Best Pistols in Starfield (Unique/Non-Unique, Early & Late Game)

Anastasios Antoniadis

Updated on:

Best Pistols in Starfield

Starfield players who love pistols (myself included) will have many options in the game. When looking for the best pistols in Starfield, even the standard rarity pistols you can purchase at weapon vendors can become devastating with the right weapon mods. Add to that the fact that you can even get those pistols in refined quality, which makes them even more powerful, while once you reach higher levels, they will be replaced by their Advanced variants.

Before we start this guide, I would like to mention two of the best pistols you can get early on; Ambassador and Keelhauler. The former, in particular, is, to me, the best pistol in Starfield. Both are great options, but they violate the aesthetics of your typical handgun. The Ambassador fires two shots per trigger pull due to its Binary Trigger mod. At the same time, the Keelhauler only works with a full or semiautomatic receiver, making it more of a rifle than a pistol.

The guide includes both of these options, along with traditional pistols like Advanced Urban Eagle, Advanced XM-2311, and Advanced Old Earth Pistol.

Now, without further ado, let’s look at the best pistols in Starfield!

Note: This guide is primarily oriented towards endgame content. However, it’s still valid for earlier content, as the Ambassador and Keelhauler are easily obtainable early in the game, while the non-Advanced variants of the non-unique pistols are available at varying levels. If you can get one of those at Calibrated or Refined quality, go for it!

Ambassador

Ambassador
Image: Bethesda via Meta Game Guides
  • Type of Damage: Physical
  • Damage Per Shot: 111
  • Ammunition: .43 Ultramag
  • Magazine Size: 8 Rounds
  • Firing Speed: 109 Rounds/Minute
  • Effective Range: 30 Meters
  • Precision Rating: 78.5%
  • Weight: 3.80 kg
  • Mod Slots: 7 Slots

Recommended mods:

  • Extended Barrel
  • Laser Sight
  • Reflex Sight
  • Suppressor
  • Penetrator Rounds
  • High Powered
  • Binary Trigger

The Ambassador pistol has been my favorite for most of the game. It has an impressive fire rate of 109 rounds per minute, courtesy of the Binary Trigger mod, which fires two rounds per shot. I have modified Ambassador to promote stealth gameplay (this is true for every pistol in this list), picking an Extended Barrel that increases its range to 30. At the same time, I have also boosted its accuracy to 78.5% thanks to Reflex Sight.

Penetrator Rounds are devastating combined with the Shattering perk, while the High Powered mod helps increase the damage output per shot to 111 from 53. This has allowed me to boost its DPS to 1,213, the highest among all my weapons mid-game.

How to Get the Ambassador

This unique pistol can be acquired by spying on Ambassador Evangeline Radcliff and blackmailing her during Friends Like These.

(Overcharged) Advanced Magshot

Advanced Magshot
Image: Bethesda via Meta Game Guides
  • Type of Damage: Physical
  • Damage Per Shot: 235.3
  • Ammunition: .43 MI
  • Magazine Size: 6 Rounds
  • Firing Speed: 161 Rounds/Minute
  • Effective Range: 31 Meters
  • Precision Rating: 67.9%
  • Weight: 7.50 kg
  • Mod Slots: 6 Slots

Recommended mods:

  • Magnetic Rails
  • Recon Laser Sight
  • Muzzle Brake
  • Depleted Uranium Rounds
  • Hair Trigger

Advanced Maghost, similar to Keelhauler, which is based on it, has many issues with accuracy and recoil (for more details, check my analysis of Keelhauler). However, if you mod it with a focus on firepower, it can reach an amazing 3,789 DPS, which is insane. Essentially, this is nothing other than a Rifle disguised as a pistol. The difference is that, for some reason, a fully automatic receiver does not reduce the pistol’s damage per shot, contrary to rifles, leading to the insane DPS.

However, I believe you are far better off with a rifle due to the limited magazine size of Advanced Magshot. However, it may be the right choice if you like the design and can control its recoil. Contrary to Keelhauler, Advanced Maghot can’t be modded with a Suppressor.

How to Get Advanced Maghost

Just purchase the Advanced Old Earth Pistol at any weapons vendor you can find it, and mod it with Shock Charge Band to change its name modifier to Overcharged.

(Assassin’s) Advanced Old Earth Pistol

Assassin's Advanced Old Earth Pistol
Image: Bethesda via Meta Game Guides
  • Type of Damage: Physical
  • Damage Per Shot: 138
  • Ammunition: .45 Caliber
  • Magazine Size: 9 Rounds
  • Firing Speed: 67 Rounds/Minute
  • Effective Range: 22 Meters
  • Precision Rating: 70.2%
  • Weight: 1.45 kg
  • Mod Slots: 4 Slots

Recommended mods:

  • Suppressor
  • Tactical Grip
  • Armor-Piercing Rounds
  • High Powered

Despite being a standard rarity pistol, this Assassin’s Advanced Old Earth Pistol boasts 138 damage per shot, which equals that of a Refined Razorback (note that the Razorback has a slow Fire Rate of 12 rounds per minute, so its DPS is 1/8th of this pistol’s DPS). This pistol is easily obtainable from weapon vendors (for instance, in New Atlantis).

While it can’t be much Ambassador regarding range, accuracy, and fire rate, it is a powerful pistol that can be further powered up with the Higher Powered and Armor-Piercing Rounds mods. I have boosted the weapon’s DPS to 921, the second highest among my current pistols. I highly recommend it as it’s easily purchasable and can be one of your more trustworthy pieces. It also has a mass of 1.45 when modded, so you will always find room for it!

How to Get the Advanced Old Earth Pistol

Just purchase the Advanced Old Earth Pistol at any weapons vendor you can find it, and mod it with a suppressor to change its name modifier to Assassin’s.

(Professional’s) Advanced Urban Eagle

Advanced Urban Eagle
Image: Bethesda via Meta Game Guides
  • Type of Damage: Physical
  • Damage Per Shot: 192
  • Ammunition: .43 Ultramag
  • Magazine Size: 10 Rounds
  • Firing Speed: 25 Rounds/Minute
  • Effective Range: 27 Meters
  • Precision Rating: 81.3%
  • Weight: 3.95 kg
  • Mod Slots: 7 Slots

Recommended mods:

  • Long Barrel
  • Recon Laser Sight
  • Short Scope
  • Suppressor
  • Tactical Grip
  • Penetrator Rounds
  • High Powered

To start with the negatives, the Advanced Urban Eagle has a low Fire Rate of 25 rounds per minute and a quite low 481 DPS. It makes the list because of its 192 Damage per shot, leading to devastating headshots combined with Stealth and Concealment.

It’s not necessarily the king of headshot and stealthy gameplay, but it’s up there, so if you, like me, prefer the silent approach instead of raw gunslinging, this is a great option. It comes with a solid range of 27 meters and an impressive accuracy of 81.3% when modded properly.

How to Get the Advanced Urban Eagle

Just purchase the Advanced Urban Eagle at any weapons vendor you can find it. Once again, Centurian Arsenal in New Atlantis is a great choice, and you can also search for it at Neon Tactical. Adding the Recon Laser Sight to the pistol will add the “Professional’s” name modifier.

(Assassin’s) Advanced XM-2311

Assassin's Refined XM 2311
Image: Bethesda via Meta Game Guides
  • Type of Damage: Physical
  • Damage Per Shot: 160
  • Ammunition: .45 Caliber
  • Magazine Size: 9 Rounds
  • Firing Speed: 67 Rounds/Minute
  • Effective Range: 22 Meters
  • Precision Rating: 77.7%
  • Weight: 2.00 kg
  • Mod Slots: 5 Slots

Recommended mods:

  • Laser Sight
  • Red Dot Sight
  • Suppressor
  • Armor-Piercing Rounds
  • High Powered

The Advanced XM-2311 reaches 1,066 DPS when combined with Armor-Piercing Rounds and High Powered. It can also reach 160 Damage per shot, making it a great pick for ranged sneak attacks. Similarly to the Advanced Urban Eagle, combining it with Concealment and Stealth can lead to insane amounts of damage.

The Fire Rate, at 67 rounds per minute, is pretty great for a pistol and the only negative thing I can say about it is the rather short range of 22 meters.

How to get the Assassin’s Assassin’s Refined XM-2311/Assassin’s Advanced XM-2311

The Advanced XM-2311 is available at weapon vendors. I got mine at Centurian Arsenal in New Atlantis’s residential district.

Keelhauler

Keelhauler
Image: Bethesda via Meta Game Guides
  • Type of Damage: Physical
  • Damage Per Shot: 130
  • Ammunition: .43 MI
  • Magazine Size: 6 Rounds
  • Firing Speed: 189 Rounds/Minute
  • Effective Range: 39 Meters
  • Precision Rating: 67.5%
  • Weight: 5.45 kg
  • Mod Slots: 6 Slots

Recommended mods:

  • Magnetic Rails
  • Recon Laser Sight
  • Muzzle Brake
  • Depleted Uranium Rounds
  • Hair Trigger

Keelhauler is a very weird, legendary, unique pistol, which will feel like the best pistol in Starfield once you get your hands on it. However, the perks it comes with—Staggering, Berserker, and Frenzy—indicate that it is best used against enemies that are living organisms (Frenzy) and have low armor (Berserker). That leaves us with unarmed civilians and animals, but let’s get past its legendary perks.

This pistol can be modded with a Fully Automatic Receiver, Magnetic Rails, and Hair Trigger, reaching a Fire Rate of 189 rounds per minute. Its damage per shot is 130, while it can reach 2,454 DPS with the proper mods.

Here is the catch: It’s tough to aim the weapon with a Fully Automatic receiver due to the high recoil. Combine that with a magazine of 6 rounds, and you will constantly reload. Keelhauler, despite its great range of 39, which can be raised to 44, is essentially a close-quarters pistol. In my eyes, it complements Ambassador, as Ambassador helps you destroy everything with high armor, leaving the rest to Keelhauler.

I don’t consider Keelhauler as enjoyable as I used to anymore. While I’m showcasing the weapon with a Fully Automatic receiver to demonstrate its max DPS, I use it with the default Semi-Automatic receiver, which drops its DPS to an unspectacular 303. And yet, at least the shots hit the target in this case, and you have far more control over the pistol’s recoil, so while it feels like a downgrade, it isn’t one in my mind.

How to Get Keelhauler

To get this legendary unique pistol, you must join the Crimson Fleet and complete the third faction mission, Echoes of the Past. Delgado will reward you with Keelhauler towards the end of the mission.

Anastasios Antoniadis
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x