Starfield Best Ballistic Weapons

Ballistic weapons in Starfield are your friend if you like the traditional physical damage instead of laser so have a look at the best ones.

In Starfield weapons are subdivided into several different damage types including laser weapons, particle weapons, and Ballistic weapons.

Ballistic weapons are armaments that deal ‘Physical Damage’. They make of use standard bullet/ammunition types and mainly deal explosive damage.

Ballistic Weapons tend to be the most effective against organic enemies which include humans and the fauna you find on distant planets. If we compare the ballistic weapons to laser weapons, the latter will be more effective against turrets while the former will be better at taking down humanoid enemies.

Ballistic weapons are the most common weapon types found in Starfield and they come in many different variants including pistols, shotguns, marksman rifles, and full-auto rifles.

It stands to reason you’d want only the best weapons from the category for the job. Below is a list of some of the best Starfield Ballistic weapons you can find and use in the game.

1. Keelhauler

Considered one of the best pistols in Starfield, the Keelhauler legendary pistol is one of the strongest Ballistic weapons in the game. It sits at an impressive Base 86 physical damage, as well as 4 pre-slotted weapon mods and 3 perks.

To obtain this weapon you must complete the ‘Echoes of the Past’ quest, part of the quest chain to join the Crimson Fleet.

The semi-automatic weapon mod makes this quite an effective burst damage ballistic weapon, while the Staggering, Berserker and Frenzy perks are added bonuses.

2. Calibrated Grendel

Though it may seem rather unremarkable at first glance, the Calibrated Grendel is a weapon that shines when invested into. With the right mods applied, this weapon will remain relevant well into the endgame. Also considering it uses a different ammo type compared to most common weapon picks, this Ballistic Weapon can act as a fair back-up weapon in many cases.

Also considering most hostile enemy troopers drop the ammo for this weapon in bulk, the Grendel is a weapon that will always be high on spare ammo so you’ll never have to fear going empty in an extended fight.

You can buy this weapon from ‘Rowland Arms’ in Akila City and it also drops commonly from enemies.

3. Marksman’s AA-99

The Marksman’s AA-99 rare rifle acts as an effective long-distance single shot sniper, as well as an okay mid-range return fire tool. With a base 37 physical damage, as well as the hitman perk which grants an extra 15% damage while aiming,

You can obtain this weapon relatively early. Simply make your way to the New Atlantis Centaurian Arsenal shop in the commercial district and the vendor will usually have this weapon stocked.

It comes with a great number of weapon mods as well. The Suppressor in particular stands out as it adds to the stealth capacity of this weapon for ranged, covert sniping.

4. Revenant

The Legendary rifle Revenant sitting at a 14 base Physical damage, sports a very high fire rate and accuracy, coupled with a very large magazine capacity owing to one of its perks, making it essentially a pseudo-minigun without many of the associated limitations.

To acquire this rifle, you must join Crimson Fleet and progress their questline until you reach the ‘Eye of the Storm’ quest. During the quest you will be instructed to search for a specific computer in a lab. When in this specific lab, you will find the Revenant rifle placed right next to the terminal.

Revenant comes equipped with 3 weapon mods i.e., Short Barrel, Muzzle Brake, and High Velocity. Other than that, it also sports 3 noteworthy perks.

The titanium build perk significantly reduces the weight of the weapon to a mere 0.15. That’s almost 8x as less as a standard pistol you’ll find, which leaves more room in your inventory to carry additional weapons and beef up your arsenal with almost no worries of being over-encumbered.

The Lacerate perk has a chance to proc the bleeding status on opponents while the Extended Magazine perk alluded to previously gives the weapon its large magazine capacity.

All these bonuses in tandem make this one of the best Ballistic Weapons in Starfield.

5. N-67 Smartgun

A rare heavy gun, the N-67 Smartgun is an effective tool to plow through hordes of enemies, especially those cramped in tight corridors / narrow halls.  

With a damage of 10 Physical points per bullet, the true impressiveness comes from the unique perk associated with the weapon. The ‘Shattering’ perk improves the minigun’s damage against armored foes and with a 4 spare slots at your disposal, you can mix in different weapon mods, such as those that proc bleeding, to get even more mileage out of the weapon.

You can obtain this weapon from the vendor in UC Distributions in the commercial district of New Atlantis City.

How to increase Ballistic Weapon damage in Starfield

If you’ve picked up any of the 5 weapons listed above, you can make them even more effective in combat. To do this you need to unlock the Ballistics perk, which resides in the Combat skill tree. This skill has four levels with the first three levels adding more damage to ballistic weapons while the fourth tier increases the range. After you unlock the perk, you need to complete a series of challenges to rank it up.

Rank 1Ballistic weapons do 10% more damage.Unlock the skill
Rank 2Ballistic weapons do 20% more damage.Using ballistic weapons, kill 20 enemies
Rank 3Ballistic weapons do 30% more damage.Using ballistic weapons, kill 50 enemies
Rank 4Ballistic weapons range is increased by 30%.Using ballistic weapons, kill 100 enemies

Alternatively, you can start the game with this skill already unlocked by picking the soldier background. Furthermore, several companions come with this skill as well. If you don’t want to commit to the Ballistics skill, simply seek out a companion that’s already proficient and transfer any of the above weapons to add some extra muscle to your team, these companions are known as Ballistic weapons specialists.

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Ali is a passionate RPG gamer. He believes that western RPGs still have a lot to learn from JRPGs. He is editor-in-chief at but that doesn't stop him from writing about his favorite video ...