Home / Mass Effect / Mass Effect 3: Best/Worst Weapons and How the New Reckoning Weapons Stack Up

Mass Effect 3: Best/Worst Weapons and How the New Reckoning Weapons Stack Up


*Update* Sorry, I accidentally copied wrong DPS data for pistols into this.  The post has been updated to reflect the corrections.  Thanks to all you guys for pointing out that I effed up, ha! :)

Thanks to Cyonan’s data-mining efforts, the damage stats for the new Reckoning weapons are now out (see full post here).  I did you all a favor and sorted the data for you to rank the top 10 weapons by DPS (damage per second), which is really the stat that counts on Platinum.  The stats assume that you have the weapon at level X, more than one clip worth of ammo to use, and you know how to reload cancel.


*Geth Plasma SMG, Striker Assault Rifle, and N7 Typhoon Assault Rifle omitted because their damage is variable.

Ok, so what are the BEST WEAPONS in the game?  Well, that really depends on the character you use and your playstyle.  I’m going to simplify it into CLOSE RANGE, MEDIUM/LONG RANGE, and ALL AROUND best weapons.


N7 PIRANHA Shotgun – 1075.81 DPS

AT-12 RAIDER Shotgun – 1226.99 DPS

REEGAR CARBINE Shotgun – 3885.71 DPS


GETH SPITFIRE Assault Rifle – 830.4 DPS



CERBERUS HARRIER Assault Rifle – 908.19 DPS

I swear by the Harrier in almost all Platinum matches.  Its stability and accuracy makes it a great long range weapon and its rate of fire and fast reload allows you to deal with close-up swarms as well.  Paired with the Turian Ghost, it makes solo-ing Platinum look easy.

You might be wondering why I didn’t include Sniper Rifles for Long Range weapons – well, this ranking is really meant for Platinum solo/duo level playing.  In general, being a sniper isn’t really viable for solo Platinum matches because of the swarming masses of enemies that get up close really fast.  A Geth Infiltrator with a Javelin can wreck it on a Platinum match with a full team but without other teammates drawing aggro, being a sniper means death IMHO. :)

Now for the worst prizes –


ADAS SYNTHETIC RIFLE Assault Rifle – 302.38 DPS




FALCON Assault Rifle – 227.73 DPS

Well, you know what they say – there’s no such thing as a bad weapon, only a bad player :)

Do you agree/disagree with this list?  Let me know in comments!

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  1. Psst, a lot of these are damage per shot, not per second. The Predator X, for example, has a sustained DPS of 503.42, assuming you have a quick trigger finger.
    Glad I’m not the only one who gets the two DPSs mixed up. ;-)

  2. Wow, the Suppressor X has a single-clip DPS of 1,571!
    Also worth noting, these numbers don’t take your characters’ weapon damage increases, rail amps, and fire rate increases (for a select few) into account.

      • No worries.
        But these numbers can be deceiving. Collector SMG on Geth Infiltrator with 15% increased fire rate, all weapon damage (except Hunter mode rank 6), extended mag and barrel, SMG rail amp 3, armour piercing 4. It already does 1.5x damage to armour before the AP ammo. Assuming my math is correct, which is possible because I’m terrible at it) you could theoretically get ~4700 DPS against an armoured target. Don’t know how to calculate sustained DPS though, or even how to reload cancel.

      • These numbers don’t include power ups or bonuses, but theoretically the same power ups can be applied to each weapon (with a couple exceptions) so comparing the base damage is pretty accurate. DPS for Harrier can get up to 11,000 or something ridiculous with the build and bonuses!

      • I should probably clarify that I do know how to reload cancel, just not with the CSMG, or any other weapon with infinite ammo for that matter.

  3. I agree that the Harrier may be the best gun in the game. Executioner is awesome, along with Piranha and Reegar (for a Vanguard). Raider good, but not so much. Hurricane is godly but if you know how to use it. Why isn’t talon mentioned? It is my favorite for adepts.

    • I just took the top few, but Talon is definitely up there in the charts … I agree that the Raider is really good in theory, but I personally haven’t had a great experience with it. It’s not nearly as user-friendly as the Piranha!

    • It depends. The Reegar Carbine has the highest DPS against Shields (200% increased damage), normal damage against health, but half against armor (50% damage). Meanwhile the Piranha causes equal damage to all sources.

      • I know that, but I mean it raw: no mods/gear/equipment.
        Covering those flaws makes the Reegar the best weapon in game.

      • Well it does have one flaw that can’t be remedied: range.
        And why wouldn’t you use mods, gear, or equipment? There’s no reason not to, so why not include them.

  4. Very interesting!

    I’m kind of surprised to see the Spitfire there, according to people on BSN it’s a terrible gun. Can’t wait to try it (it’s the only weapon that I still don’t have).

    I love the Raider, it’s pretty good on the human infiltrator (even more on the AIU).

    One note about the Supressor, it have the best headshot multiplicator of the game (4x), so it’s not important to shoot the head, it’s a must!!

      • It’s amazing at X. Too bad I’m terrible at headshots. The only downside is that it necessitates more ammo box humping than the Harrier. It only holds 50 shots with extended mag and can have a slightly faster fire rate than the Harrier.

  5. The anti synthetic rifle was pretty fun for me with disrupter 3 or 4 ammo and assault rifle amps. I’m not sure why but I like stunning the geth as much as possible, even if I don’t kill them it’s nice to see them suffer… I used it on the talon and top scored plat Cerberus. Honestly it only served the purpose of draining shields and the Cain mines did the rest. All in all though the acolyte is substantially better for draining shields so it really is pretty useless.

    • I’m not sure why but I like stunning the geth as much as possible, even if I don’t kill them it’s nice to see them suffer…

      One word my friend:


    • I haven’t tried the Adas yet in MP, not because it’s supposed to be awful, but because when people use it, I can hear the damn thing on the other side of the map! On Vancouver! It just sounds wrong.

      • Unfortunately, I don’t think they will. When they released the last patch that “accidentally” removed the charge again, there were (to no one’s surprise), quite a few threads on BSN regarding it. The devs that responded were adamant that was was always intended to be a charge weapon, and would be one from then on.
        I still think it’s hilarious that they just copy and pasted previous balance changes into the patch without even looking at them. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who took the opportunity to complete the Acolyte challenge again before they “fixed” it.

    • I’m surprised only 46% of games against Collectors fail. They can be a huge pain, especially with PUGs who don’t grasp simple concepts like common sense. “Hmm, two Pretorians on one side and two Scions on the other. I think I can take em down with my Phaeston II before they get here.” 10 seconds later… “Ahh, missile, missile, missile, missile, missile!!! What? They’re ALL still alive? My teammates suck, they’re supposed to be carrying me. I shouldn’t have to do all this work. Time to rage quit and join a Platinum game.”

      • Aside that bad organization of PUGs, the squad composition is very dependent on matches VS Collectors. Most players care more about their own classes rather than playing with a class that is helpful to the squad’s composition. “Oh, it’s a team with 3 Biotics, I don’t care, gonna play Engineer.”

    • Just curiuous, but does anyone else use the Blackwidow with Quarian Marksman/Turian Soldier? Using Marksman to boost the BlackWidow to a six shot clip is a very useful tactic on Gold and Plat games as long as you are mindful of your surroundings…

      Actually, now I wonder about the basic value of Marksman period. Its instant reload feature has got to have an effect on the DPS of low clip capacity weapons in the long run. Has anyone worked out the numbers on that by any chance?

      • It’s not actually quite as high as you would think, since the Turian Soldier only gets about 1 free reload every 10.78 seconds with a Black Widow X(this assumes you don’t take duration at rank 5).

        For a Marksman with both rate of fire upgrades, I would estimate the damage increase at around +50%. Since we’re talking rate of fire increases this means it affects your final DPS value after all other modifiers have been applied from passives, gear, etc.

        That is also assuming full body shots. Calculating headshot DPS gets a bit messy since certain things don’t increase boss mob headshot damage, such as Tactical Scan’s +25% headshot damage evolution.

        I’ve run Black Widow Turian Soldier a few times before on Gold and it’s actually quite good and fun. Does require some pretty solid aim if you want to make full use of the 50% increased rate of fire that Marksman has.

      • I haven’t, as I am no good at math, but I like the idea of up to a 50% increased fire rate + less recoil from marksman/turian stability passives on a Black Widow. It could make it into an even better Valiant replacement than it already is.

      • It is an interesting idea that I would love to see someone expand on (girlplaysgame perhaps?) that is good at math and using charts lol.

        For real though, people dont exactly understand how Marksman works most of the time. It doesnt increase DAMAGE, it increases RATE OF FIRE, which as a side effect increases the DPS of a given weapon.

        The only thing I have noticed from using it for so long is that the effect doesnt seem to be as noticable when using a weapon with an already high rate of fire (excluding the Geth SMG mini-gun build). Using it on the Hurricane doesnt give you as much of a boost in DPS as it does with say, the Raider (which already has an absurd DPS, giving you two extra shots is the key)

        So in the end, whats the more effective use of Marksman? Boosting a weapon that has high damage/low clip or a weapon with low damage/high clip? You can turn the Incisor into a poor mans Indra or even a mid grade AR with this trick. Quite a few possibilities just not many people think beyond ‘Harrier kill faster’, heck I only figured out using the Blackwidow on accident.


      • Marksman can actually be a little bit buggy at times and for some weapons you need to actually stop firing then begin firing again for the rate of fire increase to apply, which might be why it doesn’t seem as effective on some rapid fire weapons. I haven’t tested every weapon but I do know it works properly on the Revenant, Typhoon, and Black Widow(which actually is a full auto weapon oddly enough).

        To figure out the DPS increase of something like the Black Widow, we take into account that A. The clip is now being fired off in 2 seconds rather than 3 and B. Once every 10.78 seconds you don’t need to reload. The actual duration of the reload itself is not reduced.

        The result is that you’ll go through 1 full cycle in about 13.14 seconds and have fired 12 shots for a DPS of about 843.65, up from 632.74. So about a 33% increase in overall damage rather than the 50% I estimated before.

        What Marksman is best with comes down to a lot of personal preference since the ability is so good with nearly any weapon. I do enjoy the AT-12 myself since off-host it tends to be able to fire more than 2 rounds per clip. Combined with Marksman’s free reload my record is firing off 7 rounds straight without reloading, which took down a Gold Atlas. Mixing Smart Choke + Marksman also results in a pinpoint pellet spread which is very nice to have for guns like the AT-12 or Piranha.

      • Thanks for the great explanation! I have to try the AT-12 with Marksman … I’ve had it fire more than 2 rounds per clip but I thought I was going crazy – good to know that I’m not (at least, not about that :))

      • Good to know I’m not the only one who has gotten three Raider shots off in one clip. Ahh, the oddities of playing off-host.
        And Cyonan… here? At first I was not sure if imposter, but while reading his post… definitely real.
        Am I the only one who wants to use Marksman with the Spitfire?

      • I am the real Cyonan, this blog got linked to me a while ago by someone on the Bioware Social Network =P

        With the Spitfire, I’d love to see if the clip size can outlast Marksman’s duration + cooldown, essentially allowing for continuous fire without needing to reload.

        I know that the Typhoon can’t do it with Marksman, but can with Adrenaline Rush.

      • I’d love to get the Spitfire Cyonan…or the Lancer…or the Venom…or the Bloodpack Punisher. This DLC has been very unforgiving with the RNG. Spent close to 2 million credits the day the DLC came out and (despite having every other character, weapon, mod, gear maxed) didnt pull a single UR. Have spent an additional 3 million credits since and have yet to pull the darn thing. Them adding the Comendation weapons to the UR stack just makes getting it all the less likely *slumps*

        Still, I think if you put the mag capacity upgrade on it, a Spitfire would outlast the duration so long as you dont have it spec for duration.

        I HAVE lucked out and been able to use Marksmen a second time while using the Geth SMG, using cap and heat sink mods in the past.

    • I dissagree. The Collector SMG can be rather powerful, but it’s a matter of, like all weapons in the end, WHAT ARE YOU USING IT WITH. For example: the the efficiency of the Particle Rifle on a N7 Devastaor in devastator mode vs anything else using it can be quite different due to the clip size enhancement.

      Would I use the csmg on most classes? Not really, however it’s a VERY poweful tool on my Fury, and not just because of warp rounds. I can place a power mod and high velocity barrel with a clip size of 33 (only lvl 4 atm, hate you UR drop rate…) and very rarely overheat it. This allows me to keep a 189% cooldown rate with a rapid fire smg with a power bonus, a weapon with already enhanced armor dmg bonus enhanced even more, with an acceptable cooldown for biotic power spam.

      Granted, I use the Fury for mostly hit and runs (maxed all my powers, only 4 in N7 Fury and Fitness trees with annihiation field set for speed), biotic explosions, and general enemy disruption, but don’t have much issue with dps. And since I don’t need to ammo box hump, I can stay mobile and keep up the pressure to wherever I want. I tired doing the same with the Hurricane, but it’s too easy to run out of ammo, and when multiple people are trying to ammo hump, it’s too easy to be dry when you need it.

      As a final note (sorry for longer post), snipers in plat are perfectly acceptable if you know what you’re doing. As Geth Infiltrator i’ve used the black widow to clear out the shields/barriers of banshee’s, pretorians, atlas’ and primes in a clip or two by myself. It’s a matter of using the cloak reload cancel to pull off 2 (sometimes 3) cloaked enhanced shots constantly.

  6. The is a certain amount of utility that redeems the lower DPS weapons that is completely unaccounted for in this article.

    I make regular use of the Falcon based on its unparalleled ability for crowd control and the Acolyte for its shield stripping. Mind you, the Falcon has one of the highest stun rates of any weapon mixed with an excellent blast radius, and the Acolyte does 400% damage to shields. DPS is important if you are going for a weapons build, but otherwise the low DPS weapons tend to have the most utility. On platinum, try stripping the shields off a Banshee in a few shots with a Harrier, or holding a half-dozen phantoms at bay with a Reegar.

    • Are you joking? The Collector SMG at level X has a DPS of 320 vs. say the Hurricane SMG at level X with a DPS of 905. These stats come from Cyonan so please get your facts straight before posting insults.

  7. I just finally got a Lancer, and I find it to be my new favorite. I only have it at level one, but my Harrier is only at a three, so it isn’t that much stronger. With an extended clip, and a little practice, I find I almost never run out of ammo. Playing any class that doesn’t use Grenade charges, I never even need to stop at an ammo crate, and it is light weight enough and multipurpose enough that I can run with one weapon, so my weapon weight recharge percentage is excellent.

    What do you think of the Lancer, girlplaysgame?

    • I also only have the Lancer at level I but I have the Harrier X. The Harrier at X has 100+36 bullets with the ammo upgrade so it’s not as greedy for ammo as it is at lower levels. The Lancer at level I only has 38 bullets but it does regen fairly quickly. I like the Harrier’s stability and control more, but even at level X, the amount of damage the Harrier does over the Lancer is negligible. I guess if I know I’m going to camp, I’d go with the Lancer. But, I the Harrier is still ol’ faithful for me :)

  8. …in ME1 i can see what the ‘best’/’worst’ weapons are but in ME2/3 there isn’t really such thing…
    it’s really just situational/enemy type dependent as well as personal proficiency. Just stating a weapon by dps isn’t really a good thing to do as alot of these weapons have some form of special function and different accuracy rating.

    For Example:
    – The ADAS can home in on the enemy and hit them behind cover which means you can almost get every shot hit if you know where to point it. It also does EXTRA damage against synthetics. Recommended upgrade: clip upgrade and extended barrel
    – The falcon, true that it is pretty weak but if you treat it like a stun weapon with clip upgrade and extended barrel, it’s a pretty mean SUPPORT type weapon.
    – as for the Collector smg, it does 50% more damage against armour targets, no need for ammo and very decent when you got both magazine and heat sink upgrade.

    For your ‘best’ weapons, I think you should include some personal opinions like these:
    – for all the close combat weapons, the high dps is only when if all the pellets hit and your didn’t really include the clip capacity (low like at-12/reegar carbine), accuracy, spread nor reload time into consideration.
    – Also the reegar range is limited to few meters and pretty bad combined with high ammo usage and need to constantly reload. Recommend installing spare clip and barrel upgrade to make it more useful.
    – hurricane, again, only if all shots hit, its pretty horrible in terms of accuracy but i find it more usable with smg scope and stabilizer upgrade installed. Quite deadly in fact in close range when you aimed at the upper torso of the target.
    – Harrier, I have to very much agree. Automatic, accurate, low recoil, decent damage, these are what makes it so nice. With the clip and scope upgrade, it’ll eliminate it weaknesses.

    My personal overall preferred weapon (NOT ‘BEST’):
    – M11 suppressor: the combination of high rate of fire with high headshot damage multiplier makes it very deadly. Mine have clip and heavy barrel upgrade which makes it even more damaging and no more problems with clip capacity.
    – M7 lancer: unlimited ammo, high accuracy, large capacity, decent damage though little high on recoil but i like recoil… extended barrel and scope really makes it shine.
    – Black widow: again, if you like recoil like me, this gun will make you happy. damage isn’t as high as the original widow but x3 shots! with the scope and barrel mod, it’ll be a wise choice to use.

    Over all: I think this page would make much more sense to me if it’s titled with ‘Highest/Lowest dps weapons’ rather than ‘best/worst weapons’.
    Again, i just don’t really think there’s ‘best’ nor ‘worst’ weapons. Its all about personal preference/proficiency really. The ‘worst’ weapon may easily be the preferred weapon in hands of another player as long as they know it well.
    I have no mean to challenge or mean any ill-will to the writer of the article but just trying to add my personal experience/thoughts/opinions to this page to improve our understandings.

    btw, anyone used the Argus? i just couldn’t use it well… is there a trick to it? For me the recoil is quite high for a burst fire, the fire rate is slow too, low clip capacity not so accurate with follow up shots… tried it with stabilizer and scope but found it slightly more usable with stabilizer+clip upgrade instead…

    • I think you’re talking about single player while I’m ranking these weapons for multiplayer … the weapons behave a little differently in these modes. People have their own preferences for weapons but in terms of damage dealt, there are certain ones that are slightly OP. I do like the Argus in multiplayer though because lag makes it fire 3-4 shots per burst rather than the stated 2, so yes, there are definitely other factors that should be considered … Some people swear by the Lancer but I’m a Harrier diehard – just play with what you’re good at. No bad weapons, only bad players, right? :)

      • well, im talking about both. I’ve played both single and multiplayer, i admit they are slightly different but not that much really. Stopped playing multiplayer though…felt like it’s very repetitive after awhile…perhaps adding more gamemodes like pvp or even co-op rpg (like borderlands) would bring something fresh in.
        For the argus, i just can’t work with it that well. Maybe i’m just not a ‘burst fire person’ (though i do prefer the vindicator out of the 3 burst fire Assault rifles).
        Guess I’m more into fully automatics but they have to be high precision (like the Lancer and Harrier), recoil don’t matter. Those 2 definitely sounds real nice too when fired.
        Think people like the Lancer for its higher ROF, unlimited ammo, lighter weight and larger capacity. But on the other hand, the harrier is much better in handling and dps.
        In terms of precision and accuracy, they are equally good even though the lancer stated accuracy is much lower. I tested this by having scope attachment on both guns and shot at 2 dotted texture on a wall with multiple shots with both guns. At 30m, they both came out almost with same shot groups.
        And yes, play with what you’re good at, or keep trying them til you find the right one. I like what they did with ME2/3 weapons unlike the first game. Think it was the spectre brand on something in the first game which dominates all other weapons once you acquire them and render other guns useless. In ME2/3, each weapons have their pros and cons, have situational dependent and functions all differently. I spend ALOT of time testing them out and enjoyed it.

  9. Is the Lancer a good weapon for (I hate to say it) In-Accurate players like myself? I hate how with the Cerb. Harrier you have to get ammo every 10 or less minutes. I do like the idea of a Particle Rifle having a baby with a Avenger. (Is it the Avenger?)

    • Every 10 minutes? Even with my Harrier at level 10, it’s more like every 10 seconds for an ammo run :) But I don’t mind – I prefer the Harrier. I find the Lancer (which I only have at level 1) to be about as accurate as the Harrier but I run out of bullets and have to wait for cooldown and that really bogs down my playstyle. I hear the Lancer at higher levels is amazing, though.

      • Mines at 2, And if you add a Thermal Clip Cap. gear at V, and the extended clip at V, I get 68 bullets instead of the regular 38, which calls for more shooting, less sitting there and looking like an idiot.

    • If you are really that bad with aiming, yes, you will find the harrier a problem. With the harrier, the default clip capacity for it is like 4 clips and it only got 20 shots on default.
      If you got any of these and you are looking for a assault rifle, I suggest try using the particle rifle, geth pulse rifle & spitfire (insane capacity), ADAS (can home-in) and yes, Lancer would be nice… if you like recoil like me…
      Also, if you have the clip capacity upgrade, that would make up for ‘In-Accurate players ‘.

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