This article is about the unit. For the technology, see Hand Cannon.
"Powerful close attack; inaccurate at range."
Age of Empires II description

The Hand Cannoneer is a gunpowder unit in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Archery Range once the Imperial Age is reached and Chemistry is researched. It has a powerful attack, but low hit points and low accuracy at range.

Unit availability
Available Unavailable

The * indicates that the civilization can fully upgrade their Hand Cannoneers, i.e. gets Ring Archer Armor. Faith and Heresy are not taken into account because they only contribute to their combat strength in a very situational manner.

The ^ indicates that the civilization has at least one civilization or team bonus or a unique technology that benefits the combat strength of the Hand Cannoneer.

Tactics Edit

Handcannon walkanim aoe2de
Hand Cannoneers have a powerful attack but have a slow firing rate, and their shots fly off in random directions (within radial proximity to the vector leading to their target), so their accuracy at long range is poor. They do +10 bonus damage against all infantry except Condottiero and another +1 against Spearmen, and their accuracy is less of a problem against the larger cavalry, making them deadly at close range. If maneuvered properly, Hand Cannoneers may also take down siege weapons with great efficiency.

Hand Cannoneers are treated to be archers (even though they use firearms) in the damage calculation, so Skirmishers and Huskarls have attack bonuses against them, and Huskarls also have a high defensive bonus against their piercing damage. They are of course also gunpowder units, giving Condottieri an attack bonus against them as well. Being foot units, they are also vulnerable to Mangonels and Scorpions, and they perform poorly against towers and Castles.

Further statistics Edit

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Infantry
Weak vs. Skirmishers, Scorpions, Onagers, heavy cavalry, Huskarls, Condottieri
Range Unique-tech-imperial Shatagni (+1, Indians only)
Accuracy Unique-tech-imperial Arquebus (hit moving targets, Portuguese only)
Armor Paddedarcherarmor Padded Archer Armor (+1/+1)
Leatherarcherarmor Leather Archer Armor (+1/+1)
Ringarcherarmor Ring Archer Armor (+1/+2)
Conversion defense Faith Faith
Heresy Heresy
Creation speed Conscription Conscription (+33%)

Civilization bonuses Edit

  • Italians: Hand Cannoneers are 20% cheaper.
  • Portuguese: Hand Cannoneers cost 20% less gold.
  • Spanish: Blacksmith upgrades that benefit Hand Cannoneers don't cost gold. Hand Cannoneers fire 17.6% faster.
  • Tatars: Hand Cannoneers deal 50% bonus damage from cliffs and elevations.
  • Turks: Hand Cannoneers have +25% HP. Chemistry is free.

Team bonuses Edit

Changelog Edit

The Age of Kings Edit

  • Hand Cannon needs to be researched in order to train Hand Cannoneers.
  • Hand Cannoneers have an accuracy of 55%.
  • Hand Cannoneers have an attack bonus of +8 against infantry.
  • Turks: Hand Cannoneers have +50% HP.

The Conquerors Edit

  • Hand Cannon was removed from the game, and Hand Cannoneers become available as soon as Chemistry is researched.
  • Hand Cannoneers now have an accuracy of 65%.
  • Hand Cannoneers now have an attack bonus of +10 against infantry.
  • Hand Cannoneers receive an attack bonus of +1 against Spearmen.
  • Hand Cannoneers receive an attack bonus of +2 against Rams.
  • Heresy introduced.
  • Turks: Hand Cannoneers now have +25% HP.

The Forgotten Edit

  • Italians: Hand Cannoneers are 15% cheaper.

The African Kingdoms Edit

  • Italians: With patch 4.8, Hand Cannoneers are now 20% cheaper.

Trivia Edit

  • Despite the fact that the Chinese were the first civilization to invent the hand cannon, they do not have access to Hand Cannoneers. This is most likely for balance purposes as their unique unit, unique technology, and their access to various long range siege weapons and technologies allows the Chinese to excel at long range sieging.
  • Every civilization (except the Japanese, Khmer, and Tatars) that has access to the Hand Cannoneer also has access to Bombard Cannon.
  • Since patch 4.8 of The African Kingdoms, the Franks are the only civilization to not have fully upgraded Hand Cannoneers, lacking Ring Archer Armor. In The Forgotten, the Indians also missed Ring Archer Armor, although their Hand Cannoneers get +1 range from Shatagni, and before patch 4.8, the Berbers also lacked Ring Archer Armor.
  • During the beta, Bulgarians had access to Hand Cannoneers.

History Edit

"Following the development of cannons, small hand-operated gunpowder weapons began appearing in Europe in the fourteenth century. These early firearms were small iron tubes mounted on a wooden stock. They were inaccurate and slow to load. In the early fifteenth century the hand cannon was made smaller, the stock was redesigned so it could be held against the chest, and a mechanism was added for inserting the slow-burning match into the chamber. This weapon was effective only in volleys at close range. In the middle of the fifteenth century the first recognizably modern firearm, the arquebus, was developed. This employed a wheel lock to bring the slow match in contact with a powder pan connected by a tube to the chamber. Lead and cast iron balls fired from the arquebus were lethal. Firearms of the Middle Ages had an inferior range and rate of fire in comparison to the best bows and crossbows. Firearms improved gradually, however, and became more and more popular, despite their high cost. They became status symbols. Important lords engaged in an arms race, attempting to field more firearms of more modern design than their competitors."

Gallery Edit

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