An innovation of Admiral Daro'Xen, the Arc Pistol is a scaled-down Arc Projector that only requires thermal clips, to solve its power problems. The Arc Pistol uses a nonvisible laser to ionize the air and create a path for a high-ampere electric shock. For a more damaging blast, it can be charged up.
The Arc Pistol can be found during the mission Priority: Geth Dreadnought: Tali or Xen will set it down for Shepard to take. It is also purchasable from Elkoss Combine Arsenal Supplies post-mission if it was missed or not taken.
- The Arc Pistol carries a large amount of ammunition given its potential power, but charged shots consume up to 3 rounds at a time.
- The Arc Pistol is very versatile; it can be used like a semi-automatic weapon boasting the same rate of fire as the M-3 Predator. When used as a charged weapon, it is just as damaging as some of the more powerful heavy pistols like the M-6 Carnifex, or the M-77 Paladin.
- Ammo capacity makes this weapon useful for long term engagements.
- The biggest weakness with the Arc Pistol is the trade-off when using it one way or the other. When using it in its rapid-fire state it lacks the power to be competitive on harder difficulties, but when charged on a consistent basis, it is slower than any other pistol.
- It is also fairly heavy for a pistol. In effect, it's not unlike carrying both a Predator and a slower-firing Carnifex with a shared ammo pool. However, it is lighter than the Carnifex, and both the primary fire and the charged shot do more damage than the Predator and Carnifex respectively.
- Unlike the Arc Projector, shots will not "jump" to multiple targets.
- You can exploit the power screen for sure hits with the Arc Pistol (as well as any other charged weapon). What you do is charge the weapon to its fullest, then hold the button that initiates the power screen. This effectively pauses the game, as well as enemy movement, while allowing you to move your pointer. Thus, you can easily line up destructive head-shots, as long as the enemy does not have total cover against you. However, this is not possible on PS3.
- When using the Arc Pistol, individual shots should be used on weaker enemies and charged shots should be used to devastate armor, shields or barriers.
- A good way of utilizing its dual fire mode is to shoot a few uncharged rounds at the enemy, and when they stagger/dodge, unleash a charged shot to their head after they finish.
- The Arc Pistol, being more readily available, is a fantastic (if slow-firing) substitute for the ultra rare M-77 Paladin: the Arc Pistol does more damage when fully charged, has a more accurate reticle that doesn't expand, and has a larger base clip size (6 fully charged shots for the Arc Pistol compared to 3 for the Paladin). In addition, its rare status means that it is significantly easier to acquire the relatively lighter Arc Pistol X than the Paladin X.
- Uncharged shots are comparable to the M-3 Predator in damage.
- Technically, the Arc Pistol has the lowest rate of fire in the game if the player only fires charged shots.
- Fully-charged shots consume 3 ammo while firing three shots at triple damage, resulting in 9 times the damage of an uncharged shot. With the base headshot multiplier of 2.5x, a single charged headshot can do 22.5x damage! Combined with Stasis, Warp, and Warp Rounds, consistent marksmen can wreak havoc on opponents both large and small.
- The Arc Pistol suffers in the same way as the Graal Spike Thrower and other charge-for-max-damage weapons on higher difficulties; in order to do maximum damage, you must expose yourself from cover for a fair while. In these situations it is better to carry either the Carnifex or the Paladin, neither of which have a charge time.
- However, the Arc Pistol also benefits Infiltrators in the same way as other, chargeable weapons, without the huge power recharge increase that both the Geth Plasma Shotgun and the Kishock Harpoon Gun have - if charged up before going into Tactical Cloak, an Infiltrator can fire off the charged shot without breaking cloak.
- The Arc Pistol benefits a lot from the addition of the Pistol Piercing Mod, as well as the Pistol High-Caliber Barrel mod since these maximize the damage it can do to armored targets.
- Its already large clip size and ammo pool mean that it benefits less from a Pistol Magazine Upgrade mod than other pistols, since it has a slow rate of fire (for fully charged shots) and can be easily reload-cancelled anyway.
- Combining the Pistol High-Caliber Barrel with the Pistol Power Magnifier makes the Arc Pistol a very versatile weapon, as it improves overall performance of those solely or mostly reliant on their powers. The extra damage can help headshot targets at a distance, or where powers may not reach or may be blocked, and allows users to maintain lethality when powers are cooling down. Armor-piercing ammo consumables can help mitigate the lack of penetration and even level I ammunition of said type can still do just as much armor damage as the Pistol Piercing Mod, although piercing abilities are significantly reduced. Since the Arc Pistol can be spammed in close quarters, or used like a sniper at medium and long ranges (without penalties) it can be used as a sole weapon or as a backup weapon due to its fairly low weight.