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Starfield: Best Weapons to Get Early

There might be a lot of weapons in Starfield, but these four starting options are some of the best in the game.

There are a lot of guns and melee items in Starfield. Some of them are more powerful than others, with or without increased rarity. Some can carry you for hours without needing an upgrade or requiring you to make a sudden pivot, thanks to the ability to mod weapons. In my experience, many of the starting selections are also the easiest to find ammo for, meaning you can use them almost indefinitely. These are the best weapons to get early in Starfield.

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The Best Weapons to Get Early in Starfield

For this list, I’ve picked the four weapons that are not only solid workhorse options — weapons effective in almost any scenario — but also those you’ll often find on enemies.

The Maelstrom

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One of the first weapons you’ll likely pick up during the tutorial, the Maelstrom is a fast-firing submachine gun with 40 rounds per magazine and relatively low damage by default. It has two big benefits, putting it at the top of my list for the best weapons to get early in Starfield:

  1. It’s a favorite of pirates and Spacers throughout the Settled Systems, so it’s next to impossible to run out of ammo for the thing.
  2. If you can control the recoil, even a bullet hose like the Maelstrom can easily take out almost any enemy in the game in a couple mag dumps.

I recommend keeping and using a Maelstrom with damage-increasing perks, a sight, and a laser sight or two. It will be good to slightly further ranges and will melt targets even faster.

Related: How to Use the Flashlight in Starfield

The Grendel

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Another SMG you’ll have trouble not finding as you adventure in Starfield, I can attest to the sheer potential of the Grendel. It has two very notable benefits:

  1. It has a 50-round magazine by default that can expand to a 100-round version with the right weapon mod.
  2. If you equip it with a sight and change it to a single-shot weapon, the Grendel quickly goes from a bullet hose to a marksman rifle capable of carrying you for more than ten levels before you need to consider upgrading.

Like the Maelstrom, you’ll find literally hundreds of Grendels out in the wild. It’s a favorite of pirates, Spacers, and almost any other enemy faction you might face. It’s also easy to mod, requiring only a few improvements to make it effective at almost any level. Ammo is also plentiful, so there’s very little reason to try and save it.

Related: Starfield Beginner’s Tips and Tricks

The Sidestar

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One of the most common Pistols in Starfield, the Sidestar is still one of the best all-around sidearms you can find. Its only weakness is a lengthier reload that will leave you vulnerable for about three seconds. The benefits are:

  1. It has a hefty, 17-round magazine, solid stopping power, and is easy to use out to mid-range.
  2. It seems like its critical damage modifier is also on the higher end, meaning if you’ve got good aim, you can down even the beefier enemies in a few shots.

The Sidestar’s default damage output is also valuable for early-game stealth combat. The Stealth perk not only makes you harder to detect but also increases sneak attack damage. Combine a sneak attack with a critical headshot, and almost no enemy you encounter won’t lose at least 50% health, if not die on the spot.

The Equinox

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There are a few great Laser weapons in Starfield, but the Equinox is by far the most common, and for good reason. Two reasons being:

  1. It’s good at almost any range thanks to its solid damage, relatively good accuracy up close, and good controllability at a distance.
  2. Twenty rounds in the magazine, tons of powerful mod options, and the same ease of access as the other weapons on this list make the Equinox an easy choice to run at almost any point in the game.

The Equinox also sells really well, better than most other common weapons. Its price starts at around 3,000 credits and goes up, making it a good investment for your character and your wallet.

Those are the best weapons to get early in Starfield. You’ll likely find many other strong and unique guns to use in your travels, but these four will serve you well no matter where you are in the game, and you can’t go far in Settled Systems without tripping over five of them. For more help with the game’s immense amounts of content, check out our guides on how to get the Mantis space suit, the best items to sell, and more in our Starfield guides hub to the game.

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John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.