"Those things could stop a truck, as long as the recoil didn't dislocate your shoulder."
Damon Baird after discovering Savage Locust using the Retro Lancer

The Mark 1 Lancer Assault Rifle, dubbed the Retro Lancer[3] during the Lambent Pandemic, was the predecessor to the Mark 2 Lancer Assault Rifle.

When the Locust War began, the then outdated Mark 1 Lancer was still in service, but its bayonet and low ammo capacity proved to be less effective against the COG's new enemy. As such, it was soon replaced by the Mark II as the COG's standard issue rifle, and old rifles became a rare sight on the battlefield. However, following the Sinking of Jacinto, when supplies started to become scarce, the Retro Lancer started cropping up in the hands of fighting forces once again. They have even been used by the Savage Drones, both as primary weapons and as the platform for their Multi-Turrets.


"The Mk I Lancer was the standard infantry assault weapon for COG forces during the later decades of the Pendulum Wars, undergoing very few modifications because of its reliability and its tolerance of a wide range of climatic conditions.
Its broad bayonet -- famed for its intimidating effect on UIR forces -- was replaced by an integral chainsaw in the Mk2 Lancer after operational experience against Locust. While the blade-type bayonet was effective against human enemies, it had difficulty penetrating the thick hide of Locust and was prone to snapping. The chainsaw modification, designed by Professor Adam Fenix a year after Emergence, was inspired by Private Tai Kaliso of 26 RTI successfully using a power saw to kill a Locust drone.
While the Mk II Lancer resembles the Mk I externally, an almost complete redesign was necessary to accommodate the cutting chain and drive mechanism.
— From "Small Arms of the Coalition," page 28[4]

Tai Kaliso with the Mark 1 at Aspho Fields.

The original Lancer assault rifle was utilized as the standard-issue assault rifle by Coalition of Ordered Governments forces, introduced in the later years of the Pendulum Wars. Known for its reliability, the rifle was an extremely powerful weapon, able to stop a truck, as Cpl. Damon Baird says, or even bring down a UIR Khimera attack helicopter,[5] but it had a furious recoil caused by the powerful ammunition and very short barrel. The Mark 1 Lancer was used by COG armed forces even past Emergence Day.

However, a year following Emergence Day, COG soldiers found the Lancer that served them faithfully for so many years was now obsolete against the Locust Horde. Being very powerful, there was never any question that it could kill a Locust ballistics wise, but the tough skin of the Locust often deflected the bayonet, or even caused it to snap off. With great force, a Gear can kill a Locust with a running charge to produce enough momentum to puncture the tough hide, and then lifting the victim up after the charge to get the knife to penetrate deep enough to actually kill the Locust. Unfortunately, the Locusts' preference for close-quarters combat magnified the problem, and Gears simply couldn't respond quick enough to violent CQC attacks from Locust troops.

The ineffective knife bayonet, combined with the Lancer's low rate of fire and massive recoil, led to the need to redesign the Lancer assault rifle. Inspired by Gear Tai Kaliso, who improvised the use of a power saw to kill a Locust soldier, Marcus Fenix discussed the idea with his father, Professor Adam Fenix. Soon after, the Mark 2 Lancer Assault Rifle was developed, incorporating more accurate fire, less recoil, a reticule sight and a chainsaw bayonet; the phase out of the old rifle was 90% complete over a year later, and most COG Battalions were outfitted with the new Lancer.


Dominic Santiago firing a Retro Lancer.

Seventeen years later, after the Sinking of Jacinto, the original Lancer re-surfaced. Savage Locust also began scavenging any resource available, including the Retro Lancer, which became a staple weapon among their more common warriors while others became the Savage Locust's improvised turrets. Savage Drones were exclusively armed with Retro Lancers. It also went back into the hands of Gears a few times. Now dubbed the "Retro Lancer", it also became a popular weapon among the Stranded gangs as a defensive weapon, and used to make traps.


"These blades are fucking useless. We need something that actually cuts these assholes..."
— Marcus Fenix
Retro Lancer

A Retro Lancer.

The most crucial, and perhaps the only needed, attachment to the Retro Lancer was the blade-bayonet. As the predecessor to the Chainsaw Bayonet, the blade-bayonet was significantly weaker in comparison to its counterpart's motorized chainsaw but with enough brute force behind a charge, a Retro Lancer user could easily kill an opponent.[6] Despite the inconvenience of the blade-bayonet, the Retro Lancer has more firepower than the Mark 2 Lancer.

The Bayonet can, of course, be detached and used as an all-purpose survival knife for hunting, clearing path through vegetation like a machete, or just a weapon in its own right. The bayonets used to be coated with osmium until the mine was tapped out.

Another attachment was known as the "Gut-Puncher" grenade launcher, which was used to fire individual grenades at a variable distance. The most notable usage of this attachment was during the Battle of Aspho Fields.[5]

Various focal length tactical scopes could also be mounted on the sight rails of the weapon, replacing the standard iron sights of the weapon, as used in the Battle of Aspho Fields by Bernadette Mataki.[5]

Behind the scenesEdit


Concept art for the Gears 3 Mk.1 Lancer.

  • Cliff commented that he brought the original Lancer into Gears of War 3 because of popular demand.
  • At certain Gamestops, it was possible to buy a scale version of the Retro Lancer for about $99.99 (U.S. price). The golden variant was sold in the U.K.
  • In Gears of War 2, the Retro Lancer made a cameo appearance during the opening cutscene of the game. In the scene where Queen Myrrah summarizes the last one-hundred years on Sera, Pendulum Wars soldiers using Retro Lancers appeared.
  • The Retro Lancer's Bayonet Charge and the Lancer's Chainsaw are the only instant execution moves in the game.
  • In the Gears of War 3 Beta, players could unlock a golden weapon skin for the Retro Lancer after playing ninety matches. Killing 100 enemies in the Beta with it would unlock it in the full game.

The old Lancer on the Locust's Multi-Turret.

  • In Gears of War 3, the Retro Lancer is cosmetically different than the one shown in the concept art above. It sports a different knife bayonet, being more straight and clean rather than jagged and dirty, and has a slit running down the top of the knife. The generic shape of the weapon has also been refined more, being a more curved design than earlier iterations of the weapon. The barrel is also quite short in game to make it more suitable towards bayonet charges (a longer barrel as seen above could potentially get stuck inside an opponent, making it more difficult to remove after impaling someone). The back of the gun also features new detailing including worn caution striping as opposed to the metal bars sticking out on the above images. The original Retro Lancer, however, can still be seen in game as part of the traps used by 'Ash Man' in Char and by the NPC Stranded characters in Griffin's Stranded Camp. The old design is also present on the 'weapon shelves' seen throughout the campaign, although picking one up changes it into a standard one. However, the weapon icon at the top of the screen during gameplay still retains the form of the old Retro Lancer design.
  • It is one of the few weapons that could be fitted into the Savage Locust's Multi-Turret, along with the Boomshot Grenade Launcher and the Gnasher Shotgun.
  • While "Retro-charging", the ammo counter will change into a charge bar, showing how much time is left before you automatically stop charging. If the bar is white, you'll only damage them with a melee attack when you hit them. If the bar is red, you will impale them when you hit them.
  • Beware when attempting to "Retro-charge" an opponent, whether you are in front or behind, as the war cry that your character gives out when charging may alert your target, giving them time to maneuver out of the way.
  • Oddly enough in the Campaign, the Retro Lancer doesn't have the heavy recoil that it has in Multiplayer modes. However, when aiming, it still retains the inaccuracy as in Multiplayer.
  • Firing this weapon in short controlled bursts of about 2 to 3 rounds helps to maintain accuracy and full damage to the target.
  • In Gears of War 4, the Retro Lancer now sports an ejection port and a reciprocating charging handle. However, the ejection port is so far back that it makes the weapon functionally impossible, as the bolt would have to cycle out the back of the weapon in order to successfully eject a spent casing.
  • In Gears of War 4's multiplayer, the Retro Lancer is now a secondary pick-up weapon, like the Boltok Pistol, instead of a starting weapon like in Gears of War 3 and Judgment. This was likely because of the introduction of the Enforcer as a starting weapon, which largely behaves like the previous version of the Retro Lancer in terms of spread and kill time. To fulfill its new role more closely, the Retro Lancer was given much higher accuracy than before.
  • Despite being referred to as an assault rifle, its high damage, heavy recoil, and low magazine capacity make it more closely resemble a battle rifle. Its replacement by the Mk 2 Lancer assault rifle also mirrors the large-scale replacement of real world battle rifles by assault rifles in the mid to late 20th century.



  1. Gears of War - Official Site
  3. Gears of War 3
  4. Gears of War 3 Collectible
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Gears of War: Aspho Fields
  6. 6:40-6:55
The Weapons and Equipment of Gears of War

Auto-Turret · Beacon Grenade · Blow Torch · Booshka Grenade Launcher · Brader · Buzzkill · Chain Gun · Chainsaw Bayonet · Combat Knife · Commando Knife · Custom Lancer · Dropshot · Fire Extinguisher · Flechette Guns · Gas Mask · Gnasher Shotgun · Gut-Puncher · GZ18 Markza Sniper Rifle · Hammer of Dawn · Imulsion Countermeasure Weapon · Incendiary Grenade · Lightmass Bomb · Lightmass Missile · Longshot Sniper Rifle · Longspear Rocket Launcher · Machete · Mark 1 Lancer Assault Rifle · Mark 2 Lancer Assault Rifle · Mark 1 Markza Assault Rifle · Molotov Cocktail · Mortar · Mulcher · Musket · MX8 Snub Pistol · One-Shot · Police Lancer Assault Rifle · Rocket Launcher · Sawed-Off Shotgun · Scorcher Flamethrower · Silverback · Smoke Grenade · Stim-Gas Grenade · Stomper · Tripwire Crossbow · Ultra-Violet Turret · Vulcan Gatling Gun


Bolo Grenade · Boltok Pistol · Boom Shield · Boomshot Grenade Launcher · Breechshot · Butcher Cleaver · Digger Launcher · Dual Chainsaw Staff · Elite Sawed-Off Shotgun · Gorgon Submachine Gun · Hammerburst Assault Rifle · Hammerburst II · Ink Grenade · Kryll Grenade · Multi-Turret · Nemacyst · Thumper · Torque Bow · Troika Heavy Machine Gun

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