Mass Effect 3 Best Assault Rifles (All Assault Rifles In The Game Ranked)

Mass Effect 3: Best Assault Rifles
A classic weapon

Assault rifles are a pretty big deal in the Mass Effect series, and the third entry in the series is no different. From the classic M-8 Avenger to the multiplayer favorite Harrier, there are 18 possible ARs to choose from for shooting Reaper and Cerberus forces alike. 

However, with such a massive selection to choose from, you may find yourself wondering which one is the best. It isn’t as simple as which one causes the most damage. Fire rate, accuracy, and weight are all things that need to be considered when making the difference between an asset or a burden. 

Read on as we take a look at each assault rifle found in the game, what its benefits are, and whether or not it is the best in the game. 

18. Collector Assault Rifle – Multiplayer exclusive 

Collector Assault Rifle multiplayer

Starting the list at number 18, is the Collector Assault Rifle. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad gun, it's just that it is exclusive to the multiplayer, so if you are playing ME3 via the Legendary Edition, you’re not even going to see it in-game. Even when in multiplayer, there are way better assault rifles to choose from due to their weight and damage. 

Pair with: 

  • Ultra-light materials mod 
  • With ammo powers 


Collector Assault Rifle full details:

17. Chakram Launcher – A Tie In And It Feels Like It 

Chakram Launcher gameplay

The Chakram Launcher was originally introduced as a tie-in to the EA title Kingdoms of Amalur, which you could unlock by playing the demo of said game. Later, Bioware released it as a part of the Omega DLC, where you could either find it during the “Mines” mission or at Spectre Requisitions on the citadel for 7,000 credits. 

It does have a couple of cool gimmicks, like the fact that it fires charged explosive disks, but at the end of the day, there are far better alternatives available. 

Pair with: 

  • Infiltrator class to benefit from the charge 

Don’t use for: 

  • Your squamates 


 Chakram Lancer full details:

16. N7- Valkyrie - Sounds Better On Paper 

The N7 Valkyrie, a two-round burst rifle, was originally a preorder bonus and later added with the Omega DLC. There is nothing too remarkable about it other than its high accuracy, which means that you can use it at longer ranges than some of the other rifles on this list. The biggest downsides are that it is one of the heavier rifles in the game with few of the benefits that the others provide. 

You can find the N7 Valkryie at Harrot’s emporium or Spectre Requisitions in the citadel for 7,000 credits. 

Pair with: 

  • Assault Rifle Stability Damper 

N7 Valkyrie full details:

15. M-99 Saber - Great For Sniping  

M-99 Saber assault rifle location

The M-99 Saber is an incredibly potent assault rifle, packing a fair amount of damage per shot. It can be found on the main mission Priority Horizon towards the back half of the game, which is why this is so high on the list, as far better offerings can be gained a lot sooner. Also, for an assault rifle, the clip size is very poor at only 8, which matched with its high weight and poor recoil makes it a poor choice. 

However, if certain weapon upgrades are used, the damage is so strong that it can eliminate adversaries on lower difficulties with just one or two hits, which can make the Saber more useful for your crewmates than you. 

Pair with: 

  • Adrenaline rush to make up for the slow rate of firs 
  • Assault Rifle Precision Scope to make it a sniper 
  • Squadmates unable to equip snipers 

Don’t use for: 

  • Close quarters 
  • Quick enemies 


M-99 Saber full details:

14. M-8 Avenger - Basic 

M-8 Avenger assault rifle - gameplay using it in Mass Effect 3  

As one of the starting weapons in the game, you will probably fire this at something at least once, and it will be okay. As far as stats go it is fairly balanced in weight and capacity, plus it isn’t completely useless in terms of damage. It is just very bland when compared to both the other guns on this list and its counterpart in ME2.

Pair with: 

  • Assault Rifle Magazine Upgrade mod 
  • Assault Rifle Extended Barrel mod 

M-8 Avenger full details:

13. M-37 Falcon - The Grenade Launcher 

M-37 Falcon location- 12:30

The M-37 Falcon is a semi-automatic mini grenade launcher, but not exactly a traditional AR. Found during the Priority Cerberus Headquarters mission, it is very much a late-game gun. The Falcon works well against Cerberus forces, which is handy based on where it is found, and it will also only detonate on contact with an enemy, making it handy to attack those in cover or behind a shield.

Unfortunately, the Falcon holds a relatively small magazine capacity and little reserve ammunition. Unless you have the Adrenaline Rush skill, sustained shooting is impossible. Also, for a gun that fires grenades, it’s not all that strong, taking multiple hits to kill even the weakest enemies. You will not want to take this AR with you on an insanity run.  

Pair with: 

  • Assault Rifle Magazine Upgrade mod 
  • The soldier Class 
  • A lower game difficulty 
  • Ammo powers 

Don’t use for: 

  • Any mode above normal 
  • Squadmates with assault rifles as the primary weapon 

M-37 Falcon full details: 

12. Phaeston – It Looks Cool... 

Phaeston location- 4:08

Overall, the Phaeston is an okay rifle. It can be picked up on the main mission, Tuchanka: Turian Platoon, near the start of the mission, after the first reaper  Harvester. It’s very similar to the Avenger but has the bonus of an increased clip size and a quicker rate of fire. This is handy in crowded situations where you may need to lay down a lot of cover fire or attack at close range. 

However, this isn't enough to make the Phaeston pass the midpoint of this list. Its damage output is not great compared to other rifles, and it needs mods in order to really make it worth a spot in your gear. 

Pair with: 

  • Extended barrel mod 
  • Piercing mod 
  • Ammo Powers 

Don’t use for: 

  • Your squamates 

Phaeston full details: 

11. Striker Assault Rifle - The Other Grenade Launcher 

Striker Assault Rifle gameplay

The second of the two assault rifle grenade launchers in the game, the StrikerAssault Rifle, is great against squishy enemies or if you are having a tough time hitting those especially agile enemies. As yet another DLC gun (Mass Effect 3: Groundside Resistance Pack), it can be purchased in the Legendary Edition at Elkoss Combine Arsenal Supplies for 10,000 units.

Unlike the Falcon, the striker’s shots go off on contact, but it is an effective way to damage units like the Phantom, which move quickly. Unfortunately, due to its high rate of fire, it can chew through your ammo reserves, meaning that you will want to have a secondary weapon with you so you don’t end up completely defenseless.  

Pair with: 

  • Stability Damper mod 
  • Cryo ammo 
  • Ammo Powers 
  • Squadmates if you have too 

Don’t use for: 

  • Power reliant classes 

StrikerAssault Rifle full details: 

10. M-78 Revenant – Pop Pop  

M-76 Revenant gameplay

With the third highest clip size in the assault rifle category, the M-78 Revenant is handy if you like to spray and pray.  It is found around midway through the game during the Priority: The Citadel II mission, inside C-Sec, or afterward in Kassa Fabrication. It isn’t a bad gun, Its overall weight isn’t terrible, and it can come in handy for crewmates. 

Unfortunately, it has a very high recoil due to its ability to fire rapidly. Due to this, the weapon is challenging to wield while firing at long-distance enemies. It’s best used if you are planning on a more non-confrontational method of attack. 

Pair with: 

  • Assault Rifle Precision Scope mod 
  • Soldier class 

Don’t use for: 

  • Precision  

M-78 Revenant full details: 

9. M-55 Argus - Why Fire One, When You Can Fire Three  

M-55 Argus Assault Rifle Gameplay 

The M-55 Argus is a three-round-burst assault rifle that packs quite the punch for a preorder bonus. Originally it was part of the preorder incentives for some stores, but it was later released in the Leviathan DLC, found toward the end of the pack during Despoina: Leviathan. 

This is a very middle-of-the-line gun, which is why it is at the midpoint of this list. It does a fair amount of damage and doesn’t have too many glaring faults. But there are better guns, which can be accessed far more easily if you wish. The only reason you should hold out for this is the fact that it can work well as a shotgun replacement for the classes that like to be up-close and personal. 

Pair with: 

  • Assault Rifle Precision Scope mod 
  • Vanguard class 

Don’t use for: 

  • A Mattock replacement 

M-55 Argus full details: 

8. Geth Pulse Rifle - A Whole Lot Of Bullets 

Geth Pulse rifle location

The Geth Pulse rifle has been brought over to ME3 from the last game, providing an ample clip size for those areas where the thermal clips are unnecessarily sparse. It can be found either during the main mission Priority: Geth Dreadnought or at Elkoss Combine Arsenal Supplies if you are unable to pick it up during the mission. 

It is one of the quickest firing guns in the game, and for an assault rifle, it is actually pretty light if you want to shoot off powers quickly. However, this is countered by a slow reload and poor accuracy, due to a lack of crosshair while aiming. Overall, you need to rely on mods and other buffs in order to make the most of this AR. 

Pair with: 

  • Pression scope 
  • Crewmates 
  • Ammo Powers 

Don’t use for: 

  • Surgical strikes 
  • Enemies you want to despatch quickly. 

Geth Pulse rifle full details: 

7. M-15 Vindicator – Early Game Accuracy 

M15 Vindicator location

Similar to the Argus, the M-15 Vindicator is a three-round burst assault rifle. Available at the start by picking it up during the Priority: Mars mission or at Kassa Fabrication, if you manage to miss it. It has a fairly high degree of accuracy, and it is a good alternative to a sniper rifle built while maintaining a large clip size.

However, if you want to play something like Vanguard, where you are up close and personal, it won't be for you as its low rate of fire will let you down and the recoil from sustained fire can cripple you if you are trying to get out as much damage as quickly as possible. 

Pair with: 

  • Pression scope 
  • Crewmates without snipers 
  • Assault Rifle Stability Damper mod 

Don’t use for: 

  • Vanguard builds 
  • Close quarters 

M-15 Vindicator full details: 

6. Adas Anti-Synthetic Rifle - A Misleading Name 

Adas Anti-Synthetic Rifle gameplay

The next couple of guns is where things get a little murky. The Adas Anti-Synthetic Rifle was originally included in the Firefight DLC pack and later made available in the Legendary Edition in the Elkoss Combine Arsenal Supplies store in the Citadel for 10,000 credits. 

The Adas is a useful weapon when facing large numbers of enemies, looking at you Husks, as it inflicts splash damage. It is also super useful against enemies, with shields which are mostly where the name comes from, as it does no more damage to a Geth than to any other enemy. 

However, if you are a fan of headshots, this will not be the weapon for you as it doesn’t get the damage bonus.  It is also not great with armored foes, so it will not be the best choice when fighting Cerberus or the Reaper Brutes.  

Pair with: 

  • Crewmates
  • The infiltrator class 

Don’t use for: 

  • Armored forces 

 Adas Anti-Synthetic Rifle full details: 

5. Particle Rifle – Lasers  

Particle Rifle location

Yet another DLC weapon, the Particle Rifle is available once Priority: Eden Prime is completed. Unlike a traditional AR, this one fires a sustained laser beam that has a cool down rather than a traditional clip. Uniquely, the particle rifle stacks damage, so the longer you hit an enemy the more damage it takes. 

However, it can be a little unwieldy, which can allow quick enemies to dodge it, and its cool-down animation is a lot slower than traditional reloading. There are ways to mitigate this, like shooting in bursts, but the pros of this will reduce the bonus damage that sustained hits will dish out. 

Pair with: 

  • Assault Rifle Magazine Upgrade mod 
  • Assault Rifle Extended Barrel   

Don’t use for: 

  • Crewmates 

Particle Rifle full details: 

4. M-96 Mattock – A Classic 

M-96 Mattock location - 10:44

The M-96 Mattock is a popular gun brought over from ME2 with a medium range. It's a fusion of a sniper rifle and an assault rifle due to the damage and accuracy it produces. It is also found relatively early on in the game, so be sure to do Grissom Academy: Emergency Evacuation ASAP (it also doesn’t hurt to do this for story purposes).

The biggest fault with this is that some may find it a little slow in close combat, but if this is your style, you might just be better off using a shotgun. 

Pair with: 

  • Pression scope 
  • Amor-piercing ammo 
  • Sniper-less sniper builds 

M-96 Mattock full details: 

3. N7 Typhoon – An LMG in a game with no LMGs 

Typhoon gameplay  

As the sole LMG in the game, the N7 Typhoon has the highest rate of fire in ME3. However, it is also the heaviest gun in the game, which will make using most of your powers practically impossible. For the original, it is a DLC weapon, but in the Legendary Edition, you can buy it for the premium price of 150,000 credits at the Spector requestion terminal.  

While this is a great choice for you, the reason this is third is that it really shines when given to your crewmates, like Garrus or Vega. In most situations, it will allow you to basically sit back and let them do all the work. Be warned this can actually make it feel a little too easy when done right. 

Pair with: 

  • Pistol Ultralight Materials mod 
  • Crewmates (probably the best choice in-game)
  • Ammo Powers 

Don’t use for: 

  • Power builds 

N7 Typhoon full details: 

2. M7 Lancer – Bringing Balance 

M7 Lancer location

The M7 Lancer is a great choice for ME3, bringing a balance of damage and accuracy. It also doesn’t need thermal clips, which is an asset in situations where thermal clips are sparse. Unfortunately, it isn’t available until quite a bit into the game, relying on the brilliant Citadel DLC. It is found during the Citadel Archives: Escape mission, collected from a display case.  

The main reason why this isn’t number one on the list mostly comes from the fact that it doesn’t use thermal clips is the cool-down animation, which is long and will need to be reset if interrupted. You might think that this is worth it if you are reliant on your abilities, as it is one of the lighted assault rifles in the game. 

Pair with: 

  • Ammo Powers
  • Ultra-light materials mod 

Don’t use for: 

  • Your squamates 

M-7 Lancer full details: 

1. Cerberus Harrier - Does Everything The Mattock Does, But Better 

Cerberus Harrier gameplay 

It was a tough decision, but the Harrier is the best assault rifle in the game. It is also a relatively easy gun to acquire, as you will either get it as a part of the Firefight pack DLC in the original ME3 or you can buy it from the Spectre Requisitions terminal for 150,000 credits in the Citadel in Mass Effect Legendary Edition.  

The Cerberus Harrier is basically a full-auto version of the Mattock. It has high damage, alright accuracy, and it isn’t the heaviest AR in the game, so you won’t have to worry about losing too much cool-down time. It does, unfortunately, have a lower clip size than most, at 20. You will get 80 in reserve, but this can be rectified by adding mods to counter this. 

Pair with: 

  • High caliber barrel mod 
  • Thermal clip mod 

Don’t use for: 

  • Your squadmates  

Cerberus Harrier full details: 


For more about Mass Effect 3 check out these:

[Top 5] Mass Effect 3 Best Armor From Early Till Late Game

Best Mass Effect Games To Play (Ranked From Fun To Most Fun)

Mass Effect 3 Best Shotguns (All Shotguns In The Game Ranked)

Mass Effect 3: Best Pistols (All Pistols In The Game Ranked)

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