Gun controllers are seeing a bit of a renaissance these days thanks to VR gaming, where players are searching for a gun design to make their VR shooter encounters feel a bit more authentic. However, there are also plenty of gun controllers that can support more traditional PC gaming, especially if you happen to have a Wii remote handy.
Here are gun controller options for a variety of situations, including popular VR headsets, PC gaming, and even for setting up a PC arcade-style gaming station!
Also, be sure to check out our recommendations for VR-ready laptops.
These clever dual guns are specifically designed for the Oculus Quest 2: Quest 2 controllers are required, and fit into the controllers to give them their capabilities (and a bit of extra weight helps with the realism). The three-piece design uses a basic friction lock to place or remove Oculus controllers and keep them locked in while playing. Players get full button access, and the finger indentations on the grips help a bit with positioning and comfort. These guns come in black, too!
Of course, being specifically designed for the Oculus Quest 2 means they aren’t a good fit for other VR headset brands, so we wouldn’t advise getting them unless you have an Oculus model.
The secret of the Wii controller is that you can quickly set it up to act as your cursor on a PC, enabling it to function for a wide variety of FPS games. The next step is to get a gun frame for the controller — and this is one of the best, a set of two durable handgun-style frames that still allow access to all important buttons. The design is ergonomic and pleasantly devoted to detail, including a remote slide lock to keep the Wiimote in place while people are playing.
Of course, the downside is that you actually need to have a Wii remote, preferably the MotionPlus, for the whole setup to work. We’ll also point out that many PCs struggle to automatically recognize the Wiimote as a mouse replacement, so you may need to go through the brief Bluetooth connection process every time you use it. But if you already have a Wii or don’t mind buying a used controller, this is a very cost-effective option for you!
The one-handed design is fine for wielding pistols, but if you have a larger firearm in mind it’s not exactly the experience you want. Enter the Zapper, which is basically the same idea but with a two-handed design that’s much more fitting for playing with a rifle and allows you to combine the use of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers at the same time if you want (PCs may be a bit confused by this setup, but again people have developed workarounds if you don’t mind getting a bit more involved).
Speaking of controllers that mimic a rifle stock more reliably, here’s a version specifically designed for wielding a rifle in a VR setting — and it’s certainly no slouch. The carbon-fiber design is extra durable and lightweight, and it uses magnets to help lock in Oculus Rift S/Quest/other compatible controllers and keep them safe. It also comes with a nylon strap that serves as a two-point sling for easier handling, which also means you don’t have to set the rifle frame down when you are busy handling other details.
If you have an HTC headset, there’s no need to feel left out: This simple pistol frame is a durable model designed to work with the HRC Vive Tracker — and even provides some haptic feedback for effective gameplay. While this is a great setup for older Vive models, you may be wondering how it works with the Vive Cosmos. Fortunately, while the Cosmos models do use an inside-out tracking system, the Hyper Blaster also is compatible with SteamVr tracking and should be able to support older forms of play when set up correctly.
You may not be interested in VR or have easy access to something like a Wiimote, but you still have options! This gun frame is designed to work with mobile games, but as long as you have Bluetooth and a monitor, it should fit your PC just fine, too … and it can function as a full controller! It includes a trigger button, onboard joystick, four action buttons, a slide-back mechanism for the reloading function (you’ll have to do some key-remapping to get this set up, but that’s part of the fun), and vibrational feedback. There’s a side accessory with a joystick to turn it into more of a gun/controller hybrid, but it’s not necessary if you’d rather leave it unattached. We also like the softer grip materials and soft that are conducive to long playing sessions when you’re in the zone.
If you have ambitious plans, this AimTrack light gun may be more what you have in mind. It comes with an infrared sensor bar and can fully emulate a USB mouse or game controller depending on your activities. It’s a good choice if you want a traditional, arcade-like experience and aren’t afraid to reposition and calibrate until you get things just right.
Two factors to note here: First, the gun uses USB 2.0, which is a bit dated now and not all PCs will have USB 2.0 ports. USB-A is, generally, backward compatible, but for something like USB-C, you’ll need to get an adapter, which will impact performance. Second, the infrared sensor bar that comes with the model can be replaced by other infrared sensor bars if you are looking for a sensor that works differently but still want to use the gun itself.
- The best 8K TVs for 2021
- The best Roomba robots for 2021
- Dell slashes gaming laptop prices across the board today
- The best security camera systems for small businesses
- The best wireless routers for 2021