Note: Our Deep Rock Galactic: Gunner’s Guide has been updated to reflect Season 2.
Securing the mining rights to Hoxxes IV has been a challenge. The locals are a bunch of dwarf-eating bugs and plants, and your corporate competitors have sent killer robots to the planets. Negotiations have been difficult to say the least, but luckily, the Gunner is a master of negotiating. With violence.
Armed to the brim with a selection of heavy ordnance, the Gunner is the go-to for shredding a path through soon-to-be corpses with a flurry of bullets and explosives. A good Gunner keeps their team safe, so they can keep the loot safe.
However, due to the diversity of threats your team will encounter, knowing where to position and which enemies to prioritize will determine if you make it out alive. To that end, we’ve created our most comprehensive Gunner’s guide on everything Gunner-related in Deep Rock Galactic. We’ll go over what’s expected of your role, the best builds for the Gunner, how to utilize your equipment, and other tips and tricks to help you subjugate the threats of Hoxxes IV.
Let’s get started!
Looking for more DRG tips and tricks? View all our Deep Rock Galactic guides.
Role of the Gunner Class
As the Gunner, it’s your job to be wherever there’s a threat that can be killed. You’re responsible for ensuring that your teammates can safely do their job by rendering anything hostile into a fine mist.
With the firepower and (more importantly) the ammo reserves to keep up a constant barrage, you’re the team’s main source of damage. You may not do as much burst damage as the others, but while their guns run dry, yours should still have plenty of ammunition.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can afford to be inefficient with your ammo. Always aim for weak points whenever possible. This is typically the head, butt, or whatever glowing part on the enemy is. At higher difficulties, focus on killing the swarm before it overwhelms you.
As for which threats to prioritize, this general list should account for most situations:
- Ranged enemies (Spitters, Menaces, Turrets): They do high damage and are usually out of easy reach of your teammates’ weapons.
- Spawners (Breeders, Brooder Nexus): These will infinitely produce smaller enemies until killed. The constant damage and wasted ammo will kill your team if not dealt with.
- Mini-bosses (Detonators, BET-C): These have large health pools and weak points that require precise aim. You have both the aim and continuous firepower to delete them.
- Flying enemies (Mactera): Annoying threats, depending on the range your teammates can deal with them, but if they’re keeping a distance, you’re usually the best choice.
- Melee enemies (Grunts, Rollers, Praetorians): The Driller should mostly handle these, just help out if they’re overwhelming your team. Breaking armor is usually a waste of ammo when your Scout can just flank them.
Thankfully, you can also provide your team much needed breathing room through tactical usage of your Zipline Launcher and Shield Generator. The first provides your team a way to safely hang in the air away from melee enemies, while the second grants a few seconds of near-invincibility to revive teammates or recharge shields.
Outside of direct combat, you’re often near the forefront clearing a path forward or serving as overwatch in a large area against any potentially spawning threats. Unfortunately, your team won’t always be able to stick together, so you’ll often have to make a judgment call on where you’re most effective.
To that end, focus on maintaining sight lines to see/hit enemies and actually being able to reach your teammates to assist them if they’re in trouble. Setting up ziplines can tremendously help by enabling your team to traverse sheer cliffs and gaping chasms. Otherwise, spend the rest of your free time mining and carrying as many valuable minerals as you can. Especially that ever-precious, ammo-creating Nitra.
You’re fairly flexible with your perk choices as the Gunner and can mostly choose whatever you want. Here are a few recommendations to augment his playstyle:
- Dash: As you’re the least mobile of the four classes, it’s imperative you don’t get cornered and overwhelmed. This lets you easily get out of danger and get some breathing room.
- Field Medic: Your Shield Generator won’t last forever. The sooner you can get someone up the better. Plus, the free rez is always amazing for emergency situations.
- Iron Will: Sometimes everything just goes to hell and everyone goes down trying to get each other up. Activate this, throw out a Shield Generator, and get someone else up. Your team might just make it with this second chance.
- Beast Master: Having a friendly creature take some aggro off you while dealing with other enemies is always appreciated. Especially as you’re usually fairly stationary while firing your primary weapon.
- Resupplier: While you have a lot of ammo, you need to resupply eventually. Get back in the fight quicker and with more health.
- Friendly: The Thunderhead and Hurricane primary weapons have a bit of splash damage. Best to not kill your team in the process.
- Born Ready: Your guns take a bit longer to reload than most. Switch to Shield Generator and run away for a bit to reload everything at once.
- Sweet Tooth: Expect to be hit quite a bit while you’re firing your primary. This should help offset some of the damage.
Related Reading: Best Perks Overall for Deep Rock Galactic
Gunner’s Builds and Equipment
Let’s go over the best builds for the Gunner in terms of weapons and equipment.
Primary Weapons & Builds
You like big guns and cannot lie. That’s why all three choices for the Gunner are heavy weapons that excel at mid-range combat. All are capable of sustained continuous fire due to their large ammo reserves, and you’ll be blowing through enemy ranks and armor alike. Just be aware that your move speed will slow to a crawl while firing these guns.
1. “Lead Storm” Powered Minigun
Lead Storm is the default starting weapon of the Gunner and one of the best guns in the game. If you’re looking for a versatile weapon that’s good in nearly every scenario, this is your gun. Due to its steady stream of bullets, it’s fantastic for devastating weak points as long as you can maintain line of sight. Just make sure to account for the bullet spread at greater distances.
Capable of spewing non-stop lead after a brief spin up, this minigun becomes more accurate the longer you fire it. In addition, each bullet has a chance to briefly stun on impact, making it great for stopping meatier enemies in their tracks.
The only real limitation on this weapon is it its heat meter (indicated by the filling circle on your gun). Fire too long without a break, and it’ll overheat, shutting down for a few seconds. However, this can be overcome by pausing and using that time to reposition before firing again.
Build A: More DAKKA
This build revolves around non-stop firing and compensating for the minigun’s weakness at handling multiple enemies by adding piercing bullets. Due to the size and increased health of the swarm at higher difficulties, this build becomes critical for crowd control.
-  Magnetic Refrigeration — Less heat management.
-  Oversized Drum
-  Blowthrough Rounds — The reason you can handle multiple enemies.
-  Magnetic Bearings — Less accuracy lost between cooling breaks.
-  Cold As the Grave
- Overclock: Thinned Drum Walls — More ammo and even faster cooling with no drawbacks.
Build B: Blast Burn
A bit of an odd build for the minigun, as it turns you into a close-range burst damage Gunner. Designed to enable you to deal max damage as quickly as possible, this build requires you to be within melee range of enemies to burn them with the overclock. You’ll be overheating a lot more, but this is actually a good thing, as you’ll release a massive AOE blast that fears enemies.
-  Improved Motor
-  High Velocity Rounds — Since you’re burst firing, ammo reserves aren’t as important.
-  Improved Stun — Combined with Aggressive Venting for more crowd control.
-  Variable Chamber Pressure
-  Aggressive Venting — The reason this build works.
- Overclock: Burning Hell — Enemies within five meters of the front of your gun will basically combust as you fire. This is a massive damage increase, so take advantage of it whenever possible.
2. “Thunderhead” Heavy Autocannon
If there’s any gun in the game that’s all about AOE splash damage, it’s the Thunderhead. Loaded with explosive rounds, the Thunderhead deals direct damage before detonating and dealing AOE damage. As the splash radius on the explosion is quite large, it makes it well-suited for dealing with swarms of enemies. It’s also very good at destroying armor.
However, its accuracy is rather… lacking. Keep that in mind whenever you’re firing at some more than 15 meters away from you, as the shots tend to miss directly hitting your target.
Unlike the minigun, this weapon has no heating system and instead has a traditional magazine reload. However, it does have a similar ramp up in that the Thunderhead fires faster the longer the trigger is held. Given how large each magazine is, you’ll often be able to take advantage of its max firing rate.
In comparison to the Gunner’s other primary weapons, the Thunderhead is more of a specialized weapon depending on its build. You’ll want to build your side arm to compensate for whatever area you’re lacking in.
Build A: Carpet Bombing
This build doubles down on the AOE presence of the Thunderhead. You’re giving up even more direct damage, but doubling down on the explosive splash damage. You’ll be responsible for keeping the swarm in check, but should find it to be a very simple job.
-  Expanded Ammo Bags
-  Lighter Barrel Assembly — Synergizes with Feedback Loop.
-  Loaded Rounds
-  Hardened Rounds — Your splash radius is already generous enough.
-  Feedback Loop — Increases your splash damage.
- Overclock: Carpet Bomber / Splintering Shells — If you don’t want to give up any direct damage, go with the second option.
Build B: Run and Gun
This build takes a more traditional direct damage approach. The Combat Mobility overclock turns the Thunderhead into the Gunner’s most mobile weapon, granting him near full speed while firing and tremendously boosting its fire rate. Just keep an eye on your ammo.
-  High Capacity Magazine — Compensates for the overclock’s downside
-  Improved Gas System — The overclock handles the fire rate growth.
-  High Velocity Rounds /  Supercharged Feed Mechanism — Shoot harder or faster.
-  Hardened Rounds
-  Feedback Loop
- Overclock: Combat Mobility — The entire reason this build works.
3. “Hurricane” Guided Rocket System
The Hurricane is the last of the Gunner’s primary weapons and his most accurate weapon by far. That’s because the rockets fired from this weapon home in on whatever your reticle is targeting. You can keep the rockets up in the air for a while by simply aiming around before slamming them into any threat that pops up.
Despite having some splash damage on impact, this weapon is best suited for direct single-target damage. You have so much control over the rockets that you should be able to hit the enemy’s weak point with every shot (as long as you have line of sight).
It may take a bit of practice to get used to controlling the rockets and not waste them by accidentally ramming them into the environment, as the weapon takes depth perception into account. For example, shoot above an Oppressor’s head so the rocket travels behind it, before aiming at its face to 180° the rocket into its backside’s weak point.
Build A: Apply Directly to the Forehead
This build emphasizes exploiting enemy weak points with incredibly fast and precise rockets. While you won’t be dealing much AOE damage, most enemies should die very quickly with 1–2 shots to the face. It’s fantastic for dealing with far-off enemies.
-  Missile Belts — Ammo is too good to give up.
-  Bigger Jet Engine — Faster and more control
-  Nano Missiles /  Improved Feed Mechanism — Personal choice, reloading is a pain.
-  Shrapnel Load
-  Uncontrolled Decompression
- Overclock: Overtuned Feed Mechanism / Jet Fuel Homebrew — Both options are great for direct damage. The second one requires far greater control over your rockets though.
Build B: Shotgun Pain
This build is completely dependent on the overclock, turning your missile launcher into a 3×3 shotgun barrage. This is fantastic for taking down meatier enemies and devastating crowds. Just make sure your side arm has plenty of ammo for dealing with more isolated critters.
-  Missile Belt — Ammo is critical for this.
-  Anti-Tank Missiles
-  Nano Missiles — You’ll be burning ammo quickly if you shotgun blast often.
-  Zip Fuel — You’re not going for precision with this build.
-  Uncontrolled Decompression
- Overclock: Salvo Module — While you can still fire the gun normally one guidable missile at a time, you can also hold down the trigger to fire nine rockets at once to devastate anything in front of you.
Gunner’s Side Arms & Builds
The Gunner has three options for his side arm. All three are powerful handguns that can deal devastating damage but require a few seconds to stabilize their accuracy between each shot. These are optimally used to finish off isolated enemies or for when precision is required.
1. “Bulldog” Heavy Revolver
The Bulldog is the Gunner’s default side arm. As you would expect from a heavy revolver, it shoots hard but slow. A well-placed shot to a weak point will often one- or two-tap most enemies. While the first shot is always precise, you’ll need to let it stabilize before the next one if you want to be remotely accurate. Standing still will further increase its accuracy.
Build A: One Shot, One Kill
This build turns your revolver into a deadly hand-held sniper. With a focus on pin-point accuracy shots to weak points, you absolutely do not want to miss . Use this to deal with high priority threats quickly and efficiently.
-  Perfect Weight Balance
-  Expanded Ammo Bags — We’re taking at least one ammo upgrade.
-  Hollow-Point Bullets
-  High Velocity Rounds — We’re taking at least one damage upgrade.
-  Neurotoxin Coating — 50% chance to poison your enemy. It may be the difference between you having to use a second bullet or not. You’re usually standing still to line up a shot anyway.
- Overclock: Chain Hit / Elephant Rounds — As this build revolves around weak points, Chain Hit just grants free ricochets into nearby enemies. Elephant Rounds on the other hand emphasizes the sniper-in-a-handgun role even further, super charging your shots at the cost of ammo and firing rate.
Build B: Ammo Revolution
This build has your revolver complement a more bullet approach by letting you deal AOE damage with your shots and not worry about weak points as much. Great for helping out with swarm control if your primary is built for single target.
-  Quickfire Ejector — Precision is not the name of this build.
-  Expanded Ammo Bags
-  Explosive Rounds — Less direct damage but your bullets explode now for AoE damage.
-  Expanded Ammo Bags
-  Neurotoxin Coating
- Overclock: Six Shooter / Homebrew Powder — As long as you can hit a target, the AoE from the Explosive Rounds will take care of the job. Either overclock is a net positive.
2. BRT7 Burst Fire Gun
The BRT7 is the second of the Gunner’s secondaries. As its name implies, this handgun fires in bursts of three shots every time you pull the trigger. While the shots all follow the same spread pattern per burst, the bursts themselves will start going in random directions if you rapidly fire.
Overall, the gun does less damage than the revolver but can be fired far more often. In terms of performance, this gun is far more suited for crowd control as opposed to damage and can let you deal with mobile enemies more easily.
Build A: Spray and Pray
As the Gunner is usually most effective at mid-range, this build is designed for when an enemy gets too close for comfort. With no regard to accuracy or bullet spread, you’re basically slamming this gun into your target’s face and pulling the trigger as fast as you can.
-  High Velocity Rounds
-  Disabled Safety
-  Increased Caliber Rounds
-  Hollow-Point Bullets /  Expanded Ammo Bags — Personal choice of damage or ammo.
-  Burst Stun — Ensures you don’t take too much damage in the process of being point blank.
- Overclock: Lead Spray — Destroys your accuracy, but that’s why you’re firing point blank. Compensates for the gun’s lower damage.
Build B: B-B-Burst Fire
This build is for those who just want to use their side arm to clean up any stragglers and not worry about running out of ammo anytime soon. With a focus on improving accuracy so you’re not wasting shots, you’re using the gun mostly to stun critters so you can finish them off with a pickaxe attack (especially good if you’re running the Vampire perk for the health regen).
-  Floating Barrel — Accuracy.
-  Recoil Dampener — Accuracy.
-  Increased Caliber Rounds
-  Expanded Ammo Bags
-  Burst Stun — The key to this build being useful.
- Overclock: Compact Mags / Composite Casings — Comes down to personal choice of how much more ammo you want to be running with.
3. ArmsKore Coil Gun
Management decided that you were responsible enough to wield a railgun. Yes, a literal railgun. Condensed into a nice little sidearm, this weapon of pure devastation punches through enemies and terrain in a straight line, leaving a residual trail that damages enemies.
While it operates on a battery system, you still have to reload after each shot due to the nature of the weapon. Simply hold down the trigger to charge up the gun and release the shot when full. Holding the charge for too long will cause the shot to fizzle out.
As is the case with all of the Gunner’s secondaries, it’s rather sparse on ammo. At base, you have 16 fully charged shots. However, it’ll delete any none bulky enemy out of existence and has unerring accuracy. If you’re looking to constantly use your secondary in tandem with your primary, you might want to stick to the other secondary weapons.
The Coil Gun’s best use is when you can funnel enemies into coming at you in a straight line, blasting through all of them. Then let any remaining foes die from the residual trail. Otherwise, use it to pick off high priority threats that you can’t reliably hit with your primary.
Build A: Clear a Path
This build is for those times when you just need a punch a hole through the enemy’s defenses and get some breathing room. Taking advantage of the modification that lets you fire a shot at any charge level (and spend less ammo), you’ll be able to blow through and scare away any enemies in the shot’s path on demand.
While a low-charge shot probably won’t kill everything in its path, you’ll be able to fire the weapon much more frequently than normal, especially with the bonus ammo from the overclock. Combining the modifications that fear and electrify enemies is also incredibly strong. As fear only wears off once enemies travel a certain distance, slowing them with electric effectively makes the fear last longer.
-  Larger Battery
-  Controlled Magnetic Flow – Lets you fire a partially charged shot for less ammo and damage.
-  Fear Trajectory – The lynchpin that gives the weapon crowd control.
-  Shockwave
-  Electric Trail – Provides even more crowd control.
- Overclock: Backfeeding Module – Gain a lot more ammo at the cost of a sizable damage nerf.
Build B: Hellfire
For those more interested in just straight up murdering everything in their path, this build is for you. Designed to ignite enemies on fire and turn them into living bombs on death, this build pairs incredibly well the Blast Burn build for the Lead Storm Minigun.
Even partially charged shots should be strong enough to kill most basic enemies. Given the overclock lights them on fire in the process, they’ll detonate to kill off anything that’s still alive. Note that this build is more ammo intensive than the other one, so learn to prioritize when to use it.
-  Larger Battery – Critical to offset the overclock’s downside.
-  Controlled Magnetic Overflow – Partially charged blasts are still strong enough.
-  Concussive Shockwave – Keep enemies in the flame trail for longer.
-  Shockwave
-  Necro-Thermal Catalyst – Lynchpin of the build. Turn burning enemies into bombs on death.
- Overclock: Hellfire – Helps keep enemies ignited by burning any terrain the shot passes through. Note it takes longer to charge and reduces your ammo capacity.
Zipline Launcher & Build
Sometimes, the environment itself is sometimes the biggest threat. Sheer cliffsides and inhospitable terrain are common problems. Thankfully, you have your Zipline Launcher. Whenever you need to traverse an area where the Driller can’t easily make a connecting tunnel, set up a zipline for your team. This is especially useful for when you need to actively head back and forth between two areas. The ziplines are also indestructible.
You can also carry heavy objects and use the zipline at the same time (amazing for retrieving Aquarqs on Point Extraction missions). If you’re going down on a zipline, you can drastically accelerate by holding down the forward button. No such luck for heading up, though — you’ll have to wait that one out.
You can also shoot while riding a zipline, making it a great way to deal with melee enemies by staying out of harm’s reach. Just be warned that taking too much damage will cause you to fall off the zipline. If you use this strategy, always take out ranged and flying enemies first.
Additionally, you can use ziplines to break a fall by attaching to it one mid-descent. Just make sure to mash that interact button as you’re falling. You can also set up a zipline jungle and jump from one to another (useful in boss rooms like Dreadnought hunts).
Build: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Designed to set up ziplines at steeper angles and to move along them faster.
-  Upgraded Connection Joint
-  Reinforced Cable
-  Increased Motor Traction — If you’re falling off, you’re doing something wrong.
Shield Generator & Build
The Shield Generator is arguably the best part of the Gunner’s kit, providing a dome of near perfect protection for a few precious seconds. Simply toss it out, and it’ll deploy as soon as it touches a surface.
During those six seconds of protection, any dwarf inside the bubble will take 50% less damage and have their shield immediately start recharging. More importantly, nearly every enemy and attack are unable to enter the barrier.
However, there are a few exceptions to the shield’s defense:
- Praetorian’s acid spray
- Oppressors’ quake attack
- Detonator’s stomp attack
- Roller’s rolling strike
- Parasites (only appear during certain mission modifiers)
- Terrain damage (like standing on molten ground)
Beyond that handful of attacks, your team is effectively invincible inside the bubble and can use the time to regroup. Do note that there is a 12.5 second recharge time before you can deploy another shield.
The shield’s most common use is to be deployed to safely revive a downed teammate. However, you should practice deploying the shield when you see a massive attack coming to avoid being downed in the first place.
Build A: 9 Seconds is All We Need
Designed to keep your shield up as long as possible. Use that time to revive, shield up, and kill everything around you before it dissipates.
-  Improved Projector — Needs to be large enough for your entire team.
-  Larger Capacitors
-  Improved Efficiency
As is fitting for the Gunner, all of his grenades are straight out of an FPS game.
1. Sticky Grenade
The Sticky Grenade is Gunner’s default grenade. This baby will stick to any surface or enemy it comes in contact with. If stuck to an enemy, there’s a chance they’ll run away in fear before the resulting explosion causes nearby enemies to also flee in terror (assuming they’re still alive).
With six of these to your name, you can use them to great effect to disperse a crowd and get some breathing room. The fuse on it will start counting down as soon as it sticks to something, so watch out!
2. Incendiary Grenade
If you’re interested in turning an area into an inhospitable flame pit, the Incendiary Grenade is the grenade for you. The area it lands will be carpeted in flames, any enemy hit by the initial explosion will immediately burst into flames.
Interestingly, it will not detonate when bouncing off walls and other surfaces. Only once it hits the floor will it combust, so plan ahead where you want to toss this since you only have four of them.
3. Cluster Grenade
The Cluster Grenade is arguably the strongest grenade for the Gunner due to the sheer area coverage and destruction it causes. Upon landing, the grenade will launch out another nine mini-clusters in random directions and immediately explode.
Combined, these nine clusters do tremendous damage and can stun hit targets as well. With four of these at hand, you can clear out massive groups of enemies at will. Watch out for your allies, though!
Join the High Ground
And that’s it for our guide on the Gunner — thanks for reading! We did update this Gunner guide for Season 2. If there are any other tips/tricks that you think we should include in our guide, please subscribe and leave a comment below.