In the Mass Effect universe, assault rifles are the go-to weapon for multiple factions. Easily the most accessible weapon, these offer mid-range stopping power and greater overheat allowances when compared to pistols, heavy pistols, shotguns and sniper rifles. Assault rifles are more accurate than submachine guns, and their automatic fire power allows for quickly dispatching enemies and providing cover fire. They grant a wide shot range for every combat situation, from short and mid-range to circumstantial long range shots when crouched and firing slowly.
While the Soldier class is the only one that starts out training in assault rifles, others classes can learn to use them through training later in the game. Garrus, Legion, Grunt, Samara and Zaeed also have access to assault rifles. Here’s what you should know about Mass Effect 2‘s six assault rifle models.
The M-8 Avenger
Manufactured by Elkoss Combine, the M-8 Avenger is one of the game’s most accessible and common assault rifles. As the default starting weapon for soldiers, the Avenger becomes accessible during the “Freedom’s Progress” mission after Shepard’s first meeting with the Illusive Man, but only if the player character is a Soldier. It can be acquired later in the game for players who specialize in assault rifle training.
The Avenger has the second largest ammo capacity at 400 rounds, 440 with the Armor Pack. The chamber holds 40 rounds per clip. However, along with the Geth Pulse Rifle, it has the lowest base damage, dealing just 10.8 damage per round. Because the recoil is on the lower end, long-range accuracy is much higher than other assault rifles. With the targeting upgrade, it becomes equally effective at mid-range as well. The bonus damage modifier is 1.25 percent against shields, armor and barriers, allowing Shepard to spread damage across large numbers of weaker enemies to take them out and advance the fight.
The M-15 Vindicator
The M-15 Vindicator is often used by assassins and mercenaries because each five-round burst can be fired with incredible accuracy at any range. Effective against armor, shields and biotic barriers, it does 1.25 percent damage against each and fires a 36.8 base damage. Originally manufactured by Elanus Risk Control Services for the Blue Suns Mercenaries, the Vindicator became popular with other mercenary groups and assassins. Shepard can find the Vindicator on Omega during the “Archangel” mission. It is located on the couch in the room where Shepard first encounters Archangel.
One of the Vindicator’s drawbacks is that it has a very low thermal clip capacity, holding only 24 rounds per clip with a default spare ammo capacity of 96 and 105 with the Armor Pack. Making up for the low-end ammo capacity requires the player to take accurate shots, which are much easier with the Vindicator than other assault rifles. In swarms of enemies, however it won’t be near as effective because many enemy swarms (likes husks) don’t drop ammo, meaning Shepard runs the risk of emptying their ammo.
The M-76 Revenant
Useful against armor, shields and barriers, the M-76 Revenant does 1.4 percent bonus damage against armor, and 1.2 percent against shields and barriers. With the largest magazine of all the assault rifles, the Revenant ammo clip holds 80 shots with a base spare ammo capacity of 480 and 527 with the Armor Pack upgrade. Running out of ammo while using this weapon is almost impossible, but it does have its downsides. The Revenant has very low accuracy, despite its moderate recoil. Firing rounds at 700 RPM, it is incredibly effective against massive, heavy-armored enemies like YMIR Mechs, gunships and Scions.
A very rare weapon, the Revenant is protected from replication by Fabrication Rights Management technology, and uses tech that isn’t as readily available as other weapons tech. It can sometimes be found in the collections of the incredibly wealthy and is available only for Soldier Class Shepard and can be found and chosen during the “Collector Ship” mission. It can not be used by squadmates or non-Soldier class Shepard.
The M-96 Mattock
Incredibly accurate with a low recoil, the M-96 Mattock is a semi-automatic hybrid weapon with an assault rifle’s low heat production and a sniper rifle’s efficient accuracy. As a DLC weapon, it was originally only available through the Firepower Pack. However, in Legendary Edition it will be available for purchase at science stations. With a higher firing rate than the Revenant, the Mattock fire rate is 750 RPM and it does 1.3 percent bonus damage against armor and 1.2 percent against shields and biotic barriers.
It is incredibly effective during the Soldier class’ Adrenaline Rush, enabling Shepard to empty an entire magazine in the duration and doing a massive amount of damage before Adrenaline Rush subsides. One major drawback to the Mattock is the low ammo capacity. The ammo clip holds 16 rounds, with a base spare ammo capacity of 64 and 70 rounds with the Armor Pack. It works really well with the Cryo Ammo power because it reliably initiates the freezing effect.
The Collector Assault Rifle
In principle, the Collector Assault Rifle is comparable to regular assault rifles, but it has one major difference that sets it apart: it’s composed of organic components. The power source that packs its punch is an internal organ with biotic capacity that strips away shields, armor and barriers with incredible efficiency and accuracy. It has a very low recoil and fires at 500 RMP, however it also has a relatively low ammo capacity. Holding just 28 rounds per clip, the spare ammo capacity base is 280 rounds and 308 with the Armor Pack.
Originally made available as part of the Mass Effect 2 Collector’s Edition, the Collector Assault Rifle replaced the M-8 Avenger as the starting assault rifle at Freedom’s Progress when launching a new game. It was also made available in the Recon Operations Pack DLC for players who did not purchase the collector’s edition. Because of its status as a special collector’s edition item, it will likely be made available for purchase at science stations in Legendary Edition.
The Geth Pulse Rifle
Firing a rapid stream of phasic slugs, the Geth Pulse Rifle is highly effective against biotic barriers and shields, granting a 1.35 percent bonus damage boost. Not nearly as effective on armor, it only offers 1.15 percent bonus damage. These Geth weapons are generally difficult to come by, as they are rarely found in the aftermath of battle and are all but impossible to replicate. They are also unreliable after long-term usage and very hard to repair once they start to break down.
The rapid fire rate is noted to be the highest of all the assault rifles in-game at 1000 RPM. However, the RPM varies because it follows an oscillating mathematical curve called a sine wave. It is very accurate at mid-range and has a moderate ammo capacity of 40 shots per clip and a base ammo capacity of 480 or 528 with the Armor pack. The Geth Pulse Rifle can be found on Hardcore or Insanity Mode during Tali’Zorah’s recruitment mission in the same room as Tali after the Geth Colossus is destroyed.