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I'm playing Bioshock Infinite with a build that I thought of - I use a sniper rifle as my long-range weapon of choice, and (currently) a shotgun for close-up crowd control. For the vigors, I generally use one of Murder of Crows or Shock Jockey (occasionally Bucking Bronco, if enemy is behind cover). The former two are mainly to distract them, so I can
a) Move in close with the shotgun
b) Back off, find cover and pull out the sniper Also, Shock Jockey is useful for turrets, Handymen, Patriots, etc. As I write this, I'm relatively early on in the game, so I haven't upgraded anything except the sniper rifle and I don't have too much useful gear, so I won't list that.

The main question is - should I use the Shotgun or the Hand Cannon?
I have used the Hand Cannon a little bit, and both seem pretty similar weapons - I use them in close quarters and they are extremely good alongside the sniper rifle and my above mentioned vigors. The only difference I could see was that the Hand Cannon seemed to have a higher rate of fire (though I'm not sure, maybe it's just me) as well as noticeably better range. The damage output seemed rather similar too. So, factoring in the upgrades and all, and also the rest of my build, will the Hand Cannon work better than the Shotgun?

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Something to consider - how good a shot are you? Can you accurately and repeatedly score headshots, no matter the circumstance (be it a crowded, close quarter battle, or long range open fields)? If so - Handcanon. If you are more a twitch shooter, that tends to miss a few rounds before scoring the critical strike, go with the shotgun - much more forgiving, if your aim is not perfect. –  5pike Jun 13 '13 at 10:32

4 Answers 4

Shotgun. Always the shotgun.

The benefits include:

  • reload that can be interrupted to fire a partially empty clip, with upgrades it becomes crazy fast
  • Do damage to a whole bunch of enemies at once - useful in areas where there are many enemies rushing you, and if you use Bucking Bronco to stun them
  • Ammo is more plentiful, as far as I could tell
  • It's a better panic weapon as it tends to hit a wide area in front of you - you don't have to worry about aiming as much

The Hand Cannon is an OK weapon, and it can sub in for a carbine or machine gun at medium range in a pinch. However, for close quarters, there's nothing quite like the shotgun. I cycled through several medium/long range weapons, but the shotgun was almost always my close range choice. It was the lynchpin of my 1999 Mode run.

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Handcannon all the way, more range, better accuracy, and reloads a lot faster. I wasn't a big fan of the shotgun for the simple fact it doesnt do that great of damage if you're not 10 feet away from your oppent. Handcannon may not be as good for up close and personal compared to the shotgun but if you get a headshot from close up its a kill. The handcannon was my main weapon for my first walkthrough, the main reason it's so much better than the shotgun is that you can use it anytime: short, medium, and long range. Shotgun ammo is more abundant but it's really easy to conserve handcannon ammo.

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Volley gun for mid to long range and shot gun for up close crowd control, I find the best vigors in my opinion are the devils kiss and possession keep in mind you can ally turrets, patriots and hostiles it's not for along time but hey they're a great distraction also it doesn't hurt that you collect coins from vendors

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Hand Cannon. You can shoot the enemy's weak points quickly and accurately. And above all you can see Booker's right hand.

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