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The Rivet Gun is a weapon that appears in BioShock, BioShock 2, and BioShock 2 Multiplayer. It is a formidable weapon, capable of delivering large Rivets with great accuracy. Certain Alpha Series such as Subject Delta and Subject Sigma use a prototype of the Rivet Gun, which functions similarly to Jack's Pistol as the basic ranged weapon. The Rosies use a more simplified Rivet Gun, which can be looted when they are killed.


Main article: BioShock
Rivet Gun

A Rivet Gun, as it appears in BioShock.

The Rivet Gun is the main weapon used by the Rosie. This powerful tool fires high-power Rivets at enemies. Because of its massive size and weight, the Rivet Gun cannot be wielded by a human such as Jack. After defeating a Rosie, Jack can search the Rivet Gun for U-Invent components and Money.

BioShock 2[]

Main article: BioShock 2
Rivet Gun Icon

First appearing as the iconic weapon of the Rosie, Subject Delta finds it in the Adonis Luxury Resort, blocking a door. It is the second weapon acquired by the player.

In the single player campaign, Subject Delta is able to fire three different ammunition types. As with all other weapons, he is also able to perform a quick-melee attack by thrusting the Rivet Gun forward at his target, dealing minor physical damage. The player is able to headshot enemies with the Rivet Gun, dealing 300% normal damage against Splicers and Alpha Series. Compared to the Rosie's weapon, Delta's has a much more complex design, and is designed to better suit combat at the cost of its repetitive capabilities.

Power to the People Upgrades[]

Basic Upgrades[]

  • Increased Clip Size

A larger magazine increases the clip size, resulting in 50% more shots before reloading.

This upgrade extends the Rivet Gun's clip to eighteen shots before having to reload, up from the original twelve, and turns the weapon's cylindrical Rivet spool into a rectangular case. This upgrade also allows Subject Delta to carry an additional 24 rounds of regular Rivets, and 12 extra rounds of Trap Rivets and Heavy Rivets.
  • Damage Increase

A higher-pressure firing mechanism provides greater penetration and damage.

This upgrade increases the Rivet Gun's damage output.

Final Upgrade[]

  • Heated Rivets

An internal heating mechanism heats rivets to a white-hot temperature before they are fired.

This upgrade gives each Rivet a chance to ignite an enemy on impact, causing them to take extra damage over time.

Ammunition Types - Rivet Gun[]

  • Rivet - Base ammunition for the Rivet Gun, Rivets do a moderate amount of piercing damage.
Trap Rivet
  • Trap Rivet - Uncommon ammunition for the Rivet Gun, Trap Rivets do a moderate amount of piercing damage. When fired, they will embed in objects and shoot a secondary rivet when an enemy nears. Unused Trap Rivets can be picked up and reused.
Heavy Rivet
  • Heavy Rivet - Rare ammunition for the Rivet Gun, Heavy Rivets do a heavy amount of piercing damage.

Rivet Gun Ammo Capacity[]

Ammo Type Magazine Capacity Carry Capacity
Base Upgraded Base Upgraded
Rivets 12 18 60 72
Heavy Rivets 12 18 24 36
Trap Rivets 12 18 24 36


  • The Rivet Gun's moderate damage output, coupled with the relative commonness of its ammunition, make it a reliable backup weapon.
  • In the early levels of the game, the Rivet Gun can be used both against groups and tough enemies. In the later levels, though, it works better as a versatile sniping weapon, capable of quickly dealing with lone Splicers and Alpha Series.
  • Upgrading the Rivet Gun's damage output allows the player to kill most Splicers in a single headshot with a Rivet in the early levels of the game. Later on, the player may have to switch to Heavy Rivets to achieve the same effect. However, with the Headhunter tonic and a strong enough Research bonus, one headshot can still kill any non-Brute Splicer with normal Rivets, regardless of the player's level and difficulty.
  • On the other hand, upgrading the Rivet Gun's clip capacity allows the player to spam the weapon, increasing effectiveness versus groups and bosses.
  • Trap Rivets, once deployed, detonate when an enemy crosses their line of sight (marked by, but not limited to, the red-orange 'beam' each Rivet projects). The explosive launches the Rivet at the enemy, dealing a moderate amount of piercing damage at practically any range.
  • Trap Rivets will attach to anything a Proximity Mine will stick to, which includes just about any terrain object, and most items capable of being lifted with Telekinesis. The only exception thus far has been doors (they will, however, stick to the door's frame).
  • Trap Rivets fired at an enemy will attach and after a few seconds, set off, effectively setting up an inescapable second Rivet shot. They will not set off against a Big Daddy unless he is already hostile toward the player. If a Splicer passes next to one of the Trap Rivets, however, it will set it off and turn the Big Daddy hostile.
  • Trap Rivets can be laid out on Security Bots friendly and unfriendly alike. This can be used to create 'Shrapnel Grenades', as Trap Rivets function more or less like Proximity Mines.
  • Trap Rivets also gain the ability to set enemies on fire after the final Rivet Gun upgrade is acquired. To maximize effectiveness, place these away from any water source.
  • Once found in sufficient numbers, Heavy Rivets can be used to replace Standard Rivets, as they are superior in every way, though the lower rate of fire requires more precision and is less effective in close quarters combat.
  • Avoid firing Trap Rivets at enemies. If one is to shoot an enemy with the Trap Rivet, it will not do as much damage as a normal Rivet.[citation needed]

Why Specialize?[]

Unlike the original game, it is impossible to fully upgrade every weapon through the course of the campaign. Each upgrade choice will affect the player's experience, and may or may not be suited to their combat style. The following is a brief guide to the strategic advantages and disadvantages associated with this weapon:


  • The Rivet Gun is the most versatile weapon in the game, able to shoot accurately and deal a fair amount of damage with every shot. Additionally, it has the shortest reload time for any ranged weapon in the game.
  • Upgrading the weapon's damage will keep its headshots lethal, even on the harder difficulties and towards the later stages of the game.
  • The Increased Clip Size upgrade will make it more effective against groups, while the Damage Increase upgrade increases its sniping and anti-boss capabilities; allowing the player to "gear" the Rivet Gun to their specific playing style.
  • The Heated Rivets upgrade allows the player to use the weapon as an EVE-free alternative to Incinerate!.
  • Assuming the player has purchased every upgrade, this weapon becomes one of the few in the player's arsenal whose effects can be directly boosted by Gene Tonics.
  • Every type of Rivet can be easily found in the environment and are among the cheapest forms of ammunition, almost guaranteeing the player will never run out.


  • The Rivet Gun's versatility comes at the cost of its power: the Spear Gun is far better at sniping than this weapon, the Machine Gun works better when tackling crowds, and the Grenade Launcher will dispose of tough enemies much faster.
  • In the later levels of the game, the Rivet Gun will struggle against most enemies, requiring four shots to kill a single Splicer (three, if the player has fully upgraded the weapon).
  • The above also means the Rivet Gun will consume ammunition at a much faster rate, severely depleting the player's reserves if they run against a group.
  • To set a target on fire after purchasing the Heated Rivets upgrade, the player needs to shoot the enemy three times in a row in quick succession (Although this can also be achieved with a single headshot).
  • Although effective, any version of Incinerate! beyond level 1 will deal much more damage than igniting someone with the Rivet Gun.
  • Rivets become less and less easy to find in the environment towards the end of the game.


Unlike the Drill, the Rivet Gun is a suitable weapon for any player, regardless of playing style. At the start of the game, it can be used to help determine one's combat preferences, and will remain a useful tool in one's arsenal for almost any situation afterwards. However, its jack-of-all trades status is also its weakness: while it can fulfill many roles in combat, it excels in none. Although a good backup weapon, it is recommended the player specializes in a weapon that fits their playing style first.

Recommended Plasmids[]

  • Decoy will distract enemies, buying precious time to aim for their heads.
  • Winter Blast can totally freeze enemies in place, allowing the player to headshot away with impunity. However, be warned that they will shatter on death, making them unlootable (Unless, of course, the player is using Winter Blast 2 or 3).
  • Electro Bolt can do much the same, but without the issue of shattering the target. The tradeoff is a much shorter window of opportunity, unless the player upgrades the Plasmid.

Recommended Tonics[]

  • Damage Research increases the effect of damage bonuses earned through research.
  • Headhunter increases headshot damage dealt by this weapon.
  • Natural Camouflage is also highly recommended, as it allows the player to line up headshots without being attacked.
  • Walking Inferno will greatly increase the Rivet Gun's fire effect if the player has fully upgraded the weapon.

BioShock 2 Multiplayer[]

Main article: BioShock 2 Multiplayer
B2 Multi RivetGun

The Rivet Gun wielded by the player in BioShock 2 Multiplayer.

Multiplayer Rosies use the mass-production Rivet Gun, and as such only are able to fire standard Rivets. While Big Daddies in the multiplayer will have infinite ammo, it is possible for their weapon to overheat, as noted by the gauge at the bottom left corner. Multiplayer Rosies also have a quick-melee attack, allowing them to swing the Rivet Gun sideways for a high amount of damage and slight knockback. They are also able to throw Proximity Mines, but only carry 6 of them. The Rosie can fire 11 to 12 Rivets in a row before the Rivet Gun will overheat.


  • Although the Rivet Gun has a large crosshair, it's extremely accurate. Every shot fired by the weapon will hit the center of the circle, which can be used to the player's advantage.
  • The Rivet Gun will kill any Splicer in three bodyshots or two headshots. In either case, it's possible to kill every enemy Splicer in the map without overheating the weapon.
  • Avoid firing the weapon at random, as it will quickly lead to overheating.
  • If the Rivet Gun does overheat, remember that Rosies also have Proximity Mines and, if out of those too, the Big Daddy Stomp ability. The latter will stun all nearby Splicers, giving time for the weapon to cool down.
  • The Rivet Gun's quick-melee attack will kill any Splicer in two hits. Firing a shot before meleeing the target will kill the victim even faster.





  •  Icon xbox Icon ps3 In single player, if the player presses the reload button followed by the melee button while executing a melee with the Rivet Gun repeatedly, the melee speed will be increased.

Behind the Scenes[]

  • The Rivet Gun is used by the Rosies to repair Rapture, as Rosies were originally designed to repair the city from the outside in the highly pressurized water before also being trained as protectors when the Alpha Series failed.
  • As seen in the BioShock 2 E3 2009 Demo, Heavy Rivets were originally going to be called "Magnum Rivets".[1]
  • Although the first Rivet Gun the player finds is sitting next to a dead Rosie, it looks completely different compared to the Rivet Guns the latter use. One can compare between the Rivet Gun acquired by Subject Delta and the same weapon used by the Rosie in the multiplayer.
  • There appears to be a long grey hose attached from the bottom of the player's Rivet Gun that extends further past the arm. The attachment may be to the air tank on the player's right.
  • The concept of the Rivet Gun comes from an early design documentation of the original System Shock, where the idea was dropped before any game assets were made. This gun, however, will appear in the remake of System Shock. [2]