Quake3  QL  

Production information


Technical specifications
Damage Per Hit
  • 100 damage per hit
  • 80 damage per hit in Quake Live
Maximum Ammunition
Fire Mode


Ammunition Type

Slugs (green)

Rate of Fire

1 round every 1.5 seconds


Extremely accurate


Extremely long range of 8,192 units


In Quake III Arena and Quake Live multiplayer, the Railgun, or "RG", is a weapon that fires a powerful, high caliber round that has the potential to kill an unarmored target at full health in one hit. The Railgun fires highly-accelerated hot uranium slugs which will pierce through flesh with ease.

There is a significant delay between shots; which is indicated by heat window above the Railgun turning magenta between shots and sounding a recharging noise. When that core part is white, it can be fired again. It should be used as the equivalent of a sniper-rifle, using the standard zoom ability.

In player slang its other name is "winstick" or "instawin". When player scores two consecutive accurate Railgun shots without missing, it will grant a medal to player with the "Impressive!" announce.


  • When using the Railgun, remember the cooldown period between shots. Try to run away while the gun is charging up, because an enemy will definitely notice you when you fire it, if they already haven't. Try not to miss. If you miss and the opponent sees the trail, they'll know someone's over there doing some work. They'll probably pick you out, and either, choke that area with shots or counter-snipe you.
  • Do not set your mouse sensitivity too high when wielding the Railgun, unless you are dead on with it. It will be much harder to actually align the crosshair and land a hit on people at longer distances. Additionally it will make your hit recovery much harder when working with a such precision hit weapon.
  • Setting a good config, may help you about comfort and maintaining the accuracy of Railgun by optimized tweaks. Besides sensitivity, m_accel, m_yaw and m_pitch values must be set throughly for better tracking and flickshots. For flickshotting reliably, most players prefer to shutdown any mouse acceleration while using Railgun. Yet with additional settings like sensitivity cap brought by Quake Live, mouse acceleration can be a viable option with some meticulous configuration.
  • A simple console command "cg_railtrailtime #" defines the lifespan of rail shot trail. While this value is 400 (in milliseconds, translates into 0.4 seconds) by default, some players prefer this to be shorter to not distract them because Railgunners in a crowded match tend to not stay in the same spot for more than half second at all. Some others set that value up to 1100-1300 (ms) to tell when foe's Railgun is ready fire away again so they can attempt a crouch-backpedal tap to dodge or take cover by steering at sides.
  • RG emits a low hum, some kind of abyssal white noise which is audible by other players. Do not wield it when you expect an ambush or baiting attempt where other players can have a clue about your position. Even when walking around slowly, RG's low hum can be clearly heard by others like Lightning Gun's buzzing noise.
  • Use it like a sniper rifle. Just hide within a long distance, listen footsteps and jumps and hit it quietly. Keep important health-armor pickups, high ledges, choke points, narrow sightlines or teleporter exits on your view. Long distance advantage can be used to wear down stacked targets on their restocking route from far ranges, where most of the conventional arsenal can't answer quick enough.
  • It's a definitive answer for counter-playing at duels, that's why it's called "insta-win". Most inexperienced players drop against a good Railgunner instead of positioning better. At high level, Railgun counter-play can be prevented by positioning, dodging, weapon combinations for throttle-fire and listening for the humming by sneaking.
  • Railgun is a great finisher weapon just like Shotgun. The difference is; Railgun works best when your opponent is distant from you or you are about to ambush your opponent on his/her restocking route. If you hit someone with a Railgun mid-battle, they'll -most of the time- be very low on health. So the best choice would be to switch to the Machine Gun to finish your opponent off, rather than attempt to get another clear rail hit. If you missed their track after landing a shot, it'd be safe to presume they retreated for a few seconds to look for standard health pickups rather than going for important items where they'll risk the stack further.
  • High ground. Whatever you do, if you plan to be a sniper in the chaos of the crowded matches; do your work on high ground! If you're below everyone else, people will shoot you to death, outnumber or humiliate you. When all important items are collected from the map, you have nowhere to go but higher floors to evade splash damage. Height advantage will allow you to have somewhere to retreat always by dropping down or taking a behind path.
  • If you're effectively being chased or flushed away, travel low but deliberately seek stairs to climb and retreat, stand near high ledges or teleporters to surprise. As it's defensive to stay high or distanced at open areas, staying below towering ledges to abuse your hitscan capabilities against high targets are equally good.
  • If you're really desperate for kills, as bad as it is to do, stand on the other side of teleporters and shoot anyone who goes through it. Same tactic also applies bouncepads and acceleration pads. Bouncepads make players hover rather slow at the peak point, makes them an easy airborne target. Railgun shots kills the momentum of airborne players flung by acceleration pads, sending them whirling away from their destination, unless they air steer to resist it.
  • Shoot zoomed in. It's hard to shoot an opponent on the move without zoom for an inexperienced eye. However, scoped-in players generally lack awareness to their surroundings, making them easy picks for silent lurking players. Don't try to zoom in for prolonged times without having positioned properly. If someone snuck upon you, your best bet would be doing twitchs and leading the shots in a hurry.
  • Don't even think about using the Railgun in enclosed areas. The Railgun is most effective on open space maps of Tier 6; where you can shoot anywhere. But if you're in a room that's extremely tiny, do not use the Railgun or you won't have a place to retreat at cooldown time even after landing a shot. Avoid using Railgun in small rooms and narrow pits lacking depth or cover, players equipped with automatic weapons can charge and mow you down with ease unless you're highly stocked.
  • Do not use this weapon in close quarters. Its cool-off time makes you very vulnerable to rapid fire weapons or short effective distance arsenal. If you are entering an enclosed space and have the Railgun out, take out another weapon until you're out of the area. Unless you are a real expert and can hit your opponent with the first shot of the Railgun, it's not worth the risk. While it is technically possible to score a kill in close ranges, it requires flawless timing and leading the shot, which can be very difficult to achieve when you run into someone.
  • Railgun requires predicting skills and practice to be effective. Practice on bots at a low skill level at different maps until you get the hang of it. Map knowledge for important pathways, sight of gaps and memorizing item spawn spots immensely help when using RG and reading your opponents.
  • Coordinating elbow-wrist turns depends on distance and your movement flow. Quirky twitches and flicks come with experience and practice. In a general sense you can't go wrong if you compensate your shot for the center mass of moving foes. When running around small flicks may work at the medium distance, yet remember a small twitch will make you miss your target by a large margin at the long range or against a retreating target. Focus on compensating and watching enemy movement and trail of belt area at long distances to track efficiently, then decide if it worths standing for a moment.
  • Use a tactic called Tracing. Use your Machine Gun to "trace/track" the opponent. Once you can easily predict their movements, cease fire for a moment to quickly switch to the Railgun and fire as you predict the next move. This method allows you to get a better hit/miss ratio, as well as allow you to chip away health and weaken foes; allowing you to only use a single slug on the fight.
  • Note that experienced players will switch movement/dodging tactics frequently and position themselves better if they catch on to the tracing strategy. Swap between your fast fire rate and finisher weapon frequently at first contact, keep distance and use Zoom-in function for better target tracking practice.
  • If you're going against somebody that has the Railgun, don't jump towards them directly from medium-long range; keep your distance. Constantly strafe and jump around at direct sights. When you have height advantage go forth and behind, crouch momentarily behind ledges. Abusing one movement pattern too much will get you a steamy punch hole through your guts, so advance between them and try to take cover if you're at the wide open.
  • When trying to counter-snipe someone or awaiting a Railgun camper at long distance, don't forget taking cover or crouch-peeking to surprise them. Stay on the move, crouching when you're already noticed would make you a slower target at the distance, try to strafe in and out of cover with slight backpedal taps if you're sure Railgunner already located you. Remember walking around will allow you to hear the humming sound of Railgun also will not give any audible cues about your own location as well.
  • Try to juggle Railgunner around with Rocket Launcher blasts around ledges. Try to pressure fire at long distances behind a cover with fast firing weapons like Plasma Gun or HMG, for not getting punished for pre-firing or wide array spraying. Combine hit-scan and projectile weapons together to flush out any camping Railgunner from high or even ground positions. When you have height advantage Grenade Launcher can be used to repel low position Railgunner, preventing them from nailing an airshot as you slowly leap from ledges.
  • Since it's damage was a bit too high for an pinpoint accurate sniper compared to other weapons, its damage is lowered at Quake Live for balanced gameplay. While other burst damage weapons have the very same value of 100 damage per hit, they were all projectil based weaponry that have to suffer flight time.
  • Haste or any of Team Arena's constant power-ups namely Ammo-Regen or Scout can speed up the cooldown if you have it.

Advantages Edit

  • Perfect accuracy.
  • Perfect ambush weapon with satisfying damage burst.
  • Hitscan, requires little-to-none leading.
  • Very long range.
  • Effective against hovering airborne targets.
  • Can kill an unarmored target at 100 health or less in one shot in Quake 3.

Disadvantages Edit

  • Skillful hands needed to use at long ranges to compensate.
  • Leaves a visible projectile trail with every shot.
  • Aligning a shot becomes a main issue when suffering attacks.
  • Zooming-in to use it effectively distracts from main game flow.
  • Takes more than a second to charge after each shot.
  • Emits an audible abyssal white noise when wielded.

Trivia Edit

  • Unlike the Q2 counter-part Railgun, Quake 3 Railgun does not have manual cartridge reload but a delay between shots due to overheated core.
  • Emits a low hum just like Lightning Gun and it can be heard by players who are sneaking around.
  • To player's luck, Q3 comes packed with premade config files by developers themselves. Just fiddle around in game files and you'll find a packed group of ".cfg" files that you can run by exec command anytime once you learnt its name.
  • Quake community created guides about making and using configs effectively. They're so easy to access via Steam, and helps about tweaking everything you can find over the game's settings.