, all items are removed from the map and the starting weapons and ammo are set by the server admin.

You can choose a weapon by scrolling your weapon inventory with the keys assigned to the "Previous weapon switch" and "Next weapon switch" actions, or by pressing the corresponding key assigned to the corresponding weapon. Mouse wheel is usually used for scrolling weapon inventory. See also Manual/Controls page.

Most weapons are divided into "hitscan" and "projectile" categories. "Hitscan" are "instant-hit" weapons: targets on their trajectory are immediately reached: the only defense against them is to move quickly or unpredictably to make it difficult for the shooter to correctly aim (of course, attacking him first is another option). "Projectile" weapons actually shoot bullets that fly in the air at visible speeds: these can actually be dodged by the attacked player after they have been fired; projectile speed is not influenced by the speed you were moving when you fired it.

Various weapons are capable of damaging more players with a single shot, due to firing more "pellets" in a single shot, or due to explosive projectiles.
Weapons can cause either "direct" or "splash" damage to each opponent. "Direct" damage is the normal damage caused by a direct hit; "splash" damage is the damage usually caused by an explosion, within a certain radius around the point of the detonation. The Battle Suit item is able to provide its user with protection from splash damage.
When you hit an enemy, directly or indirectly, you hear the "hitsound" beep.

Rocket launcher, Plasma gun and Grenade launcher weapons may also be built in maps a "shooters": traps that fire when activated by some kind of "trigger".


  • Armor, if own, absorbs 66% of damage. For more infos, see Armor.
  • For info about other items you can pick-up, please read Manual/Items. For other things in the maps that you can interact with, please read Manual/Map elements.
  • OpenArena introduced some options to customize your weapon bar (weapon inventory) look: take a look to Manual/Graphic options#Weapon bar.
  • Switching from a weapon to another one requires a little time (and if you just fired, the change will be done only after the current weapon reload time). It is a quick operation.
  • OpenArena supports a latency compensation feature for instant-hit weapons, which may not be supported by most old mods, or may be implemented differently there. Please read delag hitscan for infos about the feature.
  • Many other useful notes about weapons (e.g. useful for fine-tuning, troubleshooting, mods that alter weapons behavior or focused on a specific weapon, extra infos about some weapons) are available under Manual/Weapons/Appendix page.

Vanilla OpenArena weapons[]

These are the weapons from the original Quake III Arena. In OpenArena, their look is different than in Q3A, but they work the same way. [1]


1 G best1
  • The gauntlet is a mêlée weapon which combines a whirling saw blade with a deadly electrical charge.
  • It is used for close combat only, and one hit inflicts 50 damage.
  • When a gauntlet kill is achieved, the killer earns a gauntlet medal and both the killer and the victim hear the "humiliation" sound.
  • It is normally a last-resort weapon, but is also useful in narrow corridors and doorways.
  • It does not need ammo.
  • Important: unlike other weapons, gauntlet is not selectable by scrolling your weapons inventory with the mouse (to avoid unintentional selection), but you have to press the proper key ("1", by default) to select it instead.

Machine Gun[]

2 MG best1
  • The machine gun is the other weapon that the player starts out with. Usually, all players start with 100 ammo for it, except Team Deathmatch mode where they start with 50 bullets. It is a hitscan weapon (instantaneous impact) that can rapidly inflict small amounts of damage (7 hp per bullet, 5 hp in TDM) and has a small degree of spread (approx. 2 degrees).
  • Not extremely deadly, but useful, for example, to finish an already weakened opponent who's running away.
  • The machinegun has a rate of 10 shots per second.
  • Ammo box name: Bullets
  • Weapon number: 2


3 SG best 1
  • The shotgun is primarily used for close range combat since its large spray makes it almost useless at long distances.
  • The shotgun shoots 11 pellets that deal 10 damage each, so a concentrated spread can kill an unarmoured player.
  • Like the machine gun, it is an instant impact weapon.
  • The shotgun is found on almost every stock map.
  • To mitigate its high damage it has a one second delay between shots.
  • Ammo box name: Shells
  • Weapon number: 3

Grenade Launcher[]

4 GL best1
  • This weapon fires grenades that detonate either on contact with another player or 2.5 seconds after being launched.
  • Grenades cause up to 100 HP of direct or splash damage.
  • Grenades will not detonate as a result of contact by the one who launched it and are not obstructed by them, however they may get up to 50 HP damage due to being too near at the moment of the explosion.
  • In comparison to the rocket launcher, although the splash damage radius is a bit bigger, more ordnance (or skill, or luck) is usually required to inflict similar damage due to the grenade's short-range arc and bounce unpredictability (making it hard to score a direct hit).
  • Grenades ability of bouncing on walls can be used to shoot around corners in narrow corridors, e.g. when trying to escape from a chaser.
  • Grenades can be successfully thrown in the middle of a fray (better if from outside of it, to avoid self damage), but remember that blindly throwing grenades you may easily hurt or kill your own team-mates, if friendly fire is active!
  • It fires at a rate of 0.8 seconds.
  • Ammo box name: Grenades
  • Weapon number: 4

Rocket Launcher[]

5 RL best1
  • The rocket launcher can inflict a lot of damage with little aim as the rocket impacts cause a lot of splash damage.
  • Because of its wide blast radius, players are encouraged to shoot the ground, wall, or ceiling, rather than aim for the opponent directly (rockets explode on first impact with players or solid map elements).
  • This however becomes a double-edged sword at closer ranges; at point blank range the player could significantly harm or kill themself if they are careless (maximum possible damage it may cause to its own user is 50 HP).
  • A direct hit on an opponent deals 100 damage, but in that case splash damage cannot be added to the victim.
  • This weapon can also be used to rocketjump, taking advantage of the player's own blast to reach even higher heights than regular jumping.
  • Together with the Railgun, this is one of the most beloved weapons in the game.
  • Ammo box name: Rockets
  • Weapon number: 5

Lightning Gun[]

6 LG best1
  • The lightning gun (also referred as the shaft or thunderbolt) is much like the machine gun, it directly impacts a destination, but it fires a beam with limited range (768 units).
  • It can kill a healthy and armored opponent in less than two seconds because it shoots at 0.05 seconds per pulse, which makes 8 points of damage.
  • The lightning gun makes a unique noise when selected, even when not active. Opponents in close range might hear it, alerting them of your presence and of your selected weapon.
  • Ammo box name: Lightning
  • Weapon number: 6

Rail Gun[]

7 RG best1
  • The railgun is primarily used for long range combat or sniping (although its range is not infinite: there does exist a distance limitation, however it's only relevant in really large maps).
  • It is 100% accurate, inflicts 100 damage but has a low fire rate (default 1.5 seconds).
  • The railgun makes a unique noise when selected, even when not active. Opponents in close range might hear it, alerting them of your presence and of your selected weapon.
  • Although firing only a single pellet and not having splash damage, you may sometimes hit more characters with a single shot due to RG slugs going through bodies!
  • Noticing beam traces can be useful to find snipers.
  • You can customize the color of your own railgun beam from Player settings menu.
  • Two consecutive railgun hits will make you earn the "Impressive" medal.
  • OpenArena includes an instantgib game option, where all the players start with a special railgun, which kills in one hit.
  • Ammo box name: Slugs
  • Weapon number: 7

Plasma Gun[]

8 PG best1
  • The plasma gun is an effective weapon for close to medium range combat.
  • It rapidly fires a stream of deadly plasma pulses (10 per second) which inflict a significant amount of damage (20 hp per orb).
  • The fast-traveling bursts however are not instant impact like the machine gun.
  • The plasma also inflicts minor splash damage (with a small radius), which can actually be used to "plasma climb". But, because the power of the splash damage is small, plasma climbing is slower than rocket jumping, cannot gain as much height, and requires more skill. More details about plasma climbing are under the Techniques page.
  • Ammo box name: Cells
  • Weapon number: 8


BFG best1
  • BFG10K is considered the ultimate weapon.
  • A rapid-fire weapon, firing out fast-moving explosive plasma at a rate of about 5 shots per second, which inflict direct damage or splash damage 100 hp per cell.
  • In effect, BFG10k is a rapid-fire Rocket Launcher with faster projectiles and other than the name it shares little in common with the first famous BFG weapon.
  • The BFG10K makes a unique noise when selected, even when not active. Opponents in close range might hear it, alerting them of your presence and of your selected weapon.
  • It's so powerful that many maps do not include it, or make it difficult to get it, to not ruin the gameplay with excessive use of it.
  • As with the rocket laucher, using it for short range combat (e.g. in small rooms) may be risky: its splash damage may cause up to 50 HP damage to the BFG user.
  • Ammo box name: Bfg Ammo
  • Weapon number: 9

Missionpack additional weapons[]

These weapons are originally from Quake III: Team Arena. They can be found in standard OA too, so learn to use them.

Nail gun[]

9 NG best1
  • Fires a wave of 15 nails that fly in the air and hurt 20 HP each, potentially an enormous amount of damage (300 points!).
  • However, it is a bit slow.
  • Very deadly at close range, its smaller spread may make it more adapt than shotgun for medium range, however it's not so easy to hit moving targets.
  • Ammo box name: Nails
  • Weapon number: 11

Prox mine launcher[]

PML best1
  • Launches proximity mines (a.k.a. adhesive mines or sticky mines) that stick to the ground, wall, ceiling or even to other players.
  • They will explode if enemy is close, are hit by splash damage or after 20 seconds.
    • They will explode after about three seconds in case you place them near your own flag (a.k.a. "short fuse").
  • They deal up to 100 damage each. Placing more of them near each other can cause deadly contemporary detonations.
  • They cause "splash" damage, but no "direct" damage, with the only exception of "the juiced effect".
  • The prox mines are color coded and they will not cause any harm to you (even with friendly fire active) although they can push you back. You and your teammates will not trigger the explosions of your mines, but -in case friendly fire is active- you may risk to kill your teammates by attaching mines to them, or if they are near them when they detonate for some other reason!
  • Mines are normally only found in team games but should you get a mine launcher in a non-team based gametype (as Free For All) then the mines will not be color coded and you will trigger your own ones, although they will still not deal any damage to you.
    • In addition to the above, you can combine a Quad Damage with a well-timed mine on the ground to attempt a very high mine jump.
  • Mines on players are hidden, and remain active on the corpse until the body disappears.
  • Mines on players explode after about 10 seconds, causing their maximum damage to the player affected. After the initial "you have been mined" message, you can see the "internal combustion" countdown: you can try to get enough health and armor bonuses to survive before time runs out, and/or to stay near opponents when exploding, hoping to bring them in hell together with you.
  • Proximity mines are the only weapons that can penetrate the force field of Invulnerability powerup. Just a single proximity mine can kill the Invulnerability user in a bubble of blood (a.k.a. the "juiced effect"), after just a few seconds.
    • While battle suit powerup gives complete protection against damage from proximity mines, it cannot save you from the "juiced effect".
  • Ammo box name: Proximity Mines
  • Weapon number: 12


MMG best1
  • A powerful Gatling gun. Similar to the Machine gun, but fires ammo at a much faster rate. It can be very deadly at close range but its ammo will not last long.
  • Damage per shot is identical to the machine gun: 7 (but it is still 7 also in TDM mode). The spread is about 3 times larger than the machinegun, so it's not adapt for long range.
  • Ammo box name: Chaingun Belt
  • Weapon number: 13

Grappling hook[]

Grappling hook, also known as "grapple" or "hook" for short, is not a normal weapon, as it's not desiged to hurt people. As it's rarely included in maps, you can play with it in Elimination, CTF Elimination or Last Man Standing game modes, or with g_elimination, with the corresponding option enabled.

Offhand grapple is selected like a weapon in your inventory. Select it, then shoot to a wall and hold the button: you will be dragged there and you will remain there until you release the button. While you are hanging, you can switch to a "real" weapon, and shoot your enemies: in this case, you will detach only when you select the hook again, without pressing fire button.

  • Weapon number: 10


  • Do not try to stay attached to a jump-pad: you would die in a very short time.
  • It does not require ammo.
  • It is also known as "offhand grapple", but the "offhand" adjective does not really fit the behavior of the hook in the base game, as it requires to be selected like a weapon. That adjective better fits some mods which have a quick, dedicated "grapple button".
  • Other notes about it, such as the reason why bots do not use it, are in the Appendix of this page.

Pickup rules[]

  • You can collect up to 200 shots per weapon. Having 200 shots blocks ammo pickups for that weapon, but not the weapon pickups.
  • Taking a weapon pickup fills up to a basic amount of ammo. If you already have more ammo than that, it only adds 1 shot. Exception is Team Deathmatch where you always get the basic amount added.
  • Although picking up a machine gun theoretically gives a basic amount of 40, this is quite unlikely to happen. Usually, all players spawn already owning the machinegun, with 100 ammo for it (50 in Team Deathmatch mode): usually you do not find machinegun weapon pickups in maps, but machinegun ammo boxes (bullets) only.
  • Picking up ammo boxes for weapons you don't own yet has got the only effect of preventing other players from picking them up, as you will not find such "previous" ammo in your inventory when you will get the weapon. In other words, the content of ammo boxes for which you don't own the corresponding weapon is discarded. Exception is TDM mode, where also ammo boxes picked up before getting the corresponding weapon do count.

Normal values are:

Weapon basic ammo ammo charge
(ammo box)
Gauntlet - -
Machine Gun 40 50
Shotgun 10 10
Grenade Launcher 10 5
Rocket Launcher 10 5
Lightning Gun 100 60
Rail Gun 10 10
Plasma Gun 50 30
BFG10K 20 15
Nail gun 10 20
Prox mine launcher 5 10
ChainGun 80 100

These normal values may be overridden by specific item settings.

Respawn time[]

Ammo and Weapons[]

Ammo pickups (ammo boxes) respawn after 40 seconds. Weapons respawn by default every 5 seconds, except for Team Deathmatch where they do every 30 seconds; however timings may differ.

Weapons comparison table[]

This table reassumes weapons properties. These values refer to the main game.[2]

Weapon Type Reload Time (ms) Direct Hit Damage per Pellet Max Splash Damage Splash Radius Projectile velocity Pellets shot Spread Basic Ammo Ammo Box Weapon Number
Gauntlet Melee 400 50 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a Infinite n/a 1
Machinegun Hitscan 100 7 (5 in TDM mode) n/a n/a n/a 1 200 40 (see note)[3] 50 2
Shotgun Hitscan 1000 10 n/a n/a n/a 11 700 10 10 3
Grenade Launcher Projectile 800 100 100 150 700 1 0 10 5 4
Rocket Launcher Projectile 800 100 100 120 900 1 0 10 5 5
Lightning Gun Hitscan 50 8 n/a n/a n/a 1 0 100 60 6
Railgun Hitscan 1500 100 n/a n/a n/a 1 0 10 10 7
Plasma Gun Projectile 100 20 15 20 2000 1 0 50 30 8
BFG10K Projectile 200 100 100 120 2000 1 0 20 15 9
Nailgun Projectile 1000 20 0 0 555 to 1800 15 500 10 20 11
Prox Launcher Projectile 800 0 100 150 700 1 0 5 10 12
Chaingun Hitscan 30 7 n/a n/a n/a 1 600 80 100 13

See also[]


  1. "Vanilla" is intended to mean the "base" game.
  2. Values have been checked from OpenArena 0.8.8 source code, as seen here, however they are very unlikely to change, considering that OA aims to keep the original Q3 gameplay as much as possible.
  3. In reality, it is very unlikely to actually find a machinegun weapon spawning in the map (that would theoretically have 40 ammo, as shown in the table). Usually, players spawn already owning machinegun (with 100 ammo, except TDM mode where they spawn with 50 ammo for it), thus maps usually contain machinegun ammo boxes (bullets) only and not the proper weapon to pickup.

External links[]

Appendix available

This page has got an "Appendix" sub-page, which may contain useful extra infos, such as console commands related with the features mentioned in this page, or hints for better usage. After reading this page, don't miss to give a look to its "Appendix", too: