Just like any of the types of guns in Borderlands 3, there are quite a few variations between all the different SMGs. Honestly, it seems like the SMGs this time around got the more unique gimmicks, while every other gun-type only has a few. There are SMGs that fire multiple bullets per shot, ones that switch between elements, ones that shoot long AOE-type threads, and even one that is literally just a flamethrower. There's a lot to choose from when it comes to the Leggo SMGs in Gearbox's newest game, so we're here to break down the best and the worst!
10 Best: The Crossroad
The Crossroad SMG in BL3 is frankly absurd. Honestly, it can even compete against Shotguns in terms of straight-up damage output. All because this Hyperion beast fires 4 bullets at once per "shot". These 4 shots each do a staggering amount of damage, and if all 4 hit, they'll tear through enemies pretty quickly. The one we have is a fire-elemental type and it tears through Goliath and Badass red health bars in 2 shots or less. But, be aware, the 4 bullets it shoots each count as 2 ammo, so it suffers from a small magazine. So, players will be reloading relatively often, unless they're utilizing some choice Moze, FL4K or Amara skills. Still, it's absolutely a must-have on elemental builds, at least in our opinion.
9 Worst: The 9 Volt
Just like how Moxxi describes Killavolt, the 9 volt is a short-lived, ultimately disappointing experience. This weapon can drop anywhere, but has an increased chance to drop from Killavolt, for obvious reasons. It's an SMG, but it shoots 9 pellets at once similar to a shotgun. These "pellets" are always infused with shock damage and have a pretty hefty amount of bullet drop. It's a Dahl weapon, so there's both a burst and full auto fire, but both are equally lame. Basically, its best use is as a weapon to tear down shields, but there are much better options out there for any player thinking this SMG might be worth their time.
8 Best: The Cutsman
We actually didn't realize the power of the Cutsman until halfway through our TVHM playthrough. It's one of the best weapons for any elemental build, especially an Elemental Amara. Basically, the Cutsman is a Maliwan weapon (we know, stay with us) that has a low charge time and high status-effect chance. Its special effect is that it shoots 2 projectiles per bullet that spread out horizontal with a chain of whatever element connecting them. This means that the farther away the target is, the easier they are to hit because the "bullet" essentially just becomes a floating line of damage. But, players will be reloading it quite frequently, so aim for an Anointed version or something.
7 Worst: The Devoted
Now back to how Maliwan weapons usually are, decent but ultimately outclassed. The Devoted is a perfect example of this because there are just so many better options for an SMG with a high fire-rate. Heck, there are even better Maliwan SMG options more useful than the Devoted. This gun has a high fire rate that only increases the closer its magazine is to empty. This also affects Charge time, but players will rarely notice this because they'll spend the entire clip more often than not. And that's about it, the Devoted isn't all too exciting, and its ability doesn't really make it stand out either. All this to say it might work for some players, but most will just throw it in the bank or back on the ground.
6 Best: The Long Musket
Contrasting the boring yet dependable Devoted, the Long Musket is exciting but with varying degrees of success. This Elon Musk inspired SMG really doesn't feel like one, and that might be because it's literally just a flamethrower. It doesn't shoot bullets, rather it spews a constant stream of flame onto enemies. This Tediore gun always has the fire element attached to it and reloading it turns the gun into a devious little fire-puking annoyance for enemies. All-in-all, it's fantastic, but only against red health bars. At least in our experience. But, we were using it primarily in Mayhem, where using the right elements in the correct situations is hyper important.
5 Worst: The Vanquisher
This next gun ends up being a real tragedy for a multitude of reasons. First of all, its name and red text are references to both the cult classic film Fight Club and the niche Platinum game Vanquish. The main character in Vanquish is pro-football star turned Mercenary who travels through most of the game on his booty, sliding along with jet thrusters. So of course, the BL3 version would buff the slide distance/speed. With this gun out, the player's slide is 20% faster, and the fire rate of the Vanquisher is doubled while sliding. Notice that keyword, doubled. That's a pretty big buff. But, players aren't going to be sliding for every single kill, and this special effect is more of a gimmick than something useful.
4 Best: The Night Hawkin
Here's the thing. This gun actually started out on our list of worst weapons. Originally, we did some research on it, managed to nab our own, and found it lackluster. But as it turns out, we just needed to use a level 50 version during the day! Sometimes what we end up loving turns out to be some of the Stranger Things. Eh? Get it. Pretty clever! Anyway, the Night Hawkin just shreds. We don't know why it's so good, it just is. Basically, if it has no element, it'll switch between fire and cryo depending on the time of day in-game. If it does have an element, it'll switch between firing 1 and 3 bullets per shot, which again, is pretty absurd. Still, it's base damage is just absurd, and we're not sure why Gearbox made it so beefy.
3 Worst: The Westergun
We don't know what to expect anymore. It's another Maliwan gun! And this time one that has no charge time, but is in our worst category? Nothing makes sense anymore. It's odd, but we just found ourselves disliking this weapon from the moment we fired it. First of all, it's a reference to a fictional movie inside another movie, Home Alone. Secondly, it has increased splash damage, but we're not particularly looking for that in an SMG! Who knows, maybe this is actually a fantastic weapon on splash-based characters like Moze or something. But for us personally? We couldn't wait to throw it in the bank.
2 Best: The Tsunami
It's funny that Maliwan has been getting so much flak from the fans in Borderlands 3, considering we're featuring their weapons so frequently in this list. But, the Tsunami is worth that recognition. This gun is returning from Borderlands 2, where it was of the Pearlescent rarity, but now it's back as a Legendary. This gun is a random drop gained from the Katagawa Ball boss fight on Skywell 27, and its special effect explains why that is. Katagawa Ball is a heavily armored and shielded boss, and this SMG only ever does Shock or Corrosive damage. In fact, it switches between the two frequently, along with launching its bullets in a diagonal pattern thats sort of similar to the Crossroad. Again, another SMG Elemental-inclined players won't want to miss.
1 Worst: The Destructo Spinner
For a brief time, we were in love with the Destructo Spinner. It was one of our first Legendaries, and as Elemental Amara, we could make use of its dual elements and high charge time. But, after using it for a level or two, we noticed the damage had fallen off exponentially. Yes, this gun has two modes that switch the elemental damage, but that's just a red herring. In any mode, this Spinner alternates between the two bullet types, which is frankly annoying. We didn't want a gun that always fired two elements, we wanted one we could switch between! It just falls flat when doing shock damage to an unshielded opponent or fire damage to a fully shielded enemy.