Maybe it’s just due to my desire to step outside of my comfort zone, but for some reason I often find myself gravitating toward guns that don’t fit the established meta of multiplayer games. Games like the ones on this list aren’t exactly well-known for their weapon customization and yet in each case my favorite gun turns out to be something customized in a way that makes it completely unused by the majority of players. So I thought I’d take a moment to argue a case for my favorite guns in some popular horde mode games on Steam.

1. The laser-sighted silenced SMG in Left 4 Dead 2.

Or “lasered sluzi” as I refer to it in common parlance. If I’m not feeling shotgunny, I always grab the sluzi at the beginning of campaigns just in case I spot a laser sight before an AK-47. And if I get that laser sight, I’m not dropping the gun for the entirety of the campaign.

With a laser sight even an SMG can snipe.
Not actually an uzi, I just like the ring of the term.

The lasered sluzi can easily hold its own among the Tier 2 rifles. It deals more DPS than the assault rifle due to its faster rate of fire, meaning that firing ‘semi-automatically’ with light taps on the mouse lets you eliminate most threats from any range. Plus it has the deep ammo reserves of the SMG category, carrying 700 shots instead of the 400 shots for the rifles. That’s not to say its overpowered; it holds its own in the second tier but it certainly doesn’t exceed it. You’ll still need to manipulate its accuracy via crouching/walking, as the laser can only do so much to fix the base weapon’s horrible accuracy, and with the quicker firing speed its still quite possible to run dry without firing restraint. Not to mention the difficulty in obtaining the two prerequisites means that it’s often a rare treat that I get to play with it. But it’s still my favorite gun due to its quirky but effective playstyle.

2. The iron-sighted M308 in Payday: The Heist. 
I’m not breaking any new ground by saying the M308 is my favorite gun in Payday 1. As the combat is more long-range than most horde games, the sniper rifle will always be a popular choice. But if you go to the Upgrade tree and turn off the red dot scope, you can play with the default iron sights, which turns it into more of a hybrid close-range weapon, and I honestly prefer that immensely.

I got the grayscale via color grading in the video options. Not many people know Payday 1 lets you do that.

They take up less of your screen, making  quickscopes easier when your target is closer to your position. The iron sights are also useful when in bright areas, like outdoor streets or daytime maps, though the red dot is far better at nighttime maps like Diamond Heist. So they both serve their place, but most players who just leave the red dot on all the time are putting themselves at a disadvantage. Plus there’s something so badass about sniping with irons, makes you feel like Simo Häyhä.

3. The off-perk Boomstick in Killing Floor 2.
This time the rarity comes not from weapon attachments, but from the class I’m playing when wielding it. And that answer is every class. No matter what my perk is, I usually grab a Boomstick as my backup whenever my primary weapon can’t do the job. It has a massive kick, it’s cheap, it’s lightweight, and you can shoot both barrels with the alt-fire.

The game must know this, as it dropped me a skin for it on my first match since the Zed-conomy update.
The game must know I like it, as it dropped me a skin for it on my first match since the Zed-conomy update.

But the coolest part of the Boomstick is that the alt-fire knocks you back when you fire it. This turns it into a surprisingly nice mobility tool that I often use more than the attack itself. There are a number of ledges you can only reach if you boomstick-jump, and it’s also a great way to launch yourself away from a dangerous enemy while also dealing a potential 300 damage in one shot. It’s got pretty decent ammo conservation as well, but it should probably be reserved as a secondary while you rely on your on-perk primary for generic combat.

I know these guns are all odd and don’t fit the preferred metas of their games, but there’s no harm in giving them a shot. Dead Center is a nice campaign to guarantee a lasered sluzi, and the other games don’t have equip restrictions so just give them a try and see if you found a new playstyle you hadn’t considered before.