Explosive weapons' bullets have a chance to explode when they impact, dealing extra damage and creating a splash damage effect allowing them to damage multiple enemies within the blast radius.
Unlike other elemental attacks, explosive weapons never deal damage over time. All damage is inflicted immediately.
Explosive weapons are equally effective against any and all enemy types: flesh, shielded, and armored (although armored targets will still enjoy damage reduction, just as they would against any regular attack), but are particularly effective against vehicles, especially Outrunners.
- Rocket Launchers use explosive damage as their default damage type for non-elemental launchers, rather than normal physical damage.
- Enemies that are killed by explosive weapons are blown to pieces. Sometimes accompanied by an overkill event where their body becomes a meat fountain that rises up high.
- Brick has skills and class mods that are specifically tuned to enhancing explosive damage and resistance to it.
- Explosives are very effective against cars and turrets.
- No enemies are specifically resistant to explosive damage.
- No shield types offer resistance against explosive damage.
- All of the undead creatures in The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned are highly susceptible to explosive damage.
- The Torgue Cobra (see list of unique weapons below) is a particularly potent explosive weapon in that it detonates on every shot, much like a rocket launcher, but unlike a rocket launcher it won't always create a large blast radius.
Explosive weapons have been somewhat limited as an element, with most other manufacturers not producing Explosive weapons as standard (with exception to weapons using the Torgue barrel or any Non-Elemental Rocket launcher), however, all Torgue munitions will carry explosive elemental tech as standard.
Explosive damage is 80% effective against shielded targets, and deal a moderate amount of damage to non-resisting targets, armoured or not.
A certain percentage of the weapon card damage is dealt in a small area around the impact point, depending on the weapon type:
- Assault rifles: 90%
- Pistols: 100%
- Shotguns: 100% (patched: was 85% at game release)
A direct hit with an explosive round will inflict both impact damage and splash damage on the target. However, the splash damage is never multiplied on a critical hit.
Example: An assault rifle listed as doing 200 damage will deal 200 explosive damage on impact and 180 explosive splash damage. If the round hits a critical location, only the 200 damage is multiplied. If the target is shielded, both the impact damage and splash damage are reduced to 80% effectiveness (160 and 144, respectively).
Note that certain weapons, notably assault rifles with the Torgue Torpedo barrel, only inflict splash damage. Even direct hits from these weapons will deliver no impact damage.