IK Bones vs Sockets for attaching Actors?

So I’m about to start a new prototype since I’m in lock down for COVID and have a lot of free time on my hands. I’m trying to plan ahead and for whether I should be using IK or sockets for attaching actors to a skeletal mesh (in a single and multiplayer game)?

I’m hoping someone could advise what the advantage of using IK bones to attach Actors (weapons, items etc) has over just using a socket? Messing around with some animations I have IK looks to be quite finicky for me (especially when it comes to blending animations/poses etc). Whereas Sockets are always exactly where they’re supposed to be in relation to the actual reference bone and require no extra work in Blender etc.

Is there any advantage I should be aware of for using IK? As far as I can tell, it would be for reload animations, like moving the right hand off the weapon for the magazine etc. But I figure I’d just attach the weapon to the other hand during this or similar situations (or use an IK bone only for those animations).


As far as I can tell, there’s no real advantage to using IK bones over sockets other than the fact that bones can have sockets and virtual bones attached to them, so if you need to nest vectors it might make sense to have at least one extra bone for insurance. You can’t add virtual bones to sockets and only one virtual bone can be added to a single skeletal bone.