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The Best Early-Game Weapons in Starfield, Ranked

The best way to defend yourself in the vast galaxy of Starfield is to make sure you’re heavily armed. Luckily, the game presents plenty of options almost immediately. Today, we’re going to rank the best early-game weapons in Starfield that you can acquire within your first 8 hours of gameplay.

Given the sheer size of Starfield, an entire work shift’s time of gaming is barely going to scratch the surface. While these guns might not take you the entire distance, they’re great to look out for to gain an edge early on.

7 Best Early-Game Weapons in Starfield, Ranked Good to Best

Without further ado, let’s begin.

Maelstrom / Fiscal Quarter

The Maelstrom is the first assault rifle class weapon that you’ll be able to acquire in Starfield. If you’re lucky, you can find a version that already has some useful mods attached to it like a scope.

Even a novice spacer totally untrained in assault rifle class weapons can get some excellent results with these. Although, they do take relatively specialized and expensive ammunition when compared to other early-game weapons in Starfield.

Maelstrom / Fiscal Quarter - your standard assault rifle that'll get you through the early stages of Starfield.
(Image: Bethesda Games)

How to Get the Maelstrom / Fiscal Quarter

During the first hour of the game, you’ll be attacked by Crimson Fleet pirates. Take a few of them out and make sure to check their bodies for Maelstrom rifles. Keep a special eye on any that might have additional modifications added to them.

At the very least, this early hoard of rifles will make you some money when you get to a merchant willing to buy them. A little later on in the main storyline, you’ll acquire a unique Maelstrom called “Fiscal Quarter” that will remain a steadfast, powerful weapon until much further on in the game.

How Does It Stack Up?

The Maelstrom is a great starter weapon, but you should aim to diversify your inventory as quickly as you can. As for the Fiscal Quarter, it’ll be a helpful weapon for most situations but eventually gets outclassed by lots of the other weapons on this list later on as well.


Elegance is a special version of the “Regulator” pistol, firing 0.43 Ultramag rounds with an 8-round capacity. These heavy bullets do more damage than lots of other pistols, and the Elegance version of this gun comes with a special modifier called “Shattering” that rips right through heavy armor.

It has room for a lot of upgrades and comes with a silencer to hone in on the stealthy, tactical approach that most players enjoy in various other Bethesda games.

Elegance - a unique variant of the Regulator pistol that shreds through heavy armor.
(Image: Bethesda Games)

How to Get the Elegance

You’ll be able to buy this gun for 18,000 credits from the arms dealers at Rowland Arms in Akila City. Akila is the home of the “space cowboys” of the Starfield universe, located around the Cheyenne system a little bit to the northeast of Alpha Centauri.

How Does It Stack Up?

Elegance, with its silencer and rapid-fire damage abilities, is one of the best early-game weapons you can get in the opening hours of Starfield – even accounting for the 18,000 credits you’ll need to purchase it. It might take a little bit of work to acquire that much early on, but the gun is definitely worth it.


This vicious-looking pistol is reminiscent of the junk guns from Bethesda’s other well-known sci-fi game series, Fallout, just as the new Crimson Fleet pirate gang is so reminiscent of the various raider factions of Fallout lore.

The Keelhauler is shockingly effective, especially for pistol-focused characters. It fires at a rapid, full-auto rate and still hits harder than plenty of slower, magnum-style pistols. It’s important to bring the Keelhauler on board as quickly as you can.

Keelhauler - a fantastic early game pistol that requires joining the Crimson Fleet.
(Image: Bethesda Games)

How to Get the Keelhauler

Keelhauler is one of the hardest items to get on this list. First, you’ll need to join the Crimson Fleet yourself. The quickest way to do this is to commit a crime in New Atlantis right off the bat, which will lead to your arrest and negotiation with a UC commander.

This will send you down a quest line where you act as a double agent between UC and the Crimson Fleet. Choose options that align you with the space pirates to eventually unlock the Keelhauler.

How Does It Stack Up?

In terms of sheer firepower, the Keelhauler is easily one of the best early game weapons in Starfield. However, since it’s so difficult to acquire, you might be inclined to save it for later on and instead pursue one of the other guns on our list as a stopgap measure.

Old Earth Hunting Rifle

This classic-looking hunting rifle is one of the best early sniper rifles in Starfield. It’s also fairly common and has great space to be modified and upgraded as you go.

It’ll let you take tactical positions and take your enemies out from afar, invaluable attributes for staying safe in the expansive planetary environments of Starfield.

Old Earth Hunting Rifle - best early game weapons in Starfield.
(Image: Bethesda Games)

How to Get the Old Earth Hunting Rifle

Around level 5, you’ll be able to start purchasing this rifle from gunsmiths like Roland Arms in Akila City. Alternatively, you can also fly to the Poriima system to the right of Alpha Centauri.

Here, you can find a ship called the ECS Constant. If you search this ship and work your way into its storage area, you can snag a modified version of this gun along with some other Old Earth firearms.

How Does It Stack Up?

Relatively easy to acquire while providing an invaluable service in letting you start fights from afar, the Old Earth Hunting Rifle will stay important throughout most of Starfield. You might actually never put this gun down, since the range that it can hit a target from is so much further than most.

Marksman AA-99

The “Marksman” version of the AA-99 is a special version of the standard UC assault rifle. You’ll quickly why this is the standard for space’s largest known military operation.

This gun is excellent for mid-to-long-range combat, filling an excellent gap between lesser assault rifles and the Old Earth Hunting Rifle listed above. It can mow down multiple targets before they even get into range with its extra 15% damage while firing through its scope.

Marksman AA-99 - best early game weapons in Starfield.
(Image: Bethesda Games)

How to Get the Marksman AA-99

For 27,000 credits, you can pick this gun up right away from Centaurian Arsenal in New Atlantis. That many credits on a single item might seem very daunting early on, but you can pretty quickly make that much money by boarding and stealing ships from the Crimson Fleet.

How Does It Stack Up?

The Marksman AA-99 is a fantastic gun for many hours into Starfield, with its huge damage output and included silencer. You can start (and finish) plenty of fights with just the AA-99, making it one of the best early game weapons in Starfield.


The Deadeye is a very cool-looking unique version of the Razorback revolver. It deals a ton of damage and is very satisfying to use while taking down bad guys in the harsh vacuum of space. Plus, it’s the signature weapon of a Freestar Collective Ranger.

While it only holds six rounds of its 0.75 Whitehot ammo, those six shots should be more than enough to take down whoever stands in your way.

Deadeye - best early game weapons in Starfield.
(Image: Bethesda Games)

How to Get the Deadeye

When you first head to Atila City, you’ll have a chance to get involved in negotiating the end of a bank robbery in progress. Once you’ve finished that, you’ll be given an opportunity to join the Freestar Collective Rangers, pushing you to complete another side quest of your choice on their behalf.

After finishing this, you’ll be officially deputized and be given the Deadeye as part of your new uniform.

How Does It Stack Up?

The Deadeye is just plain fun to use while providing massive damage output. You have to go a little out of your way early on to get ahold of the Deadeye early on in Starfield, but it’s well worth the effort to have an ideal sidearm for the rest of the early game.

N-67 Smartgun

With its absolutely insane killing power, the N-67 Smartgun is a high-tech minigun built for heavy combat and is one of the first weapons you can get access to during the main campaign missions.

It fires a seemingly endless stream of 7.77 ammo, launching 350 rounds per minute out of its 320-round ammo case. This makes it ideal for bringing down heavily armored foes throughout the hostile galaxy of Starfield. Unsurprisingly, it gains bonuses from the Ballistics and Heavy Weapons skills.

N-67 Smartgun - best early game weapons in Starfield.
(Image: Bethesda Games)

How to Get the N-67 Smartgun

For a whopping 38,000 credits, you can pick this gun up right away from the UC distribution center in New Atlantis. Walk right in and drop your life savings on the table to get ahold of this incredibly deadly weapon as soon as you can.

How Does It Stack Up?

Keeping this gun and a few thousand rounds of ammo inside your spaceship for a rainy day will save many a traveler from an untimely death. While it’s easily the most expensive entry on this list, the N-67 is by far the best early-game weapon in Starfield, capable of turning anything into a fine mist.

Join the High Ground

Now that you’re properly armed, you’re all set to make sure you maintain the High Ground against your interstellar foes! Let us know what you thought about this list of the best early-game weapons in Starfield. If you think we left out a worthwhile entry, let us know in the comments below!

For more tips about the early hours of Starfield or other cutting-edge games, make sure you subscribe to the High Ground Gaming newsletter and follow us on all social media.

Happy gaming!


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