Mass Effect: 10 Best Pistols

Mass Effect: 10 Best Pistols

One of the age-old questions in any shooter video game is “are pistols any good?” When players have the option to arm themselves with things like shotguns or machine guns, why pick up a handgun? Even BioWare’s legendary space opera Mass Effect could not escape this debate.

Mass Effect gives players the choice between a whole host of weapons, so is it worth it to fill a slot with a pistol? The answer to the question is yes. In the right hands, a good pistol can be a huge asset on the battlefield. With numerous pistols with different abilities, there is one for almost every play style. Here are some of the best pistols in the franchise.

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10 Predator

A render of the PRedator pistol from Mass Effect

The Predator is the baseline pistol in each game in the series. As one of the first weapons players get in each installment, it is understandably very basic and only has moderate stats. The gun has mediocre damage and functions just like a standard pistol.

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The Predator is not necessarily bad, and it can hold its own well in the early stages of the game, but it is quickly outshined by essentially every other pistol that can be obtained later. The Predator can be useful in the right hands, but with middling stats all around it is the weakest in the series.

9 HMWP Master X

The stat screen for the HMWP Pistol in Mass Effect

Mass Effect 1 did not have nearly the weapon variation as the later games in the series, and most of the weapons functioned very similarly. The pistols especially were all essentially just reskins of the same few models with improved stats.

That said, the HMWP Master X is easily the best of the lot. The Spectre requisition has the highest damage of any pistol in the game, making it a solid addition to any arsenal. Pistols in the first game were not on the level of the sequels, but this one is still a powerhouse.

8 Paladin

A render of Mass Effect's Paladin pistol

The Paladin is essentially the Spectre version of the Carnifex pistol. It can’t stand up to its competitor in terms of sheer firepower, but it does still boast a hefty damage output. It also weighs significantly less, which does give it a definite edge.

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What holds the Paladin back is that it has the same small clip size as the Carnifex. Since it deals less damage, the small ammo capacity is much more noticeable. It is still a solid pistol and great for those who want to minimize weapon weight, but deals too little damage to quite compensate for its capacity.

7 Sidewinder

Mass Effect Sidewinder Pistol

Mass Effect Andromeda was hugely controversial at its release, for several solid reasons, but overall it is still an enjoyable game and features some great weapons. The Sidewinder pistol is one of these. Wielding a huge sci-fi revolver is always a blast, and the look of the weapon alone is almost enough to use it.

The Sidewinder is also a very versatile sidearm though, with solid damage output and accuracy that makes it useful at many ranges. It does have a very low clip size, but this can be upgraded and its lightning-quick reload speed compensates for it well. The Sidewinder isn’t for everyone, but it is a great backup weapon for those willing to invest in it.

6 N7 Eagle

Mass Effect Eagle Pistol

A fact that many die-hard Mass Effect fans know is that the N7 Eagle is meant to be the Mass Effect equivalent of the Desert Eagle, so it has a lot to live up to. The gun was so popular in Mass Effect 3 it even hopped galaxies in Andromeda. Essentially a hybrid pistol and submachine gun, the Eagle has a high rate of fire and some great stats.

While shot for shot the Eagle’s damage is not much to write home about, its fully automatic fire means that it can dish out damage quickly. It is also superbly accurate and is effective at a longer range. The downside is that it burns through magazines very quickly, so it is best used in short bursts.

5 Scorpion

Mass Effect Scorpion Pistol

The power of the Scorpion can be summed by the fact it is not really a pistol. It is a grenade launcher disguised as a pistol. Instead of bullets, the Scorpion fires small grenades that explode after a short time. The grenades can also stick to walls or enemies.

The Scorpion is a weapon that has to be used strategically, which means that it takes some time to master and will not fit every play style. It can be used to set traps, hit groups of enemies, or flush them out from cover. For players with the right Mass Effect class, or those willing to take time to get used to it, the Scorpion is literally a blast.

4 Talon

Mass Effect's Talon pistol

It is hard to go wrong with a shotgun. It is even harder to go wrong when that shotgun is condensed into the size of a pistol and functions like a revolver. That is precisely what the Talon is, a semi-automatic shotgun pistol.

While the Talon is not as powerful as most full-size shotguns and has a slow rate of fire, it still packs a mean punch with a fraction of the weight. It may not be as versatile as other pistols, but the Talon has some undeniably brutal stopping power. Certain attachments can mitigate most of the drawbacks, making it one of the most powerful pistols in the series.

3 Arc Pistol

A render of the Arc pistol in Mass Effect

The Arc Pistol is one of the most versatile weapons in Mass Effect 3. It has two modes of fire, the standard semi-automatic fire and charged shot which will deal significantly more damage. The standard fire deals moderate damage and is reliable, but the charged shot hits like a truck.

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The Arc Pistol is heavy as far as pistols go, and charging a shot for full damage always takes time, but the two modes of fire make it easy to approach multiple different types of combat encounters. Even though a charged shot will eat up three rounds of ammunition, the Arc Pistol also has a large ammo capacity, allowing it to last through long gunfights.

2 Phalanx

Mass Effect Phalanx Pistol

Like the Predator, the Phalanx has balanced stats and functions like a standard pistol. Unlike the Predator, however, the Phalanx’s stats are really good. The Phalanx deals decently heavy damage and can fire much faster than the few pistols that can outdo it in terms of damage per shot.

The best part of the Phalanx is easily the laser sight. Not only does it make aiming the gun much easier during combat, it also gives the Phalanx almost perfect accuracy. Bullets will consistently hit where the laser is pointed, over a huge variety of ranges. Picking up a Phalanx is one of the best choices in Mass Effect. 

1 Carnifex

Mass Effect Carnifex Pistol

The best pistol in Mass Effect is the mighty Carnifex. This hand cannon can deal more damage per shot than any other pistol in the game, even being able to compete with some sniper rifles. Most enemies can be put down with only a few shots.

The drawbacks of the Carnifex are its slow rate of fire and a relatively low ammo capacity, but thanks to its high accuracy, as long as players are landing their shots they won’t need many. It is also the best pistol for squadmates, as they can deal massive damage without the ammo limitation. Every player will have their preference for pistols, but in terms of sheer power, the Carnifex is the best of the best.

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