The best Helldivers 2 weapons

Helldivers 2 best weapons - Soldier with a rocket launcher
(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)
Recent updates

May 28, 2024: We added the P-113 Verdict from the Polar Patriots war bond to our list.

Puzzling out the best Helldivers 2 weapons is a trial-and-error process. While you have Stratagems that'll let you call down heavy weapons, there are also lots of primaries to pick from when sorting your character's loadout. As you progress through the game and gather Medals, you'll be able to unlock even more guns in the Warbond, including assault rifles, shotguns, and even energy weapons.

Some of these are really good, and some of them, well, they're not worth the effort or the Medals it'll cost you to claim them. Here I've laid out my rankings for the best weapons in Helldivers 2. Since there are now also four premium war bonds in the game—Steeled Veterans, Cutting Edge, Democratic Detonation, and Polar Patriots—I've ranked those guns as well and have marked each with SV, CE, DD, or PP to show which they come from.

Helldivers 2 best weapons tier list

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TierWeapons
SS-tierSG-225 Breaker, SG-225IE Breaker Incendiary (SV), PLAS-1 Scorcher, P-19 Redeemer, GP-31 Grenade Pistol (DD)
S-tierCB-9 Exploding Crossbow (DD), R-36 Eruptor (DD), LAS-16 Sickle (CE), SG-8S Slugger, JAR-5 Dominator (SV)
A-tierSMG-72 Pummeller (PP), BR-14 Adjudicator (DD), R-63 Diligence, R-63 Diligence Counter Sniper, AR-23 Liberator, SMG-37 Defender
B-tierP-113 Verdict (PP), AR-61 Tenderiser (PP), AR-23E Liberator Concussive (SV), SG-8P Punisher Plasma (CE), AR-23P Liberator Penetrator, SG-225SP Breaker Spray&Pray, MP-98 Knight, SG-8 Punisher, P-2 Peacemaker, P-4 Senator (SV)
C-tierPLAS-101 Purifier (PP), Arc-12 Blitzer (CE), LAS-7 Dagger (CE), LAS-5 Scythe

SS-tier

SG-225 Breaker

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Why are shotguns one of the best precision weapons in the game? I couldn't tell you. While the SG-8 Punisher struggles in high-pressure situations because of its limited ammo and single slug reload, the SG-225 Breaker is perfect for them. This shotgun retains the weirdly long range of the other so you can pick off enemies, but since it reloads clips and fires full auto, you can let loose when you're getting mobbed. It also just deals a massive amount of damage and is available midway through the regular Warbond vs. most of the other really good weapons.

SG-225IE Breaker Incendiary (Steeled Veterans)

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The SG-225IE Breaker Incendiary is a fantastic pick against bugs since it spreads fire amongst groups of enemies and damages them over time. This gun has the same wide projectile spread as the SG-225SP Breaker Spray&Pray, but the key difference here is that every projectile sets enemies on fire. This can be very strong when you're moving and firing, blasting into tightly packed groups of enemies, then repositioning as the fire damages them over time. Since it loads clips and fires fast, too, you can also effectively blast any enemies that get up close. It's worth noting that while this gun is one of the best against bugs, it's a poor choice against bots.

PLAS-1 Scorcher

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

While it's not an advisable pick for bugs, the PLAS-1 Scorcher is one of the best-in-class for dealing with Automatons. This is primarily due to its explosive AoE effect, which can take out Scout Striders and shielded Devastators, as well as one-shotting regular bot enemies at range. Its only real disadvantages are its relatively modest ammo supply and the fact that you have to spend a lot of medals to unlock it in the final page of the regular Warbond. Still, if you don't have the JAR-5 Dominator unlocked, or you're looking for something with a little more range against bots than the SG-8S Slugger, this gun is a great pick.

P-19 Redeemer

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Though there are only two base secondary weapons in the game, the best is undoubtedly the P-19 Redeemer. It doesn't hold many rounds, but it does so much burst damage that it's the perfect weapon to whip out when you're in a bad spot. Like the primary SMGs, it also makes an effective weapon for when you're carrying an objective in your other hand.

GP-31 Grenade Pistol (Democratic Detonation)

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The GP-31 Grenade Pistol isn't incredibly powerful damage wise, but it's very strong in terms of utility. If you want extra grenades for blowing up Automation fabricators or sealing bug holes, you'd usually have to take an armour set with the Engineering Kit passive, but with this secondary you get eight whole grenades you can fire into them from a distance—it's effectively a mini-grenade launcher. 

It does take a little time to learn its firing arc, but once you do you can absolutely blitz bug nests. Where you only get regular grenades from supply packs, this weapon reloads a grenade for every ammo box you pick up as well, giving you a lot more grenades to work with in general. 

Perhaps my favorite part of this gun is that it allows you to experiment with taking other options besides regular explosive grenades. If you've got the grenade pistol's eight shots on hand to serve that purpose, you could bring incendiary grenades for bugs or even stun grenades for bots to mix things up.

S-tier

CB-9 Exploding Crossbow (Democratic Detonation)

Helldivers 2 best weapons - CB-9 Exploding Crossbow

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Though it can be a little tricky to learn its firing arc at first, the CB-9 Exploding Crossbow is a pretty effective weapon for sniping groups of enemies at range. Coupled with its lack of muzzle flash, this makes it one of the game's few potential stealth weapons, allowing you to take out enemies quickly without being discovered. 

It definitely lacks the same punch as the R-36 Eruptor—it won't destroy bug holes or Automaton fabricators—but it does have multiple shots per magazine and a faster reload. If you're playing solo or running around in stealthy scout armour, this weapon is definitely worth experimenting with. Just make sure to bring a secondary like the Redeemer for close-quarters fighting so you don't blow yourself up.

R-36 Eruptor (Democratic Detonation)

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

This explosive bolt-action rifle is the hardest hitting primary weapon in Helldivers 2—it destroys bug holes, Automaton fabricators, as well as rogue transmission towers or spore stalks from a distance. It'll also make short work of most elite enemies with its medium armour penetration, though it recently got a nerf halfing its overall mags from 12 to six.

Here's the problem: the R-36 Eruptor is very slow-loading and will straight up kill you if you shoot something close, so its hard to make it work as an actual primary weapon. If you do want to take it, you'll likely have to bring a support weapon like a machine gun to deal with regular enemies, especially if you're going up against bugs and have hunters closing you into melee. 

The R-36 also has some weaknesses over regular support weapons. It can kill a Charger with frontal shots for example, but it won't penetrate a Hulk faceplate like the Railgun or Quasar Cannon does. So, while it's definitely strong, you'll have to compliment this gun with the right support weapon and secondary if you want all your bases covered.

LAS-16 Sickle (Cutting Edge)

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The LAS-16 Sickle is a hell of a lot better than its LAS-5 Scythe counterpart. This energy weapon is more like a Liberator assault rifle that trades infinite ammo for a few drawbacks, namely, that it has to charge a bit before firing and that it can overheat. On a damage basis, however, it's as good as the AR-23 Liberator. 

While I wouldn't recommend this gun for bugs—the delay before firing is very annoying when you're getting swarmed—I wholeheartedly recommend it for bots, where a lot of its disadvantages don't really matter. If you're going to bring the AR-23 Liberator to an Automaton mission, I'd simply bring this gun instead now for better ammo efficiency and much the same result.

SG-8S Slugger

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The SG-8S Slugger is one of those rare weapon variants that actually surpasses the original, offering far more value than the SG-8 Punisher. This gun is a solid pick against bots due to its high precision damage. It also performs well at headshotting bugs, though you might find yourself getting swarmed without an appropriate secondary like the P-19 Redeemer. The SG-8S Slugger's primary disadvantage is that it struggles to deal with groups of enemies the same way that that SG-225 Breaker does.

JAR-5 Dominator (Steeled Veterans)

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Though it gets edged out by the PLAS-1 Scorcher when facing Automatons due to that weapon's explosive damage, the JAR-5 Dominator is a decent pick against bugs due to its high-damage and medium armour piercing. If you enjoy the SG-225 Breaker, this gun will feel familiar, though its higher recoil makes it a little harder to handle. The JAR-5 is best used for hitting weak points and head-shotting enemies as with the SG-8S Slugger—especially if you switch it to first-person mode and take advantage of its scope.

A-tier

SMG-72 Pummeller (Polar Patriots)

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The Pummeller doesn't feel all that different to the SMG-37 Defender. It has the same slow fire rate, similar ammo capacity, and like any SMG it can be used one handed when carrying an objective or a ballistic shield. The key difference is that for a slight decrease in damage, the Pummeller applies a stun effect to enemies it hits, similar to the Liberator Concussive. Since the stun effect isn't an AoE, it only applies to enemies you're shooting, making it a bit pointless. After all, it's better to kill enemies quickly than just stun them in place. Still, it doesn't feel like a massive downgrade from the Defender, so it's certainly a viable choice if you enjoy that SMG. 

BR-14 Adjudicator (Democratic Detonation)

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The third marksman rifle to appear in Helldivers 2 is a little similar to the Liberator Penetrator, which probably explains why Arrowhead changed this weapon's classification to assault rifle after releasing it. It has medium armour penetration and decent stopping power, but it's a very ammo hungry gun, and you'll eat through your reserves quickly. I definitely recommend switching fire mode from full-auto to semi, since this will slow ammo consumption and help you cope with its recoil.

While I still think the Diligence Counter Sniper is ultimately a better pick against bots due to its accuracy, this gun is worth unlocking if you enjoy the feel of the Liberator Penetrator and want a better medium armour penetrating assault rifle to use.

R-63 Diligence and R-63 Diligence Counter Sniper

Considering you don't generally want enemies to get close to you in Helldivers 2, it makes sense that the marksman rifles would both be pretty strong. Of the two, my personal favourite is the Counter Sniper, which trades some of the basic version's ammo in exchange for superior stopping power and medium armour penetration. It also fires single rounds instead of a burst. While the regular Diligence performs fine against bugs, it'll do far better when facing Automatons.

AR-23 Liberator

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The standard Helldivers 2 assault rifle has exactly what you need—decent damage, range, and ammo capacity. It's not going to win any competitions for being the absolute best, but if you're looking for a reliable primary and don't like swapping weapons lots, it'll get the job done. If you switch to first-person aiming mode, it also has a scope with a handy targeting crosshair and variable zoom distance.

SMG-37 Defender

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The better of Helldivers 2's SMGs is so good because… well, it's more like an assault rifle. The SMG-37 Defender has better range, recoil, and a slower firing rate than its MP-98 cousin, but offers slightly higher damage than, say, your Liberator assault rifle. Due to that slow firing rate, it also doesn't eat through your ammo the way that the Knight does. If you're looking for a slightly more close-range focused weapon that still performs decently at mid-distance, you should try this out.

B-tier

P-113 Verdict (Polar Patriots)

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

This new semi-auto pistol is more of an alternative to the standard P-2 Peacemaker sidearm than it is an upgrade. It hits a bit harder and has more mags to compensate for it only holding ten bullets per clip compared to the Peacemaker's 15. Personally, I prefer this pistol against bots vs. the Peacemaker, since its increased damage makes headshotting enemies a little easier. Still, I'm not sure I'd choose it over the Redeemer, Grenade Pistol, or Senator, so it's a slightly moot point.

AR-61 Tenderiser (Polar Patriots)

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

We've gotten quite a few assault rifles recently, but the Tenderiser doesn't stand out much. It's basically a Liberator with less recoil, smaller mag size, but higher mag count overall. It's definitely better suited to bots than it is bugs, just because the frequent reloading is bad when you're being swarmed. It comes with scope options and a semi-auto mode, but at the same time there's not much point bringing it against bots over, say, a marksman rifle. It's nice having a wide selection of assault rifles in Helldivers 2, but this one feels kind of pointless.

AR-23C Liberator Concussive (Steeled Veterans)

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

This version of the Liberator assault rifle was originally called the AR-23E Liberator Explosive before Arrowhead changed the name to the AR-23C Liberator Concussive to differentiate between explosive effects and its concussive stun effect. Rather than an explosive AoE, this weapon trades some of the base Liberator's potency for a stun effect it can apply to enemies. Sadly, it's a poor bargain. This gun has worse mag size, fire rate, and doesn't feel that much more powerful than the regular Liberator.

SG-8P Punisher Plasma (Cutting Edge)

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Hey, want a primary weapon that's also a grenade launcher... kind of? The SG-8P Punisher Plasma is a weird gun; an energy shotgun that fires an explosive ball of plasma in a downward arc similar to the grenade launcher. This deals AoE damage and momentarily stuns nearby enemies, making it a useful tool against swarms and troublesome foes when used in co-ordination with your team. 

I'd recommend this gun for bots more than bugs. Though not as ideal as the PLAS-1 Scorcher, it's good at flinching all of the really annoying Automaton enemy types and can take out Scout Striders with a frontal hit as with the grenade launcher. The main downsides to the SG-8P are its pitiful mag size meaning frequent reloads and, since it fires slow moving balls, hitting individual targets. Also, be warned: this gun can hurt you and your squadmates since it's explosive.

AR-23P Liberator Penetrator

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

You'll definitely feel the reduction is pure stopping power when switching from the regular Liberator to the Liberator Penetrator, but this gun can be pretty good when used against bots in a similar way to a marksman rifle. Sadly, it's fallen by the wayside a bit, especially now so many other weapons have the medium armour penetration tag. The release of the BR-14 Adjudicator also hasn't helped, since it's a better version of this weapon in almost every way.

SG-225SP Breaker Spray&Pray

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The problem with the S-225SP Breaker Spray&Pray is that it lacks the single target damage of the gun's regular variant, as well as the burning effect of the SG-225IE Breaker Incendiary, making it less worthwhile in both cases of tackling single targets and dealing with groups. That said, you might not have the Premium Warbond to get the incendiary version. While I'd recommend both of the other versions above this, if you want a gun for mowing down swarms of standard bugs, this'll at least do that much.

MP-98 Knight

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The MP-98 Knight has everything you'd expect from an SMG; high damage at close range, fast-fire rate, and little to no long-range accuracy. The problem is Helldivers 2 is the kind of game where you don't want to be close to enemies—if you are close to enemies, you should get away from them. A secondary like the P-19 Redeemer is all the SMG you need, i.e. it'll let you quickly blast everything that got too close so you can back away. Having a main weapon that only performs at close range necessitates a dangerous playstyle that'll get you killed lots on higher difficulties.

SG-8 Punisher

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The problem with the SG-8 Punisher is that it doesn't really fulfill a focused role. This weapon fires buckshot, but lacks the projectile spread of the SG-225SP Breaker Spray&Pray, making it a poor choice for dealing with swarms. At the same time, it's edged out in terms of single-target damage by the SG-8S Slugger, which fires a single projectile. It'll certainly serve on lower difficulties but there are far better choices available.

P-2 Peacemaker

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The standard Helldivers 2 sidearm is alright—certainly a lot better than the incredibly slow-loading revolver in the premium Warbond. However, it doesn't fulfil a focused role in the same way that the P-19 Redeemer does in getting you out of sticky situations. The P-2 Peacemaker is essentially a gun for finishing off an enemy coming at you when your primary is dry, and it does that just fine.

P-4 Senator (Steeled Veterans)

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Since the new speedloader was added to the P-4 Senator that lets it reload super quick when you fire all shots, it now plays a more effective role as a secondary you whip out and empty into tough oncoming enemies. While I still wouldn't recommend it for bugs over the Redeemer because of their sheer numbers, it's fairly strong against bots due to its medium armour penetration, and will deal with a charging Berserker or Devastator—especially if you're accurate enough to land a headshot. 

C-tier

PLAS-101 Purifier

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

This weapon is good in concept; an alternative version of the PLAS-1 Scorcher that you charge for greater damage and medium armour penetration. The problem is it just doesn't work. The gun has a fixed charge time and if you don't charge the weapon for exactly that long, it just won't fire at all. When it does fire its damage is pretty lacklustre. I can't really see a reason why you'd ever take this gun instead of the PLAS-1 Scorcher, especially while it's feels broken and requires very precise charging to even function.

Arc-12 Blitzer (Cutting Edge)

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The Arc-12 Blitzer is a cool concept for an energy weapon; a shotgun with infinite ammo that fires out tendrils of arc damage that sometimes spread between enemies the same as with the Arc Thrower. The problem is that the Arc-12 is kind of pointless as a gun. It doesn't have the same spread as the Arc Thrower for killing lots of enemies at once and its single target damage is lacklustre. Its poor range also means you have to get close to enemies, which considering its slow fire rate, is pretty dangerous. On the whole, this weapon definitely needs a damage and fire rate buff.

LAS-7 Dagger (Cutting Edge)

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The LAS-7 Dagger has exactly the same problem as the LAS-5 Scythe; that infinite ammo doesn't matter if you don't have enough damage to kill stuff fast. Still, a secondary weapon with infinite ammo makes a lot more sense to me than a weak energy primary like the LAS-5 Scythe does. Even if its damage is lackluster, the Dagger means you always have a gun to fall back on, or use to kill minor enemies without wasting primary ammo. Ultimately, though, you're better off bringing something that can actually deal decent damage like the P-19 Redeemer.

LAS-5 Scythe 

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

This energy primary weapon is a confusing gun. The concept seems to be you trade lower damage for potentially unlimited ammo, provided you wait for it to cool down after you've fired the beam. The problem is this just doesn't work on mid-to-higher difficulties since you need to be firing lots in order to stay alive. And if you're not waiting for its cooldown, meaning you're reloading its heatsinks as you would with a magazine gun, what's the point? 

You may as well just bring a gun with actual bullets and decent damage rather than trying to play into the gimmick of this one. It's not like ammo is the biggest issue for primaries when you can find it in the world and Supply Packs exist.

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Sean Martin
Guides Writer

Sean's first PC games were Full Throttle and Total Annihilation and his taste has stayed much the same since. When not scouring games for secrets or bashing his head against puzzles, you'll find him revisiting old Total War campaigns, agonizing over his Destiny 2 fit, or still trying to finish the Horus Heresy. Sean has also written for EDGE, Eurogamer, PCGamesN, Wireframe, EGMNOW, and Inverse.