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Lightning Gun
Production information


Technical specifications
Damage Per Hit
Maximum Ammunition
Fire Mode


Ammunition Type

Lightning (white)

Rate of Fire

1,200 rpm (20 bolts per second)


Extremely accurate on the move, depends on the Player


Medium range of 768 units then bolt discharges


In Quake 3 Arena and Quake Live, the Lightning Gun (or LG) fires a powerful stream of lightning at a target. The LG has limited range and eats up ammo with lightning-speed, but can quickly do damage to a target.

In player slang its other name known as "shaft". Also a term used for its predecessor in Quake 1, Thunderbolt. Upon a Lightning Gun kill, feedback reads as an example; "Biker was electrocuted by Hossman."


  • Lightning Gun is a unique beam type weapon, it looks a lot like its hitscan predecessors but Lightning Gun is different. LG requires player to be on the move and mobile to be accurate, if the player doesn't move at all, the beam will follow behind the crosshair which makes it pretty hard to aim.
  • Lightning Gun is a precision weapon like Railgun, setting a sensitivity that is too high will make recovery much harder after heavy hits or cause you to twitch and miss moving targets. A good setup on a config file would help player to find the desired and most comfortable setup for their needs.
  • However, high sensitivity can be utilized if you to stand still just to abuse stalling beam after twitchy mouse movement on a close up target, but that is not desired as hit recovery would be impossible.
  • In online games when "g_synchronousClients #" is 1 (on), "cg_truelightning #.#" command may come handy to correct any issues about inaccuracies between clients. Most notably people set this variable to "0.5" for high ping differences and "0.8" or "1.0" for the sake of low-equal ping.
  • Lightning Gun emits a low buzzing hum, which is audible to other players. When any foe stands still or slowly walks around it's easy to listen about. Don't wield it if you're awaiting an ambush around the corner or sure that your opponent camping a pickup. Else people will tend to keep distance from you as they hear the buzzing sound or notice the LG bearer from afar.
  • Against one foe, the LG is very effective, especially if you have good predicting skills. Try to predict where you target will go, then move the crosshair where you think they'll be going. When you have low accuracy or barely reach the foe with the beam, try to slightly lead short bursts to conserve ammo, swap weapons without slowdown, measure distance and its push force. Shooting in bursts will also throw off the positioning of a steering opponent ever so slightly.
  • While it won't do as much damage as the Railgun or Rocket Launcher in term of bursts, it can cause major damage at medium range by the means of dps. Wielder can output a rather huge amount of damage per second as he/she exposes the foe to the beam. Which is very handy for conserving slugs and rockets along your restock route. Don't forget to have a backup plan in case you run out of ammo before your target dies. Try not to use LG as your main weapon and use it at weapon combos to conserve other ammunition like Rocket Launcher, until you resupply.
  • LG can be used as a denial tool to repel people out of highly important weapon spawns after their fresh respawn. If player positions themself near or just below the Rocket Launcher or Railgun spawns, ferocious fire rate and high dps can drop a non-stacked player quickly enough. That's actually a risky endaveour in a duel game where foe may decide to check important item spawns instead of weapons first, thanks to keeping record of the timer.
  • Lightning Gun meant to retaliate against airborne targets juggled by blasts or flung up by short elevation bouncepads. Else, opponents jumping down from above floors could be a good target practice as well. Most comfortable place to stay with LG is middle floors or below of complex arena structures. It's also a good weapon to dash out from cover and double back on chasers. At the wide open areas or top floors, its lack of range requires cover fire or proper air-juggling to corner opponent.
  • Since you'll be on the move, beam will slightly hit the 'round of the crosshair, stalling ever so slightly behind your movement direction. Even aiming it is quite similar to its hitscan predecessors, it requires a slight leading at medium distance for initial contact depending on distance because of this small detail. Catch the model's movement trail at your sights by keeping the beam locked at the inner edge of animation, keep distance and watch the opponent's feet movement closely.
  • Lightning Gun beam connects much more faster than any other hitscan weapon, but direction differences and distance requires you to lead the initial contact slightly to be accurate at the follow up tracking. Models yawn at the sides tethered around the center mass as they're strafing. LG bearer must keep the center mass at the sights by keeping distance while foe try the best to pain flinch the LG bearer and zig zag around the beam.
  • Sometimes a quick twitching reaction may make you forget to lead the initial contact for better tracking. At these times player may need a light wrist-twitch when retreating to catch up with target or chase them away with bursts. However, if foe is trying to get away already, trying to back away may break them free from the beam's range. If you think you have enough distance but out of position, try circle strafing for cutting large sightlines from corners.
  • Grasp of Lighting Gun is easy to avoid if the user has poor predicting skills. Do large zigzags with increasing or decreasing frequencies then steer away from the LG beam in open areas. Care to retaliate to throw off foe's sights away from yourself. Retaliate with rapid fire and tap step to the sides slightly while getting chased as you hear pain grunts. When you come across LG users at close quarter corners or large areas, prefer circle strafing them. Don't fall into using a predictable dodging pattern; if you do, the enemy will figure it out.
  • However, if the enemy is good at predicting movements, then fighting against him will be much harder. If you can, try to get out of the range of his Lightning Gun by running backwards. If not, attack him with a rapid-fire weapon like Plasma Gun or Machine Gun to throw off their aim, else send him airborne with Rocket Launcher and hope that he'll go down in a few shots from whatever weapon you're using.
  • If you cannot see the Lightning Gun user, stay mobile and make your movement less predictable. The moment you hear the LG firing noise and taking damage but can't locate the enemy keep moving and stay away from any high ledges or possible cover. Try to retreat away with diagonal jumps and crouch tap mid-air. When you have no room to maneuver and stuck, then best choice is staying and fighting the foe instead of trying to surf away the damage. When you're pinned to a corner when airborne you'll be dead meat anyway.
  • Its rapid damage can be used as a stack burner and is a threat for anyone who ran into you. As low as a ½ second exposure will force foe to change direction or evade. Remember as it's devastating at low-medium distance, it's also as ineffective at very long distances. The LG can be effective at close range, but it is better to switch to a weapon more suitable for close-quarters yet still have a hefty reach, such as the Rocket Launcher or Shotgun.
  • Because of its limited beam range, Grenade Launcher can be a good counter weapon if you want to put a distance between you and the LG bearer. Bounce a few grenades off from walls and retreat, then retaliate with PG or RL. Luring them inside a narrow tunnel by peekshots generally works.
  • In a heated up combat while using LG, Shotgun can be used as a finisher weapon with great ease. Anyone who's at the range of LG is already in a perfect position for a meatshot. In case foe dares to get close to hide their feet movement a Shotgun would be a quick efficient way of finishing them with a jumpshot.
  • The Lightning Gun is effective against a group of enemies, fighting in a hurdle. Switch between targets by shooting short bursts so that everybody in the room get hurt by it. Just remember that the LG easily gives away your position, so get ready to move away before someone finds you. If you have enough room, try to prioritize closest target or ones in the middle and circle-strafe to align others on the path of beam.
  • LG has massive knockback power in Quake Live, became pinpoint accurate on the move and beam doesn't stall behind when standing as easy as it's in Quake 3, unless bearer shakes the sights by twitching around. That combination might cause hazardous deaths by pushing the players off of the edge to the abyss. Due to those changes, it's capable of keeping players in the air helplessly until they're electrocuted by the beam.
  • Best way to evade that sort of air-juggle combo is air-steering to the sides the moment you are juggled to be airborne by a Rocket Launcher before LG bearer catches you at a peak point, or simply not jumping around the corners where you can be easily pinned up to a wall.


  • Hitscan-like Beam type weapon that connects much faster.
  • Decent amount of damage per bolt.
  • Good for conserving burst damage ammunition.
  • Insane rate of fire, quickly stacking damage.
  • Can be combined with any weapon in a combo.
  • Small bursts can be unpredictable for foes when you lose sight.
  • Punishes any sort of jumping or airborne movement at the open with ease.
  • Laser accurate, focuses down one target.
  • Extreme pushback force in Quake Live.


  • Requires movement to be accurate.
  • Burns through ammo in mere seconds.
  • Finite range, can't return fire at distance.
  • Weak against cover and peekshots without a weapon combo.
  • Hard to be precise when focused, taking cover dents dps output.
  • It can only focus down one target at a time at the open.
  • Difficult to track steering enemies.
  • Punishes missing by wasting mild amount ammo in small time span.
  • Emits an audible low buzzing hum when wielded.


  • Unlike the Quake 1 counterpart, this weapon will not discharge all of its ammo at once when you fire it in water. It can be theorized the weapon actually fires a concentrated laser beam.
  • Strangely the ammunitions you get are white lightning bolts but when you fire it, beam has a blue hue within'. (Occurs when patched to Point Release 1.32)
  • Classic Q3 comes with premade ".cfg" files that can be executed by a simple exec command anytime, they are placed in game files and made by developers for giving players an idea about setting configs for themselves.
  • Like Railgun it emits a low hum of electricity when wielded.
  • In Quake Live, LG had a damage falloff within' range by a patch in 2009 since it was a bit puzzling for team to balance an instant hitscan weapon. As of now LG suffers no damage falloff and its range is still the same.