Frightning's guide to the Gunslinger com

A popular com choice for Mordecai, the Gunslinger com is focused on buffing his effectiveness with Pistols of all types, it is one of his strongest offensive coms and is often his best offensive com to use with non-Pistol, non-Sniper Rifle weapons as well. Curiously, this com buffs the skill Loaded which increases Sniper Rifle magazine size, despite clearly being a pistol focused com. It is widely suspected that this was a mistake on Gearbox’s part and that it was intended to be Hair Trigger instead.

This guide contains two builds, the first, a fairly standard Rogue-Gunslinger tree, the second a more DPS focused variant with less points invested in Bloodwing.

The Skill Tree:

Sniper Tree: 15 points
-Focus: This buffs our accuracy a bit, and is a stepping stone to get to Killer and Loaded.
-Killer: One of the best tier 2 skills in the game and it works w/ all weapons, might as well go 5/5 in this.
-Loaded: Increases Sniper Rifle magazine size and is buffed by the com, since we have enough points to spare, might as well go 5/5 in this too.

Rogue Tree: 28 points
-Swift Strike: More damage and speed for Bloodwing, always welcome.
-Fast Hands: More reload speed? Yes please.
-Out For Blood: This is Mordecai’s best healing skill by far (Riotous Remedy pales in comparison) and since bloodwing will do good damage with how many points we’ve invested in him, we will get plenty of health back from this.
-Aerial Impact (3/5): Dazed enemies have ■■■■ for accuracy, fire rate and movement speed, making them much less dangerous and easier to kill too.
-Ransack: This skill is an on-kill skill that cause subsequent kills you score within 7 seconds to have a chance to drop additional loot. The tooltip claims 100% chance at 5/5 but this does not appear to be even close to accurate (it’s way lower), but the additional loot comes from it’s own pool, which has a rather high average quality in endgame play, thus it can be an excellent source of good loot from mobbing, and this makes it a highly recommended skill for just about any Mordecai build.
-Bird Of Prey: This skill increases the number of times Bloodwing can attack before he will return to you automatically, he cannot attack the same target twice in a row but can ‘bounce back and forth’ among two or more targets as many times as he has attacks allowed. Thus this skill is a massive force multiplier where Bloodwing is concerned and highly recommended for all Mordecai builds that use Bloodwing much.

-Deadly: This skill increases critical hit damage by 15% of non-critical damage per point. This bonus is additive with other critical hit bonuses including the base value for the give target’s critical hit zone, which varies widely from enemy to enemy (a regular bandit has a value of +150% damage taken for a headshot). As a result this skill’s marginal benefit varies depending on the target in question, but hey, it’s more damage, and it’s on the com anyways, might as well go 5/5.
-Gun Crazy: Twice the projectiles, twice the fun! Pistols only, but that’s what this build is all about! Because of how this skill works, it’s scales multiplicatively with all other DPS buffs.
-Predator: A nice accessible bit of cooldown reduction for a good friend, Bloodwing.
-Hair Trigger: A pistol buff??!! Heck yes!
-Relentless: One of the strongest DPS buffing skills in the entire game, it increases fire rate and gives a 25% for increased bullet damage, and it’s buffed by the com. The increased damage scales with the number of points in the skill, so with it being buffed by the com we can expect 160% (180% w/ +4 Relentless) increased bullet damage. Since Mordecai’s other damage buffs apart from the tiny bullet damage buff from Trespass (not in standard version of this tree), are all weapon damage, this will stack multiplicatively with your other damage buffs. Combined with Gun Crazy, the potential for spike damage with pistols is enormous!

Alternate version:
-Caliber added: For when we take advantage of Loaded and break out our sniper rifles.
-Trespass added: Bypassing shields can be a huge buff, particularly versus Lance Probes and Eridians whose hitpoints are mostly shielding. This has some downsides though: shielded enemies can’t be made to flinch from being hit, and elemental DoT must cut through their shield first before it can damage their health (this is worst for Incendiary, then Corrosive, and is not a significant drawback for Shock weapons)
-Removed 3/5 in Aerial Impact: Going without the Daze isn’t a huge loss.
-Removed 5/5 in Ransack: This is rather unfortunate for mobbing, but otherwise isn’t much of a loss.
-Bird Of Prey now 3/5 from 5/5: We rely much less on Bloodwing with this build, but w/ 4 targets, and 5/5 Out For Blood, we should still be getting enough healing.

Shield: Mordecai has no skills that would cause him to have any particular preferences regarding shield selection, hence playstyle will be the chief factor in deciding what shield to use. This will come down to individual preference in practice.

Grenade Mod: Again user preference will prevail.

Weapons: Pistols, pistols, pistols! If it’s a pistol, good. If not, then why are you not using a pistol? The Gunslinger com gives a massive +90% fire rate buff to pistols. This also pushes us in favor of choosing pistols with larger magazine sizes more so than would otherwise be the case. For this reason Gunslingers often prefer 6-shot Revolvers to their 2-shot counterparts (which is the opposite of what Mordecai usually prefers w/ other coms). Before diving into a general description of the various pistols that can be found, there are a select few that are extraordinarily good with this build that I feel deserve special mention:
-Nemesis: This pearlescent repeater pistol is always a Shock weapon, but when it procs it can sometimes also get extra projectiles that deal corrosive damage (and can cause corrosive DoT). This makes the Nemesis a VERY potent repeater already, added the considerable pistols buffs of this build and you have a terrifyingly powerful weapon. It can also spawn with the Hyperion Invader (pistol) scope, which will grant it the aiming down the sight effect of an Invader (pistol), which causes it to fire a long burst (easily enough to empty the mag) at a much higher fire rate than is listed on the gun card.
-Unforgiven: This legendary Jakobs revolver has a superior version of barrel 5 making it a general among the best revolvers in the game. Being a Jakobs it can never be elemental, but masher variants do exist and are highly sought after.
-Defiler: This Maliwan legendary revolver is perhaps the best corrosive weapon in the entire game, and as such is a very desirable weapon for a Gunslinger Mordecai to have.
-Thanatos: This S&S legendary machine pistol has a massive magazine (the legendary part), which makes it a fantastic machine pistol for a Gunslinger Mordecai to have.
-Firehawk: It’s like a pocket Hellfire, and, being a pistol, is excellent for this build. Perhaps the best incendiary pistol of any type in the game, in fact.
-Aries: This pearlescent rarity Atlas Revolver is a superior shock revolver that also creates healing wisps just like a transfusion grenade that will seek out and heal you and your allies based on the damage dealt.
-Violator: Where Mercenary Lilith has the Double Anarchy, Gunslinger Mordecai has the Torgue Violator, this legendary repeater pistol is burst fire while aiming down the sight, and fires 3 projectiles per shot (4 with double accessory). It can be elemental too, unlike a Double Anarchy, which is very nice. All in all, an excellent close quarters combat pistol for Mordecai.
-Hornet: This Dahl legendary repeater pistol fires in 2-shot bursts while aiming down the sight, with a higher fire rate than normal. It is always Corrosive, and hence makes a superior Corrosive repeater pistol.
-Invader: This legendary Hyperion repeater pistol will empty the entire mag at a much faster fire rate while aiming down the sight. This makes it a very potent pistol on a Gunslinger build.
-Anaconda: This Dahl legendary revolver has a special version of barrel 4 that does even more damage, making it an exceptional barrel 4 revolver. Masher variants are considered especially desirable (Gunslinger prefers 6-shot to 2-shot here).
-Rebel: This Vladof legendary repeater pistol has an enlarged magazine and the typically high fire rate of a Vladof, making it a very good pistol for a Gunslinger to use.

Other legendaries and pearls:
-Stalker: This pearlescent rarity Vladof machine pistol fire bullets the travel in a vertical wave motion and can ricochet off surfaces if the angle of incidence is low enough.
-Troll: this Atlas legendary repeater grants passive health regeneration at a rate comparable to a Tediore mat2 shield. It’s an otherwise ordinary repeater pistol, apart from the accessory slot being taken by the legendary part (thus it can never be elemental).
-Protector: With the massive fire rate buffs this build gives pistols, ammo can be a real issue, if you don’t have access to the mat3 version of the com which grants Pistol ammo regeneration, this gun can handily fulfill this purpose, and is also a very good Tediore repeater pistol otherwise since the body is an improved version of the TK body (body3).
-Reaper: This Hyperion legendary machine pistol has a superior version of the melee accessory (which is unfortunately bugged and does apply the damage it should to your melee attacks). It however does correctly leech health from successful melee attacks as it was intended to. It is also notoriously rare (about as rare as any given variant of Pearl is).
-Vengeance: This Vladof legendary machine pistol also has a bugged effect. It is supposed to ignore shield (like a free 5/5 Trespass), but this effect does not work normally, however it is possible to glitch the effect to work not only for the Vengeance itself, but for all of your bullet firing guns.
-Chimera: This Atlas legendary revolver pistol has a unique elemental accessory, that will proc any one of shock/fire/corrosive effects and otherwise deals explosive damage (free x1 explosive proc, like a typical explosive revolver gets). It also doesn’t have the -40% damage penalty that elemental revolvers typically get from the elemental accessory.
-Equalizer: This is the protector’s revolver equivalent, a Tediore legendary revolver that regenerates revolver ammo. It is perhaps the most common legendary in the game, and so should be easy to acquire. Elemental and masher varieties are perhaps harder to come by but are quite useful.

Pistols in general:
There are two different ammo types of pistols, repeater pistols and revolver pistols. The first ammo type has two variants, regular repeater pistols (usually just called repeater pistols or repeaters) and machine pistols.
-Repeater pistols have modest fire rates and decent magazine sizes, together with low tech costs for elemental varieties. As a result, most of the best repeaters are the elemental versions as the low tech costs means lots of procs and thus good DoT stacking. Their baseline impact DPS is lower than machine pistols and revolvers and they don’t have an analog of the Cold accessory for non-elemental damage like Machine Pistols do which is why non-elemental repeaters are generally considered unimpressive weapons.
-Machine pistols have very high fire rates and larger magazines (rarely over 40 though, except for the Thanatos). They share the low tech costs of repeater pistols, but with the high fire rate tend to still nuke their own tech pool quickly. The extreme fire rates also translate to high ammo consumption. The cold accessory lower bullet velocity significantly but massively increases damage. Cold machine pistols thus have extreme non-elemental DPS and are thus very effective non-elemental weapons. Machine pistols also have fairly significant recoil, which can make it difficult to take full advantage of their accuracy, particularly barrel5 versions (especially Hyperion MPs).
-Revolver pistols use a different ammo type have low fire rates and small magazine sizes, but deal very high damage per shot and have a +100% weapon critical hit damage buff that is not listed on their guncard (Unforgiven’s +200% buff includes this otherwise hidden +100%), and are generally highly accurate. Elemental varieties always proc, and as such make good elemental weapons and good DoT stackers too. The masher accessory lowers accuracy and lower projectile damage significantly, but causes the weapon to fire 7 projectiles instead of 1, thus total damage per shot is actually increased by a fairly significant amount. Mashers also put a lot of metal in the air as a result and make great close quarters and even mid-range weapons. Given the significant fire rate buffs Gunslinger has to pistols, the 6-shot magazine (mag4) is generally preferred).

Mat2 or Mat3?:
The mat2 version of the com grants +84% Pistol Accuracy which makes a small but noticeable difference to how accurate your pistols are. Whereas the Mat3 version grants +29 Pistol Ammo Regeneration, which will replenish ammo of the type used by the currently weapon only if that weapon is a pistol (e.g. hold a revolver to regen revolver ammo or a repeater/MP to regen repeater ammo). Generally, if you aren’t running into ammo problems, there’s no reason not to use the mat2 version instead, but having the mat3 around for if/when ammo problems crop up is recommended (it can easily happen with machine pistols for instance).

Gameplay tips and other information:
As with all Mordecai builds, you are more fragile than most other characters, but this build gives very high damage output as well as (in the standard version), plenty of bloodwing support. It’s generally a good idea to toss Bloodwing out right away to let him get to work doing his thing and to make sure he will have had a chance to deal damage before you need his healing. Using range to your advantage is recommended, most barrel5 pistols have over 90 accuracy (mashers excepted), with a barrel5 Jakobs ZZ revolver having the highest at 97.0. Revolvers also have excellent hip-fire accuracy as they don’t have the penalty that sniper rifles do to hip-fire accuracy and as such are very useful for getting 2nd winds against enemies that are far away or have taken cover. Repeaters and machine pistols offer higher volume of fire, and at least in the case of the latter, higher DPS, but aren’t quite as accurate (Hyperion mat3 are the most accurate, at 94.9). Although the build is very much about pistols, it is also one of the best builds to use weapons other than pistols and sniper rifles with thanks to the buff to relentless, and w/ the buff to loaded isn’t a bad option for using sniper rifles either. The 2nd variant is better suited to the occasional use of sniper rifles and other non-pistol non-sniper weapons, but this comes at the price of not as much buffs for bloodwing.


An interesting read, I just hope that there’s no major changes when the remastered Borderlands lands.
Mind you this will still be applicable to the old gen.

Well done.

The Reaper pistol heals you when you deal melee damage.

Thank you for pointing this out, it should be fixed now. Also found and corrected an error w/ the Atlas Troll entry too.

This is my favorite Mordecai build. I’ve tried builds for all eleven coms, and this is by far my favorite. Especially with the Nemesis and +34 ammo regen from the com. You regenerate ammo as fast as you expend it, even with the Invader scope. Awesome.

Highest ammo regen value is +29, but yes it’s plenty fast enough that only constantly spamming with a machine pistol is likely to run you dry.

K so I was wondering about all the Nemesis hype for Mord. Do people not regularly get the 100% shield bypass? Seems kinda weird that the prominent pistol for Mord is primarily shock which is more or less unnecessary.

It’s not the fact that it is shock that makes the Nemesis so strong. Like all repeaters, it has a high proc rate, with higher procs firing additional projectiles of corrosive damage, up to 4 extra projectiles (each additional projectile gets the full guncard damage too). So basically, with sustained fire, you’re stacking DoTs of two different elements, while dealing more damage per shot than is indicated on the guncard. On top of that, corrosive damage functions similarly to slag, in that an afflicted enemy will take increased damage. Add in an Invader scope and it’s arguably the strongest elemental weapon in the game.

Trespass is great for non-elemental guns, but it’s not great with elementals. While your base shot damage will hit their health, the elemental DoTs will still eat at the shield until it’s drained (for shock weapons this doesn’t matter so much). If you are using elemental guns, you’re usually better off not using Trespass so that you can drain the shield faster and have the DoTs stack on the enemy’s health.


I mean sure it sucks for proc’s and DoTs but doesn’t Bl1 have elemental impact damage? Obvi if you want to use High Procs and DoTs tresspass might not be that useful, but dealing boosted high base gun damage to the health kills most things instantly.

Depends on the enemy actually, some of the tankier enemies have enormous health pools that are far more easily removed with DoT than with impact damage.

Yeah, the majority of mobs in single player die pretty quickly, so whether or not you use Trespass in those cases is inconsequential. (Of course, Guardians and Lance Probes are pretty much always gonna go down faster with Trespass). But for high-health badass enemies, bosses susceptible to DoTs (Motorhead, Hanz, Franz, McCloud, etc), high-round Underdome mobs, and buffed multiplayer enemies, you’ll find that stacking DoTs with impact damage is generally faster than straight impact damage and no DoTs.

Whether or not you use Trespass has little impact on the Nemesis, since it strips shields fairly quickly either way.

Yeah I’ve got 19 ammo regeneration on my com I just found and it keeps my ammo pretty full. Even with Firehawk and Thanatos plenty of ammo.