On my normal difficulty playthrough, the only thing that really gave me trouble was the Handymen. They seem to have a counter-attack for every strategy, and it takes a lot of firepower to bring them down, regardless of your weapons.

Now that I'm on 1999 mode, I know that these guys are going to be more or less impossible unless my aim is true and my strategy flawless. What strategies can I employ to take down Handymen more easily?

  • Related. The answer is more general than my question, though. So I'd be open to migrating the answer here and closing mine as a duplicate.
    – Niro
    Mar 31, 2013 at 16:47
  • Playing on hard I found just kiting around corners to be super effective, nothing else i tried seemed to work till i calmly kited the Handyman around and around.
    – Paralytic
    Apr 2, 2013 at 15:26
  • In 1999 mode, I ended up equipping the Winter Shield Gear whenever the Handyman was near a Sky-Line. I'd then jump back and forth between the Sky-Line and the ground to become invulnerable, then quickly do as much damage as possible. A potential hazard with this approach is that the Handyman will occasionally electrify the Sky-Line, but you can hear this coming (he says something like "Get down from there!") and get off before it happens.
    – Jordan
    Jan 17, 2015 at 2:20

4 Answers 4


The most effective vigor to use against Handymen is oddly Murder of Crows. While this vigor does not directly damage the Handymen, it causes them to stop and swat in the air for a couple of seconds, leaving their heart critical open. Playing through on 1999, this was literally the only tactic that allowed me to kill them. In the same way you can perma-stun Zealot of the Lady (the crow enemy) with Shock Jockey, you can almost permalock the Handymen with Murder of Crows.

Also, if you are playing through on 1999, be aware that there is a new chapter before almost every single Handyman, so if you find yourself dying too many times and want to use the lost money for upgrades, it may be better to back out to the menu while dying as the Handymen will recover all of their health when you respawn.

  • 5
    Also, don't neglect your Gear. There is a gear that gives 50% more damage to critical shots, which makes this tactic a whole lot easier. You can always switch your gear at any point so switching for a fight such as a Handyman fight is always a good idea.a Mar 31, 2013 at 20:12
  • 3
    Not sure why you say "oddly" - I found Murder of Crows to be by far the most useful vigor. It attacks all enemies in the area, it goes through walls, and if you upgrade it, it lays another trap when the enemy dies. Combine this with the "+50% headshot" and "40% chance to regain salt immediately when killing enemies" gear, and you can take out a mob of enemies of literally any size on 1999 mode without taking any damage. The only downside is that it doesn't affect Patriots or Zealot-of-the-Lady's. Apr 8, 2013 at 8:09

Devils kiss and the shotgun do a lot of damage. Upgrade the shotgun and try to shoot him in the heart for extra damage.


One thing you can do is use a undertow vigor and a shotgun or hand cannon.Get up close to him and hit him with the vigor and he will be stunned,so then shoot him with the hand cannon and shotgun while he is stunned.


I just equipped the Winter Shield gear and kept using skyline strike on him. It took like a decade to kill him, but I took zero damage and used very little ammo and salt, so it was worth it.

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