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BSI Weapons 12

The PADDYWHACKER: A revolver with immense stopping power.
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The Paddywhacker, known in-game as the Hand Cannon, is a top-break pistol based on the 1851 Colt Navy percussion cap revolver and can be used by Booker DeWitt in BioShock Infinite and Burial at Sea - Episode 1, and by Elizabeth in Burial at Sea - Episode 2. It is an accurate and rather powerful firearm, strong enough to kill certain enemies with a single shot and even decapitate them entirely.

The revolver is first seen in the Heavy Hitters Part 1: Motorized Patriots trailer when Booker encounters a Motorized Patriot. In the final game, the Hand Cannon can be first acquired when meeting up with Mr. Flambeau at Finkton Proper.


The revolver's cylinder holds six cartridges, and is single action. At most, the revolver can fire up to 75 rounds per minute, however Booker is limited to 24 total rounds, or four cylinders. The player first encounters the Hand Cannon immediately before entering the Plaza of Zeal the first time. From this point on, it is a relatively common weapon, though it is not used regularly by most enemies. Its primary drawbacks are its heavy recoil and slow firing rate; however, these disadvantages are offset by its extreme stopping power, comparable to the Bird's Eye or China Broom. Unlike those weapons, the Hand Cannon remains highly effective in mid-range combat, and is capable of killing most of the non-Heavy Hitters in one headshot, including in Hard mode. When taking on Heavy Hitters such as the Handyman, with the Hand Cannon's slow rate of fire, it is recommended to use Vigors that stun the opponent. Murder of Crows, Shock Jockey, or Undertow, allow the player to line up critical shots with minimal risk of retaliation. When using this gun with the Shock Jockey Vigor, you can have a clear headshot while the enemy is stunned, making it a great combination.

BSI Weapons 12


  • High damage dealt
  • High accuracy
  • Critical damage
  • Damage increased with Head Master
  • Effective in close to mid-range combat
  • Relatively common
  • Extreme stopping power
  • Quick reload time
  • Quick Handed decreases reload time even further
  • Effective against Heavy Hitters (such as Handymen)


  • Heavy recoil (though it can be reduced)
  • Slow rate of fire
  • Small magazine size
  • Ammo becomes scarce in the last quarter of the game

Burial at Sea - Episode 1[]

Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 1

In Episode 1 of Burial at Sea, Booker starts out in Fontaine's Department Store with a Rapture Hand Cannon with only three bullets in the cylinder.

Burial at Sea - Episode 2[]

Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 2

Elizabeth's first opportunity to get the Hand Cannon is by knocking out a female Splicer in Ryan the Lion Preparatory Academy's cafeteria, who wields the gun. If not from her, the player can find another Hand Cannon on a desk in the Faculty Area area of the same Academy. However, the Hand Cannon will not be available for the player if one plays on 1998 Mode. The reload animation for the Hand Cannon looks different and is a bit slower due to Elizabeth's inexperience with weapons.


Concept, Pre-Launch, and Promotional Images[]


Behind the Scenes[]

  • Whether reloaded mid-magazine, or reloaded early, the Hand Cannon appears to have one round left in the chamber when reloaded.
  • An image in the gallery above depicts a pre-release Hand Cannon that was originally intended to be a solid frame revolver with a swing-out magazine. The final version found in BioShock Infinite, used by Booker, Founders and Vox alike, is instead a break-action revolver.
    • A manual ejection rod can still be seen situated under the barrel of the Hand Cannon despite it being a break action. This is most likely left over from when the weapon had a swing out cylinder.
  • While based on a percussion cap pistol where one replaced the cylinder to reload quickly, the Hand Cannon is reloaded by inserting the rounds with a speed loader.
  • Once the weapon is first obtained in Finkton, Handcannon ammo becomes a relatively common pickup up until the player makes their way to Comstock House, where it becomes considerably more scarce.
  • Concept art from Mauricio Tejerina featured on the BioShock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia board game shows the picture of an unused Vox modified Hand Cannon, which featured a different looking and cruder revolving cylinder, as well as red pieces of cloth attached around the grip and barrel.[2]
  • The first armed Early Splicers encountered in Burial at Sea - Episode 1 and Episode 2 use the Hand Cannon.
    • The Hand Cannon looks grossly oversized in the hands of Female Splicers in Episode 1, but is inexplicably changed in Episode 2 to be the size of a normal Rapture pistol.
  • The Achievement/Trophy Loose Cannon requires 25 kills with the Hand Cannon to unlock.
  • If the player waits to pick up the Hand Cannon until they reach Columbia in Burial at Sea - Episode 2, it will still have the appearance of the Rapture variant.
  • Daisy Fitzroy's corpse wields a hand-cannon in Burial at Sea - Episode 2, this is an oversight, as in the main-game, the player obtains a pistol


  1. Detailed list of weapon and boss hp and damage stats from Gamespot
  2. Back cover of The Siege of Columbia board game.