Best Starfield Build: Sniper

Discover the best Sniper Build in Starfield and how to create a powerful character with recommended skills, background, traits, weapons, and armor.

Best Starfield Sniper Build Guide

This build was updated for game version Starfield Update 1.11.33 – May 2024.

Sniper Build Introduction in Starfield

In Starfield, the Sniper build reigns supreme as the master of long-range combat. Sniper builds need to be able to carefully select their targets and make sure that each shot counts. This build will use Rifles with scopes to pick off targets at vast distances and go for one-shot kills. The sniper playstyle is perfect for great difficulty, where you cannot get Rambo into combat without fear or death. Players will want to pick this Sniper to build for their Starfield character if they enjoy playing solo (without companions), doing damage from far range, and weapon crafting.

However, the Sniper build will depend on ammunition, weapons, and patience to execute a killing shot. Most skill points will be spent on combat, thus forging outpost and starship crafting. Therefore, if you don’t mind missing out on those aspects of Starfield until later levels, pick up the Sniper and start one-shotting enemies!

Sniper Build ProsSniper Build Cons
One-shot EnemiesWeapon Dependent
Massive RangePlayer Skill Dependent
Great on high-difficultyRequires patience

Features and Mechanics for Best Sniper Build in Starfield

Starfield Sniper Shot Assassin

The following list presents all the essential Sniper Build Mechanics and Features in Starfield:

  • Damage: Ballistic
  • Range: 120 meters
  • Weapon: Magsniper
  • Best Skills: Sharpshooter, Sniper Certification, Marksmanship
  • Starborn Power: Void Form
  • Background: Soldier
  • Traits: Alien DNA
  • Companion: Solo

Sniping In Starfield

Starfield Snipe Shot

To perform a Sniper Shot in Starfield, simply hold down the aim and enter the cross-hair of the scope. You can then steady your aim and use your Oxygen as a resource. This is why Snipers need to have high Oxygen capacity for Sniping, and the longer you hold the button down, the more likely you are to build up CO2. Additional skills like ballistics, sharpshooting, and marksman can add even more damage, giving you that range of one-shot killer builds.

In Starfield, any gun can technically be a “sniper rifle.” The Sniper Certification skill gives a benefit for weapons with scopes.  You want a non-automatic Rifle, typically a ballistic weapon of your choice. We will give some recommendations below but understand that’s what qualifies for skill bonuses, which increase your damage.


Starfield Soldier Background

The best background for a Sniper Build in Starfield is the Soldier. This background unlocks three skills at level one: Fitness, Ballistics, and Boost Pack Training. Here’s of the Soldier’s Background skills in Starfield:

  • Ballistics: Ballistic weapons do 10% more damage.
  • Boost Pack Training: You can now utilize boost packs.
  • Fitness: You have 10% more oxygen available.

Soldier Background – The Settled Systems is no stranger to warfare, and if there’s one thing armed conflict relies on its trained warriors with guns and guts. You had both. Simple, bloody work… and you were great at it.


Starfield Alien DNA Trait

The best trait for a Sniper build in Starfield is Alien DNA. You start with increased health and oxygen, but healing and food aren’t as effective. With the long-range gameplay, you should primarily do damage at max range and avoid damage. The extra oxygen is helpful while aiming with a scope as well.

Traits are optional customization options in Character Creation. Players can select up to three attributes from a comprehensive list of traits to further shape their protagonists. The May 2024 update allows players to change their traits on a New Game + (Unity). Thus, you can change them both in the game and in a new game, which keeps your progress but starts the universe over.


Marksman, Sharpshooting, and Sniper Certification are the best skills and perks for a Sniper build in Starfield. Marksman can knock down targets with a scoped weapon while sharpshooting increases the range of critical chance and headshot damage. Sniper Certification boosts damage using a scoped weapon and helps with aiming and oxygen control. Isolation is the best skill or damage reduction, while weapon engineering is essential for modifying weapons.

Here is the list of the best and recommended skills for the Sniper Build in Starfield:

  • Marksman – Scoped weapons can knock down targets.
  • Sharpshooting – increase critical hit damage and critical hit chance.
  • Sniper Certification – increases the damage for scoped weapons.
  • Isolation – dramatically reduction in damage when not traveling with a companion.
  • Boost Pack Training – best overall mobility skill in Starfield.
  • Weapon Engineering – essential for weapon crafting.

You should try to rank up skills by completing their requirements. For example, Boost Pack Training hits Boost Pack constantly in combat to level it up very quickly. Leave one enemy alive, continually boost the pack as you have fuel, and you can complete the progression in one encounter.

Level Progression

The overall level progression is focused on combat mostly, with tech and social as well. Tech is needed for Weapon Engineering to optimize your guns for top damage with scopes. Social is needed for Isolation perk, reducing damage without companions. The remainder of the perks are focused on combat, though you can also get some stealth and boost pack perks. At later levels, you can spread out your skills for crafting and utility.

Starfield leveling progression system gives you three skills at level one via your background, then one skill per level without a level cap. You will need several skill points in each tree to move to the next level and pick higher-tier skills. Unlike other Bethesda games, Starfield requires you to use or complete specific objectives with your skills to take a higher rank. For instance, in Boost Pack Training, hit Boost Pack constantly in combat to level it up very quickly. Leave one enemy alive, continually boost the pack as you have fuel, and you can complete the progression in one encounter. This is why we jump from tree to tree, giving you time to level up your skill ranks. Come back or take another skill in the progression if you haven’t reached the level.

Levels 1 – 10

Here’s a list of the best skills to select from levels 1 – 10 with the Sniper Build Guide in Starfield:

  • Level 1 – Fitness, Ballistics, Boost Pack Training
  • Level 2 – Gastronomy
  • Level 3 – Medicine
  • Level 4 – Ballistics 2
  • Level 5 – Stealth
  • Level 6 – Gastronomy 2
  • Level 7 – Ballistics 3
  • Level 8 – Medicine 2
  • Level 9 – Security
  • Level 10 – Ballistics 4

Levels 11 – 20

Here’s a list of the best skills to select from levels 11 – 20 with the Sniper Build Guide in Starfield:

  • Level 11 – Rifle Certification
  • Level 12 – Medicine 3
  • Level 13 – Gastronomy 3
  • Level 14 – Security 2
  • Level 15 – Medicine 4
  • Level 16 – Weapon Engineering
  • Level 17 – Gastronomy 4
  • Level 18 – Isolation
  • Level 19 – Rifle Certification
  • Level 20 – Security 3

Levels 21 – 30

Here’s a list of the best skills to select from levels 21 – 30 with the Sniper Build Guide in Starfield:

  • Level 21 – Rifle Certification 2
  • Level 22 – Isolation 2
  • Level 23 – Weapon Engineering 2
  • Level 24 – Rifle Certification 3
  • Level 25 – Boost Pack Training 2
  • Level 26 – Isolation 3
  • Level 27 – Rifle Certification 4
  • Level 28 – Marskmanship
  • Level 29 – Sniper Certification
  • Level 30 – Boost Pack Training 3

Levels 31 – 40

Here’s a list of the best skills to select from levels 31 – 40 with the Sniper Build Guide in Starfield:

  • Level 31 – Isolation 4
  • Level 32 – Marskmanship 2
  • Level 33 – Sniper Certification 2
  • Level 34 – Boost Pack Training 4
  • Level 35 – Weapon Engineering 3
  • Level 36 – Stealth 2
  • Level 37 – Fitness 2
  • Level 38 – Marskmanship 3
  • Level 39 – Sniper Certification 3
  • Level 40 – Sharpshooting

Levels 41 – 50

Here’s a list of the best skills to select from levels 41 to 50 with the Sniper Build Guide in Starfield:

  • Level 41 – Stealth 3
  • Level 42 – Fitness 3
  • Level 43 – Weapon Engineering 4
  • Level 44 – Spacesuit Design
  • Level 45 – Sharpshooting 2
  • Level 46 – Marskmanship 4
  • Level 47 – Sniper Certification 4
  • Level 48 – Spacesuit Design 2
  • Level 49 – Spacesuit Design 3
  • Level 50 – Spacesuit Design 4


Starfield Magsniper Rifle
Magsniper Rifle
Starfield Marksmans AA-99 Weapon
AA-99 Rifle

The best weapon for Sniper Build is the Magsniper Rifle because it can get a 120-meter range, hit for over 400 damage, and have a Recon Scope and Penetrator Rounds. An alternative is the Hard Target Rifle or the Old Earth Hunting Rifle early in the game. The secondary weapon to equip is the AA-99 Rifle because it’s also ballistic and can be modified to semi-automatic with a scope. You can use this for medium or close encounters; it pairs well with Hard Target.

Weapons can have up to 8 modifications depending on the type. Each mod requires materials or resources and the Weapon Engineering skill from the Science skill tree. You will also have to research mod upgrades via a research station, and it can take some time to unlock the full potential of the gun and weapons. Weapons have four qualities: white, blue, purple, and legendary yellow. If a weapon is blue or greater in rarity, it comes with a perk or a trait. These add additional effects in addition to modifications.

Primary Weapon

The following table lists the best mods for Magsniper Rifle weapons:

Magsniper Weapon SlotMod
BarrelStabilizing Barrel
LaserRecon Laser Sight
OpticLong Scope
MuzzleShock Band Charge
Magazine and BatteryPenetrator Rounds
InternalHigh Powered
Magsniper Weapon Modifications

Here are the best weapon traits and perks for the Magsniper Rifle weapon in Starfield:

  • Handloading: Volatile rounds that are designed to pack a bigger punch but aren’t as stable and can fail on occasion.
  • Hitman: +15% damage while aiming
  • Shattering: Breakthrough even the strongest armor.

Secondary Weapon

The following table lists the best mods for AA-99 Rifle weapon:

AA-99 Weapon SlotMod
BarrelLong Barrel
LaserRecon Laser Sight
OpticShort Scope
Grip & StockErgonomic Stock
Magazine and BatteryExplosive Rounds
InternalHigh Velocity
AA-99 Weapon Modifications

Here are the best weapon traits and perks for the AA-99 Rifle weapon in Starfield:

  • Corrosive: Randomly deals corrosive damage and reduces the targets’ armor over 6 seconds
  • Furious: Each consecutive hit deals more damage
  • Incendiary: Randomly deals incendiary damage


The recommended armor traits for a sniper build in Starfield are Chameleon, Headhunter, and Sentinel. These randomly appear on armor depending on the quality, and any set of armor can be effective. Moreover, the Starborn outfit for completing one game is a good alternative. Here are the recommended armor perks and traits for a Sniper build in Starfield:

  • Chameleon: Blend with the environment while sneaking and not moving.
  • Headhunter: Deals +25% damage on the next attack after hitting a target’s head.
  • Sentinel: 75% chance to reduce damage by 50% while standing still.

Armors are available in four distinct qualities: white, blue, purple, and the legendary yellow. If an armor piece holds the rarity of blue or higher, it boasts an accompanying perk or trait. These augmentations introduce supplementary effects alongside any modifications. For instance, the “Beast Hunter” perk reduces damage from Alien enemies by 15%. While most of these enhancements are randomly bestowed, noteworthy exceptions include quest-related items with standardized attributes. Optimal resource utilization suggests reserving modifications for blue or higher quality armors, preventing the squandering of materials on non-perk gear that ultimately holds limited potency.

Starborn Power

Starfield Void Form Power
Starfield Void Form Starborn Power

Void Form is the best Starborn power for a Sniper build because it gives you a brief stealth field. Alternatively, Reactive Shield power helps reduce damage and reflect bullets. Sense Star Stuff detects enemies and friendlies; you can see targets behind walls.

Starborn Powers are earned through the main story campaign. You will encounter artifacts early on and acquire more of them as you progress. Using Vlad, located in the eye, and the Constellation group, located at the Lodge, to find more. Spend time discovering and exploring Temples to progress this power.


Starfield Isolation Skill

Do not use a companion for a Sniper build; instead, use the isolation skill from the social skill tree. This grants increased weapon damage and resistance for traveling alone without a companion to any crew. This is helpful to keep you in stealth without being detected due to companions fumbling around engaging with the enemy. Moreover, you will gain more strength overall using Isolation, though it requires an investment in Isolation skills.

Build Summary – Sniper Best Build for Starfield

Background – Soldier

Traits – Alien DNA

Primary Weapon – Magsniper

Secondary Weapon – AA-99

Armor – UC Marine

Companion – Void Form


  • Sniper Certification
  • Sharpshooting
  • Stealth
  • Marksman
  • Ballistics
  • Rifle Certification
  • Wellness
  • Boost Pack Training
  • Weapon Engineering
  • Spacesuit Design

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