[Top 5] Mechwarrior 5 Best Ballistic Mechs

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[Top 5] Mechwarrior 5 Best Ballistic Mechs

For some players, nothing beats the sound of continuous dakka.

When we hear the words “ballistic weapons” in Battletech & Mechwarrior, the first thing that comes to the minds of most players is the ol’ reliable Autocannon.  While this is true, there are  other ballistic weaponry, such as the Machine Gun & Gauss Rifle.  In Mechwarrior 5, players can use newer ballistic guns like the Rifle, which is basically a sniper rifle that comes in light, medium and heavy variants.  

While some players prefer a more energy based weapon loadout, there are those who would rather focus on a more ballistic arsenal.  This begs the question, “What are the advantages of ballistic weapons as opposed to energy weapons?”  

Well, the most important thing to remember is, ballistic weapons focus all of their damage on a single point.  This is true for almost all the ballistic guns except for the LBX & burst fire autocannons which behave more like a shotgun than a sniper rifle.  Whereas, an energy weapon like the laser deals its full damage spread out through the laser’s duration of fire.  This makes hitting the same exact spot on a moving target more difficult than you would with a Gauss rifle.

This is why weapons like the Gauss & Heavy Rifles are more suited for sniper builds.  Standard autocannons like the AC/10 or AC/20 are good damage dealers up close but perform poorly at long range.  Machine Guns are rapid fire weapons that are also effective against structures but are inefficient unless in melee range.  

With all that in mind, here are my top 5 battlemechs that, I believe, perform superbly with ballistic weapons.  


5. Florentine CRB-FL

Dual Ultra Autocannon 5’s on a medium ‘Mech? Yes, please.


  • Weight:  50 tons
  • Armor:  320/350
  • Structure:  175 Endosteel
  • Free Tonnage:  24.07 tons
  • Speed:  81 km/h XL
  • Standard Loadout:  1 Ultra AC/5 (Right Arm), 1 Medium Laser (Right Torso), 1 LRM 5 (Left Torso), 1 Ultra AC/5 (Left Arm)

Florentine is the evocative ‘Mech of Thomas Faber, known to most only by his codename “Broadsword.”  Despite piloting a ‘Mech built for standard combat, Faber’s role is anything but typical.  As a mechwarrior, his skills are as renowned as his devotion to Comstar and the newly formed Comguards.  Through blurry allegiances and webs of deceit spanning a decade or more, Faber has set himself apart from many of the newly minted Comguard mechwarriors.  He credits his recent success to the unyielding support of his wife Vivian and  his newborn daughter Judith.  


  • 2 medium ballistic slots equipped with Ultra AC/5s capable of dealing copious amounts of damage. 
  • Has the most free tonnage out of all the Crab variants, giving players more options to customize the Florentine.
  • Versatile weapon loadout makes the CRB-FL capable of performing most medium ‘Mech roles with little difficulty.
  • One of the few medium ‘Mechs to have 2 medium ballistic slots 

With a top speed of 81 km/h, players can use the Florentine to chase down hostile ‘Mechs before gunning them down with its dual Ultra ACs.  As an alternative, players can also choose to swap out the Ultra ACs for LBX 10s, which I think is a more reliable option.  LBX ACs don’t jam, afterall.  With the luxury of speed, you can outmaneuver slower opponents and use the ACs to backstab them.  Remember, armor is weaker in the rear compared to the front.

The Florentine will appear in industrial hub ‘Mech markets when players reach the year 3030.  Look out for the skull icon and save before traveling to the system.  Reload if Florentine isn’t there.


4. Annihilator ANH-1X

Albeit being the slowest assault ‘Mech in MW5, the towering Annihilator houses a devastating array of weapons.


  • Weight:  100 tons
  • Armor:  608/626
  • Structure:  313
  • Free Tonnage:  58.94 tons
  • Speed:  32.4 km/h XL
  • Standard Loadout:  1 LBX 10-CLU, 1 Medium Laser & 1 Small Pulse Laser (Right Arm), 1 LBX 10-CLU (Right Torso), 1 Small Laser (Head), 2 Medium Laser (Center Torso), 1 LBX 10-CLU (Left Torso), 1 LBX 10-CLU, 1 Medium Laser & 1 Small Pulse Laser (Left Arm)

While ancient Star League records date the original Annihilator schematics to the final year of the Amaris Civil War in 2780, the chassis was never known to have actually entered production until it was seen among the ranks of the mysterious Wolf’s Dragoons mercenary company in 3009.  With a top speed of 32.4 km/h, (making it one of the slowest ‘Mechs ever designed) the Annihilator relies on massive amounts of armor to shrug off any fire directed its way.  Together with its immense amount of firepower, the Annihilator more than lives up to its name.  


  • One of the best armored ‘Mechs in the game.
  • The only Annihilator variant that has Double Heat Sinks.
  • 4 LBX 10 autocannons make short work of any hostile.

The ANH-1X is perfect for demolition missions since it can mow down any ‘Mech or structure with ease.  I prefer removing the small lasers and using the extra space for more ammo or armor though.  Players won’t need much piloting skills with this bad boy since it’s slow as hell.  You just need to take care not to get the 1X’s arms blown off.  2 of its autocannons are nestled there.  I’d say it’s also great for warzone missions, provided it doesn’t run out of ammo too quickly.

The 1X is readily available early on, provided players have enough C-bills to buy it.  Sadly, Annihilators only seem to show up in high difficulty missions in Steiner and Kurita territory.  That means players will need to be able handle those missions and have high reputation with House Steiner and Kurita to have enough salvage points which can, in turn, be used to get the ‘Mech as salvage.  


3. Privateer COR-PVT

The Privateer has 2 large ballistic slots that can mount heavy rifles, autocannon 20s or Gauss rifles.


  • Weight:  95 tons
  • Armor:  576/598
  • Structure:  299
  • Free Tonnage:  52.32 tons
  • Speed:  48.6 km/h XL
  • Standard Loadout:  1 Heavy Rifle & 1 LRM 10 (Right Torso), 1 Autocannon/20 (Right Arm), 2 Large Chem Lasers (Left Torso)

In the Periphery, battlemechs aren’t simply field repaired.  All too often, mashups and grafting whole parts to make something combat worthy is the only resort.  Some call them “FrankenMechs”; the Oberon Confederation scoundrels call the big ones Corsairs.  This one’s about as big as they come, and the wretch that got pulled from it, one Tyler Erickson called it “Privateer.”  It makes you wonder how these pirates got their hands on so many ‘Mechs in recent years.  


  • 2 Large Ballistic hard points that can equip the biggest autocannons (or Gauss Rifles) you have.  This makes the Privateer a deadly brawler (or sniper)
  • 2 Large Energy hard points that can be fitted with long range lasers or PPCs make this ‘Mech capable of dealing damage from afar.  
  • 4 Double Heat Sinks dissipate excess heat faster, allowing the Privateer to shoot more often.  
  • Has a good amount of armor that makes the ‘Mech able to tank hits to a certain extent.

I usually equip the Privateer with 2 Gauss rifles & 2 PPCs.  Enemies die before getting too close.  Alternatively, 2 LBX 10 SLD autocannons also work well.  You can use the extra weight for ammo or heat sinks.  If you have great aim, I suggest 2 heavy rifles instead.  

Once players reach Reputation 11 and have advanced to April 19, 3026, the “X Marks the Spot” quest will appear.  Finishing the questline will net you  a damaged Privateer as one of the rewards.


2. Carapace KGC-CAR

Make sure you have enough ammo for those 4 autocannons.


  • Weight:  100 tons
  • Armor:  576/626
  • Structure:  313
  • Free Tonnage:  54.94 tons
  • Speed:  48.6 km/h XL
  • Standard Loadout:  2 Ultra AC/5 (Right Arm),  1 LRM 15 Stream (Right Torso), 1 LRM 15 Stream (Left Torso), 2 Ultra AC/5 (Left Arm)

Lionell Stanz was once a respected member of Steiner High Command.  His ardent opposition to the merging of the Lyran Commonwealth with the Federated Suns became politically isolating, and in frustration, he resigned.  Those who knew him during his service never dreamed he’d go this far, and thought that he’d quietly retire on planet Summer.  Apparently, he found fast friends among the Sky Separatists there, and with a new battlemech.  Carapace is clearly a product of Lyran battle doctrine, as big as they come and armed to the teeth.  


  • Comes with 4 Medium Ballistic hard points that can be outfitted with Ultra ACs or LBX ACs.  Either way, no ‘Mech is standing up after getting hit in the head with those.  
  • 2 Stream LRM 15s make the Carapace a passable indirect fire support ‘Mech should the need arise (like having both its arms blown off)
  • XL engine technology gives the Carapace more free tonnage to use on customization options.

Nothing screams “I love Ballistics” more than an assault ‘Mech with 4 autocannon slots.  Equip this ‘Mech with 4 high tier Ultra ACs (or LBX ACs) and you’ll be dropping enemies like flies.  The downside is you have to make sure to keep damage to your arms minimal since almost all of your DPS comes from those 4 ballistic weapons you have equipped.  

Players will get a Carapace (albeit, damaged) as a reward for completing the “Stop the Launch” questline, which will appear once they hit Reputation level 12 and the date is March 1, 3028.


1. Sleipnir CP-S

Sleipnir’s dual Gauss rifles can deal some serious damage, especially if they’re at tier 5.


  • Weight:  90 tons
  • Armor:  544/570
  • Structure:  285 Endosteel
  • Free Tonnage:  44.19 tons
  • Speed:  64.8 km/h XL
  • Standard Loadout:  1 Gauss Rifle (Right Torso), 1 Medium Laser (Right Arm), 1 Medium Laser (Head), 1 SRM 4 (Center Torso), 1 Gauss Rifle (Left Torso), 1 Medium Laser (Left Arm)

The daughter of Col. Charles Wilson, Ariana was a mercenary raised by the soldiers of the Eridani Light Horse.  What could easily have turned into nepotism was anything but as she joined basic training after her nineteenth birthday.  Forswearing even a hint of favoritism, her poor study skills left her struggling under the extra burden of too many watchful eyes.  Despite an inauspicious start, through grit and determination, she ultimately graduated top of her class.  Upon taking command of the Seventh Striker Battalion, she chose a Cyclops (which she named Sleipnir) knowing the ‘Mech’s poor reputation would test her skills even further.  


  • The Sleipnir can take on enemies from all ranges due to its varied default loadout.
  • 2 Large ballistic critical slots situated in the torso means the CP-S can continue to deal ballistic damage despite losing both arms & a leg.
  • 2 Gauss rifles make it an exceptional sniper.

Sleipnir is highly effective at long to medium range.  With enough practice, players can use a dual Gauss shot to the head to take out any ‘Mech.  It’s also powerful enough to core any light or medium ‘Mechs.  If steady aim isn’t your strong suit, you can swap out the 2 Gauss rifles for a pair of LBX 20 autocannons instead.  Although that would require you to get closer to your opponent.  Additionally, remember to bring at least 2 tons of ammo for your ballistic weapons.  

The Sleipnir will start showing up in industrial hubs from 3031 onwards.  Save & pray to RNGesus before heading out to an industrial hub with a skull icon.  Reload if unsuccessful.


The Heavy Rifle is for those that want an Autocannon 20 but don’t have the space for it.

With the right setup and knowledge, ballistic weapons can be fun to use.  Here’s a few things to  remember: 

  • Store your ammo in the legs.  Enemies don’t aim for our legs very often, thus saving us any unnecessary damage from ammo explosions.  
  • The LBX 10 is probably the best autocannon in the game due to a good balance of weight, range & firepower.  
  • Heavy Rifles are slow to reload, generate a lot of heat & have poor ammo capacity.  Plan your build accordingly if you intend to make it your main DPS weapon.  

And with that, I hope you guys enjoy playing Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries.  Good luck out there, Mechwarriors.


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