It turns out that in Borderlands 2 some enemies have shields, like Nomads and BUL Loaders. Some shields have minions on it, some have spikes, most are impervious to all damage and bad news in general. Sometimes those enemies will open themselves up to damage, but I can't figure out how to do so reliably and I'd rather not spend entire magazines of ammo trying to aim for the foot of these enemies.

I imagine commandos can play double trouble with their turrets, assassins can cloak and teleport around and whatnot, sirens can phaselock him for a while... but I'm a gunzerker. I regenerate health and ammo every once in a while and dual wield guns and that's it! I have to go through this the hard way... do I?

What's the trick here?

  • Note to self: explosive guns. Takes forever but beats dealing no damage at all... there still must be something better.
    – badp
    Nov 9, 2012 at 14:53

6 Answers 6


Elemental effects tend to take effect "around" the shield, so Damage Over Time can take effect, explosive rounds can cause some damage, and you can slag them. This is generally slow and will take lots of ammunition and time though. Grenades are a way to get explosive damage on them without swapping guns.

If you're a Siren you can simply Phaselock them and shoot their bodies. Otherwise try to move in and get around them. Alternately, stay way back and get a sniping headshot. The shields are the biggest problem at medium range; you really need to either get closer or get farther away. Also note if you're close, you can feint in close to them, at which point they'll slowly start a melee shield bash attack. You can get a second or so of free fire on their bodies while they do this.

You can also shoot through their shields, either by blasting off part of the metal (full metal shields) or by killing/freeing the midget from their shield. But the collision detection is extremely buggy around those holes, and most bullets don't seem to go through them right, so I avoid using this strategy.

  • 4
    If you have enough survivability to get close (which a Gunzerker should), the easiest way is not elements or nibbling on their shield - it is melee range. Just get to his nose and immediately back up - a Nomad will swing his shield, and you'll have a second or two to stuff his face with buckshot. Repeat.
    – Orc JMR
    Nov 11, 2012 at 9:59

Many of them have holes in the shields where you can get several shots through. You won't get crits, but you will still do damage. Those without the holes have reinforced shields. The reinforced armor can be destroyed with enough damage, exposing the hole. Since you have ammo regeneration, this is a feasible tactic, but it may just take a while. You might notice that they stick their arms around the outside of the shield to shoot. If you're quick you can aim at their guns/hands.

Grenades are also very useful. Many human enemies can be taken advantage of by throwing a grenade. Often they will turn and look at it, then back away from it. Not only will this do damage, but it also draws their attention away for you to get a good shot at them.


Melee is a risky but effective way to take them down. When you get close enough they'll swing the shield at you, briefly exposing themselves. This gives you a chance to shoot them down. This is best done when there aren't other mobs also shooting at you, and is obviously extremely dangerous on mobs which are higher level than you.

Grenades will also work to damage them some, and may cause an exposure event.

Weapons with high elemental chance are also sometimes effective; the base damage doesn't hit them but the DOT does.

  • An important thing to note is that when you get in close enough that they swing the shield exposing themself, you can evade the swing; it's not a trade.
    – NiteCyper
    Nov 15, 2013 at 9:42

Try weapons with the Explosive attribute.

  • 1
    Try Slag, then Explosive ;)
    – APrough
    Nov 9, 2012 at 16:36
  • 1
    Do they become slagged through the shields?
    – agweber
    Nov 9, 2012 at 16:41
  • It's been a week since I last played, but I vaguely remember this to be the case. Also played as a gunzerker, and one of my weapons was a slag weapon, and I remember the combination working well against the shielded enemies. Will try to confirm tonight.
    – APrough
    Nov 9, 2012 at 16:46

I find that the best strategy is to throw a grenade at their feet. Not only will the grenade do damage around the shield, but it will also stagger them, exposing them from behind their shield and giving you time to shoot at them before they recover enough to get the shield back between you and them.

  • 1
    I also found that if it is a Singularity grenade, they tend to turn towards the blast when they are pulled to it. So if you throw it slightly behind them, they put their back to you. Damage from the grenade and any shots you can manage to get in before they turn back around.
    – APrough
    Nov 9, 2012 at 16:38

I found that electrocuting them is the best way to go.
Second to none else than slagging them first, if that's available.
Use a pistol to slag, then switch to heavy weaponry.

If they are close enough, shock effect makes them helpless, so while they are flailing their shield, you can even flank them and unload from their sides.

Grenades help a great deal too. And if you have a stable sniper rifle, you can even shoot them through the peephole of their shield.

  • Shock weapons have a bonus against blue-health, regenerating, forcefield shields. They have no relation to damage resistant body parts, which metal doors carried by Nomads are.
    – Orc JMR
    Nov 11, 2012 at 9:56

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