MechWarrior Online Ballistic Weapons Comparison

MechWarrior Online Ballistic Weapons Comparison by Finestaut

For all the new and old beta testers out there, this guide is an in-depth analysis of the ballistic weapons currently available. I’ve taken raw data from Ohmwrecker’s great spreadsheets, and combined it with my personal experience, to give you a more detailed look into how these weapons work, and help you build your ballistic ‘mechs.

In general, I’m looking at a few key factors:

Raw damage – How much damage is done each hit, I want to focus damage into one location, so I want big hits However, at the end of the day, this is a matter of skill, as you always need to be able to put multiple shots in the same location.
Weight Efficiency – How much damage over time am I getting for the tons I am using? (very important!)
Heat Efficiency – Ballistic weapons usually run cool, so this is less of a factor than on laser or missiles, but hot weapons force me to mount heat sinks, which reduces my overall firepower.
Convergence Properties – Low rate of fire weapons tend to be hard to use at close range, due to unpredictable convergence angles. This gets worse if you have a weak PC or moderately high ping, so keep it in mind.

Best in Breed

Gauss Rifle

  • Raw Damage: 15 Damage
  • Weight Efficiency: .25Damage/Second/Ton
  • Heat Efficiency: 15 Damage/Heat
  • Range: Long

The biggest complaint near the end of CB was that this weapon was overpowered. Stacking 15 points of damage at any range, for no heat, it’s definitely a solid choice, and extremely powerful. However, weighing in at a hefty 15 tons makes it completely dominate your build, and it’s somewhat lacking in brawls due to the low rate of fire and overall weight inefficiency.


  • Raw Damage: 2 Damage
  • Weight Efficiency: .66 Damage/Second/Ton
  • Heat Efficiency: 2 Damage/Heat
  • Range: Long

Ton for ton, probably the best weapon in the game. Not only does it put out exceptional damage, it does so for very little weight. It also applies a healthy amount of cockpit rattle, and when 2 are chain-fired, it puts out fast, powerful, steady damage at all ranges. The only downside is that the rounds are individually a little soft, and tend to spread damage across the target, so it’s important to hold your aim steady. I strongly recommend it for any ballistic slot.


  • Raw Damage: 5 Damage
  • Weight Efficiency: .50 Damage/Second/Ton
  • Heat Efficiency: 5 Damage/Heat
  • Range: Medium-Long

An advanced weapon for advanced players. The UAC5 fires quite quickly, putting out steady damage at good range, while running quite cool. Stacking 5 damage per hit isn’t great, but the rate of fire makes it quite destructive. The tricky bit is the jamming. If you’re desperate, you can fire once during the cooldown, effectively doubling your damage output, turning this already solid weapon into a fire-spitting hate-tube, but you run an extremely high risk of jamming, temporarily disabling the weapon. Due to the way this is mechanic has been implemented, it’s extremely easy to accidentally double-tap, and jam your weapon when you were trying to play it safe. Thus I only recommend it for people with patience and experience.

Passing Grades


  • Raw Damage: 5 Damage
  • Weight Efficiency: .37 Damage/Second/Ton
  • Heat Efficiency: 5 Damage/Heat
  • Range: Medium

Mediocre. It lacks both the blazing damage ability of the AC2, and the massive heat efficiency of the Gauss rifle, and stacking 5 damage per hit is not at all impressive. It tries to be a balanced, mid ranged gun, but spreads itself too thin. It is nicely heat efficient, and not tremendously heavy, so it makes a decent secondary weapon. Just don’t expect it to carry you through a tough fight. I don’t generally recommend it, but it has potential.


  • Raw Damage:10 Damage
  • Weight Efficiency: .33 Damage/Second/Ton
  • Heat Efficiency: 3.3 Damage/Heat
  • Range: Medium-Short

A marginal choice at best. This weapon has extremely soft damage output for it’s weight, and has a low enough rate of fire to begin to suffer from convergence issues at close range. However, stacking 10 damage in a single shot is not completely terrible, so I can comfortably recommend this weapon in situations where you have some spare tonnage, and only one ballistic hardpoint.


  • Raw Damage: 10×1 Damage
  • Weight Efficiency: .36 Damage/Second/Ton
  • Heat Efficiency: 3.3 Damage/Heat
  • Range: Short

Extremely situational. This gun barely avoids getting thrown in the trash by virtue of the spread being both a blessing and curse. The shotgun effect makes it one of a handful of ballistic weapons that can reliably damage lights, and, at extremely close range, all 10 pellets will reliably hit the same point on an assault ‘mech. Finally, if you’re the one moving fast, you can use the pellet spread to get partial credit on snap shots. Thus it’s fairly effective as light defense, and a modest way to put damage out on assaults. I recommend it only as an Atlas’ sidearm, where it’s high weight is less of a liability, or on fast builds with limited hardpoints.



  • Raw Damage: 20 Damage
  • Weight Efficiency: .36 Damage/Second/Ton
  • Heat Efficiency: 2.8 Damage/Heat
  • Rage: Short

​Completely indefensible. This gun couples low weight efficiency with the lowest heat efficiency, and the lowest ammo per ton. Combine this with an extremely short range, and a low rate of fire causing convergence-misses, and you get a gun that is too hot and heavy for its performance. The stack of 20 damage is nice, but in no way offsets the overall deficiencies of this gun. I do not recommend it, and strongly suggest seeking other ways to use the tonnage.

Machine Gun
This gun is not useful under any circumstances, and only included for completeness. Don’t bother.

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1 Response

  1. Code says:

    When it comes to machine guns, they actually only have one purpose. They shred internals like a hot knife through butter. It can be easily replaced by practically any other weapon, but we might as well give credit where it’s due.

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