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The Black Widow is a sniper rifle in Mass Effect 3 and Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Mass Effect 3[]


The Alliance wanted to reduce the reload time of the original Widow rifle, without sacrificing its stopping power. The solution was to increase the number of shots the gun could fire before it needed a fresh thermal clip. Heavy for a sniper rifle, the Black Widow's firepower more than compensates for its encumbrance.



The Black Widow can be purchased from the Spectre Requisitions terminal in the Citadel Embassies for a base amount of 250,000 credits, or 125,000 credits in Mass Effect Legendary Edition.


Weapons are randomly rewarded through purchases of item packs. The Black Widow is categorized as ultra-rare.

Player Notes[]

  • The Black Widow seeks to improve on the M-98 Widow's faults. The result is a powerful rifle, still capable of dealing significant damage, while at the same time giving the Black Widow three shots instead of one before reloads are needed and double the ammunition reserve. However, it does less damage per round than the standard Widow; each shot does the same damage as the M-92 Mantis, which is still very respectable, so the Black Widow can be seen as a blend of the original Widow and the Mantis with a better ammo reserve and three shots per reload.
  • The main strength is that the Black Widow has much higher damage than any other semi-automatic rifle--it can kill weaker enemies outright in one shot to the body while stronger targets can be picked off with a single headshot. The high damage, combined with the semi-automatic firing means that this rifle can achieve much higher damage per second than most sniper rifles. Against armor, it is virtually unparalleled.
  • The biggest problem, however, is that it weighs as much as the M-98 Widow, making it certain to increase power cooldown times. Because of this, it would be highly recommended to avoid using this weapon on classes that rely heavily on their powers, such as Adepts, Vanguards, or Engineers.
    • Another problem with this gun is its recoil, thus even with the highest Sniper Rifle Concentration Mod you won't be able to squeeze 2 shots onto targets in one section of a scoped mode, as the recoil will eat away time needed to realign for the next shot in time - to compensate, switch in-and-out of the scoped mode between shots. It might sound as if it defeats the purpose of having a semi-automatic rifle, but, in a trained hand, and with the hitting power of the Black Widow, that still might mean downing 3 targets in quick succession before any need for a reload if you can get headshots all 3 times.
  • It is recommended to use the Black Widow with Adrenaline Rush. Adrenaline Rush compensates for the loss of damage per shot. You can get off at least 2 clips with the Black Widow while in Adrenaline Rush.
  • This weapon is extremely powerful in the hands of an Infiltrator with a maxed out Marksman. Combined with Tactical Cloak, a player can kill even the hardiest of enemies of lower difficulties. Even on higher difficulties, most enemies will not survive the 3 shots in quick succession.
  • The Black Widow does have a steep initial purchase price. However, after initial purchase, the cost to upgrade will be the same as any other weapon's upgrade cost (e.g.: from level III to IV).
  • With a great deal of spending discipline and completion of all side missions, the player can buy and begin upgrading this rifle before Priority: Tuchanka. It helps to be diligent about scanning all clusters for war assets as soon as they become available on the galaxy map, which will reveal a lot of credits early in the game; taking the store discount option from the remains of a Reaper destroyer on Borr may also be useful. Additionally, remember that buying the weapon from the Citadel is marginally cheaper than buying from the Normandy.
  • With Armor-Piercing Ammo focused on penetration and the Sniper Rifle Piercing Mod this rifle can penetrate most cover, rendering almost no enemy safe from its rounds.
  • The Black Widow can send shots through 25cm of cover even without armor-piercing mods.
  • While the Black Widow has double the reserve ammo as an M-98 Widow, with 3 shots per thermal clip, that reserve can be used up quickly. Equipping a Sniper Rifle Spare Thermal Clip Mod and/or taking Ammo Capacity rank evolutions that increase capacity such as Incendiary Ammo, Disruptor Ammo, etc. at Rank 5 is recommended until the Black Widow can be fully upgraded, though this only lessens the problem.

  • The Black Widow does about 25% less damage per bullet than the standard Widow. However, it fires fast enough that it empties all 3 rounds in the time it takes a Widow to fire one and reload. Thus it effectively deals 125% more damage, if you ignore the reset time, accuracy penalty, animation cancellation, and quick-scoping. If this is not ignored, then the M-98 Widow does more damage per second (DPS) than the Black Widow.
  • Much like its earlier counterpart, the Black Widow is one of four sniper rifles in multiplayer capable of piercing cover without using the aid of Armor-Piercing Rounds, Drill Rounds, Sniper Rifle Piercing Mod, or Sniper Rifle High-Velocity Barrel. It has an innate 25cm penetration, which is the lowest of the weapons with innate penetration, capable of only piercing through Guardians' shields and other light cover. Thus, without appropriate mods and/or Ammo Bonuses, it is inadvisable to attempt firing at enemies behind cover as there's a high chance that the cover is too thick for it to pierce through. With penetration-increasing bonuses, however, the penetration distance gets larger, but that won't increase the damage done to enemies after penetrating through objects.[1]
  • However, the Black Widow is better utilized as a crowd controller and anti-armor weapon. A headshot is enough to kill any unprotected troops, and against armor units (especially Ravagers and Brutes), it'll far out-DPS anything in existence.
  • Spare ammunition is another major factor, as you cannot carry much more than with a basic Widow. Frequent trips to resupply are needed to keep using the Black Widow. This can be countered with the Sniper Rifle Spare Thermal Clip, giving you 50-90% extra ammunition on reserve. More experienced snipers will always make every shot count, so a Sniper Rifle Extended Barrel may be a better option for them.
  • Another weakness is its high reset time after firing a shot (the time it takes to recenter the crosshairs). This makes it difficult to place follow-up shots up quickly, further reducing the potential rate of fire. This can be lessened by releasing zoom between shots.
  • Compared to the N7 Valiant, the Black Widow has a lower rate of fire, much slower reload, less spare ammunition, and is also much heavier. However, it has natural piercing properties and more damage per shot compared to the Valiant. This makes the Black Widow more suitable for heavy duty work (e.g. Atlases, Banshees, Scions), but less flexible for classes that are not focused on weapons training.
  • The stability bonuses provided to turian characters using the passive power Turian Veteran work extremely well with this weapon to act as a recoil cancelling ability, allowing more rapid firing since the rifle will not go off target as significantly.

Mass Effect: Andromeda[]


A smaller, higher-capacity variation of the Widow sniper rifle, the Black Widow fires three powerful shots per thermal clip. Andromeda Initiative engineers have adjusted the scope for improved optical enhancement in a variety of atmospheres.




Rank Damage Rate of Fire Max Clip Size Max Ammo Accuracy Weight
I 465 65 3 24 68 55
II 493 65 3 25 73 52
III 521 65 3 25 76 49
IV 548 65 3 26 78 46
V 576 65 3 27 80 43
VI 604 65 3 27 81 40
VII 632 65 3 28 82 37
VIII 660 65 3 29 83 34
IX 688 65 3 29 84 31
X 715 65 3 30 85 28

Rank Damage Rate of Fire Max Clip Size Max Ammo Accuracy Weight
I 905 100 4 28 68 55
II 921 100 4 29 73 52
III 936 100 4 29 76 49
IV 952 100 4 30 78 46
V 968 100 4 31 80 43
VI 983 100 4 31 81 40
VII 999 100 4 33 82 37
VIII 1015 100 4 33 83 34
IX 1030 100 4 33 84 31
X 1046 100 4 35 85 28


Rank Rd icon milkyway orange.png Research Cost Omni-gel canister icon.PNG Omni-Gel Canister Beryllium icon.PNG Beryllium Lithium icon.PNG Lithium Element zero icon.PNG Element Zero MEA Augmentation Slot For Tables.png Augmentation Slots
I 150 30 120 60 10 0
II 175 30 140 70 20 4
III 200 40 150 70 20 4
IV 225 40 170 80 20 4
V 250 50 190 90 20 4
VI 275 50 200 100 30 4
VII 300 50 210 100 30 4
VIII 325 50 230 110 30 4
IX 350 60 230 110 30 4
X 375 60 240 120 30 4
Total 2625 460 1880 910 240 N/A