Click. Click. Click. The usual image of superheroes focuses more on intricate gadgets or superhuman powers in order to bring down criminal empires. Even when real-life crime fighters use guns as a way to defeat the enemy, comic books are much more accustomed to relying on the fantastic to save the day. Then again, every once in awhile, a hero will come blazing into town without the luxury of magical abilities or radiation-fueled powersand must rely on the strength of their arms… sidearms, that is.
RELATED: The Most Powerful Weapons in Comics
The superheroes on this list rely on their fighting capabilities and incredible marksmanship in order to bring down massive criminal enterprises, and sometimes to just raise a little hell. So get ready to make Smith & Wesson proud, and be quick on the draw with these gun-toting do-gooders.
15. JUDGE DREDD
Judge Dredd is the main character in the British “2000 AD” comic series about an authoritarian, post-apocalyptic North America. In Mega-City One, Dredd works as a street judge, acting as arresting officer, judge, jury and executioner for anyone caught in a compromising position in the eyes of the law. He uses futuristic weapons like side-mounted cannons on his Lawmaster motorbike, a genetically-coded gun called Lawgiver that shoots anything from standard to heat-seeking bullets, and a pump-action shotgun for when he’s feeling particularly nostalgic.
Judge Dredd is the longest-running character of “2000 AD,” and famous enough to be considered for a crossover with Batman in “Batman/Judge Dredd,” which was eventually canned before completion. Stories about Dredd in his long history have ranged from dealing with long-lost clone brothers, time-travel and even trying to prevent the extinction of all life that’s left on his post-apocalyptic Earth. However, Judge Dredd has remained the consummate guardian of law after all this time and it probably won’t change anytime soon. Nor will his love of the gun.
14. JONAH HEX
Jonah Hex has gathered much acclaim by becoming the resident 19th century anti-hero without having a single superhuman ability to his name. Even though he’s blind in his right eye, Hex is an incredible marksman who has bested even Batman in a contest of the quickest draw. He’s a natural with weapons of his own time, and carries a pistol in each hand as he goes around the Western territories, avenging crimes against the innocent. Hex even manages to get the hang of more modern weapons after being transported to the future, and continues to use a pair of Ruger Blackhawk .357 Magnum revolvers.
Jonah Hex has had plenty of adventures over the years, and each one is a bloody tale of vengeance that’s left Hex the only one standing with an array of corpses around him. Nonetheless, he is similar to Batman in that he holds himself to a strict code of honor, albeit one that allows killing.
13. SCOURGE OF THE UNDERWORLD
The Scourge has managed to do what has become almost impossible in comic books: actually maintain a secret identity. His true name wasn’t revealed before his death in “Captain America” #320, and the only clue to his identity is that he claimed to be the brother of the Enforcer, who he subsequently killed for his own criminal activities. A master of disguise, the Scourge amassed an impressive array of villain assassinations by shooting them with explosive-tipped bullets and shouting “Justice is served!” before disappearing into the chaotic aftermath.
In the end, the Scourge was killed by a copycat killer who shouted the Scourge’s catchphrase, and then disappeared — oh, the irony. However, his legacy would remain through a long line of Scourge impersonators, each of whom picked up his persona in order to systematically kill ever supervillain in the Marvel universe. Arguably an antihero, the Scourge and his counterparts work as antagonists for both Captain America and Spider-Man.
12. LANCELOT HUNTER
While many of the characters on this list have some sort of military background, Lancelot Hunter is the only person who is consistently employed by the British Navy throughout his career. He’s a trained expert in munitions from his time in the navy, as well as an accomplished espionage agent from his time in British intelligence. His many titles include becoming the leader of S.T.R.I.K.E., being promoted to Commodore and becoming Joint Intelligence Committee Chair.
Hunter is most often seen working side-by-side with Director Fury and Captain America against the machinations of Red Skull, and is a close partner to Captain Britain in his own comic series. Hunter can even be credited with saving Captain Britain’s life while the good captain sustained injuries after his time with Merlin in the spirit realm. More recent incarnations of the character can be seen on Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” with Lance Hunter partnering up with Bobbi “Mockingbird” Morse for the later-cancelled spin-off series “Marvel’s Most Wanted.”
11. VALENTINA ALLEGRA DE FONTAINE
Valentina Allegra de Fontaine is one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most famous agents, and for good reason. Her skill in espionage and marksmanship made her a favorite of S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, and the two became lovers for much of their careers as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. For a time, Fontaine was even the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s division, Femme Force.
However, in the storyline “Secret Warriors,” Fontaine is revealed to be a Russian double agent working for the Soviet espionage unit Leviathan, in a joint effort with HYDRA. Leviathan was subsequently revealed to have been controlling S.H.I.E.L.D. for decades. She would go on to become Madame Hydra by killing her predecessor. Nevertheless, Fury remains loyal to Fontaine, and even goes so far as to attempt to spring her from jail. Other versions of the character see her working with S.H.I.E.L.D. against alien attacks, as a multimillionaire who funds acts of justice, and even the host for a HYDRA parasite. Throughout all of these incarnations, however, she is best known for being sly with a smile and quick with a gun.
10. JOHN DIGGLE
John Diggle has the distinction of being a character who didn’t originate within the pages of a comic book, but the small screen. He was developed as the partner of the CW’s “Arrow” main character, Oliver Queen. However, for the purposes of this list, the John Diggle of consequence will be from the comic counterpart to the live-action television show.
In the comic books, Diggle is currently working as a bodyguard for hire with a drinking problem while he’s off-duty. This made him somewhat of a secondary partner to Oliver than, say, Roy Harper. He doesn’t wear a mask while in the field, but is trained as a Green Beret and is ambidextrous with several different kinds of weapons, most often pistols or long-range rifles. Diggle is also targeted by Richard Dragon, who has a long-standing beef with Diggle’s father and is out for retribution. However, Diggle and Oliver are able to stop Dragon together.
Bluebird, otherwise known as Harper Row, is an electrical engineer who assists Batman after he saves Harper and her brother Cullen from an assault. She’s incredibly handy with inventing gadgets like those Batman usually uses, and herself packs shock guns in order to incapacitate her opponents. Harper works for Gotham City as an engineer, and even managed to revive Batman’s river-drowned body with jumper cables after he escapes the Court of Owls.
FOr a long time, Batman outright rejected Harper’s assistance, but eventually accepts her after she helps Red Robin investigate a nanobot plague affecting Gotham’s children. Incidentally, this is is also her first official appearance as her alter-ego persona, Bluebird. While she doesn’t have powers, or even an affinity for bullets, Harper’s usefulness comes from ingenuity with electrical systems and other gadgets that help her defeat her opponents without killing them, most often in the form of (non-lethal) guns. Her other great gifts are stealth and tracking abilities, which she used to get a read on both friends and foes alike.
8. MADAME .44
Madame .44 is a female gunslinger from the 19th century who vows revenge on criminals in the wake of her father’s death. This is a title that has been attributed to two characters; most famously to Jeanne Walker, though more recently to Jonah Hex’s partner, Tallulah Black. In the earliest incarnation of Jeanne Walker’s stories, she infiltrates gangs of criminals before stealing their ill-gotten gains and redistributing the gold among the lower class.
Walker is most often depicted with a pair of six-shooters and a mask, but later in her career, would become a successful photographer. The character was rebooted in 2014 in “All-Star Western” #30 with a brand-new backstory that transports Walker from being trapped in a collapsed mine to the land of Haponot. Walker continues to fight on the side of righteousness by deposing Haponot’s demonic ruler Kerberos, but is unable to return home. Tallulah Black doesn’t seem to have any connection to Jeanne Walker, but is more notable for being Jonah Hex’s love interest and crime-fighting partner.
7. SILVER SABLE
Silver Sable, whose real name — by complete coincidence — is Silver Sablinova, has worked as a mercenary, a CEO and even as leader of her own mercenary team called the Wild Pack. She doesn’t possess any superpowers, but wears a white suit reinforced with Kevlar, and always carries a sword, a derringer and a 9mm pistol. Silver is an exceptional combatant, and has the backing of international business organization Silver Sable International to help fund her exploits.
Silver is shown to have complete control over her emotions, and runs her teams with ruthless efficiency, while always trying to bring about the common good. Under her leadership, the Wild Pack fulfills her father’s mission of bringing Nazi war criminals to justice. However, she works for her own ends, which sometimes means she actually works against those of more famous (and morally upstanding) superheroes. That being said, Silver is most often seen as an ally to Spider-Man. There are even rumors of a Silver Sable film in the works by Sony.
6. CRIMSON AVENGER
The Crimson Avenger is the name chosen by a few vigilantes, each of whom has acted as a ghostly defender of the innocent. For the purposes of this list, the one we’re focusing on is the latest incarnation, referred to by fans as Jill Carlyle, a name taken from the headstone of a victim in an early appearance. Whether or not that is actually the Crimson Avenger’s name has not been revealed. She is an African-American woman who carries a pair of Colt pistols that belonged to the original Crimson Avenger, Lee Walter Travis. Carlyle is shown to have studied law but lost a case to a clearly guilty defendant, and obtained the pistols in order to kill the man herself.
This act caused the guns to curse Carlyle to kill anyone who takes an innocent life and lives with a permanent, bleeding gunshot wound in her chest. She became a minor Spirit of Vengeance, and along with her guns, has the power to become intangible or teleport wherever she pleases, so long as it is in the service of bloody justice. Her guns never miss, never run out of ammunition, and fire without a trigger.
5. WILD DOG
Fans may remember Wild Dog as a character on Season 5 of the CW’s “Arrow,” whose real name is Rene Ramirez. However, he is remembered in the comic book world as Jack Wheeler, the main character of his own title, “Wild Dog.” After the death of his girlfriend, Claire, Wheeler became a vigilante wearing a hockey mask and carrying a Jatimatic submachine gun. He has training as a Marine, and goes on a rampage against domestic American terrorists. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t get to participate in the more sci-fi storylines, as Wheeler once helped to fight off a world-wide alien invasion. He also helps fight the alien anti-hero Lobo with other minor heroes like Black Condor, El Diablo, and Wotan.
The last time Wild Dog was seen in the main DC universe was during “Infinite Crisis,” fighting the Secret Society of Supervillains. In an alternate timeline accidentally created by Booster Gold, Jack Wheeler shot himself at the behest of Maxwell Lord.
Floyd Lawton, or Deadshot, can probably be most generously considered an anti-hero, given his famous assassin backstory. However, given that he is one of the core members of the Suicide Squad, he mostly gets a pass on his villainous acts… even though he often shouldn’t. Deadshot wears a helmet that enhances his vision and hearing, and wears wrist-mounted machine guns, which can also deploy grappling hooks. Deadshot is an excellent marksman (one of the best in the DC universe) with a wide array of weapons, but especially with sniper rifles, rocket launchers and almost any other kind of ordinance.
Deadshot, like a lot of loners and villain-leaning anti-heroes, is pretty suspicious of authority. Despite this, he’s one of the first people inducted into the Suicide Squad and is often considered the group’s field leader, as appointed by the intimidating Amanda Waller. However, in one of the newer versions of Suicide Squad, he relinquished his role as leader to Black Manta before the latter’s ultimate betrayal. When he’s not with Suicide Squad, Deadshot has also worked with Secret Six, a team of fellow mercenaries.
3. ROCKET RACCOON
Fans of the wise-cracking raccoon can look forward to his own series, “Rocket,” by Al Ewing and Adam Gorham in May, but until then, fans can enjoy his previous outings with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Rocket was created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen, and from his first appearance in “Marvel Preview #7,” he ha never been too far from the two trusty laser pistols at his side. Of course, Rocket has developed a deep and true affinity for all kinds of heavy artillery.
This of course reflects Rocket’s background as a security officer for Halfworld in the Keystone Quadrant, where animal companions tended to a colony of mentally ill patients. Rocket doesn’t leave the colony until the patients are cured, and goes on to join the Guardians of the Galaxy with Star-Lord, and brings in everyone’s favorite tree Groot as a member. Rocket has also worked for Timely, Inc. and has continued to be a steadfast member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, even after the times the team has disbanded. They always seem to get back together, and he’s always there, packing heat.
Mindy McCready is definitely the youngest character on this list, which is especially jarring, since her propensity for bloody antics could turn the stomach for even the most hardened crimefighter. She was trained by her father, Big Daddy, in a variety of weapons, but she’s been seen famously with her trusty katana, as well as a pair of Glock 23 pistols in order to bring down a crowd of gangsters.
Mindy believed for most of her training that she was working to avenge her mother’s death, but that turned out to be a lie to further embroil her in her father’s superheroic fantasies. In any case, Hit-Girl remains a legend in the Kick-Ass universe, even after a stint in retirement and an escape from prison after being charged with up to 60 counts of murder. Hit-Girl has already stolen the show in two “Kick-Ass” movies (portrayed by Chloë Grace Moretz), and there’s even been rumors of a “Hit-Girl” spin-off in the works by author Mark Millar, but that front has been quiet for a while.
1. THE PUNISHER
Frank Castle is probably the first person comic book fans think of when the subject of guns in comic books comes up. With his background as a former Marine and a tragic origin story to rival anything in the superhero canon, it’s not surprising. Even more interesting is his extensive array of weaponry that he uses to take down bad guys. Among his favorites are his ballistic knife, semi-automatic rifles, .223 caliber Derringers, M16 .223 caliber automatic rifles and the ever subtle 9mm Browning Llama automatic pistols.
Frank Castle made a stunning debut on the small screen in the second season of Netflix’s “Daredevil,” and his own solo-series “The Punisher” is set to debut later this year. The Punisher declared a one-man war against crime with a death-head as his symbol of choice. Here’s hoping that Castle’s grim story can be shown to full effect in his own solo series. He’ll certainly have a diverse set of weapons to cause mayhem.
Who is your favorite gun-packing purveyor of justice? Let us know in the comments!