7 of the best gunners in Square Enix games

We take a look at some of our favorite gunslinging heroes, from swashbuckling leading men to former Shinra employees.
By Duncan Heaney

We’ve celebrated everything from spell-slingin’ black mages to sword-swingin’ warriors, but there’s one type of RPG hero that hasn’t had their time in the spotlight: the type that uses a firearm.

Whether you call them machinists, gunners or something else, their eagle eyes, pinpoint accuracy and sense of style make them a blast. Let’s take a look at just seven of our favorites:

Irvine - FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered


Irvine seems to be the consummate sharpshooter - cool, suave and utterly composed. He presents himself as a ladies’ man, constantly attempting to woo the women in the party, to various degrees of failure.

However, as you discover through the game, much of this is a front. Despite operating as a sniper - a traditionally solitary role - and his lighthearted persona, Irvine craves companionship and cares deeply for his friends.

He’s thoughtful and surprisingly sensitive - when the pressure’s on him to take out a dangerous sorceress, he chokes. It’s only thanks to Squall’s support that he finds the resolve to pull the trigger and fulfil his duty.

Ultimately, he’s a valued member of the team, both in and out of combat. And certainly the most stylish - few people rock a hat quite so well.


Jack Garland

Jack Garland may be a versatile fighter, able to use many types of weapons, but firearms are not one of them. So for once, Jack doesn’t make the cut for this list.

…what’s that? The third additional mission in the Season Pass, DIFFERENT FUTURE, adds them as a weapon type along with three associated gunslingin’ jobs?

Wow! He really is a Jack of all trades!



After the events of FINAL FANTASY X, the world of Spira is forever changed… and so are its residents.

That’s especially apparent in Yuna - once this Summoner was weighed down by the burden of responsibility, and the expectation that she would suppress the threat of Sin. But now that the murderously moist menace is no longer a factor, she’s free to pursue her own goals in her own way.

And she does so in spectacular style! She explodes into the game with a new attitude, a new career as a sphere hunter and two powerful handguns – you could even get a real life PS2 controller based on these weapons!

It brings to mind 1,000 words, and all of them are variations of ‘awesome’.



This mercenary is quiet, reserved and quite lethal with a gun. And yet, like most things in the beautifully fleshed-out world of HARVESTELLA, there’s much more to him than meets the eye.

Once he accepts a job, he’ll go to any ends to take it to completion. That’s to your benefit when you hire him during your investigations into the deadly season known as Quietus. Despite his hefty fee - he costs more than a few carrop harvests - once he joins the team, he’s a steadfast ally who you’ll come to rely on.

And as the story progresses, you’ll peel back the layers of his personality, discover the tragic past that drives him, and even potentially bring him back from the edge of darkness. By the end, you may even call him… friend.

Merlwyb Bloefhiswyn - FINAL FANTASY XIV

Merlwyb Bloefhiswyn

You can’t accuse Merlwyb of being an underachiever.

This former pirate has risen to become leader of the Maelstrom, one of the three Grand Companies of Eorzea. Despite her swashbuckling past, she’s grown into a strong leader, who guides the city-state of Limsa Lominsa with a firm hand.

Too firm, some pirates may argue, as her restrictions have gone a long way to curtailing their activities. However, with the reemerging threat of the Garlean Empire, and the threat of the primals, her attempts to maintain a tentative peace with other nations prove to be most prudent.

While she spends much of her time playing politics, she’s equally impressive when it’s time for direct action. Be it a duel or the field of combat, her two beloved muskets, Death Penalty and Annihilator, are all she needs to get the job done.



We go from a pirate of the sea to one of the sky!

Balthier’s a true swashbuckler, sailing the skies of Ivalice with skill and style - if he does say so himself. He’s often seen wielding a gun, and this was his starting weapon in the original release of FINAL FANTASY XII, and his weapon of choice in the Nintendo DS sequel FINAL FANTASY XII: REVENANT WINGS.

Things changed a little with the introduction of the Zodiac job system used in later releases of the game, including FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE. This lets you assign characters whatever job you like, so you can choose to make Balthier something other than a gun-toting Machinist if you were so inclined.

Even so, his legacy with the weapon means he will always be identified with it. Plus we couldn’t exactly leave him off the list, could we? He’s the leading man!


Vincent Valentine Limit Break

Vincent’s not the only gun-user in FINAL FANTASY VII. Barret’s pretty heavily armed too and we mean that literally.

However, while Barret can also make use of select melee weapons, the marvelous Mr. Valentine sticks to using firearms. This makes him a useful addition to any party - able to lurk in the back row and fire shots off from a safer distance.

Vincent is such an integral part of the FINAL FANTASY VII series that it’s easy to forget that many players missed him the first time they played. In the original game, he’s an optional character - an enigmatic figure found sleeping in the depths of the Shinra mansion.

Despite that, he’s featured prominently in the movie FINAL FANTASY VII ADVENT CHILDREN and even took the lead in his own game: DIRGE OF CERBERUS FINAL FANTASY VII. It’s easy to see why he’s so beloved - between his awesome design, cool as ice persona and skill with a gun, he’s one of the most stylish characters in the whole series.

Yes, he may occasionally reach his Limit and turn into a rampaging new fiendish form, but hey - we all have bad days.

Those were just a few of the gun totin’ heroes we love in Square Enix games, but we’re sure you have some picks of your own. Let us know on social media: