Assault Rifles vs Pistols vs SMGs

From some comments made by @Chuck80 in a video recently I was motivated to talk about how ARs, Pistols, and SMGs all kinda occupy the same space in the game and how Gearbox can maybe improve on this. I made this video and many of the comments were so good I thought I would continue the topic here.

Here is the video

Now because this is a text based forum here are some bullet points

  • While you ADS SMGs, Pistols, and ARs all have near 100% accuracy making them all have similar range
  • ARs should have much longer range than Pistols and SMGs
  • Many Pistols are too close in design to thier AR or SMG counter part
  • Jakobs,Bandit, and Vladof Pistols and ARs have similar stats, range, and use case
  • Hyperion Pistols and SMGs are almost the same thing
  • Maliwan and Torgue differentiate the best but are not too different.

Some Solutions

  • Have damage drop off like in BB for weapon types
  • Have the accuracy cones spread out exponentially at range with some gun types
  • Change up the base stats more to make them more unique

What ideas do you have?

Here are some comments from the video (youtube comments can be good???)

Mr Torgue

I think it’s hard to balance. I’m not sure how high the movement penalty for aiming down sights is. Maybe give different weapons a different one. You’ll move faster when ads with a SMG and really slow when using a Bandit AR for example. Doesn’t fix the range problem but makes them feel more unique for their class.


the range penalty in place of an accuracy change makes perfect sense.

I think another way to differentiate would be to give weapon types that traditionally have higher calibers armor piercing qualities, in varying degrees, as a bonus.

This would apply to all rifles (ARs and Snipers) and certain red text variants of other weapon types? Either assign it to a new weapon part (magazine type, such that a tediore or bandit/scav would lack it in favor of capacity) or create a class within an existing weapon part that would carry the armor piercing quality.

This particular trait could be non-elemental, and allow for status effects on armored targets sans corrosive, or significantly boosting chances for a corrosive status effect on armored targets.

This armor piercing effect could have a game mechanic like crits where it amounts to a boosted percentage of listed damage, and the resulting damage could then be boosted by critical hit percentages. As a trade off recoil for these weapons needs to be high.

Adding this along with the range bonus/penalty to adjust for the accuracy parity and you might have some real balance and a bonus for using ARs at end game.

Aaron Long

The problem isn’t accuracy, it’s the complete lack of attenuation. A bullet fired from a pistol will travel to the horizon, and do full damage to the first thing it intersects with. The same is true of a SMG or AR.


I’m tempted to agree that damage drop-off over range would be a good idea, although with the caveat that this didn’t apply to some weapons - for instance, keeping the damage constant could be part of what sets the Bitch and other unique SMGs apart.
Bullet speed might be a consideration as well, esp. since that is often lacking in several makes of AR and is sometimes exacerbated by a wind-up time - while a Hyperion or Tediore SMG is nearly hitscan.
I feel like pistols are another sack of ferrets, since the manufacturer gimmicks become so much more apparent in them. Tricky subject, but interesting.


I love discussions about game physics. On the topic of bullet drop-off though, I’m not sure I like this idea, as you mentioned in the second half of this video typical FPS games use this mechanic but I don’t like that idea for a game like Borderlands. Honestly I’m fine with multiple weapon types filling the same slot, to me that just means more ammo. I do understand the argument that there are too many similarities though. I’d like it if all ARs functioned more like Jakobs ARs, great accuracy but heavy recoil closer to snipers than SMGs, as opposed to the current SMGs which I feel should have the typical high RoF but shouldn’t be as accurate as they are, with the Hyperion exception. I’d like my SMGs to be more like hip-fire weapons with a wide spread, similar to full-auto shotguns as opposed to highly accurate crit machines, like the Tattler, Slagga, Bone Shredder, Lascaux etc. Though in saying that, my favorite shotguns are Hyperion and they’re functionally unlike all other shotguns in that they’re the highly accurate crit machines that SMGs are.
As for pistols, again I’d like it if they were mostly like Jakobs, high damage but huge recoil, Vladof pistols feel /too/ accurate and their magazine capacity is too high coupled with their RoF while Torgue pistols are way too accurate for what they should be considering the huge damage output. Jakobs pistols recoil all over the damn place, I like that feel.


How it is right now:
Accuracy: B
Damage: C
Fire rate B

Accuracy: B
Damage: B
Fire rate C to A depending on brands

Accuracy: B
Damage: C
Fire rate A

How it should be:
Accuracy: B
Damage: B
Fire rate B

Accuracy: D
Damage: C
Fire rate D
With a special something to make them stand out that is not stats related

Accuracy: C
Damage: D
Fire rate A

The distinction between revolvers and machine pistols is an interesting one, but the one between machine pistols and SMGs is irrelevant as they really do the same thing (bullet hose at short range) So I would merge them and have pistols/revolvers be very different. Torgue, Mailwan, Jakobs and Dahl pistols were different…and interesting, Bandit Hyperion, Tediore and Vladof pistols are just SMGs with different looks and they bring very little to the table.

Pistols need their unique thing, and based on what the game is already doing anyway, the most relevant thing would be a type B crit bonus accross the board: Pistols have already the biggest of all Jakobs type B (25% while all other Jakobs guns have 15%), and they are the only weapon type that can get one on any brand (through the Hyperion barrel) Also, think of the lady fist, the crit fibber, the Unforgiven, Gwen’s head… BL2 is full of pistols with an emphasis on crits

It also fits with pistol builds the franchise is known for (Modercai and Zero) as a great place to be for crit-based characters, so there would be an incentive to use them with the gunslinger characters. It also encourages a different playstyle since you would need to get those crits to deal damage…but you would also need to be close to get them, making that playstyle very different from a Sniper one.

Pistols need to be different rather than unnecessarily powerful, otherwise they will step on the toes of one of the similar weapon types: If they’re too powerful or accurate, they step on ARs and if they’re too fast, they step on SMGs

It could be anything though, a Crit bonus is just the most natural thing that comes to mind.

An emphasis on speed would also make sense since pistols are pretty easy to tote: A VERY fast swap speed, reload speed and Aim speed, Ultra-fast recoil recovery, no penalty to movement speed for ADS with pistols.

Or a focus on the fact that they’re the only gun type that only needs one hand to use, leaving a free hand to do something else. The ability to wield 2 at a time or to do melee attacks with a weapon (since all other gun types require 2 hands, that would be a great way to make Pistols interesting and open up a new way to think about hybrid builds) Or again, lightning fast reloads (since you have a free hand for that.)

Simon Burling

Hi Derch,

Range bands, and accuracy.

Pistol Extreme (Not Mashers) is roughly the same as assault rifle point blank ranges.
Shotgun Extreme is roughly 60 to 80% of Pistol Extreme, but in a narrow cone, range and cone size is determined by any choke.
SMG’s should be double pistol ranges, excluding any scope effects, and Assault Rifles should be roughly 2 to 3 times as long.
Battle Rifles (Jakobs) could be upto double Assault Rifle lower ranges.

Accuracy should be range limited, personally overriding any Manufacturer modifiers.

Yso serious?85

Pistols should be the guns with the lowest DPS but greatest ammo pool and lowest cost for ammo. I think Revolvers and Repeaters should be separated again so that Revolvers are way more powerful but have a lower ammo pool and higher ammo costs.
And like you said lower range. More distance to target = less damage after a certain distance so you don’t want to snipe with pistols (same with SMG’s) AR’s shouldn’t have this issues so they are a like a SMG/Sniper Rifle Hybrid like they should be.
Same with Shotguns. Hyperion shotties are stupid in my mind though I absolutely love my CC, Interfacer and Butcher. But it is not good that you can use them in middle to high range without drawbacks that is not what shotty’s should do.
To say it all in once they should give all weapon types strenghts and weaknesses in damage and range.
For low to middle range pistols, shotty’s and SMG’s and for middle to low range AR’s and of course Snipers but give this weapons lower ammo pools and higher prices for ammo.
And also stop this ■■■■■■■■ with ammo drop rates: The lower your ammo for weapon types the more you get out of chests for them. That is not a good idea im my mind, because it makes ammo a ■■■■■■■ common and pointless thing. Same with ammo charing in MP, that is ■■■■■■■■.
I was using a Lyuda in the Peak and I got NEVER Out of ammo, because everytime my ammo is low as ■■■■ the game puked the ammo all over me. Often more then I ■■■■■■■ needed


I feel like they need to better define the stat spreads between each class as a start. At least so that each class feels different. ARs should have high damage, but middling fire rate, reload speeds, and mag sizes. SMGs should have low damage, but high fire rates, middling reload speeds, and massive mags.There should be notable ranges with little overlap. A Vladof AR should be able to approach and even surpass lower end SMG fire rates, but shouldn’t be able to top their best for example.
Then Gearbox could go on to make it so that SMGs don’t gain as much accuracy by being ADSd, but have next to no accuracy lose while shot from the hip so they’re good for mid/close range hipfiring, ARs should have more accuracy loss while hipfired but be very easy to handle and accurate while ADSd.
I like that Pistols already tend to be small mag/fast reload, but I’m unsure what else could be done with them. Maybe if they had SMG damage, but fire rates between them and ARs along with good Hip-fire and ADS potential so they could be a middle ground option, jack of all trades style, if you’ve already filled your loadout of weapons and can’t take both an SMG and an AR. Add in their faster swap speed and the most plentiful ammo pool and it might make the cut for them.

Since elements were an accessory in B1, Maliwan never made any mashers. Now that Maliwan Pistols come with a splash effect I think that being able to have Maliwan Mashers would be the coolest thing ever. Or the thunderball fist as a masher.

Scott C1

IMO the accuracy of pistols and SMGs should be significantly less at range, and ARs more useful at midrange. In Borderlands 2, I can’t think of a time in which I want any AR over a solid Hyerion SMG or even a Vladof Sniper rifle.

It’s easier to control the recoil on a Droog than a Vladof AR, and the damage potential, especially with my main zer0, is a lot higher. Even on characters that don’t specialize in crits or sniper rifles, I genuinely believe that Vladof sniper rifle outperforms most assault rifles, at least for my playstyle.

For ARs to be viable, I think one needs to nerf Vladof snipers.

Another idea would be for inaccuracy of pistols and SMGs to scale on a curve, rather than linearly. I’m not sure if I can describe this adequately, but the idea is that instead of the bullets being confined to just a regular cone of accuracy, the cone gets wider disproportionately at range:

Then give assualt rifles a linear cone at close range, making them excel at medium range where SMGs cant.

I would also argue that Hyperion SMGs are too accurate and too easy to handle. While many assualt rifles have a theoretically higher DPS, what matters is the DPS that I, the imperfect user, can actually deliver to the target. Given variables like recoil, I find I can often achieve higher DPS in practice with a Hyperion SMG than any Assualt Rifle manufacturer (except for Dahl), simply due to the ease of staying on target and constantly hitting crits.

Another idea would be to give Assault Rifles a spray pattern, similar to CounterStrike. It could vary slightly by manufacturer, and another depth of technical skill for a player to attain in an, as you say, arcadey game. If you’re not familiar with CS spray patterns:, were such a mechanic implemented into Borderlands, I’d like to see it be easier than in CS: slower progression of the pattern, changes direction less violent, simpler shapes. A good example would be the first half of the SG-553’s spray pattern

Pistols I can’t really comment about, because the only ones I use are the grog nozzle and the lady fist.


Well, it’s sort of weird that SMG exists at all. It’s a relic from WW1 to essentially create better automatic pistol. SMGs use pistol cartridges with the exception of a few new ones. Since the 80s most SMG are replaced by AR, they simply have better range, penetration and even pretty good mobility. So the “role” of SMG is pretty much gone in modern combat. Well, actually it can replace pistols to serve as an alternative sidearm.

However, in videogames they kept it for some reason, gun variety maybe, but who knows. This might be a really unpopular opinion but I think dropping SMG and replacing that with Laser is far more intriguing concept in this Sci-Fi game.

Anyway we can have a detailed discussion on a thread as I don’t usually do long comments on youtube. :slight_smile:

There were lots more but I don’t want to go on forever. Anyways I would love to hear what everyone here has to say on this.


THIS is a fantastic point! I don’t necessarily agree with replacing SMGs entirely, but when you consider lasers in TPS it almost feels like you’ve gone from having too many weapon options in BL2 to not enough because lasers were so good that they almost always occupied a weapon slot where there was no weapon in BL2 that always felt like a mandatory pick, though this may just be because there was less variety in TPS.

On the point of weapon types going back to the BL1 way, revolvers and repeaters instead of just “pistols” etc. perhaps BL3 should (I’m almost certain they’ll have lasers, I mean come on) have lasers in multiple categories so as to have separate ammo pools? A separate pools for say splitters and blasters (which are functionally similar) and a second pool for beams and railguns would be awesome, that way you could carry multiple lasers without fear of running out of ammo and being left with four empty guns. I’d say increase the ammo consumption of splitters and decrease for railguns to compensate, but that’s all hypothetical.

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(Warning: stream of consciousness post incoming)

I think the first step is to determine exactly how you -want- to distinguish the weapon types. If I was making the determination I’d start by dividing weapon types up by the range band they’re intended to be used in, since “fires regular bullets at X interval” is a hard way to distinguish one gun from another.

  • Assault Rifles are medium- to long-ranged
  • SMGs are short- to medium-ranged
  • Pistols are short- to medium-ranged (possibly a few long-ranged types, with caveats)

Then you decide how you would enforce these range brackets. Without considering changes to the game engine, the first thing that comes to me is bullet speed and base accuracy:

  • ARs get higher velocity and better base accuracy, to make it easier to hit things at longer ranges. Balance this with lower fire rate than SMGs to prevent them being better up close. This kind of makes ARs into the little brother ‘combat rifles’ to Sniper Rifles. Not as high damage, no extra crit bonus, but more suited to a mobile, medium-range combat style.

  • SMGs and Pistols have lower velocity and lower base accuracy (/larger fire cone) making them harder to use at long range, but SMGs get/keep a very high rate of fire for close-in work, and Pistols have higher base damage to facilitate crit-seeking playstyles. Shotguns also fall into this range bracket, but their multiple-pellet spread fills a niche that neither SMGs or Pistols cover.

So break them down something like this:


  • Bandit, Dahl, Hyperion, Maliwan, Tediore, Torgue: Semi-automatic ‘regular’ pistols (w/individual manufacturer bonus), short-to-medium range
  • Vladof: “Machine Pistols”, RoF approaching SMGs but very inaccurate (short-range only)
  • Jakobs: “Hand Cannons”, more accurate/longer range, small magazine, middling reload

I know quick reloads is one of Jakobs’ things in BL2, but having that AND high damage AND high accuracy makes it hard to balance the other manufacturer guns around - one of them has to go IMO.

I’d actually like to go further and suggest that Jakobs get an ‘alternative’ barrel type, sort of like how Vladof has two AR barrels. One barrel is the ‘Longarm’ one we have now, it would be the ‘accurate, long range’ pistol barrel and the other one would be like mashers from BL1 and fire a bunch of bullets at once in a very short range, shotgun-like innaccurate manner.

I also like the idea of Maliwan getting a ‘sprayer’ type barrel that actually squirts a spray of whatever element (think hose of acid, or flamethrower type deal) in addition (or instead of) their ‘normal’ barrel, but that’s neither here nor there.

Then you can do something similar with ARs, with Dahl and Jakobs making longer-range (/more accurate) rifles you kind of stand off with, Vladof ARs firing faster but more inaccurate as medium-range ‘battle rifles’, Torgue ARs hitting hard but falling into the short-for-AR range because gyrojets are innacurate, and Bandit guns being all over because they’re taped-together junk.

… This still kind of leaves SMGs in a weird limbo though. Maybe we should consider just merging SMGs into Pistols and ARs (splitting them into ‘Machine Pistols’ and ‘Battle Rifles’ or something) and just coming up with a new category of guns to replace them with (whether that be lasers a la TPS, or the half-baked ‘sprayer’ idea above, or something else)… ?


I have to gather my thoughts before replying but I am looking forward to this discussion. Maybe me playing the Division can help, they use optimal range to classify weapons to their appropriate range. However smg is still sort of in a weird spot where shotguns just works better, and AR and Light machine gun absolutely dominates them in mid range.

In my opinion the thing to look for when categorizing different gun types is what playing styles do you want to give tools for. I mean that’s what makes a game diverse, when it have multiple efficient ways to defeat enemies in game. Use that as base for finding desirable attrubutes to specific gun types.

So as for playing style I’d categorize it by:
-movement style. stationary->never stop moving.
-shooting style. slowly tapping ->alternating between shooting styles depending on situation->holding the trigger forever.

As for movement style, I’d attach stationary “lean” to sniper rifles, rocket lauchers and assault rifles, while for pistols, smgs, shotguns and lasers have mobility lean.

As for shooting styles, apart from obvious answers, I’d like for assault rifles and possibly lasers to give support for alternating shooting styles.

When it comes to difference between SMGs and Asault Rifles, I’d like for those types to be implemented in way that smgs supports more mobile style of play and spraying style of shooting, while assault rifles to support more tactical movement style and alternating different shooting styles.

Initially I would go for some of the balancing aspects you get from bf3/4 in regards to ads/hip accuracy with a change to the movement speed penalties while ads’ing with the theme of mobility vs accuracy:

│         │ Hip Accuracy │ ADS Accuracy │ ADS Movement Speed Penalty │
│ Pistols │ High         │ Low          │ Low                        │
│ SMG's   │ Medium       │ Medium       │ Medium                     │
│ AR's    │ Low          │ High         │ High                       │

ps.: We could also use other factors such as recoil, weapon draw speed, projectile speed, spread increase per shot, etc. but I didn’t put much thought into it. So, you know. That’s cool. Kay, bye.

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… How would pistols being less accurate when scoped in even work, though?

I meant in comparison with the other categories’ ads accuracy. ADS remaining more accurate than the value from the hip but a pistol being less accurate while ads’ing than smg’s or ar’s ads’ing.

When it comes to SMGs, a high fire rate is a good bonus in and of itself, as such, they don’t need to be either accurate of powerful to have value: A lot of skills trigger on a hit, no matter how weak, and DoTs are a thing which also triggers on a per-hit basis, so the existence of SMGs in a futuristic setting is justified (even though they make more or less sense in today’s world) as a high fire rate is the perfect tool to deliver elemental effects. As such, SMGs could be the “elemental” specialty weapon type, just like Maliwan is the elemental brand. As such, they don’t have to disappear, but pistols that are as fast as SMGs should be classified as SMGs.

As far as comparative accuracy goes, here’s what I think they should have using the game’s numbers:
Snipers should have accuracy in the 95’s and up, and perfect stability in ADS
ARs should have accuracy in the 85 to 95 range, with good stability in ADS
SMGs should have accuracy in the 70 to 90 range with reasonable stability in ADS
Pistols should have accuracy in the 60 to 75 or so range, with normal-to-poor stability in ADS (one handed with short barrels tend to do that to firearms)
Shotguns should have accuracy anywhere between 10 and 65 depending on barrel, with good stability in ADS (since ADS doesn’t correct spread anyway, shotguns are inaccurate enough as it is and they usually have barrels that are as long as ARs)


Assault Rifles in general are underpowered because of balancing/design issues.
I’m not saying they’re all bad, there is a lot of awesome ARs (Ogre, Bekah, Sawbar, Hail, Minigun, KerBlaster, Lead Storm and many others …) but in general, they are outperformed by their pistol/SMG counterparts.

Let me take multiple examples : the Legendary Assault Rifles vs the Legendary Pistols :
So we are doing Shredifier vs Infinity, Veruc vs Hornet, Madhous! vs Gub, Maggie vs Hammer Buster and KerBlaster vs Unkempt Harold.

And as you can see, pistols win :

  • The Infinity has better DPS and infinite ammo while the Shredifier lacks stopping power and has pretty bad ammo consomption ;
  • The Hornet is a top tier weapon with better DPS, accuracy, burst size and grenade type splash damage making it incredible on Axton and Krieg while the Veruc has a weird firing pattern and is kind of average ;
  • The Gub is a decent pistol that only comes in Corrosive while the Madhous! is probably one of the worst weapons in the game ;
  • The Maggie is a top tier Jakobs weapon with awesome DPS and reload speed while the Hammer Buster lacks power and is obsolete when the Bekah exists ;
  • And finally, the Unkempt Harold is hands down the best weapon in the game imo. The KerBlaster is awesome, but not as powerful as the DPUH.

Also works with SMGs as well : the Slagga and the Emperor are both way better than their AR counterpart. Assault Rifles shouldn’t be that underpowered.

The devs completely f*cked up with ARs :confused:

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Well, that was the point of this discussion: I don’t think ARs are underpowered… I think SMGs and pistols are overpowered: They are too accurate and a bit too powerful and are stepping on AR territory.


I think it’s a bit of the two : some SMGs are completely ridiculous while some ARs are garbage.
Here is an example : i’m going to compare the worst AR to the worst SMG and the best AR to the best SMG to prove my point (please note that i’m not counting joke guns like the Bane and broken weapons like the Evil Smasher).

  • The worst AR is the Madhous! without any doubt, and the worst SMG is the Commerce. The Commerce is actually WAY more usable than the Madhous!
  • The best AR is the Bekah while the best SMG is the Sand Hawk. The Sand Hawk is actually more powerful than the Bekah and is a part of the highest DPS build (glitchless) in the entire game which is BeeHawk Cat Maya.

There is also the E-Tech issue with Assault Rifles (still trying to prove you that ARs are fairly underpowered), you can deal negative damage to the crit with them and Krieg + 10/5 Pain is Power, that’s just bad design and balancing.
And overall, Blasters are pretty underwhelming when compared to Plasma Casters (non-unique top tier SMGs) which are pretty awesome.

ARs should be buffed in my opinion. Some SMGs should get an accuracy + critical hit damage nerf, to make them balanced (as well as some pistols).

I am not going to do a full reply yet but just some food for though here…

Penetration, say you want to keep SMG as its own category, they can use penetration as a factor for balance (along with optimal range even). SMG can have high firerate, low recoil, however AR can have penetration, high damage. And snipers can have some really high penetration.

Each +1 penetration means the bullet can travel through one hitbox, so +3 = 3 hitboxes.

  1. Sniper +3 Penetration with Infinite Optimal Range
  2. AR +2 Penetration with High Optimal Range
  3. SMG with no Penetration with Medium Optimal Range
  4. Shotgun +2 Penetration with Short Optimal Range
  5. Pistol with no Penetration with Medium Optimal Range

Now with that said you can perhaps have different barrels that modifies the optimal range and penetration. So pistols with Jaobs barrel can have longer range, higher dmg and +1 to penetration…at the cost of low firerate. So even the weapon parts system can change the range and penetration.

Another factor is non-elemental can have built-in +1 penetration with slightly better range (along with the high damage) to make them a little more competitive. In return Elemental have the splash + dot.


That’s a pretty cool idea :smiley: !
But Optimal Ranges should also be slightly boosted by the manufacturer since Hyperion Shotguns can do work at range.

The thing that bothers me about AR’s is how inaccurate they tend to be. With the lower crit you’d expect them to be able to hit stuff relatively reliably but a lot of AR’s tend to get very inaccurate when you try to full auto with them. For me making AR’s more steady than SMG’s would make perfect sense since they should be easier to handle while shooting (I’d imagine, at least) and also it would be good for game balance as it would differ them from SMG’s: lower crit but able to land multiple crits consistently from further away. I think SMG’s as they are is good but if they were a little bit more inaccurate that would make the difference more clear

Other than that the guns overlapping with each others design space is completely fine IMO. I wouldn’t mind it if everything was set apart from other weapon cathegories but this design doesn’t really bother me. I actually think that things like Vladof pistols functioning like SMG’s or Jacobs AR’s (in a theoretical perfect world) functioning more like high precicion single shot rifles is a good thing. Exceptions like that allow you to have more fun with some COMs giving boosts to certain weapons and for casual players it might make them feel like they found something special. I remember I loved the crap out of my first blue Anarchist way back when because the overlapping made it feel special. I had a Sheriffs badge in my inventory and it felt like I found a gold mine when I put those 2 together. That SMG like pistol was a fun enough memory that I still remember it years later.


I don’t think it’s fair to the overall idea of this thread to go into red text guns, as they are fundamentally different. Neither the Sandhawk nor the Bekah are good examples of the way these gun types act in general. I don’t mind one unique SMG to be very very precise and some unique AR to be very fast and/or inaccurate.


Then just compare overall guns, pistols and SMGs are far superior ^^
I took red text guns to give an actual example that everybody can easily and quickly understand. But if you want :

  • The critical damage modifier on ARs is ridiculously low, as I already said Blasters do negative damage with a 10/5 Pain is Power Krieg, that definitively shouldn’t happen.
  • The base damage on ARs is low as well, you can compare all base damages of all SMGs, Pistols and ARs and you’ll see that ARs will be the lowest.

I’ll take an example with non-unique this time : the Vladof Rifle vs the Vladof Anarchist.
The Anarchist has better base damage, better fire rate, better reload speed and even better mag-size. It’s completely superior to its AR counterpart, and sadly that kind of comparison works with almost every single AR, SMG and Pistol.


THAT is a good argument
Yes, I’ve made the same comparison with Dahl SMGs and ARs as well as Bandit Pistols/SMGs/ARs and got the same results you did.

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I like a lot of the comments here- hopefully Gearbox will take a lot of the fan’s opinions into account for BL3 :slight_smile:. For me, I’ll put my suggestions in the order of the weapons I use most:

Pistols- divide them back into revolvers and automatics, along the lines of Jakobs Irons and Vladof Anarchists (I realize Irons may not be revolvers in BL2 but that’s the closest I can think of). Pistols: short to medium range, fast swap/reload speed, low damage for automatics while revolvers do higher damage, low to none ADS penalties. Revolvers get the Jakobs ‘fire as fast as you pull the trigger’ RoF while automatics get up to medium RoF. Manufacturers can have special ammo for more damage to go along with their own benefits (or give special ammo to legendary pistols & revolvers as part of their red text effect).

Shotguns- short range but up to medium range with solid slug ammo. Medium reload and swap speed with medium RoF. Low ADS penalty. Massive damage at close range that drops off sharply at distances past medium range. Solid slug shottys have an even slower RoF put can put out incredible damage with crits, enough to take down anything short of a boss in one or two critical hits.

SMG’s- high RoF, short to medium range, fast reload, low to medium damage, larger mags than pistols, low to medium ADS penalty- maybe even a small bonus depending on manufacturer. Being able to put lots of bullets on a single target at a fast clip should be the SMG’s singular trait and with manufacturer’s gimmicks or special ammo they could still find a place in anyone’s load out.

AR’s- medium to long range, medium reload and swap speed, gains an ADS bonus to critical hit chance and damage. Can do medium to high damage depending on the range you use it at (or if it has multiple barrels). Medium RoF unless it is fully automatic. Much higher base damage than other weapons- should be only behind RL, SR and maybe grenades in this regard. Legendary versions could include (decent) grenade launchers…

And while these last two weren’t mentioned I’ll include them just because they cover all wepons except grenades…

SR- medium to extreme long range, slow swap and reload speed, slow to medium RoF (bolt action for higher damage or semi-automatic for faster RoF). Highest base damage outside of RL and gains a major ADS bonus to critical hit chances and critical damage.

RL- medium to long range only, slow swap and reload speed, low mag size and extremely high base damage and AoE.

About specialized ammo- I don’t know if this has been suggested before but specialized ammo could substitute for hunting for the best slagging weapons, since some folks are opposed to slag and swap or even using slag altogether. Say for example you finally farm your perfect version of your favorite weapon but it comes in the wrong element (or it’s non-elemental to begin with). With specialized ammo you could still use that perfect parts Sand Hawk to strip shields- as long as you had the shock ammo for it. Once the shield is down switch to your fire or corrosive ammo- as the case may be- and continue with your attacks…

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This isn’t about red text guns but base guns instead. It’s too hard to compare red text guns across the board.

It’s also not about what’s best but the fact the all fit the same role.

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