Mass Effect Wiki
Mass Effect Wiki

The Arc Pistol is a heavy pistol in Mass Effect 3.


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.


Weapons are randomly rewarded through purchases of item packs. The Arc Pistol is categorized as rare and requires no multiplayer expansion packs.

Player Notes[]

  • Despite being based on the Arc Projector, the Arc Pistol behaves mostly like a conventional weapon in game. Shots will not "jump" to multiple targets.
  • The Arc Pistol is one of the most powerful and versatile heavy pistols in the game.
    • It can be used like a semi-automatic weapon boasting the same rate of fire as the M-3 Predator. When its charged-shot feature is used, it is more damaging than some of the other powerful heavy pistols like the M-6 Carnifex, or the M-77 Paladin while weighing less than either.
    • With the addition of the Pistol Piercing Mod and the Pistol High-Caliber Barrel or Pistol Heavy Barrel, the Arc Pistol's charged shots are devastating to armored targets as well.
    • Its accuracy is above-average, especially when zooming and/or sticking to cover; its muzzle climb is low; and it does not lose accuracy with repeated firing (the reticle does not "bloom").
    • It also possesses a large ammo reserve and magazine size, even taking into account that charged shots use up 2-3 ammo.
    • It is entirely feasible to use an Arc Pistol-only loadout, especially for more power-focused classes who want light loadouts and who can benefit from the Pistol Power Magnifier.
  • Charged Shot: The Arc Pistol's shots deal increasing damage the longer the charge is held, up to a maximum charge level that is indicated by a sound effect.
    • In contrast to most other weapons with a charged shot feature, the Arc Pistol not only deals increased damage as a shot charges, it actually fires additional projectiles per shot, up to a maximum of 3, somewhat akin to how a shotgun shoots multiple pellets. This is somewhat difficult to tell because the accuracy of the weapon means it doesn't leave a pronounced spread pattern on targets.
    • There are four thresholds within the Arc Pistol's charging cycle: (1) barely, or not charged (fires 1 projectile at 1x damage); (2) slightly charged (fires 1 projectile at 3x damage); (3) moderately charged (fires 2 projectiles at 3x damage each); (4) fully charged (fires 3 projectiles at 3x damage each).[1]
    • Fully-charged shots take at least 1 full second to charge and consume 3 ammo but deal 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!
    • Because its charged shots fire multiple projectiles, the Arc Pistol tends to lose less damage to enemy shield gates than a weapon like the Executioner Pistol, but this also means it can lose more damage to enemy armor, especially on higher difficulties.
    • Also unlike most other chargeable weapons, firing a charged shot with the Arc Pistol does break Tactical Cloak, even if charging the shot began prior to activating the cloak.
  • When using the Arc Pistol in its rapid-fire state, it lacks the power to be competitive on harder difficulties, but when fully charged on a consistent basis, it fires slower than any other heavy pistol save the Executioner Pistol, putting a premium on marksmanship to make every shot count.
    • Uncharged shots should be used to eliminate weak or weakened enemies. Uncharged shots can also be useful for eliminating a very weak shield or barrier, preventing its shield gate from negating any damage from a charged shot.
    • A good way of utilizing its dual fire mode is to shoot a few uncharged rounds at the enemy, and when they stagger or dodge, unleash a charged shot to their head after they finish.
    • Use of powers that immobilize or stun targets is a very important technique to ensure charged shots land; Overload and Stasis are particularly useful.
    • The Arc Pistol also isn't the most effective weapon to use in tandem with powers such as Marksman or Adrenaline Rush due to its slow, deliberate style of shooting.
  • Like all weapons with a charged shot function, the Arc Pistol is very awkward to fire while sticking to cover, as attempting to charge a shot will always pop you out in a firing position, exposed. To avoid this, either stand free behind tall cover or use pistols like the Carnifex or Paladin that don't have a charging function.

  • You can exploit the power screen (tactical pause) for sure hits with the Arc Pistol or any other charged weapon. Charge the weapon and while holding the shot, bring up the power screen, line up your shot, and release it while the tactical pause is in effect. However, this is not possible on PS3.
  • Squadmates do not utilize the charged shot feature of any weapon except the Acolyte, making the Arc Pistol a poor choice for them overall.

  • The Arc Pistol is a fantastic substitute for the M-77 Paladin: the Arc Pistol is lighter, deals 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 classification means that it is significantly easier to acquire than the Paladin X.
  • 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 damage to armor as the Pistol Piercing Mod, freeing up mod slots for other options such as the Pistol Power Magnifier or lightweight materials.