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Outriders guide: How to choose the best weapon

Pick the right weapon for how you play

Outriders guide: How to choose the best weapon Image: People Can Fly/Square Enix
Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

Outriders, like any looter shooter, has a ton of weapons you’ll pick up as loot for killing enemies or collect out of crates. Until you get toward the endgame and deal with legendary weapons, the best weapon for you is usually with one with the highest numbers — stats like damage and clip size.

In this Outriders guide, we’ll talk about what all those weapon stats mean, and how you can match the best weapon to your class and style of play.

Weapon classes (types)

There are four weapon classes in Outriders: assault, shotgun, sniper, and sidearm.

You have three slots for weapons: one primary weapon (anything but pistols and revolvers), one secondary weapon (anything but pistols and revolvers), and one side arm (pistols and revolvers).

Within each class of weapon, there are multiple gun types. Assault, for example, includes assault rifles, light machine guns, and submachine guns. We won’t go into every one here because what really differentiates them is their stats.

These classes all share ammunition pools — meaning everything in the same class, like pistols and revolvers, share the same ammo.

Weapon stats

First, let’s just say that, especially early in the game, higher numbers are better, and that’s about as much thinking as you have to do about your weapon. The best gun is the one you have in your hand, and if you have to choose between two, pick the one that deals more damage when shooting bad guys.

You can learn about a gun just by looking at the stats, though.

Each weapon has nine numbers to look at:

  • Level is just how good the weapon is. Higher is almost always better.
  • Clip size is how many shots you have before needing to reload.
  • Reload is how long it takes to reload in seconds.
  • Rounds per minute (RPM) is a measure of how fast it shoots.
  • Damage (DMG) is how much damage it does (unsurprisingly).
  • Critical multiplier (crit mult) is how much extra damage the weapon does on a critical hit (like a head shot).
  • Accuracy is how often you’ll hit what you’re aiming at.
  • Stability is how much recoil and drift the gun has while you’re firing it.
  • Range is how close you have to be to deal damage.

Any two weapons of a similar level tend to balance out damage per second (DPS). A shotgun hits hard, but it has a slow RPM. A light machine gun fires fast, but deals less damage with each hit.

Looking at all the stats together tells you how the weapon behaves and how you will (or should) use it. A gun with low accuracy and stability and a large clip size tends to be a “spray and pray” weapon that shoots a lot of bullets in the general direction of the bad guys, but isn’t going to be great for headshots. A high accuracy weapon with a long reload time and a high critical multiplier is going to be great for methodical headshots from a distance.

Arguably, the most important stat is range, based on the way Outriders’s classes work.

Best Outriders weapon for each class

For the most part, if you’ve played any shooter games before, you’ll have a basic understanding of what guns do what — shotguns do low-accuracy damage up close, sniper rifles are good for headshots from far away, and assault rifles are kind of all-purpose.

Outriders’s classes, though, determine how close to the enemies you should be — both because of the range of each class’s skills and the different way each class heals. Classes are not terribly strict in Outriders, but they do have specialties. Devastators and Tricksters are most effective in close to the enemies, Pyromancers are better at mid-range, and Technomancers are best at supporting from a distance. And that tells you a lot about what weapon to pick.

  • Technomancers, with their long-range tendencies, should maximize the range stat for their primary weapon. This will be high with weapons like rifles, sniper rifles, and bolt action rifles.
  • Mid-range Pyromancers are better served by light machine guns, submachine guns, and assault rifles.
  • Devastators and Tricksters, depending on how close they like to get, can get away with using pump action and automatic shotguns in ways the other classes can’t (or shouldn’t).

To be clear, any class can use any weapon. A Devastator can use a sniper rifle to thin out enemies from a distance just like a Technomancer can use a shotgun. But matching your class and your weapon to your preferred style of play will make surviving Outriders a lot easier. For example, Outriders’ class selection screen describes Technomancers with the words “long range” and “support.” Consider leaning into the explicit roles that the game describes.

Weapon rarity

All gear in Outriders has a rarity associated with it, denoted by the color behind the item’s icon in your inventory. There are Common (gray), Unusual (green), Rare (blue), Epic (purple), and Legendary (orange) rarities.

Rarity determines a few things about a weapon. Unusual (green) and above weapons have attributes (buffs). Rare (blue) and better weapons have mods — Rare weapons have one mod slot, and Epic and Legendary have two.

Weapon variants, attributes, and mods

While most weapons you pick up — especially early in Outriders — will be “standard var” or the standard variant, you will also find other variants of each type.

Variants make a weapon more specialized. These will be things like sharpshooter or tactical variants of assault rifles. A sharpshooter assault rifle has an increased range, accuracy, and critical multiplier, making it behave more like a sniper rifle. A tactical assault rifle variant, on the other hand, has increased stability, making it great for quick bursts of more accurate fire.

When you start picking up Unusual (and better) weapons, they’ll come with attributes. These are things like life leech that heals you for a percentage of the damage you deal or armor pierce that ignores a little damage reduction from enemy armor.

Mods are interchangeable modifications to weapons — this comes up a lot in crafting — that add effects or buffs. You’ll need a Rare, Epic, or Legendary weapon before you’ll have mod slots. Mods are things like the clip of amalthea that gives your gun a 30% chance to not consume ammo on a critical shot or fireworks that deals splash damage.

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