|| £500 (£375)
|| 2 blocks
|| 8 11 (96)
|| £15 – £180
|| £1000 (£750)
|| 4 blocks
|| 16 5 (96)
“.50 caliber action express handgun. This is about as big and nasty as personal weapons are going to get. But with an 8 round magazine, it should be used conservatively.” —Trader description
The handcannon, a secondary weapon that is both formidable and expensive. The handcannon is mainly used as a back-up weapon for a Sharpshooter but is popular among all perks due to its power, range, and low weight—only two weight-blocks. It is possible to dual-wield Handcannons, but this limits the effectiveness of the iron-sights and does not increase ammo capacity. The handcannon is primarily for secondary use when things get troublesome, for quick answers while also toppling the damage output (e.g.: groups of Crawlers, which can be dangerous to Berserkers). The handcannon also yields two advantages against trash specimen over the 9mm tactical pistol due to its ability to penetrate up to 5 enemies with each shot and because it only takes one hit to destroy the head of any low threat and kill it consistently as opposed to its lesser counterpart.
The handcannon may be found lying on the ground, randomly spawned by the game. It has pierce efficiency of 0.5x (each pierced target beyond first one takes half damage of the previous) and a headshot multiplier of 1.1, which can be improved by Sharpshooter perk.
The Sharpshooter perk receives a discount on Handcannons from the Trader.
|| Sale value
|| Base damage
|| Head damage
|| Single reload time (s)
|| Dual reload time (s)
- A single handcannon is often used as a backup for a main weapon with limited range, such as Shotgun, Flamethrower, MP7M or any melee weapon. When there are no specimens in range of the main weapon, the player can take long shots at approaching enemies and rack up some headshots for his or her Sharpshooter Perk.
- Dual handcannons are often used as a backup for long-range but single shot weapons, such as the lever-action rifle, M79 or Crossbow. With an increased rate of fire and reduced accuracy, dual handcannons can be a good tool to deal with enemies that have gotten too close in too many numbers to safely eliminate with the main weapon. Its also good in a moment of panic where the player is swarmed by many enemies, penetrating shots allows to break free or carve a breathing space.
- Handcannon is hard on recoil off-perk, best move is pace shots to control the recoil when you missed else keeping distance for going down on iron sights again between shots. While recoil rate and spread are mediocre; vertical and horizontal recoil is immensely high per shot when used off perk.
- If you find a stray Handcannon at weapon spawns, it is always wise to pick it up if you can. Aside from the firepower it can bring, the handcannon sells for £375. As a Support Specialist or Field Medic, finding a stray handcannon or two is a very powerful start. They pack heavy firepower for a weapon their size, complementing a shotgun or medic rifle for range, and sell for a lot of money when you don't need it anymore.
- When used off perk, you'll have much better options for self defense so wasting already small ammunition pool is not really a downside of the weapon. Handcannon is capable of one shotting a Crawler at Suicidal difficulty and can 2 shot them at Hell on Earth. Although it is still a weak choice against a large flock due its rather slow fire rate, specimen speed at these difficulties and high spread when dual wielded.
- As a Sharpshooter when you're dealing with a single specimen; It's better to switch for your 9mm pistol for conserving handcannon ammo. Handcannon is a great way to deal with simple crowds but also has low ammo reserve. Handcannon may provide great stopping power even with bodyshots but low magazine count and short ammo reserve means you have to make your shots count and aim for the head. Else, you'll find yourself stuck to 9mm pistol for the rest of the wave or get overwhelmed by trash specimen quickly as you reload.
- When on-perk you can retaliate by dual handcannons against a Scrake and aim for its head to deny him. When used on-perk as a high level Sharpshooter, Scrake will fall if you manage to land most of the magazines to head. From level 1 and onward, Sharpshooter can flinch lock a Scrake as long as they're accurate with the pistol. As short as 10 headshots at best as a level 6 Sharpshooter, a Scrake can be flinch locked to death in Hell on Earth 6-players health. From level 3 Sharpshooter and onward, it's possible to kill a Hell on Earth 6-player health Scrake from upclose headshots by flinchlocking him with dual Handcannons. At lower ranks than level 3, Sharpshooter fails to deal enough damage with an unleash from dual pairs to kill Scrake outright at the same game difficulty conditions without reloading once. The handling technique is pretty similar to the M14 against Scrakes. Sharpshooter can choose to provoke Scrake from far just to track his head and dispatch him after a reload safely by enraging. Alternatively, one just can walk up to the alone Scrake to flinch lock him to death with dualies or simply pre-damage his head for a few shots and reload to finish up close.
- Against a resistant enemy like Fleshpound, Handcannon greatly loses effectiveness even on perk at high perk levels. While it's possible to kill a Fleshpound by fanfiring two pairs of dual heavy pistols by quick whip up and perfect accuracy, the risk of losing control of recoil is too high when you can not estimate the safe distance to start the combo. The pistol pairs for the job are dual .44 Magnums with dual Handcannons and being a level 6 Sharpshooter is recommended; but the moment you empty the latter, you can't really do anything against Fleshpound without a rifle. Other onperk long rifles are prominently better for killing Fleshpound and practical in terms of ammo management. Pistol pairings may give a great thrill while killing big specimen but this won't last long unless one really strict about managing ammunition by use of 9mm tactical pistol against trash specimen.
- Confronting the Patriarch, dual Handcannons can easily utilized to burst him down. Unless he spins up for his minigun attack, piercing headshots will deal full damage at every other occassion. When he took the minigun stance, he will ignore perk bonus headshot damage multiplier that varies between 1.2-4.8x and will incur default 1.1x headshot damage as if it's used off perk. When he spun up for minigun, Patriarch should be considered resistant to piercing headshot damage and completely ignoring headshot damage for non-piercing rounds. Just like long rifles, any kind of dual pistol shouldn't be used against him unless some teammate can contain his melee attacks and lock him in the spot by causing him to whiff, else it should be only considered at long distance with well paced shots as he tries to steer away. Otherwise, trying to burst him from close to mid distance will cause his retaliation be deadly unless you really catch him between his attack intervals.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Powerful and accurate.
- Highest raw damage per shot for pistols, capable of stunning low-medium threats on bodyshots.
- Good iron-sights for headshots, unless dual wielded.
- Extremely good at killing early wave specimens, particularly Crawlers.
- Fastest reload time among pistols when only one.
- When dual wielded can be fired rapidly to take down mid-wave specimens.
- Light weight compared to all other heavy hitter alternatives.
- Can flinch lock a Scrake with accurate onperk headshots from level 1 onwards.
- Can kill a Scrake with slightly more than a magazine full of onperk headshots at level 6.
- Can pierce up to 4 targets hitting and stalling specimen behind the urgent threat for crowd control.
- Single pistol weights 2 block instead of 4 blocks as of Patch 1056, tying it up with the MK23, Magnum, and Flare revolver.
- High recoil; this is especially noticeable when dual wielding or not using Sharpshooter.
- Without scoring a headshot it fails to kill any small specimen in one shot.
- Can't one bodyshot kill a Crawler above Suicidal difficulty.
- Rather expensive without Sharpshooter discount.
- Mediocre pierce damage efficiency of 0.5 per target hit.
- Low magazine capacity of only 8, unless dual wielded.
- Basically no iron sights when dual wielded.
- Relatively low ammo reserve compared to other pistols.
- Long reload when offperk, delay becomes longer when dual wielded.
- Fleshpound has 50% innate resistance against its bullets without exception.
- Nearly useless off-perk on higher difficulties when dealing with larger specimens.
- There is a small Biological Hazard symbol imprinted on the grip of the weapon. See the above image.
- When dual handcannons are directly bought from the trader, the player will only receive 48 rounds of ammunition. However, when two handcannons are bought separately for the exact same price, the player will receive 96 rounds of ammunition instead.
- When a player sell off one of his dual handcannons to the trader, he will receive an additional 48 rounds of ammunition. However, he will only receive half of the listed selling price.
- When dual handcannons are directly bought from the trader, only 8 rounds will be loaded, instead of the full 16.
- When reloading, it is seen that the slide isn't locked fully-back, and is actually about 2 inches from being so.
- The files as well as in-game voices refer to the Handcannon's cartridge as .50 Action Express. However, its magazines hold 8 rounds, more than those of the .50 AE version of the gun could hold.
- When you drop one of your dual handcannons and pick it up again you lose one full magazine. You can do this again and again until you have no bullet left.
- With the Golden Weapons Pack 2 you can equip up to two double handcannons. Be careful if you have one normal and one golden. If you pick up another normal and another golden handcannon together you will lose one Handcannon. You should have four of them but only get the first doubled and the second pick doesn't count.
- For a brief period of time it was possible to pick up a second handcannon even though the user's weight limit was reached. This was however fixed in the 2013 Christmas update.
The Handcannon most closely resembles the Desert Eagle Mark XIX .50 AE, which actually holds 7 rounds in each magazine. The game incorrectly labels this one as a .50 AE with eight rounds in a magazine, but this is impossible in reality, unless it is chambered for .44 Magnum. This difference is present for balance purposes. In the original 2005 mod, the Handcannon was chambered in .357 Remington Magnum (and used jacketed hollow point rounds).