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Contra 3D - 23

A weapon is any device that can be used with intent to inflict damage or harm. In broader context, weapons may be construed to include anything used to gain a tactical, strategic, material or mental advantage over an adversary or enemy target. This article covers information about the various types of weapons that have appeared throughout the Contra series.

Most weapons have limitless ammunition and do not suffer any real world mechanical impediments, they are only limited to in-game mechanics.


Power-up Capsule

Main article: Power-up Capsule
Power-up Capsule - Contra (arcade) - 01

In most of the classic titles, weapons can be found by shooting Power-up Capsules (also known as Flying Capsules, Weapon Wings or Flying Item Pods). These are small blimp-like devices, often bearing the Red Falcon insignia, which travel from one end of the screen to the other in a wave-like pattern.

Power-up Capsules only appear at determined locations on the map and always carry the same power-up within them. Once shot, the weapon contained will spring out from the blimp for the player to collect. Care must be taken when shooting one or the weapon could end up falling down a pit or land on a section of the map where it could become mandatory to pick it up, forcing the player to change their current weapon.


Main article: Sensor (object)
Sensor - Contra (arcade) - 01

Sensors are armored hatches embedded on the terrain at determined sections of the map. They open and close periodically, revealing a Red Falcon insignia or an energy core inside, at which point they become vulnerable and the player can shoot them to release a Falcon Symbol with the weapon it contains.

These containers were quickly dismissed throughout the series in favor of Power-up Capsules, making Contra (Contra: Evolution), Super C and Contra 4 the only games where they made an appearance.

Falcon Symbol

Main article: Falcon Symbol

The Falcon Symbol, or simply Falcon, is an emblem in the shape of the Red Falcon insignia that contains a weapon power-up for the player to collect. Falcon Symbols are generally found by shooting Power-up Capsules and Sensors.


Some games feature a few other means to obtain weapons, such as defeating certain enemies (like the red soldiers in the "Base" levels of the original Contra), bosses that at one point throw several weapons on the field along with harmful objects to taunt the player into risking their lives to catch them, etc. In recent games (mainly 3D ones), the appearance of Power-up Capsules has often been replaced by different playable characters already counting with a specific repertoire of weapons particular to them. In some occasions, flying Item Pods still appear, although their contents are instead used either to upgrade the weapon the character is currently holding, or a specific one within their fixed arsenal.

Main weapons


Main article: Rifle
Rifle - Contra (arcade) - 02

The Rifle, also known as Normal Gun, is the default weapon for some of the earlier games of the Contra series. It has a semi-automatic rate of fire and deals relatively low damage.

Machine Gun

Main article: Machine Gun
Machine Gun - Contra (NES) - 01
Machine Gun - Contra (arcade) - 02

The Machine Gun (M), also known as Heavy Machinegun, is usually the first available 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.

When fully upgraded, it is the most powerful gun in the arcade version of Super Contra. In Contra 4, it can be upgraded allowing the gun to fire two bullets at a time, 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).

In Contra III: The Alien Wars, the Machine Gun replaces the Rifle as the default weapon (although the instruction booklet for the game still calls it a "Rifle"). 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.

Spread Gun

Main article: Spread Gun
Spread Gun - Contra III - 01
Spread Gun - Contra (arcade) - 02

The Spread Gun (S), also known as Spread, Spread Shot, Spray Gun or Shotgun, is a power-up that enables to shoot in three to five different directions at the same time and in a spreading manner. It is semi automatic, but starting from Contra III it became capable of fully automatic fire (although still slower compared to the Machine Gun). Since many projectiles usually hit the target at once, it can be considered to relatively deal high damage. Up-close firing results in multiple hits in a single shot, a desired quality when handling bosses. When used this way, the Spread Gun may end up dealing as much damage as the Laser; however, hardware limitations in the first games often prevented the Spread Gun from continuously firing up to five rounds on each shot, and would start to fire three rounds if fired too fast; as such, it is often preferred to shoot in a measured manner in situations that require covering a wider area.

The Spread Gun is often regarded as the best weapon in most games it appears in due to its wider range of shots and ability to provide better cover and offense perimeter against enemies. It is available in almost every game in the series (the MSX2 port of Contra being a noticeable exception).

Throughout the series, the weapon has also been given some enhancements; for example, Contra: Legacy of War introduced a spread ground torpedo, while C: The Contra Adventure introduced a self-forging grenade which produces shrapnel that bounces along the surface until exploding when coming in contact with an enemy.


Main article: Laser
Laser - Contra III - 01
Laser - Contra (arcade) - 02

The Laser (L), also known as Laser Gun, fires a long laser beam which inflicts high damage upon impact. It is considered to be one of the most powerful weapons in the games it appears in. However, the Laser was not very popular in the first game due to being limited to a slow rate of fire. In addition, if a successive beam was fired, the first one would disappear, making this weapon incapable of shooting consecutively in a rapid manner. In spite of this, a skilled player could make the best of it due to its destructive power. This was revamped in later games, giving its shots a higher rate of fire and a faster speed to the rays, as well as removing the handicap of the first shot disappearing when firing another one.

The Laser in the NES port of Contra was remarkably weaker than its arcade counterpart. This downgrade in power was also present in the arcade version of Super Contra.

The Laser's original features made a return in Contra 4. It is only used during certain gunplay Challenges and it is referred to as the "Classic Laser" within the mission descriptions involving it. It retains all its features from the classic NES Contra.

Laser guns in later games also sport additional properties, such as homing capabilities or shooting in a specific direction. Neo Contra introduced a satellite laser in which the laser is fired from an orbiting satellite.

Flame Thrower

Main article: Flame Thrower
Flame Thrower - Contra III - 01
Flame Thrower - Contra (arcade) - 02

The Flame Thrower (F), also known as Fire Gun, Fire Ball or simply Flame, as its name implies, is a powerful weapon that either shoots fireballs or a constant stream of flames.

In the original Contra, this weapon shoots slow moving fireballs that trace circles as they travel forward. Due to the uncommon way it operates, it was arguably one of the least popular weapons in that game. In Super C, however, the weapon operates in a completely different way: it fires one large fireball that breaks off into eight smaller fireballs when it strikes a target. Charging the weapon will produce a large fireball that breaks into even more fireballs. This appearance carried on to Operation C.

Contra III introduced yet another way this weapon operates; instead of launching fireballs, the weapon now fires a long stream of flames, making it a true "flamethrower" by name. The flame deals continuous damage to any enemy it comes in contact with and is also capable of destroying certain projectiles, acting as a shield if used right. The player is able to freely move the flame around by wiggling the directional pad in any direction, which makes this the only weapon capable of covering certain angles the other weapons cannot. Since then, this behavior of the weapon has been retained in most following titles.

Homing Gun

Main article: Homing Gun
Homing Gun - Contra III - 01

The Homing Gun (H), also known as Homing Shot, Homing Missiles or Hunter, fires rockets that home in on enemies, eliminating the need to aim. It first appeared in Operation C and later in Contra III: The Alien Wars, slowly also becoming a staple in the series. The damage of the projectiles is usually low in order to compensate this weapon's high versatility.

The player is advised not to get overconfident assuming the projectiles will do all the work, though, as in some games they tend to miss their targets frequently or remain occupied seeking other enemies instead of the ones that are currently posing a greater threat to the player. Furthermore, in some games there is a limit of the number of projectiles that can be onscreen at a time, potentially leaving the player vulnerable while all of them are seeking other targets.

Variations of the Homing Gun exist, including a homing chopper in which the projectiles are powered by a propeller.

Crush Gun

Main article: Crush Gun
Crush Gun - Contra III - 01

The Crush Gun (C), also known as Crush or Crash, are blue missiles that deal high damage but suffer from short range, so they are hard to use in levels that include lots of long range engagements. When upgraded in Contra 4, the projectiles travel a longer distance.

Once it hits an object or reaches a certain distance, the missile will detonate and the ensuing explosion will remain in place for a short time, dealing additional damage which in conjunction can potentially amount for a heavily destructive attack.

Rocket Launcher

The Rocket Launcher (R) appears only in Contra 4: Redux. This weapon shoots a column of three (five when upgraded) missiles which penetrate through weak enemies and explode upon contact with strong enemies.

Wave Gun

The Wave Gun (W) appears only in Contra 4: Redux. This weapon shoots a wide energy wave which penetrates through all enemies. When it is upgraded, the main wave creates several additional waves that fly perpendicular to the main one.

Hand Grenades

The Hand Grenades (HG) are a throwing weapon which usually is the special ability of a specific hero. The thrown grenade flies in an arc or straight down and explodes upon contact with the enemy or obstacle.


The Pistol (P) is the default weapon in Contra Force. This weapon shoots single bullets that disappear after flying a limited distance.


Contra Force Iron Bazooka

The Bazooka is a special weapon usable by Iron. His bullets become high powered Missiles capable of dealing strong damage to opponents.


Main article: Katana

The Katana is a Japanese sword which is used for melee attacks by samurai and ninja heroes. This weapon operates at a very limited distance, but does great damage to the enemy.

Prototype Weapon

Contra 4 - Protype Weapon - 01

The Prototype Weapon is a weapon found exclusively within certain Challenge missions of Contra 4. It is unknown what the weapon's true name may be, but it is referred to as 'A Prototype Weapon' in the description for said challenges involving it. The Weapon fires one red missile that immediately splits into five Vic Viper ship-like bullets that home in on enemies (similar to the Upgraded H Weapon also found within Contra 4). Only ten bullets/ships can be on-screen at a time, and the player cannot fire further bullets until one or both sets of 5 ships have disappeared.

Assault Rifle


The Assault Rifle (A) shoots bursts of powerful bullets flying a limited distance. When it is equipped, the hero has ability to perform melee attack with a knife.

Burst Flame Gun


The Burst Flame Gun (F+) acts like Super C’s flamethrower. It shots fireballs which when they come in contact with an enemy, scatter into four fragments and/or create an explosion, much like the upgraded Flame Gun from Contra 4.

Sniper Rifle


The Sniper Rifle (J, Chinese: Jūjī Qiāng) shoots fast bullets which can pierce through enemies.

In Contra: Returns, there are three types of Sniper Rifles: Automatic Sniper Rifle, Heavy Sniper Rifle with chargable shot and Laser Sniper Rifle.

In Contra: Tournament, Sniper Rifle have optical scope and shots a very powerful bullets with slow rate.

Plasma Thrower


The Plasma Thrower (P) acts like a shotgun. It shoots a powerful but short ejection of plasma.

Gas Gun


The Gas Gun (G) acts similar to a flamethrower but shoots a stream of gas, poisoning the enemies.

Frozen Gun


The Frozen Gun or Ice Gun (I) acts like a flamethrower but shoots a stream of liquid nitrogen which freezes enemies.

Electric Arc Gun


The Electric Arc Gun (E) is a very powerful weapon. It acts like a homing continuous laser which can damage several enemies in single shot.

Energy Laser Cannon


The Energy Laser Cannon (L+) shoots individual bunches of energy that explode on contact with the enemy.



The Howitzer (H) shoots a fireball flying in an arc which explodes when it comes in contact with an enemy or obstacle.

Bow and Arrow


The Bow and Arrow (BA) shoots one of the four types of arrows. It has chargeable shoots.



The Crossbow (CB) shoots one of four types of arrows. It has a very rapid rate of fire.

Sonic Gun

Returns - Weapon S (Sonic Gun)

The Sonic Gun (S) fires several ring-shaped sound waves that increase in size. These waves can pierce enemies and penetrate obstacles.

Rail Gun

Returns - Weapon M (Rail Gun)

The Rail Gun (M) fires a bolt of electromagnetic energy that explodes upon contact with an enemy or obstacle. The blast radius is huge. Before firing, the weapon must be charged.

Blade Crossbow

Return - Weapon B

The Blade Crossbow (B) launches a large windmill/shuriken-shaped blade. Upon contact with an enemy or obstacle, the projectile temporarily stops in place and increases in size, and then returns to the player.

Tracking Missiles

The Tracking Missiles (icon without letter) shoots large homing missiles, which are divided into three smaller missiles. The missiles create an explosion when they come in contact with an enemy. It is time limited and thus is not available as a permanent weapon.



The Knife is available as a separate type of weapon in the stealth stages in Contra Returns. Heroes use it for silent melee attacks.

Gauss Gun


The Gauss Gun is a type of Main weapons in Contra: Rogue Corps. A gun that fires extremely fast shots in a straight line.

Drill Gun


The Drill Gun is a type of sub-weapon in Contra: Rogue Corps and a primary weapon in Neo Contra. A gun that fires an attack that inflicts multiple damage.

Mine Gun


The Mine Gun is a type of sub-weapon in Contra: Rogue Corps. A gun that fires shots in a projectile and inflicts damage to enemies that get close.

Blade Gun


The Blade Gun is a type of sub-weapon in Contra: Rogue Corps. This weapon ejects an oversized chainsaw with sharp blades, which is often used for close combat.


Neo Contra Stage 2-1 Lightning

The Lightning is a pre-set primary weapon from Neo Contra. It boasts little rapid-fire capabilities but fires strong near long-range lightning bolts capable of piercing through enemies. The bolt can also be chained from the primary hit target to other enemies near the initial target.

Special items

Besides weapon upgrades, there are also power-ups that either enhance the performance of the current weapon, act as an extra weapon, or give the player a temporary extra ability.

Rapid Fire

Main article: Rapid Fire
Rapid Fire - Contra (arcade) - 01

The Rapid Fire (R) power-up, also known as Rapid Bullets, is a special upgrade that increases the rate of fire possible for the current weapon. Its effects can be seen better in the "Base" stages of the original Contra, where the weapon projectiles appear to move faster. However, many people did not know about its effect in the first games, and it was often regarded as "rarely useful". The Laser is not affected by this power-up in any way.

In Super Contra, the Rapid Fire upgrade also enables projectiles to reach a farther distance in overhead stages, and in the case of the Spread Gun it adds extra projectiles.

This power-up was removed from Contra III: The Alien Wars, as the default rifle was replaced by a fully automatic Machine Gun; and also from Contra 4, as all weapons in the game are capable of fully automatic fire.


Main article: Barrier
Barrier - Contra III - 01

The Barrier (B), also known as Barrier Shield or Force Field, is a special power-up that grants the player temporary invincibility. When picked up, the player character will start flashing red and blue, and any enemies that make contact with them will be destroyed instantly. In the arcade version, the effect is indicated by small mechanical "options" spinning around the player character. When the effect is about to end, the player character will start changing colors more slowly. Care must be taken at this time, as an overconfident player could end up in a tight situation when the effect ends.


Mega Shell

Main article: Mega Shell
Mega Shell - Contra (NES) - 01

The Mega Shell, also known as Mass Destruction, is a special power-up that is unique in the fact that it is not represented by a letter but only by the Red Falcon insignia. When it is picked up, the entire screen will flash and all onscreen enemies and projectiles will be destroyed. However, it is not collectable and is instead used instantly on pickup, making its usage strictly situational.

Hyper Shell

Main article: Hyper Shell
Hyper Shell - Contra III - 01

The Hyper Shell (or simply Shell), also known simply as Bomb or M-80,000 Helio Bomb, is an advanced variant of the Mega Shell that was introduced in the arcade version of Super Contra, where it only appears in the top-view stages. When activated, it will instantly detonate and deal extreme damage to all enemies onscreen, usually destroying them all, removing all projectiles, and dealing significant damage to bosses, so it is advised to be saved for the toughest situations. Unlike regular power-ups, it is a collectable item and will remain in the player's inventory until used. If the player doesn't use their Hyper Shell right away and manages to pick up another one, they'll stack up. If the player dies, all bombs in stock will be lost.

In the arcade version of Super Contra, up to four shells can be collected at a time (although there won't be any indicator informing the player how many they have left). If the player doesn't use their shells in Area 2, they'll retain their stock in Area 5 to use them there if they want to. Furthermore, if the player still has shells in stock after completing the game, these will carry to the next loop(s).

This special item received a makeover in Contra III: The Alien Wars and Contra: Hard Corps, this time being able to be used in the side-view stages as well. When activated, a circular blast will start expanding from the player's position until it reaches the edges of the screen, covering everything within its enormous radius and dealing extreme damage to any enemy or projectile it comes in contact with. However, even if the player is considerably safe while within the explosion, they won't become invincible, and thus they'll still be vulnerable to other types of damage, such as falling into pits and other environmental hazards. Up to nine bombs can be collected in Contra III.

Speed Up


The Speed Up (looks like a blue crystal or flashing boots) is a power-up which increases speed of the hero's movement for a limited time.