Contra Wiki
Contra Wiki

The Machine Gun (M), also known as Heavy Machinegun, is a recurring weapon featured in the Contra series. It is usually the first available weapon power-up in most games. It is similar to the default Rifle in terms of damage, but it is fully automatic and shoots faster, allowing the player to keep the fire button held instead of tapping it.

General description[]

The Machine Gun is usually the first weapon power-up the player comes across in most games. Picking it up allows the player to keep the FIRE button pressed instead of tapping it, releasing with this a stream of bullets straightforward to where they're aiming at. In some cases, the size of the bullets is also increased and the bullets themselves are colored differently than those from the Rifle, usually colored red or having a fiery finish to them.

The standard Machine Gun has a moderate rate of fire, but as with most weapons, this will increase by picking up the Rapid Fire icon, making it more powerful due to the increase of concentrated fire.

In Operation C, the Machine Gun replaced the Rifle as the default weapon the player starts with. This arrangement was carried on for almost all of the sequels. There are exceptions, however, such as if a character uses a sword as a primary weapon instead.

Game specific information[]



The Machine Gun is one of two weapons in the game that comes in the form of the gun itself and not a Falcon Symbol (the other being the Laser). There can be up to 9 bullets fired from one Machine Gun on-screen at a time. Because of this limitation, the gun may fire irregularly at certain intervals at times if continuous fire is held. A similar limitation effect occurs with the Spread Gun.


Super Contra[]


Unlike all other appearances in the series, in the arcade version of Super Contra, the Machine Gun shoots a neverending stream of micro-missiles. This is just an aesthetic, however, and the projectiles neither deal more damage than the standard Rifle's bullets, nor do they explode on contact.

When fully upgraded, the Machine Gun becomes the most powerful gun in the game.


Unlike the arcade version, the Machine Gun is non-upgradable and behaves much like its Contra NES appearance.

Contra Force[]

Consecutive firing capabilities. Range in between pistol and rifle.
~ - Description from instruction manual.

The Machine Gun is usable by Burns after he acquires a certain amount of weapon power-ups. The Machine Gun's range is significantly higher than the Pistol's, able to reach across the other side of the screen. However, it is still subject to two bullets on-screen at a time, making it the Machine Gun with the lowest amount of consecutive firing ammo. Using further Weapon Boxes can allow three Machine Gun bullets to appear at a time, instead of two.

Operation C[]

Operation C marks the first time the Machine Gun replaced the Rifle as the standard issue weapon the player starts the game with, or that is given when they start a new life. This characteristic would be retained for most following games in the series.

The Machine Gun allows for rapid fire when the FIRE button is held. Up to five bullets can appear on-screen at one time. Once a weapon pick-up is obtained, a player can only go back to using the Machine Gun by losing an extra life.

Contra III: The Alien Wars[]

See also: Rifle

In Contra III, the Machine Gun replaces the Rifle as the default weapon the player starts with, although the weapon itself is called "Rifle" in the instruction booklet of the game. As such, the weapon already features fully automatic fire, meaning that the player only needs to keep the FIRE button pressed from the get go, releasing with this a stream of fast traveling bullets straightforward to where they're aiming at. The damage output of this weapon is still relatively low, however, and the player would be wise in finding another weapon to replace it as soon as possible.

If the player was carrying a powered-up weapon and loses a life, they'll return to use the Rifle on their next respawn. If paired with another default Machine Gun in a dual gun attack, bullets will fly all across the screen. Good against a platoon of weaker enemies when heavily surrounded, but not too reliable on stronger, more heavily armored foes in the general area.

This gun behaves identically in top-down stages. Its long range can sometimes prove more useful than most short-range weapons, being able to reach all the way across the screen if no obstacles are present in the bullets' way.

This gun is the default gun in Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX. If the player picks up a special weapon, only the loss of a life can return the player back to the default gun.

Contra: Hard Corps[]

The Machine Gun is once again the default weapon for all playable characters, behaving as it did from Contra III: The Alien Wars. The Machine Gun is initially situated as the Weapon A for all characters and will automatically be replaced when a player picks up a proper Weapon A item. If the player loses a life while using their Weapon A, it will be lost and the gun slot will revert to the default Machine Gun. The Machine Gun is a permanent weapon, so a useful tactic is to switch from a special weapon to the Machine Gun if the player fears they will lose a life; this way, nothing but an extra life will be lost, thus saving their special weapons to keep using them (unless they are on their last life).

The Vulcan Genocide is Sheena Etranzi's Weapon A. It behaves almost identically to previous variants of Machine Guns, with the main differences being that the bullets fired start off as normal sized bullets and they expand as they travel further (Browny's Weapon D and some enemy bullets use similar large bubble rounds), and they are released alternating between two different colors, red and blue (similar in this trait to a Gardegura). This gun also delivers twice as much damage as the default gun, and can be seen as a counterpart to Ray Poward's upgraded Weapon A, the Vulcan Laser.

Contra: Legacy of War[]

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C: The Contra Adventure[]

The default weapon of choice, never disappearing after lives are lost. The bullets appear in a blue. A laser sight attached to the gun helps aim the Machine Gun.

Contra: Shattered Soldier[]

"Has a long range with a powerful repeating action. Standard military issue." - Instruction booklet

The Heavy Machinegun is the default weapon selected and acts like its predecessors. With each press of the FIRE button (and within each half-second the button is held thereafter), a flurry of three bullets is released from the Rifle. There is no known bullet limit allowed onscreen at a time (if any). When selected as the current weapon and the rifle is charged, the gun fires a Round Sweep attack, which releases a pod that soon remains stationery in midair and fires bullets in a 360° spin. Appearance-wise, this is similar to Random Shooting from Contra III, though the source of the weapon fire remains idle.

Neo Contra[]

In Neo Contra, the Machine Gun is the projectile-firing weapon in the Weapon Set Alpha. It is a fully automatic weapon that has infinite munitions and the player will not need to reload it.

Contra 4[]

In this game, the Machine Gun behaves identically to previous Contra titles, with its appearance resembling the classic Contra NES appearance. The Machine Gun can be upgraded by picking up another copy of the 'M' weapon symbol while already holding one, or by using the Konami Code with a Machine Gun acquired. Once upgraded, the gun will fire two bullets at a time instead of only one, and the size of the bullets will be increased to roughly twice the normal size, which in conjunction to its increased rate of fire and ability to fire without stopping, makes it one of the most devastating weapons in the game (almost as powerful, if not more, than a fully upgraded Laser).

Contra ReBirth[]

Like previous titles since Contra III, the player starts with the fully automatic Machine Gun in this game, although this time it is labeled with the letter 'N' instead of the usual 'M', likely standing for "Normal".

This game is notable for featuring a lesser variety of weapons for the player to use. On Normal and Nightmare difficulty settings, a new Power-up Capsule is introduced labeled with the letter 'N', which is the Normal weapon. This supposed "power-up" is likely added to increase the game's difficulty, either by trying to trick the player into picking it up, or picking it up by accident among all the chaos, and having the player actually downgrading their weapon instead as a result.

Contra: Evolution[]

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Hard Corps: Uprising[]

The Machine Gun powerup now appears as bullet shaped capsule filled with green energy. Behaves similar to previous installments, though the bullets now appear as thin green energy bullets, being thinner than Rifle rounds. This makes the gun less powerful than the Rifle but its speedy firing makes up for its low power level The gun also fires bullets in a slightly disproportionate fashion vertical-wise: the gun has multiple separate firing heights where a bullet will be unleashed when the FIRE button is pressed. This means a bullet can either be fired from the gun's highest or lowest point per FIRE, or somewhere in between with each bullet fired. Some surfaces can block bullet fire. When upgraded to level 2, a second stream of bullets fires alongside the first set, meaning the gun fires off more rounds per single press of FIRE and also meaning two separate heights will be used for firing. Upgrading to Level 3 will increase the aforementioned simultaneous bullet count and different height usage to 3 per FIRE.

Like other power-up weapons, an upgrade in the game's Shop menu can allow a gun-wielding player to start off with a Machine Gun in their inventory, and/or have the power-ups upgraded to level 2 or 3 when obtained.

Contra Returns[]

The Machine Gun (M), also known as the Gatling Gun, belongs to the weapon class of the same name. In this game, heroes use heavy multi-barreled machine guns, similar in appearance to the Minigun. Machine guns fire almost continuous bursts of medium-power bullets flying with a small spread. The rate of fire depends on how well the barrels are spun, that is, increases as the shoot button is held down.

Contra: Rogue Corps[]

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Contra: Operation Galuga[]

Similarly to Hard Corps: Uprising, its assigned color is green.

At base level, it behaves similarly to its Contra 4 counterpart both physically and visually. When upgraded to Level 2, it instead gains an even faster rate of fire. Its Overload is the "Barrier", which deploys a red energy barrier for around six seconds, rendering the player invulnerable to enemy projectiles and contact as per usual. Interestingly, this barrier appears to be formed from green and red versions of the machine gun rounds.

Instead of the Machine Gun, Ironside and Fang utilizes the Rapid Discs when an M power-up is collected. This variation behaves similarly to classic Browny's Gemini Scatter from Contra: Hard Corps, differing only in the appearance and size of the projectiles, and in that the discs travel further upon return until they contact an obstacle, an enemy, or fly off the screen. When upgraded to Level 2, Each disc, after a span of a certain distance, is split into two small purple cascading bullets that fly in the opposite direction, scattering to either side of the center. Its Overload is the "Cascade", which triggers a stream of cascading bullets from its barrel, firing a summary of fifty four bullets for around six seconds.

When Sheena collects the M power-up, she equips the Machine Gun and uses the "Cascade" Overload, while Browny equips the Rapid Discs and uses the "Barrier" Overload.







Sound Location
Contra: Hard Corps
Contra 4 (standard)
Contra 4 (upgraded)
Contra ReBirth


  • In the Space Station stage of Contra: Hard Corps, Colonel Bahamut's soldiers wield firearms that are identical to the Hard Corps's Machine Guns. Although the soldiers are never shown to actually use them against the heroes, this may mark the first (and possibly only) time the Machine Gun is used by the enemy as well as the heroes.

See also[]