Duke Nukem Wiki
For the Duke Nukem Forever weapon, see M1911 Pistol.

The Pistol is a weapon in Duke Nukem 3D and its many ports and expansions. Except for Death Row, the player begins every level of the game with it.

The Pistol is graphically redesigned and renamed the Water Pistol in Duke Caribbean: Life's A Beach.


The Pistol is a dark grey handgun, mostly resembling a Glock 26. It is invariably the first weapon the player will use/find in each game.

The Pistol has a high rate of fire, but each of its magazines only hold 12 rounds, meaning it needs to be reloaded, which takes time. It also has a high accuracy and can be used to shoot switch buttons in the game.

Even though they do not use Pistols, Assault Troopers and Assault Captains will occasionally drop ammo for the Pistol when they are killed. They are known to be 9mm PAK.

Tips and tricks[]

  • Duke starts with 48 bullets, the same as a new picked-up pistol (Not a magazine).
  • The Pistol is very accurate, which makes it perfect for shooting buttons at a distance, as well as firing at enemies from a long distance when Duke does not wish to expend rare ammunition of other guns.
  • If you want to shoot an enemy in front of you without hurting the other ones, the Shrinker proves best, but the Pistol is a good secondary option for this.
  • As the first weapon that Duke will have, due to lots of ammo being available and Duke likely preferring to use stronger weapons, the Pistol will almost always have lots of ammo, in case it is ever needed as a backup.
  • Due to the availability of ammo, and Duke almost always having the Pistol, if the Duke comes across a situation in which he overmatches his opponent heavily, and is confident that he can avoid being damaged (either through cover, or a large distance between Duke and the enemy to dodge their fire), or if the enemy is Frozen or does not see Duke, it could be a useful tactic to use up ammunition for the Pistol so that you might conserve other ammo for when it is needed
  • The Pistol reloads when the ammo count is a multiple of 12. Individual magazine ammo counts do not exist, so it is not possible to be carrying around multiple magazines with a couple of rounds in each of them. Any magazines not in the Pistol will have 12 rounds in them.
  • If you know Duke only has a couple of rounds left before he needs to reload the Pistol, it may be wise to waste them before going into battle, so that he won't be forced to reload (which takes valuable time) almost as soon as Duke encounters an enemy.

Development history[]

The Pistol first appeared in the December 1994 prototype, LameDuke, where it was very similar to the final game. However, the LameDuke Pistol had a laser sight, which was removed in the final game.

According to Richard "TerminX" Gobeille, who was given an archive of Duke Nukem 3D development data, the Pistol was once planned to fire bullets that could "bounce off ceilings and floors." Writing in the Duke4 Discord channel on March 7, 2021, Gobeille said he learned this from a text file created by the developers in 1995.


  • Strangely, the Pistol maximum ammunition amount (200) is not a multiple of each magazine amount (12). In Duke Nukem 64, it has been changed to 192. The DN64 pistol can also use more powerful Dum Dum rounds.
  • The game has an unused ammo for Pistol (48/AMMOLOTS) which adds 48 of ammo to the player. The same quote as the ammo magazine is used. There is no present graphic image for the tile.
  • In Duke Nukem 3D, the pistol resembles a Glock 26. In Duke Nukem 64, it resembles a Browning Hi-Power pistol. In Duke Nukem: Time to Kill and Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, the pistol is a golden Desert Eagle. A possibility is that Duke's pistol is actually a Hi-Point C9 9mm firearm.
  • Some of Duke's pistols have a pistol laser mount for better accuracy/or used as crosshair in the games.
  • In Duke Caribbean: Life's A Beach the Pistol is replaced with a water pistol.


See also[]

Duke Nukem 3D
Episodes L.A. MeltdownLunar ApocalypseShrapnel CityThe BirthAlien World Order
Weapons Mighty FootPistolShotgunChaingun CannonRPGPipe BombShrinkerExpanderDevastatorLaser TripbombFreezethrowerIncinerator
Items Access CardsHealth ItemsHolodukeJetpackNight Vision GogglesPortable MedkitProtective BootsScuba GearSteroids
Enemies Assault CaptainAssault CommanderAssault TrooperBattlelord SentryCycloid SentryEnforcerFirefly TrooperOctabrainOverlord SentryPig CopPig Cop TankProtector DroneProtozoid SlimerRecon Patrol VehicleSentry DroneSharkTurret
Bosses BattlelordOverlordCycloid EmperorAlien QueenCycloid Incinerator
Editions ClassicSharewareAtomic Edition (Plutonium PAK)Megaton Edition20th Anniversary World Tour
Expansions Duke AssaultDuke Caribbean: Life's A BeachDuke It Out In D.C.Duke Nukem 3D Level Design HandbookDuke Nukem's Penthouse ParadiseDuke XtremeDuke: Nuclear WinterDuke!ZONEDuke!ZONE 150Duke!ZONE IIUnofficial Expansions
Community High Resolution PackMods & Total ConversionsSource PortsSpeedrunningUser Maps
Other Build EngineCheat CodesDifficultyDuke Nukem (character)MultiplayerMusicPortsPrototypesQuotesScrapped Content
Episodes Mrr CaliberMission CockroachSuck HoleHard Landing
Items HolodukeJetpackOxygen TankShieldSix-PackSoda CanSteroids
Weapons TazerPistolPlasma CannonPipe BombRPGSonic Resonator
Enemies BatCaptainDroneDrone 2FemanoidJellyfishMandroidProtozoid SlimerSharkTrooperTurret