Starfield: Best Rifles – Weapons Tier List

Discover the key to becoming a true sharpshooter in the unforgiving universe of Starfield with the best Rifles and Weapons Tier List.

Starfield Best Rifles

Introducing the comprehensive guide to the finest rifles in the vast expanse of Starfield. This comprehensive handbook discusses the top-notch rifles that will elevate your combat power and ensure your survival in the untamed cosmos. Our guide will explain the path to unlocking weapon potential through mods and mastering its use on the battlegrounds.

The Best Rifle in Starfield

Va’ruun Inflictor is the best Rifle in Starfield because it uses both ballistic and laser damage, and has high accuracy, range, and massive damage. This is a later-game weapon that starts appearing at level 30 and beyond and for good reason. It uses Heavy Fuse ammunition, doing both ballistic and laser damage similar to the Big Bang Shotgun. The Inflictor is a must-have Rifle for Soldier Build, and ballistic-based weapon damage builds like the File Not Found background.

If you are looking for long-range Sniper Rifles click here. There are three known Sniper Rifles with over 100 meter range at their base and we rank them in a separate guide.

Here is the best rifle tier list in Starfield:


  • Ammo: 6.5mm
  • Damage: 12
  • Type: Ballistic
  • Mods: 7
  • Range: 40m

The Maelstrom rifle is a mid-range assault rifle in Starfield. It has a moderate fire rate, accuracy, and range, making it a versatile weapon that can be used in a variety of situations. It can also be customized with up to 7 weapon mods, allowing players to tailor it to their specific needs and playstyle. 

The strength of the weapon is a variety of modification options like suppressor, scope, and semi or fully-automatically. This can help change the weapon usage from a lackluster starting gun to a powerful long-range sniper rifle. You encounter this weapon constantly, so bullets and ammunition are plentiful.  The downside is the damage is weak compared to later-game weapons, but it’s still a great rifle to collect, modify, and add to your collection.


  • Ammo: 3KV LZR
  • Damage: 55
  • Type: Laser
  • Mods: 7
  • Range: 50m

The Equinox is a laser rifle in Starfield that has high accuracy and good range. It is a powerful and accurate weapon that is ideal for dealing with heavily armored enemies.  The weapon does Laser damage, which is uncommon in the Rifle weapon category, but the ammunition is plentiful as well as the Equinox availability.  You find this weapon commonly throughout the start and it can carry your damage if you select the Lasers skill in the Combat Tree.

The strength of this weapon is the weapon mod progression is high, with both Electromagnetic Beams and Ignition Beams available at later levels.  You can use EM Beams to knock robots and living creatures and Ignition Beams burn enemies.  The downside is the damage is low and like the Maelstrom this seems to be best used as a fully automatic weapon rather than your typical range sniper. Very good weapon and worth customizing mid to later game levels.


  • Ammo: 11mm
  • Damage: 48
  • Type: Ballistic
  • Mods: 8
  • Range: 48m

The AA-99 rifle is a high-powered anti-armor rifle in Starfield. It is known for its devastating damage output and long range.  The weapon has the maximum available modifications of eight, with ballistic damage, and comes standard as a medium-range fully automatic rifle. 

The strength of the AA-99 is its versatile modification loadout.  You can change from fully automatic to semi, which helps with skills like Marksmanship. You can attach both a suppressor and a scope.  Suppressors increase damage while sneaking with the Stealth skill from the Physical skill tree while scopes increase damage via the Sniper Certification skill in the Combat Tree.  The downside of the weapon is it’s the jack of all trades rather than mastering one aspect of combat.  Consider this a must-have weapon as you level and customize it for your specific build.

Novablast Disruptor

  • Ammo: Heavy Fuse
  • Damage: 116
  • Type: Electromagnetic
  • Mods: 5
  • Range: 20m

The Novablast Disruptor rifle is an electromagnetic rifle in Starfield.  This is a different choice for a specific purpose and that’s engaging in a non-lethal way.  You can give this weapon to your companions as well and play a total speech, persuasion and pacifist playthrough. While challenging, it’s possible with this weapon.

The Strengths are good rate of fire, high accuracy and can weaken enemies. The downside is weak range of 20 meters and low mod availability. Consider this weapon a niche choice, and not for all players both worth mentioning on our list.


  • Ammo: 3KV LZR
  • Damage: 100
  • Type: Laser
  • Mods: 7
  • Range: 42.5m

Think of the Orion Rifle as a mix between the Equinox and the AA-99 Rifle. With the Orion, you do laser damage, medium range, semi or fully automatic with 7 mods.  This weapon has high damage as well and a better weapon mod availability at high level which is why it exceeds the AA-99.

You can get a variety of different types of ammunition like Ignition Beam and EM Beams along with higher damage and a great accuracy rating. Consider this a great versatile choice if you prefer or specialize into laser weapons rather than ballistics.


  • Ammo: 6.5mm MI
  • Damage: 111
  • Type: Ballistic
  • Mods: 5
  • Range: 50m

The Magpulse rifle is a powerful and unique rifle in Starfield. It is a magnetically driven weapon that fires a beam of concentrated energy. The Magpulse rifle has a high damage output, but it also has a low fire rate and accuracy.  The weapon does have good range and the damage is very high without modifications.

The strength of the weapon is that it’s an all-around great gun that doesn’t require heavy modifications to make it powerful.  With over 100 damage from the base and 50 meters, this gun can serve as your all-around damage dealer in any situation. What holds it back is the lack of mods, specifically suppressors and scopes.  Consider this the best in versatility and one of the most “flashy” rifles in Starfield.

Va’ruun Inflictor

Va’ruun Inflictor Particle Beam Rifle features in Starfield:

  • Damage: 13 + 113
  • Ammo: Heavy Fuse
  • Type: Ballistic and Laser
  • Fire Rate: 25
  • Accuracy: 70%
  • Range: 50 meters

The Va’ruun Inflictor Particle Beam Rifle hits the sweet spot between damage, range, rate of fire, and accuracy.  This weapon can come base equipped with 70% accuracy, a 50-meter range, and a combination of laser and ballistic damage.  This weapon is similar in impact to the Big Bang shotgun, allowing you to double dip in both skill perks that increase ballistic and laser damage.  Since this is a rifle, you can get more skills from the combat skill tree increasing the overall damage.

Va’ruun Inflictoralso has access to high-level mods like Focus Nozzle and Annihilator Rounds.  These two weapon modifications significantly ramp up the damage even more, making it the best Rifle in Starfield.  The downside of the weapon is Heavy heavy-fuse ammunition can be hard to obtain or expensive.  The Va’ruun Inflictor is also a later-game gun that can be expected to start appearing on traders or dropping from enemies at or around level 30.  Post level 30, this is your number one priority in weapons for a Rifle enjoyer.

Why Use a Rifle

Rifles are versatile and powerful weapons that can be used for a variety of tasks in Starfield. Rifles have a longer range than other weapons, such as pistols and shotguns. This is important in Starfield, where you will often be fighting enemies in open spaces.  Rifles can be customized with a variety of attachments, such as scopes, silencers, and magazines. This allows you to tailor your rifle to your specific needs and playstyle.

Here are the Pros and Cons of using the Rife in Starfield:

Rifle ProsRifle Cons
RangeWeak Sustained Damage
Burst DamageMostly Ballistic Damage
CustomizationLacks Advanced Mods

Skills That Influence Rifles

There are many skills that influence your Rifle damage in Starfield. Most of which you can find in the Combat skill tree with two in the Physical. To optimize your Rifle damage, you will need weapon engineering. This will allow customization of the weapon to include powerful barrels, ammunition, suppressors, and scopes.

Below is a list of all the skills that increase your Rifle damage in Starfield:

  • Stealth (Physical Skill Tree): Adds a Stealth Meter. You are 25% more difficult to detect when sneaking. Suppressed weapons do an additional 5% sneak attack damage.  Note, for this to apply to your Rifle, you will need to be stealth and use a Suppressor modification on muzzle.
  • Concealment (Physical Skill Tree): You no longer set off enemy mines. Ranged sneak attacks do 2.5x normal damage and your melee sneak attacks do 4x normal damage. 
  • Isolation (Social Skill Tree): Do +10% weapon damage and gain 15 Damage Resistance for each Spacesuit and Helmet equipped when you don’t have a companion or any crew. 
  • Armor Penetration (Combat Skill Tree): Attacks ignore 15% of a target’s armor.
  • Ballistics (Combat Skill Tree): Ballistic weapons do 10% more damage.
  • Heavy Weapons Certification (Combat Skill Tree): Heavy weapons do 10% more damage.
  • Incapacitation (Combat Skill Tree): EM weapons do 5% more damage.
  • Lasers (Combat Skill Tree): Laser weapons do 10% more damage.
  • Particle Beams (Combat Skill Tree): Particle beam weapons do 10% more damage.
  • Marksmanship (Combat Skill Tree): Increase critical hit chance with non-automatic ranged weapons by 3%.
  • Rifle Certification (Combat Skill Tree): Rifles do 10% more damage.
  • Sharpshooting (Combat Skill Tree): Increase headshot critical damage by 50% with ranged weapons.
  • Sniper Certification (Combat Skill Tree): Scoped weapons are steadier and have less sway.
  • Chemistry (Science Skill Tree): You can create improved chems, and research additional chems at a Research Lab.  While not directly related, these chems can improve damage.
  • Weapon Engineering (Science Skill Tree): You can craft improved weapon mods at a Weapon Workbench, and research additional weapon mods at a Research Lab.
  • Special Projects (Science Skill Tree): You can research experimental projects at a Research Lab.  This mod is required to reach the highest level of crafting, and expect to spend a lot of skill points to get here.

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