The Gun Show

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Check out this gun!

Zarya’s particle cannon is a badass weapon.  It generates shields for Zarya and her allies, and becomes more powerful as it absorbs the energy of their opponents’ attacks.  Obviously, this weapon is a bit far-fetched for our currently level of technology, but we can take a look at what sort of directed-energy weapons are being developed and implemented right now, and what the future might hold!

Microwave Guns

These non-lethal beasties will cook you alive!  Well, not really, but they’ll make you feel like you are.  Currently they’re being tested and developed for use on unruly crowds, riots, and other mass situations where one might currently employ water cannons or tear gas.  They emit microwaves (similar to what you use to heat your food,) in a frequency designed to make it feel like you’re burning, but not actually burn you.  They’re supposed to be a safer, less damaging method of crowd dispersal, however there are some concerns that they may damage the eyes of the targets.

Laser Weaponry

Laser weapons of various sizes and shapes are currently being developed for attachment to large vehicles, such as ships and large airplanes.  They’re meant for interception, disabling, and destroying other vehicles, and they can be huge.  Most models are still in the testing phase, however some are reportedly ready for deployment, including the XN-1 LaWS.  Handheld laser cannons are still a long way away, due to large power requirements and challenges related to miniaturizing the hardware involved.

Plasma Guns

Plasma based weaponry most closely resembles what we see Zarya use in Overwatch.  Unfortunately, it’s also probably the furthest out for development, with little or no known research being directed at the technology right now.  The problem with plasma weapons has to do with the massive amount of power required, and the difficulty in controlling and projecting the plasma once it’s created.  We may see these one day, but for now your best chance of playing with plasma is hopping into a game with Zarya.

Become the Tank

In addition to a badass gun, Zarya also packs some sweet body armor.  That makes sense, of course, since she has to be able to absorb punishment even when she doesn’t have her shields up.  We talked a bit about body armor waaaaay back in How to Build Your Own Powersuit, but we haven’t touched on it much since then, so I figured now would be a good time to delve into the different levels and ballistic classifications of body armor according to the NIJ Standards.

Level II-A

The lowest level of available protection, II-A will stop some handgun rounds, no rifle rounds, and is considered the minimum level of protection out there.

Level II

Level II body armor will protect against everything the II-A armor will, as well as 9mm full metal jacket rounds and .357 Magnum short barrel handgun rounds.  This level is considered minimum protection from all short and snub-barreled rounds, however there are some exceptions, and it will not protect against most long-barreled handgun ammunition, or any rifle ammunition.

Level III-A

Level III-A handles everything II does, as well as long-barreled full metal jacket handgun rounds.  It is not tested to stop any rifle rounds.

Level III

Level III armor contains hard ceramic plates in addition to the flexible Kevlar vest.  This enables it to stop basically everything including 7.62 full metal jacket rifle rounds.  It will not, however, stop armor-piercing rifle rounds.

Level IV

The highest level of ballistic protection tested for under the NIJ standards, level IV protects against everything the other levels do, including .30 caliber armor-piercing rifle rounds.


No vest is completely bullet proof.  There’s a reason body armor is classified as bullet resistant not bullet proof.  Additionally, once a vest sustains damage, it’s compromised.  It’s less and less likely to resist penetration with every shot it takes.  Unfortunately, we’re not in the era of full bulletproof armor…yet…

Strong as the mountain!

So you want to compete in a strongman competition, eh?  Awesome!  Hopefully you’ve been following along with the Zarya Workout to get yourself prepped!  Strongman competitions are awesome to watch, and from what I hear, participate in (though I don’t have any personal experience in that myself, yet.)  For starters, you need to register and find a competition to compete in.  Check out for sanctioned events in North America.

Next, you need to find an event to train for.  First off, let me say this:  If you’re not deadlifting at least two times your bodyweight, and squatting as much, you’re probably not ready for a strongman competition.  Keep training, killer, you’ll get there soon!  However, if you’re starting to hit these kinds of numbers, then you should take a look at the events page on NA Strongman and pick something you can make it to, at least twelve weeks from now.  You want to give yourself time to prep.

Finally, it’s time to train!  Find out as best you can what lifts and challenges are going to be at your event, and start training for them.  Look for a strongman gym where you can go drop in for at least a day to try out equipment and maybe get some advice.  Barring that, there’s lots of tutorials online for how to make your own strongman equipment.

Train hard, but make sure not to overdo it and injure yourself before competition.

Finally, the day of, get an early start, head to the competition, and DOMINATE.  No seriously, just do your best.  It’s your first one, have some fun!  You’ll probably be competing in the novice division if it’s your first event.  Just enjoy yourself, hang out, and learn as much as you can!

That’s it for Zarya’s skills.  I hope it helped set you on the path to SIBERIAN GREATNESS.  May you become as strong as the mountain, da?

I’ll see you again on Monday with The Heart of a Hero!  As always, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome.

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

PS: Have you checked out Going Superhuman yet?

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