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Mass Effect Wiki
For other uses of the term "widow", see Widow (disambiguation).

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 and requires no multiplayer expansion packs.

Player Notes[]

  • The Black Widow is one of the most powerful sniper rifles—and weapons generally—in terms of raw damage output; while it deals less damage per shot than the M-98 Widow or the Javelin, it can fire three shots instead of one before needing to reload, and it carries more reserve ammunition. Each shot is still powerful, doing about the same damage as the M-92 Mantis, which is still more than capable of picking off unprotected infantry on any difficulty outright with one shot to the body, no headshots required. Having three shots in the magazine virtually ensures that a light target can be downed before needing to reload.
    • The Black Widow does about 25% less damage per bullet than the standard Widow while weighing the same. However, it fires fast enough that it can fire three shots in the time it takes a Widow to fire one shot and reload, effectively dealing 125% more damage across that period; it can also hit and kill more enemies in that time, making it superior for eliminating soft targets.
    • While other weapons such as the N7 Valiant can rival the Black Widow's overall damage-per-second (DPS) at even lower weight, the Black Widow's true strength lies in its one-shot kill potential, which can be taken advantage of even by classes that don't necessarily specialize in sniper rifle damage. If you're finding that you can't achieve one-shot kills with the Black Widow, experiment with whatever damage modifiers are available until you can.
  • If opening fire while invisible, the Black Widow can fire just fast enough to get a full clip of three rounds off before the damage bonus of Tactical Cloak ends. Any delay between shots will usually mean that at least the third shot will lose the damage bonus.
  • The Black Widow has a slow reload time, so reload cancelling is highly recommended when possible. A power that automatically reloads the weapon such as Adrenaline Rush can also be handy.
  • Unscoping between shots is often a useful technique to help with resetting your aim more quickly.
  • Like several other weapons, the Black Widow can penetrate objects by default. Its shots have a relatively shallow 25cm innate penetration, which is still capable of piercing through Guardians' shields, very thin cover, and enemy armor plating.
  • Because it deals high damage per shot, the Black Widow is effective by default against armored targets even without equipping any anti-armor mods. However, this same property does mean it is more hampered by enemy shield gates, especially on higher difficulties.
    • High-level Disruptor Ammo (single-player) or Disruptor Rounds/Phasic Rounds (multiplayer) greatly mitigates issues against enemy shields or barriers and even allows the Black Widow to ignore shield gates, thus making it possible to one-shot shielded or barrier-protected infantry, especially with headshots. This can make the Black Widow capable of handling any foe.
    • The other option for dealing with shielded targets is of course through the use of powers. Overload is usually capable of completely stripping the shields or barriers from infantry targets, and if it does, the Black Widow can easily finish the job with a follow-up shot, especially since most targets will be momentarily stunned.
  • While the Black Widow has double the reserve ammo of the regular Widow, with 3 shots per thermal clip, that reserve can still be used up quickly. If you rely heavily on the Black Widow, equipping a Sniper Rifle Spare Thermal Clip is advisable.
  • The Black Widow is comparable with the N7 Crusader. Both have similar weight, and while the Crusader has an extra shot in the magazine, both can deal similar amounts of damage before having to reload. The Black Widow features fully automatic fire while the Crusader is only semi-automatic, but both weapons have such high recoil that this is largely irrelevant as the player must take at least some time to reset their aim between shots. Being a shotgun, the Crusader is overall less accurate at long range but has the advantage of not suffering the damage or accuracy penalty of a sniper rifle when firing unscoped, making it easier to use at close range.

  • As squadmates are not affected by weapon weight, recoil, or ammo limitations, the Black Widow is a natural choice for them. While they won't take advantage of the weapon's maximum rate of fire, that's true for most weapons, and the Black Widow's high damage per shot still makes it effective and capable of one-shot kills on weaker targets, especially in the hands of Garrus.
  • The Black Widow has a steep initial purchase price; however, after the initial purchase, the cost to upgrade it is basically the same as that of any other weapon.
    • 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.
    • In Legendary Edition, the price of the Black Widow has been halved, making it much easier to obtain.
  • Aside from equipping the Sniper Rifle Spare Thermal Clip, the Black Widow's ammunition reserve can be supplemented in a few other ways:
    • Taking the Ammo Capacity rank evolutions of the various ammo powers is recommended until the Black Widow can be fully upgraded; while this does sacrifice a powerful headshot damage bonus, the Black Widow is often more than powerful enough to afford the tradeoff.
    • By making certain choices at the Intel Terminal, up to 15% extra ammunition capacity is possible with permanent increases. The Armor Modkit, Weapon Upgrade Kit, and Intact Reaper Weapon can each add an additional 5% to ammo capacity.
    • Also consider wearing armor that increases your spare ammo capacity.

  • The Black Widow can benefit from powers, weapon mods, gear, and consumables that reduce recoil. It can also perform well in the hands of turian characters or the Geth Juggernaut Soldier due to their natural stability bonuses from passive class powers.

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 Research Cost Omni-gel canister icon Omni-Gel Canister Beryllium icon Beryllium Lithium icon Lithium Element zero icon Element Zero MEA Augmentation Slot For Tables 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