Returnal: Best Weapons [All Guns Ranked]

Evade, shoot, dash & repeat is the only vibe you get while playing with the best guns in Returnal!

Housemarque’s Returnal, a tense sci-fi roguelike, is notoriously challenging. During Selene’s treacherous adventure through several biomes, you will be kept actively engaged and presented with new challenges. Throughout the course of your adventure, you’ll come across a variety of weaponry. Many weapons have their own individual pros and cons, and some may be improved with special traits.

Key Takeaways
  • Returnal features 10 guns and one melee weapon that serves multiple purposes besides slaying aliens in the game. 
  • The Rotgland Lobber’s impressive damage output and unique characteristics make it a potent but challenging weapon in Returnal.
  • The Dreadbound weapon in Returnal offers potent damage output and is a challenging but worthwhile addition to an experienced player’s arsenal.
  • The Sidearm SD-M8 weapon in Returnal is a versatile and reliable gun with virtually unlimited range, homing missile trait, and burst fire trait, making it a formidable weapon in the game’s late stages.
  • The Atropian Blade weapon in Returnal is a powerful melee weapon that can pierce shields and obstacles, making it indispensable for turret defenses and a significant part of the game’s plot.
  • The Spitmaw Blaster is a powerful but limited-range shotgun-like weapon in Returnal, suitable for early stages but less effective against stronger enemies later on.
  • Coilspine Shredder in Returnal is a rare, potent, and flexible long-range gun, ideal for late-game battles against strong foes and bosses.
  • The Hollowseeker is a unique gun with a high rate of fire and homing bullets, best suited for close-range combat against lower to medium-level foes and bosses with the right Weapon Characteristics.
  • The Thermogenic Launcher is a powerful rocket launcher that can take out multiple foes with splash damage and homing abilities, and when used strategically with the right Weapon Characteristics in Returnal.
  • The Tachyomatic Carbine is the best gun in Returnal that has a high magazine capacity, mid-range capabilities, and a wide variety of helpful Traits that make it a top-tier choice for both new and experienced players.
  • The Electropylon Driver does damage over time and has unique qualities that are powerful against groups and bosses but require close range and careful usage.
  • Pyroshell Caster is a powerful and flexible grenade launcher in Returnal, with great Attributes, trajectory mechanics, and effectiveness against groups of foes.
Important: Returnal has 10 weapons each having various usage based on ranges, effectiveness, and playstyle they offer.

With that said, let’s now check out the Comparison between some of the Best Returnal Weapons:

RankWeaponsTypeWeapon Trait
11Rotgland LobberGrenade LauncherCaustic Rot, Explosive Shot, and Tendril Rot
10DreadboundCrossbow-like weaponOnly three, with Fourth Shard being the best
9Sidearm SD-M8PistolBurst Fire, Homing Missiles, Serrated Projectiles
8Atropian BladeAlien WeaponNone
7Spitmaw BlasterShotgunNarrow Maw, Piercing Spit, Rapid Spitter
6Coilspine ShredderGunAdrenaline Discs, Retarget, Twin Discs
5HollowseekerUnique GunAdrenaline Discs, Retarget, Twin Discs
4Thermogenic LauncherRocket LauncherCritical Rockets, Full Auto, Mega Rocket, Replicating Hits, Thermite Rockets
3Tachyomatic CarbineMachine GunAccelerated, Armor Piercing, Critical Hit, Leech Rounds, Payload Rounds
2Electropylon DriverUnique weaponBlade Harmonizer, Finisher, Protective Pylons, Pylon Web, Streamlined Chamber
1Pyroshell CasterGrenade LauncherBouncy Projectiles and Streamlined Chamber

11. Rotgland Lobber

Rotgland Lobber
Weapon ShortcomingsSlow fire rate and awkward range issues.
Unique TraitsCaustic Rot, Explosive Shot, and Tendril Rot.
Best UseMid-range attacks against smaller enemies or crowds.
Overload TimingProper timing can significantly speed up the weapon’s use.
Attack MethodFires one glob at a time that deals damage over time.
Lob-LikeThe shot has a natural drop and follows an arc.

The Rotgland Lobber boasts an impressive damage output, but it also has serious downsides. The longer you keep your finger on the trigger, the further you’ll be able to shoot, but this “warming up” period will drastically decelerate your gun’s rate of fire. In a game like Returnal, figuring out how to utilize it is fraught with peril.

Its odd firing rate and range difficulties make it best employed against smaller foes, although the weapon’s unique Characteristics like Caustic Rot, Explosive Shot, and Tendril Rot assist mitigate some of its drawbacks.

Timed use of Overload may make up for the Rotgland Lobber’s sluggish base speed. It can only shoot a single “rot” ball at a time, but a quick Fast reload will give you a fresh supply. The “rot” explosion does damage over time, making it particularly effective at mid-range and for clearing out crowds. Nonetheless, its usage is discouraged while facing Returnal’s most formidable foes.

The lob fired from the weapon has a natural drop and follows the arc seen on the screen, as indicated by the targeting line. If you put in the time to learn its idiosyncrasies, the Rotgland Lobber can be a potent weapon in your armory.

10. Dreadbound

Weapon TypeCrossbow-like weapon
Damage OutputHigh
Fire RateProlonged
Difficulty to UseExceptionally hard
Unique FeatureCan retract shot and deal damage with returning projectile
Ideal AgainstHoards of enemies and stationary bosses
TraitsOnly three, with Fourth Shard being the best
FindingOne of the last weapons found, before beating the game
AmmunitionFires very small amounts of needles
ReloadDefault of firing three before reloading
PrecisionRequired for excellent performance
Shard AbilitiesExtremely powerful and excellent against any and all enemies

In Returnal, the Dreadbound weapon is a really one-of-a-kind and difficult-to-master weapon. It’s basically a crossbow that shoots a handful of needles that embed themselves in foes and detonate half a second later. Although the Dreadbound’s high learning curve and slow firing rate make it a less-than-ideal weapon for new users, it may be a very effective addition to Selene’s armory for experienced users.

The Dreadbound’s unique selling point is its retractable shot and returning projectile. The weapon’s strong damage output and ability to kill many adversaries with a single shot make it worthwhile for expert players to overcome the learning curve. Nonetheless, the Dreadbound is not the ideal option for novice gamers or those searching for an easy-to-use weapon owing to its difficulty.

The Dreadbound has just three Characteristics at its disposal, but Fourth Shard is the greatest of the group. Because of the weapon’s finite shards, employing the Overload ability requires to pinpoint accuracy and exact timing. Nonetheless, the shards are so potent that they can wipe the floor with any foe in the game. This makes the Dreadbound a good choice for late-game tasks when you’re up against large groups of opponents or monsters that don’t move.

The Dreadbound is especially important since it is the last weapon you will discover on your first playing of Returnal. Due to its novel approach to gameplay and tremendous damage output, it is an indispensable tool for those who want to face the game’s most challenging content. The Dreadbound is a powerful weapon that requires practice and dedication to perfect, but it is well worth the investment if you’re up for the challenge. In the hands of a trained and skilled user, the Dreadbound may be a terrible weapon.

9. Sidearm SD-M8

Sidearm SD-M8
Weapon NameSidearm SD-M8
Starting WeaponYes
TraitsBurst Fire, Homing Missiles, Serrated Projectiles
Recommended UsageEarly to mid-game
RangeEssentially limitless
Firing SpeedAs fast as you can pull the trigger
Automatic FiringYes
Damage OutputBalanced
Damage ComparisonLess powerful than Spitmaw Blaster, more powerful than Tachyomatic Carbine

The Sidearm SD-M8 is a powerful and best gun in Returnal. As the default weapon that players start with, it has the potential to be one of the game’s best weapons if used correctly. The pistol’s range is virtually unlimited, meaning it can hit any enemy in the biome arena regardless of where it is located.

One of the standout features of the SD-M8 is its Burst Fire Trait, which allows it to fire multiple shots in rapid succession. Combined with the Homing Missile Trait, which causes the bullets to seek out enemies, this makes the Sidearm a formidable weapon in the late game. Additionally, the Serrated Projectiles Trait can deal significant damage to enemies with armor.

One of the unique features of the Sidearm is that it can be fired automatically by holding down the R2 button. While it may not fire as fast as some players can pull the trigger manually, it is a convenient option for those who prefer it. The damage output of the pistol is well-balanced, sitting between the power of the Spitmaw Blaster and the speed of the Tachyomatic Carbine.

8. Atropian Blade

Atropian Blade
Weapon NameAtropian Blade
FunctionAllows melee attacks
EffectivenessShort-range but high damage
AbilityBreaks through shields and barriers
UnlockingFound in Overgrown Ruins, unlocked at Crimson Gateway

The Atropian Blade is the only best melee weapon in Returnal. In the game’s first biome, Overgrown Ruins, players may find the Crimson Gateway and obtain this alien weapon by completing the mission there.

The Atropian Blade may only have a limited reach, yet a single slash from it may frequently be enough to kill an opponent. The fact that it can through shields and obstacles makes it all the more helpful, as it reveals hidden treasures and makes way for the player.

When it comes to turret defenses, the Atropian Blade shines because of its ability to pierce red shield barriers. This makes it a priceless tool for taking down these foes swiftly and up close since it allows gamers to do it with relative ease.

In sum, the Atropian Blade is an indispensable tool for any player venturing into the perilous realm of Returnal. Players of all skill levels will appreciate this weapon for its great damage output, ability to breach shields, and significance to the game’s plot.

7. Spitmaw Blaster

Spitmaw Blaster
Weapon TypeShotgun
Effective RangeClose-quarters combat
WeaknessWide bullet spread at longer ranges
Recommended UsageEarly game, weaker enemies, first boss (Phrike)
Trait RecommendationsNarrow Maw, Piercing Spit, Rapid Spitter
Effectiveness in Late GameLess useful against formidable foes
Adjusting PlaystylePlayers should be aware of its range limitations and adjust their playstyle accordingly

The Spitmaw Blaster, the game’s equivalent of a shotgun, is one of the first weapons players will find. It may have a modest firing rate and few bullets, but a single shot to the head is all it takes to kill an opponent. Because of this, it is a good choice towards the beginning of the game, when you are up against lesser foes and the game’s first boss, Phrike.

While powerful, the Spitmaw Blaster’s range is a severe deficiency. The weapon’s efficacy decreases dramatically as the distance between you and the adversary increases since it was built for close-quarters fighting. The weapon’s bullets also spread out widely at intermediate to long distances. Players will have to go close to their foes if they want a chance to wield this weapon properly.

The Spitmaw Blaster, in a nutshell, is a shotgun-like weapon well-suited for close-quarters fighting in the early stages of Returnal. That may not be the greatest choice later on in the game, but it can still be helpful sometimes. Gamers should try out different permutations of its Attributes to discover the one that best suits their playstyle, but they should also keep in mind the weapon’s range restrictions.

6. Coilspine Shredder

Coilspine Shredder
Weapon RarityRare
Weapon TraitsAdrenaline Discs, Retarget, Twin Discs
Projectile TypeSingle Disk-like Projectile
Ricochet AbilityYes

Players are always on the lookout for the elusive Coilspine Shredder since it is one of the Returnal’s best uncommon guns. In the hands of players that have mastered Returnal’s Overload feature, its sluggish projectile firing rate is outweighed by its increased range, making it a devastating weapon.

Coilspine Shredder only has four Weapon Characteristics, but they’re all fantastic. Adrenaline Discs, Retarget, and Twin Discs are all very useful Characteristics that make this weapon a formidable late-game option, especially against stronger foes and bosses. Due to its ability to shoot a single disc-shaped projectile that travels a great distance and ricochets off of walls and other objects, striking several targets, it is a great weapon for long-range gamers.

In conclusion, the Coilspine Shredder is a fantastic weapon for those who like a long-range approach and are seeking a rare and potent discovery in Returnal. Despite its scarcity, this weapon is a powerful choice in battle, especially against more powerful foes and bosses due to its unique set of features and bonuses.

5. Hollowseeker

Weapon RarityRare
Projectile SpeedSlow
Area of EffectBroad
Weapon TraitsAdrenaline Discs, Retarget, Twin Discs
Best forLong-range players
Special FeatureRicochet ability
DownsidesRarity, slow projectile speed
Overall AssessmentOne of the best Returnal weapons

It takes considerable time and effort to become proficient with the Hollowseeker, a unique weapon in Returnal. Like the Needler in Halo, it fires rapid needle-like rounds with a minor homing effect. The bullets will seek out your foes after you aim in their general direction, which is the finest feature of this pistol. Nonetheless, like a shotgun, it has poor range and is most effective at close range.

When it comes to the rate of fire, the Hollowseeker is hard to beat in Returnal, but it does have a few drawbacks that prevent it from being among the greatest weapons. Even with superb qualities and modifications, its damage output is not guaranteed to be above average. Nonetheless, it is particularly effective against low- to medium-level foes, and may even prove beneficial against higher-level bosses like Ixion if equipped with the right skills.

The Hollowseeker’s best feature is its Homing Mechanism, which frees up the player’s hands to concentrate on evading and traversal. Nonetheless, players need to be cautious while aiming due to the weapon’s short range and low accuracy. It’s great for beginners or players who want to take the initiative, thanks to its rapid-fire rate and homing effect. In sum, the Hollowseeker is a weapon that, with the appropriate training and the right Weapon Characteristics, may be very lethal.

4. Thermogenic Launcher

Thermogenic Launcher
TypeRocket Launcher
Clip Size3 Rockets
Homing AbilityModerate
Reload MechanicOverload needed for quick reload
Fire RateSlow
Damage OutputHigh
Best AgainstLarge crowds, large enemies, bosses
StrengthsHigh damage output, splash damage
WeaknessesSlow reload time, difficult Traits
Best TraitsCritical Rockets, Full Auto, Mega Rocket, Replicating Hits, Thermite Rockets

The Thermogenic Launcher is a fan favorite among gamers since it is both strong and adaptable. This rocket launcher has a three-round clip with modest homing abilities for each rocket, making it simple to eliminate foes without needing pinpoint accuracy.

The Thermogenic Launcher is fantastic in every way, yet some players may struggle with the Overload feature due to the lengthy reload time. This weapon is more than up to the challenge of inflicting heavy damage to a big group of foes or a powerful monster.

The Thermogenic Launcher’s ability to do splash damage, effectively eliminating many foes at once, is one of its greatest powers. Because of this, it is a great weapon to use against several adversaries at once, as well as bigger and more powerful foes.

A variety of Attributes supplement the Thermogenic Launcher, increasing its lethality. While utilizing this weapon, some of the finest Characteristics to watch out for include critical rockets, full auto, mega rockets, replicating hits, and thermite rockets.

3. Tachyomatic Carbine

Tachyomatic Carbine
Weapon TypeMachine Gun
Rate of FireFast
Spawn RateLow
Ammo ClipLarge
StrengthsViability throughout the game, balanced, strong against large enemies, single targets, and bosses, decent against hordes of enemies
TraitsAccelerated, Armor Piercing, Critical Hit, Leech Rounds, Payload Rounds, Rising Pitch
WeaknessesLow damage per bullet, not as accurate at long range as other weapons

The Tachyomatic Carbine is one of the most flexible weapons in the game, and it may be obtained rather early on. The carbine is among Returnal’s greatest weapons because to its rapid firing rate and overall superiority. When combined with the right level of expertise, qualities, and modifications, it may be deadly in any setting.

One of the main aspects that set the Tachyomatic Carbine apart is its enormous magazine capacity. It’s the Returnal equivalent of a machine gun, capable of discharging a magazine’s worth of ammunition in a single burst. While its mid-range isn’t ideal, Selene is able to safely maintain space from her foes when necessary. This is similar to how the Spitmaw Blaster stops Selene from getting near.

Hence, it’s safe to say that the Tachyomatic Carbine is one of the best weapons in Returnal, and you should absolutely go out of your way to find one. It’s a top-tier weapon due to its features, strong damage output, and a large clip of ammunition. It’s perfect for any scenario since it can wipe out whole waves of enemies, as well as bosses and huge monsters. In order to really excel in Returnal, the Tachyomatic Carbine is an absolute must.

2. Electropylon Driver

Electropylon Driver
Weapon TypeUnique weapon
Damage outputAbsurdly high
PotentialExtremely deadly
UsefulnessOffensive and defensive
TraitsBlade Harmonizer, Finisher, Protective Pylons, Pylon Web, Streamlined Chamber
Target strengthsLarge targets, crowd control, and boss encounters
Target weaknessesSmaller targets
AbilityFires pylons that shock enemies over time
Additional abilityCreates spiderweb-like entrapments of electric pylons
Recommended playstyleTrap-like strategy or on-the-go players
Best used forPlayers who prefer to play it safe and like to control the battlefield
Skill level requiredModerate to high

The Electropylon Driver is a one-of-a-kind, devastatingly effective gun in Returnal that should be used whenever possible. This weapon allows for a fresh take on the game, and it may be just as effective as the game’s standard fare when used properly.

One of the Electropylon Driver’s major strengths is the damage it does, but it may also slow down foes, making them easier to deal with. This makes it a fantastic option for suppressing big groups of people or taking on powerful foes like bosses. The weapon’s special Qualities, such as Blade Harmonizer and Defensive Pylons, increase its lethality and make it possible to defeat any foe.

The Electropylon Driver is a powerful weapon, but it is not without its drawbacks. For instance, the weapon has poor range and requires close proximity to the target in order to be used effectively. The weapon’s sluggish rate of fire also necessitates cautious shooting, and players may need to resort to other weapons in their armory to cope with faster-moving foes.

1. Pyroshell Caster

Pyroshell Caster
Weapon TypeGrenade Launcher
UseDeals damage to enemies with an explosion radius
How to useAim using the curved line and shoot
AdvantagesGreat for taking out large groups of enemies and large enemies, remarkable crowd control ability
DisadvantagesSlower rate of fire compared to other weapons
TraitsBouncy Projectiles and Streamlined Chamber
ProsHigh damage output, severe damage, better traits and modifiers
ConsNot so great at nimble and small enemies, only has two traits

The Pyroshell Caster is one of the most powerful and best guns in Returnal, if not the most flexible. When used as a grenade launcher, it’s a great tool for clearing out huge groups of adversaries or single, stronger attackers. It stands out from the rest of the game because of the massive damage and destruction it can inflict on several adversaries at once. This makes short work of groups of foes that would have taken much longer to eliminate with other weapons.

Both of the Pyroshell Caster’s Attributes, Bouncy Projectiles, and Streamlined Chamber, are excellent, and more than makeup for the weapon’s poor fire rate. Using Bouncy Projectiles on a weapon not only makes its trajectory more unpredictable, but it also allows grenades to bounce off of walls before exploding, which is beneficial in tight spaces. Time is of the essence in high-stakes circumstances, and the Streamlined Chamber makes reloading faster.

My Take On The Best Weapons

Out of all of the weapons in Returnal, I really can’t argue against the Electropylon Driver being the strongest one in the category. The bullets that connect together and deal damage over time melt almost any enemy or a group of enemies instantly. This weapon is also amazingly good for boss fights and crowd-controlling multiple enemies.

My Hours in Returnal (PSN ID: ELiTExNoGuns)

The Hollowseeker and the Tachyomatic Carbine are also really good options until the game starts dropping the Electropylon Driver for the player. These two weapons are especially good for the first two biomes in Returnal. But nothing comes close to the power of the Electropylon Driver.


This wraps up my Best Returnal weapons guide. All the image credit goes to fizzwhizzwitch who uploaded excellent cinematic images of each weapon that I have also showcased in my guide. Before you leave, consider reading our How To Suspend A Cycle, How To Open Anathema Vault, and How To Increase Scout Rank in Returnal guides.    


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Muhammad Haris Umer

Haris Umer is a Guides Writer on eXputer who can be seen torturing himself by playing FromSoftware’s offering of Souls games. He speaks about games with overwhelming passion, which readers can spot in his guides. Haris has been avidly playing video games for 15+ years now. You can find out more about his gaming experience by looking through his PSN and Steam profiles. Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Masters In Computer Science || Previously Worked as a Freelance Writer || Published 150+ Guides 

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