The Gunners are a violent mercenary outfit, for whom no job is too brutal to undertake. They are widely regarded as no better than common raiders, as they will attack anyone they believe is too weak to defend themselves. As long as it improves their bottom line, everyone's a potential target. As a result, while Gunners claim to be soldiers for hire, they have a well-earned reputation throughout the Commonwealth for being a highly-militarized gang of thugs with combat training considered equivalent to the Brotherhood of Steel, according to Piper Wright. Aggressive and fiercely territorial, Gunners are guaranteed to attack anyone who wanders into an area they've claimed as their own. They are well equipped and well organized, and a group of Gunners almost always includes at least one combat-ready robot.
Perhaps the most heinous crime the Gunners perpetrated was the Quincy Massacre, when they attacked the southern settlement in force. A desperate defense could not withstand their onslaught and the ruined town fell, with it, the Commonwealth Minutemen. Only twenty people made it out of there alive.
Deacon speculates that the Gunners may be following the orders of another party, but to date, nobody has learned who pulls their strings.
Gunners take inspiration from the pre-War United States Armed Forces in their organization, with certain modifications. Their military rank system is lifted largely from the pre-War US Army: Gunners rank from the basic recruit all the way to brigadier. They also tattoo their members on the forehead to distinguish their membership and ensure loyalty. Blood types are also tattooed, to expedite medical care.
In terms of training, the Gunners are one of the most well trained military forces out there, on par with the Brotherhood of Steel, but lacking the corresponding moral fiber. They operate in a strict military fashion, with a well-defined chain of command and procedures for dealing with unforeseen circumstances, such as losing a ranking officer in the field or running operations while off the grid (without radio contact with Gunner command). To improve their power projection capabilities, the Gunners operate a variety of strongholds throughout the Commonwealth, located in strategic spots that are easy to defend. Even temporary camps, such as those established during long range reconnaissance missions, are always set up in a way that makes them difficult to attack.
Low-ranking Gunners are usually limited to the protection offered by simple clothing, accessories and the occasional piece of leather armor. Gunners who have reached the rank of private sport a few pieces of combat armor. Further promotions grant Gunners better-quality pieces of combat armor. Gunners also enjoy a vast arsenal of weapons. Combat rifles and laser rifles are popular choices, and no Gunner would ever be caught relying on a handmade pipe gun, but virtually any projectile weapon weapon has a chance of appearing in a Gunner's hands. Even valuable plasma weapons can be found on high-level Gunners. Batons and rippers are sometimes used, as are fragmentation grenades, Molotov cocktails and a variety of heavy guns.
With all of their assets, the Gunners lack coordination on a strategic level. As a result, Gunners are deadly on a tactical level (as exemplified by the Quincy Massacre), but are unable to take control of the Commonwealth.
As a mercenary outfit, the Gunners will accept any contract, no matter how violent or heinous. As long as the pay is good, they will take it, much like Talon Company in the Capital Wasteland. Despite their lack of scruples, they are one of the top choices when it comes to escorting caravans (Old Man Stockton in particular is fond of hiring these mercenaries) or special orders by wealthy residents of Diamond City, particularly when they entail dealing with dangerous wildlife. They also deal in the securing and extraction of technology, in the form of tech salvage missions.
Gunners do not take prisoners and will kill everyone who gets in their way, likely to score any potential bounties that might be out on their targets. Gunners are also not known to surrender.
Deacon is known to be on their most wanted list, several times under different names.
While they are functionally raiders, Gunners have adopted a military aesthetic and focus on acquiring pre-War military gear whenever possible. Their standard uniform is inspired by pre-War Army fatigues and typically combined with military-grade armor, primarily various types of combat armor, worn with bandanas, sunglasses and military caps. They also utilize Power Armor.
The Gunners have access to at least one functional vertibird. They also appear to have a highly advanced communications network. Like the Commonwealth Minutemen, they appear to be able to coordinate all of their various bases from Gunners plaza. This is evident during the quest Hunter/Hunted.
Gunner corporals are a stronger variant of the low-ranking Gunners. They are usually seen in groups of other Gunners, mainly with other rank-and-file Gunners. They may be armed with automatic 10mm pistols, laser rifles and plasma rifles.
Gunner sergeants will generally be found in the company of privates and conscripts, at moderate levels. They are mostly equipped with energy weapons (plasma and laser), combat armor chest pieces and at least one other combat armor piece. Some can be found with power fists or rippers.
Armored head to toe, these enemies usually act as the final engagement for areas under Gunner control. Not only strong, these opponents rarely go anywhere without at least several strong Gunner sub-types beside them. They can be found inside the HalluciGen, Inc. building and other Gunner strongholds. They will be at least level 38 and can often be found in T-45 power armor without the helmet.
While not in the top echelons of the Gunners, these mercenaries sport heavier armor and attack with melee weapons and plasma weapons. They sometimes work alongside Gunner assaultrons and act as aids for officers above them.
These Gunners are high ranking and appear to be able to run large operations and/or run the Gunner faction (example Captain Wes). Often adorned in sturdy or heavy armor, they usually carry laser/plasma or heavy ballistic weapons (such as assault rifles).
The second strongest Gunner variant in the game. Gunner colonels utilize Stealth Boys, carry plasma and laser rifles/pistols or modded combat and assault rifles as well as a full set of combat armor (with or without the helmet). The only named colonel is Colonel Cypress.
The strongest of the Gunners, they begin spawning at level 94 and use a Stealth Boy when combat is initiated, making fights harder unless they are attacked before it is activated. They wear highly modified heavy combat armor and wield powerful modifications of laser and plasma weapons.
Gunners, in some areas, will not immediately fire on the Sole Survivor, but will appear hostile on the radar; they will instead warn the Sole Survivor to back off. If the Sole Survivor ignores them and approaches, then they will become hostile and attack.
While Wes is the official leader of the Gunners, there are other members of the organization who are of a higher rank than captain, such as Major Jefferies and Colonel Cypress.
Gunners will occasionally attack settlements allied with the Sole Survivor.
Two non-hostile Gunner mercenaries can be found protecting the traders Dreth and Fred O'Connell.
↑Fallout 4 loading screens: "The Gunners are the Commonwealth's most well organized mercenary group. Unscrupulous and highly skilled, they will take any contract... if the price is right."
↑The Sole Survivor: "Never heard of the Gunners. Who are they?" Robert MacCready: "They're one of biggest gangs in the Commonwealth.Got a rep for being crazy... you know, so tightly wound, you'd think they were a cult or something.Stuck with them for a while cause the money was good, but I never fit in. That's why I made a clean break and started flying solo.Now, what about you? How do I know I won't end up with a bullet in my back?" (MacCready's dialogue)
↑Robert MacCready: "Look, pal/lady. If you're preaching about the Atom, or looking for a friend, you've got the wrong guy. If you need a hired gun... then maybe we can talk." The Sole Survivor: Maybe. Why don't you tell me who those guys were first." Robert MacCready: "A couple of morons looking to climb the ladder of success by stepping on everyone else on the way up.You shouldn't be surprised though, that's how it goes when you run with the Gunners." (MacCready's dialogue)
↑Fallout 4 dialogue: "Damn Gunners, they're just raiders with fancier weapons. They'll attack anyone they think is too weak to defend themselves."
↑Robert MacCready: "This should send a message to the Gunners to stay off my back." The Sole Survivor: "You aren't afraid the Gunners will retaliate?" Robert MacCready: "The way these lunatics act, you'd think they would... but I know better.For the Gunners, it's always about the bottom line. They just lost this entire waystation and that cost them big.Besides, they have no way of knowing I was involved. Anyway, I guess I owe you a favor now. After all, you hired me but I'm the one that dragged you out here." (MacCready's dialogue)
↑ 11.011.1Fallout 4 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide Collector's Edition p.36: "GUNNERS Gunners claim to be soldiers for hire, but throughout the Commonwealth, they have a well-earned reputation as being a highly militarized gang of thugs. Aggressive and fiercely territorial, Gunners are guaranteed to attack anyone who wanders into an area they’ve claimed as their own. They’re well equipped and well organized, and a group of Gunners almost always includes at least one combat-ready robot. Gunners can be found in Mass Bay Medical Center, Hub City Auto Wreckers, and many other locations throughout the Commonwealth. Gunner Humans Low-ranking Gunners are usually limited to the protection offered by simple clothing, accessories, and the occasional piece of leather armor. Gunners who have reached the rank of Private sport a few pieces of combat armor. Further promotions grant Gunners better-quality pieces of combat armor. Gunners also enjoy a vast arsenal of weapons. Combat rifles and laser rifles are popular choices—and no Gunner would ever be caught relying on a handmade pipe gun—but virtually any projectile weapon weapon has a chance of appearing in a Gunner’s hands. Even valuable plasma weapons can be found on high-level Gunners. Batons and rippers are sometimes used, as are fragmentation grenades, Molotov cocktails, and a variety of heavy guns. Gunner Robots With the exception of custom paint jobs, Gunner robots are identical to their standard counterparts. When fighting a Mr. Gutsy, check its arms to estimate its offensive capabilities, then attack its eyes and torso. It’s often best to slow an Assaultron by crippling its leg. Simply using your most powerful weapons against a Sentry Bot is usually your best option." (Fallout 4 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide Groups, Gangs, and Factions)
↑The Sole Survivor: "What was the Quincy Massacre?" Preston Garvey: "I thought everyone in the Commonwealth knew about that by now.Where the Minutemen betrayed each other, and the people they were supposed to protect.I was with Colonel Hollis's group. A mercenary group called the Gunners was attacking Quincy; the people there called for the Minutemen to help.We were the only ones that came. The other groups... they just turned their backs. On us, and the folks in Quincy.Only a few of us got out alive. Colonel Hollis was dead. So I ended up in charge of the survivors.We never found a safe place to settle. One disaster after another... you saw how it ended, in Concord." (Preston Garvey's dialogue)