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Best and Worst Wasteland 3 Weapon Types TIER LIST

If you’re wondering which Wasteland 3 Weapon Types are the best and which ones are the worst, this Best Wasteland 3 Weapon Types Tier List is the guide for you.

If you’re playing Wasteland 3, you’re probably spending a lot of time trying to create the perfect party of custom rangers. Part of that process is deciding which of the many Wasteland 3 weapon types to have your characters specialize in.

While the balance between Wasteland 3 weapon types is fairly decent, there are definitely winners and losers, and you should be aware of which ones are generally considered the best and which ones are generally considered to be the worst.

This best and worst Wasteland 3 weapon types tier list should help you make the right decision when it comes to deciding on the right weapon types for your squad.

S Tier – Wasteland 3 Weapon Types


For about half the game, Shotguns are just ok. They’re not extremely powerful, nor are they particularly weak. However, once you get your hands on the last two Shotgun Perks, which give bonus damage against cover and increased damage when hitting multiple targets, their power explodes.

To top it off, the best Shotgun in the game, The Jackhammer, is extremely overpowered and can be acquired fairly early. If you have The Jackhammer, you can pretty much have your resident Shotgun user start fights by taking out 3+ enemies in one shot during a sneak attack.

best wasteland 3 weapon types jackhammer

Shotguns also cost an extremely cheap 3 AP per shot, even though they do more damage than almost all the other Wasteland 3 weapon types.

A Tier – Wasteland 3 Weapon Types


SMGs are pretty good until you get the best SMG, the Ripper. Once you get the Ripper, though, all bets are off. Your SMG user will get a kill with every shot it takes.

best wasteland 3 weapon types ripper

Combine that with the final Automatic Weapons perk, Trigger Happy, which grants 3 AP on-kill, and the second-to-last SMG perk, Stormer, which gives you a free attack after moving, and you’ve got yourself a killing machine.

If your Automatic Weapons user happens to be a custom character, you can give them the Serial Killer perk for even more destructive power. Easily one of the best Wasteland 3 weapon types.

Sniper Rifles

Sniper Rifles are extremely powerful from beginning to end. Unlike SMGs and Shotguns, the ultimate Sniper Rifles aren’t miles more powerful than every other available Sniper Rifle, but they remain extremely potent weapons.

Throughout most of the game, if you have a well-built Sniper, they’ll get at least one kill every round. If you have a Death Wish Sniper equipped with Bronco’s Heart Pendant (+10% Crit Chance), they’ll crit almost every shot for thousands of damage with the higher end sniper rifles.

The ultimate Sniper Rifle hits every enemy in a line, which only amplifies their killing potential, though you may still want to use the second-best Sniper Rifle since it’s more conventional and has a larger clip-size.

B Tier – Wasteland 3 Weapon Types

Bladed Weapons

Having tried out all of the different melee weapons, Bladed Weapons are the best because of their perks, which give them +25% crit after moving and a free attack if they attack the same target twice. With the double attack perk, your Bladed Weapon attacks effectively cost 2 AP.

I feel like it’s important to mention that the ultimate Bladed Weapon is just super cool looking. It’s a Chainsaw sword.

best wasteland 3 weapon types chainsaw sword

Unlike with Brawling, which usually has you attack a medium health target 5-6 times before taking it down, Bladed Weapons tends to chunk high health enemies down in a few hits. All things considered, Bladed Weapons are probably marginally more powerful than Brawling Weapons, but their damage doesn’t require nearly as much clicking, so it feels like they’re stronger.


The main problem with Pistols is that if you have points in Small Arms in order to use Pistols, you should probably just use Shotguns instead, since Shotguns are so ridiculous.

If you don’t want to use Shotguns, though, for whatever reason, Pistols aren’t terrible. Thanks to their perks, they build up the Strike meter quickly. Between the Pistol perk, Kickboy’s Heart Pendant and potentially Lucia’s Background, you can get Strikes with Pistols pretty much every round.

Pistols are reliable, they don’t cost much AP, and they do decent though not outstanding damage. I feel like that means they deserve a spot in B Tier among the Wasteland 3 weapon types. Still, though… just use Shotguns.

Brawling Weapons

Brawling Weapons are pretty good and you can get one of the two best Brawling Weapons extremely early and with little effort. They have a unique mechanic where they build up a combo count on enemies over successive attacks and then unleash a powerful combo finisher to finish them off.

best wasteland 3 weapon types power gauntlet

In practice, the combo finisher doesn’t get a lot of use since it costs more AP than a standard Brawling attack once you’ve gotten the capstone Brawling perk, which lowers the AP cost for Brawling attacks. It’s only worth it to use the finisher on extremely high health enemies that are beefy enough to end up with 10 combo stacks applied to them.

The difference between Bladed Weapons and Brawling is that with Bladed Weapons, you’ll run up and chunk an enemy with a 500 damage crit for 3 AP, and with Brawling weapons you’ll run up and hit them 3 times for 100 damage with one or two attacks critting for 200 damage.

It probably works out to being roughly equal, but Brawling requires a lot more clicking. Having taken both a Brawler and a Bladed Weapons user with otherwise identical builds through the game from start to finish, I have to admit, when comparing Wasteland 3 weapon types, the Bladed Weapons user felt like the stronger of the two.

C Tier – Wasteland 3 Weapon Types


Flamethrowers have the potential to be great. You can easily build a powerful Flamethrower character by stacking tons of bonus fire damage.

The problem with Flamethrowers is that there is no ultimate flamethrower available, so even if you build your character entirely around Flamethrowers, which requires investing heavily in 4 different skills, you’re still not going to come anywhere near the damage output of a character that just has rank 10 Small Arms and an endgame shotgun.

The level 7 mid-game Flamethrower, The Incinerator, is the best Flamethrower available. There is a better one, but it deals Energy Damage, which makes it weaker over all.

best wasteland 3 weapon types incinerator

In practice, a character with The Jackhammer shotgun can run up to a group of 5 high health enemies and melt them in a shot or two. A character fully built around Flamethrowers, including the ability to lower Flamethrower attacks to 1 AP, will go up to the same group of enemies and use 5 shots to accomplish the same thing.

By the way, in order to accomplish the 1 AP Flamethrower build, you need 7 levels in Small Arms… which means your character could just equip a shotgun anyway and accomplish even higher damage output.

Until the Flamethrower build fully comes online, the main use of your Flamethrower user will be softening up enemies to be taken out by another mid-tier weapon user, like a Pistol user.

Meanwhile, you could just have Shotgun users, SMG users and Sniper murdering enemies outright with every shot they take. Flamethrowers are fun and I really like them, but I’d be lying if I said they weren’t lacking when it comes to Wasteland 3 weapon types.

Rocket Launchers

Rocket Launcher do great damage, but rockets are rare and they’re extremely expensive. Rocket Launchers also require a ton of AP to use. Like with Flamethrowers, you can lower the AP cost by using the Small Arms perk “Draw!”, but unlocking that also means you’re proficient in Shotguns, which are better than Rocket Launchers without any of the drawbacks.

In order for Rocket Launchers to do impressive damage, you need 10 levels in Explosives, the Pyromaniac Quirk and the +15% explosives damage background. Which is all well and good, it’s just that rockets and grenades cost so much that you can’t rely on using it as your primary weapon or you’ll bankrupt yourself unless you get really lucky with the Antiques perk from the Barter Skill, in which case go ahead and move Rocket Launchers up a tier.

Rocket Launchers tend to be best as a backup weapon on another character that’s invested in Explosives. It’s hard to rely on as a primary weapon when you’re comparing Wasteland 3 weapon types.

Heavy Machine Guns

Heavy Machine Guns would be great except for their extremely high AP cost which tends to result in overkill against most targets. While Heavy Machine Guns pump out decent damage, endgame shotguns and SMGs tend to do equal or more damage with much lower AP costs.

There is one Heavy Machine Gun called the Minigun which can benefit tremendously from +damage mods since it fires 18 shots. That particular HMG can melt the biggest, baddest high health enemies pretty quickly. Still, it costs 7 AP per attack while the Ripper SMG will be able to attack twice and deal more damage overall.

best wasteland 3 weapon types

Heavy Machine Guns aren’t horrible, but they aren’t amazing either. Decent C Tier for Wasteland 3 weapon types.

D Tier – Wasteland 3 Weapon Types

Assault Rifles

I’m not sure what purpose Assault Rifles really serve when SMGs exist. SMGs require the same proficiency, they have better perks and they’re stronger overall. The only thing Assault Rifles are better at then SMGs are range, but SMG users can move more freely and weapon modding allows you to boost weapon range anyway.

Assault Rifles are just SMGs that are about 20%-30% weaker at every stage of the game.

Blunt Weapons

Let me start off by saying this. The best Blunt Weapon and the best Bladed Weapon have almost identical damage, but the Blunt Weapon costs 1 AP more.

best wasteland 3 weapon types

The Bladed Weapon perks are all way better than the Blunt Weapon perks, as well. Bladed Weapons get +25% crit and a free attack every other swing. Blunt weapon users get… a tiny amount of extra armor. Yay.

To be fair, Blunt Weapons do deal significant damage if you use their combo, which is Stunning Blow followed up by a regular attack. Unfortunately, their combo costs 9 AP, which means doing it in an actual battle is completely impractical and unrealistic unless you start your turn directly next to a full health enemy.

That about covers it when it comes to the Best and Worst Wasteland 3 Weapon Types Tier List. Be sure to check out the Main Page or the Game Guides section for more gaming content, or click here for more content related to Wasteland 3.


  • Ryan Night

    Ryan Night is an ex-game industry producer with over a decade of experience writing guides for RPGs. Previously an early contributor at gamefaqs.com, Ryan has been serving the RPG community with video game guides since 2001. As the owner of Bright Rock Media, Ryan has written over 600 guides for RPGs of all kinds, from Final Fantasy Tactics to Tales of Arise.

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