Part 4 is ranged hunter's dream come true, featuring the Light Bowgun, Heavy Bowgun and Bow.
We've dealt with all of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate's melee weapons, now it's time to move onto the ranged attackers.
Being a Gunner requires an entirely different set of skills and methods of preparation than the melee-weapon-wielding Blademaster. You can't just start a mission anymore; you're required to craft and create ammunition for your weapons before using them. A Gunner's place during a hunt is far behind the front lines. While your Blademaster cohorts swing away at the giant beasty, you'll be doing everything you can to keep the monster off your hindquarters.
If that doesn't sound like your thing, just hear me out: Gunners make up for a lack of in-your-face action by having the most versatile weaponry in the game. While Blademasters have to craft specific weapons with elements that their next target is weak against, a Gunner only needs to craft shells with the element built in to them. This doesn't mean that you won't have to craft weapons that have the elemental weakness of the monster you're hunting, but Bowguns and the Bow have a greater range of options, allowing you to craft a weapon and use a multitude of elemental shots and shells with different effects for an incredible amount of versatility during a fight.
Pros: Used more as a support gun than its big brother, the Light Bowgun is lighter and easier to use in a fight than the Heavy Bowgun. Withdrawing, reloading and sheathing your weapon are all relatively quick, which means you'll be able to attack, switch your ammo and reload it with ease, allowing for a greater range of attacks. The Light Bowgun also allows for more elemental shells than the Heavy Bowgun and you'll also be able to fire healing shots in order to assist your teammates, as well as the ability to fire shots that will often inflict negative status effects on a monster, further increasing your usefulness during a hunt. The Light Bowgun is also known for its ability to fire multiple shots with a single shell, giving you the most attack with each shot. It is the Swiss Army Knife of the Monster Hunter world.
Cons: This is not the weapon for those who like strong-arming their enemies. While you do have a great deal of versatility, this weapon is more like a submachine gun to the Heavy Bowgun's cannon. Your shots will have more elemental damage, but do less damage over all, focusing more on supporting allies and debuffing enemies over damaging them outright. Great for groups, but not so much during one-on-one hunts.
Pros: This is the bazooka of the Monster Hunter world, allowing for devastating and often explosive attacks against a monster. You can't move particularly fast with this gun, but who cares when you can unleash a hellstorm of bullets onto a poor, unsuspecting wyvern. Focused more on outright damage output than the Light Bowgun, the Heavy Bowgun is a ranged weapon for those who love watching things explode.
Cons: The big problem with this gun is its overall speed. Everything that is simple and quick with the Light Bowgun is cumbersome and slow with the Heavy Bowgun. Reloading takes times, sheathing and unsheathing it is a pain and firing shots isn't nearly as fast as it is with its lighter counterpart. You'll do a lot more damage, but you won't have the same elemental options, nor will you have as many possibilities for buffs and debuffs of your friends and enemies. A gun for those who love doing direct damage, but its speed and lack of shells options make it more a weapon for those with a Rambo complex.
Pros: The most mobile of the ranged weapons and likely the most versatile weapon in the game, the Bow is all about attacking with pinpoint precision while still being able to escape the wrath of raging monster. This weapon will allow users to hone in on the individual body parts of a monster giving you the opportunity to attack its weakpoints for maximum damage. While the Light and Heavy Bowgun have to rely on how much ammunition they bring to battle, the Bow's ammo is unlimited, focusing instead on different types of coating to do debuffs on a monster and add extra damage. Whipping out the Bow, firing and then sheathing it again is not an issue and reloads are non-existent. Charging your shot will also allow you to unleash a rain of arrows onto your prey.
Cons: The Bow may be fast, diverse and excellent for tacticians, but it is anything but a beginner weapon. Because of its pinpoint accuracy, the Bow requires its user to know the monster he/she is fighting incredibly well. Your shots won't mean much if you don't know where, when and how to hit a monster. You'll also need to be very aware of what a monster's elemental weaknesses are like a dentist knows teeth. Not all monsters have one base weakness; some have multiple weaknesses depending on what part of the body you're hitting. The Bow is one of the most complicated weapons in that game and is only for skilled players. If you don't fancy yourself to be a scholar of all things Monster Hunter then do yourself a favor and stay away from this one until you've gained more experience.
And that concludes theTools of the Trade series for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. I hope this will help you make your decision when the time comes to choose a weapon and I'll see you all on the field.