The Best Starship Weapons in No Man’s Sky, Ranked

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The Best Starship Weapons in No Man’s Sky, Ranked

No Man’s Sky (NMS) is a vast, immersive, and relaxing space exploration game that allows players to traverse an algorithmically-generated universe in search of never-before-seen planets, resources, and creatures. Unfortunately, there are hostile Sentinel drones and pirates that threaten your exploration of the universe. Luckily, your starship in NMS will always come outfitted with a weapon for combat!

Best Ship Weapon in NMS, Ranked Worst to Best

We’ll explore every choice for a ship weapon in No Man’s Sky, discuss their strengths & weaknesses, and how they can be used to gain an advantage in space combat. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a newcomer to the game, we’ll get you through your next dogfight with ease!


Rocket Launcher

The Rocket Launcher is one of the two default weapons that your ship will be equipped with at the beginning of No Man’s Sky. With only one upgrade available, which reduces the cooldown time of its firing, it’s likely the first weapon you’ll want to work on replacing.

The Rocket Launcher is difficult to land shots with, forcing you to line up shots precisely or risking a total miss. Even worse, the rockets don’t damage enemy shields very much, typically failing to breach them even with a direct hit.

The Rocket Launcher is by far the worst starship weapon in NMS.
(Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

If your ship becomes damaged to the point where rockets are your only option, you’re in a really tight spot, since you likely won’t be able to penetrate your opponents shields enough to take them down. It’s best to try and flee in this situation, whether by flying far away, or landing on a nearby planet.


Photon Cannon

The other primary weapon you’ll have on your starting starship in NMS will be the Photon Cannon, which you may want to leave on your ship as a backup weapon just in case. It has a lot of utility, dealing plenty of damage to either shields or hulls.

It can be upgraded in a diverse number of ways, with four possible upgrades being applied if you use Nonlinear Optics alongside three of the randomly-generated Photon Cannon upgrades you can receive at space stations or fighting pirates.

A ship in NMS flies into a meteor field.
(Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

This weapon actually locks on very well, making it one of the easier weapons to use against pirates for newer players. You can get used to fighting with this weapon and your skills should easily apply to other weapons.

It’s also a great weapon to use on meteors. If you have a secondary ship that you only use to harvest meteors, outfitting it with nothing more than an upgraded Photon Cannon can be enough to ward off smaller pirate raids.


Cyclotron Ballista

The Cyclotron Ballista is the ideal secondary weapon for any space combat. It shreds enemy shields, and also slows the engines of your targets, leaving them wide open to a volley of stronger attacks from weapons like the Infra-Knife.

A menu in NMS showing the stats of the cyclotron ballista weapon.
(Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

This weapon fires two relatively slow (at least in comparison) projectiles, but each one deals a high amount of damage. However, the lack of a lock-on feature for this weapon means its ineffective over very long ranges. But if you can get close enough, your targets will know only regret.


Positron Ejector

Next, the Positron Ejector is used to blast away enemies from close-range, similar to a shotgun. It fires wide spreads of small projectiles, and can be used to lock-on to enemies and take their hulls apart. This attack does more damage to hulls than shields, dealing very little damage if you haven’t already taken your enemy shields down with a Cyclotron or Phase Beam.

The Positron Ejector is a shotgun-like weapon for your starship in NMS.
(Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

Like the other weapons on this list, it can be upgraded with 3 normal upgrades, and then a unique one called the Fragment Supercharger. This weapon is also one of the best weapons for mining, since you can use it to blast apart huge meteors very rapidly without needing to aim very much. Just be careful not to shoot other nearby miners or risk having to fight the system authorities!


Phase Beam

The Phase Beam is unique in that it can be used in more of a defensive fashion, recharging your own shields without the need to burn up a bunch of Starship Shield Batteries. It’s also a great weapon to for draining your enemy shields in early combat, since it has nearly double the range of when enemy pirates can even notice you. It fires continuously until it overheats, and if you’re careful not to let it get too hot, it’ll recover while you fire other weapons.

A menu in NMS showing a phase beam stats
(Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

Aiming this weapon can be difficult, but the way that it fires continuously and restores your own shields makes it invaluable for extended combats. Any pro star-fighter should have one of these equipped at least as a backup weapon, in case your supply of shield-restoring materials starts to run low. It’s also great for mining since it can be aimed from so far away, particularly for doing planetary mining with your ship.


Infra-Knife Accelerator

The best starship weapon in NMS is the Infra-Knife Accelerator. It fires extremely rapidly, blasting your opponents with red-hot globes of metal. It does a 4X multiplier of damage against the back of enemy starships. You can do massive amounts of damage with this weapon if you line up your shots correctly.

It has no true lock-on capacity whatsoever, but it is fairly accurate and fires lots and lots of shots. Even if you miss some, you’ll likely land a few others, and that might be just enough to take out your target anyway.

A foreboding red light shines from a nearby station in NMS
(Image: Hello Games via HGG / Nathan Hart)

The biggest downside to the Infra-Knife is that it takes some level of player skill to use. If it overheats, it takes a long time to cool down compared to other weapons. You need to time burst shots carefully to maximize the damage of this extremely dangerous weapon. It’s excellent for use against stationary targets because of this, like freighters or resource depots.

Join the High Ground

Out of all the starship weapons you have available, the Infra-Knife accelerator combined with the Phase Beam or Cyclotron Ballista will have the best performance in NMS. We hope that with this guide to the Best Starship Weapon in No Man’s Sky, you’ll be able to take the high ground no matter where you find yourself in the universe.

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Happy gaming!


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sean kean

the rocket launcher is pretty much auto hit but you need to burn off the shields 1st


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