It’s All In Your Head: Marksman Rifle DPS For Dummies

It’s All In Your Head:

Marksman Rifle DPS For Dummies 

Version 1.0

This is an in-depth community guide and reference document for playing a PvE DPS role using Marksman Rifles, intended to both help new Marksmen learn the ropes and show veterans how to get maximum value out of their setup. The advice in this guide is given with the assumption that you are playing Heroic or Legendary content, on the basis that anything which works at the higher difficulties will work at lower ones as well. It is also assumed that your Keener’s Wristwatch is fully-upgraded, especially the Weapon Damage and Headshot Damage values. Information in this guide is expected to change as the game is updated.

Part 1: Being An MMR DPS

The role of the team’s DPS player(s) is to hit fast, hit hard, and remove enemies from the area before they can overcome the team. Damage output is a priority, as the faster enemies are killed the better. Marksman DPS players do this by hitting high-value headshots that do individually-large amounts of damage, rather than using large volumes of fire, and setting their build up to put as much damage behind these headshots as possible.

Like other DPS roles, a Marksman DPS build has low survivability and will quickly fall under fire at close range. In addition, most weapons suitable for the role are unwieldy at short distances and perform best at medium to long range. You will often find the most success fighting at long ranges where enemy fire is inaccurate and your own weapons are easier to handle.

A good benchmark for Marksman Rifle DPS builds is being able to slay a Veteran enemy with a single headshot, and requiring two to kill most Elite enemies.

Part 2: An Eye For Detail

As a back-rank DPS player, you will have to juggle multiple priorities at once to stay successful and relevant from a distance. Here is what to look out for, in descending order:

Screenshot taken from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rftelF8dFs

  1. Enemy Heads

Your primary targets are the heads of enemy combatants. Hitting an enemy in the head will deal bonus headshot damage, and if you stack large amounts of Headshot Damage bonuses from weapons and gear it is possible to slay enemies outright in a single shot.

  1. Flanking Threats

Your ability to fight at close range is limited, and The Division 2’s enemy AI is notorious for sudden suicide charges through gunfire or around flanks. You should keep an eye out for any enemies moving to unexpected positions, and keep your distance from anyone getting too close.

  1. Incoming Spawns

If a spawn door bursts open right behind you, you will be swarmed and quickly die. Take note where enemies might be likely to appear from, especially during open world play.

  1. Team Position

Watch for where your team is moving, as it’s very possible to accidentally waste shots and buffs on teammates running into your crosshairs.

Part 3: I’m Ready For My Close-Up Now

Understanding what a headshot is and isn’t, and how it interacts with other gameplay mechanics, is an important part of being an effective marksman. 

A headshot is:

  • A shot fired from your weapon that impacts the head of a human enemy who is not wearing a helmet.

  • Denoted by a  red  damage number.

  • Able to stack with critical hits, if they occur at the same time.

  • Multiplicatively boosted by your Headshot Damage percentage.

A headshot is not:

  • Possible on robotic enemies – no part of a robot is considered a head.

  • A weakpoint shot. An enemy’s weakpoint hitbox is always separate from their head hitbox, if they have one.

The general take-away from this is that a MMR build’s greatest damage potential is achieved by shooting enemies in the head, and often stopped by waves of robotic or helmet-wearing enemies – avoid such situations.

Part 4: Ghillies In The Mist

The foundation of any marksman build is your gear. You should have +% Weapon Damage as your major stat on all six pieces, to maximise your per-shot damage and decrease the time it takes to kill a given enemy. Weapon Damage caps out at +15%, but even +13% or +14% can give you enough oomph to finish enemies off quickly.

You also need +% Headshot Damage on as many pieces of armour as you can, increasing the bonus damage you get for scoring headshots and further decreasing your time-to-kill. Other valuable minor stats include Weapon Handling (to make follow-up shots and reloads more manageable) and Armour Regeneration (to increase survivability by self-repairing over time).

Brand Sets

  • Airaldi Holdings is very useful for Marksman Rifle builds, boosting both your primary weapon’s base damage and your headshot bonus with only a mild investment. The 3-piece Damage To Armour bonus is acceptable, but may be outpaced by lower-tier bonuses from other brands (such as Providence Defence).

1-Piece: +10% Marksman Rifle Damage

2-Piece: +15% Headshot Damage

3-Piece: +5% Damage To Armour

  • Belstone Armory is a defensive brand that provides armour recovery bonuses, but does not directly boost your instantaneous survivability (e.g. total armour, etc.). The 1-piece bonus regenerates ~7,200 armour per second on an all-red DPS build without any extra +Armour bonuses. The 2-piece bonus is more useful for such a build, as kills are relatively frequent, but the investment required may not be worth it when Armour Regen can be found as a Minor stat on other brands.

1-Piece: 1% Armor Regen

2-Piece: 10% Armor on Kill

3-Piece: 20% incoming repairs

  • Gila Guard is another defensive brandset like Belstone Armoury, but this time it focuses more on increasing total survivability instead of recovery. This is less useful for a DPS build, as 105% of very little armour is still very little armour, and the regeneration bonus requires a prohibitively-large 3-piece investment. A Marksman Rifle DPS build will be able to give themselves more survivability by fighting at a distance and slaying enemies instantly with headshots.

1-Piece: 5% Total Armor

2-Piece: 10% Health

3-Piece: 1% Armor / sec Regeneration

  • Overlord Armaments is more suitable for Rifles rather than Marksman Rifles. The 1-piece bonus only boosts Rifle damage, and the 2- and 3-piece handling bonuses are only relevant when making fast follow-up shots – something Marksman Rifles are not meant for.

1-Piece: 10% Rifle Damage

2-Piece: 20% Accuracy

3-Piece: 10% Weapon Handling

  • Douglas & Harding‘s 1-piece bonus synergises well with a Dodge City Gunslinger’s Holster, adding on an extra chunk of damage for more reliable instant-kills or armour breaks at close range. The 2- and 3-piece handling bonuses are less useful for the same reason as Overlord Armaments’.

1-Piece: 20% Pistol Damage

2-Piece: 20% Stability

3-Piece: 20% Accuracy

  • Providence Defense is an aggressive DPS-focused brand, providing bonuses to headshot and crit damage. The 1-piece bonus is a very useful one-piece splash, but the 2- and 3-piece crit bonuses are less useful unless you are trying to build for Rifles instead of Marksman Rifles.

1-Piece: 15% Headshot Damage

2-Piece: 10% Critical Hit Chance

3-Piece: 15% Critical Hit Damage

  • Walker, Harris & Co. provides small, generic damage bonuses that fit well with almost any DPS build. Going for a full set is probably not worth it, as the +5% bonuses are very small compared to larger, more specialised bonuses from other brandsets, but a 1-piece splash isn’t too much of an opportunity cost (such as the Chainkiller named chestpiece).

1-Piece: 5% Weapon Damage

2-Piece: 5% Damage to Armor

3-Piece: 5% Damage to Health

Gear Sets

  • Aces And Eights is an older gearset with a fun mechanic centered around poker cards. Every time you score a headshot you receive a random playing card buff, and when you have a full hand of five your next 2-4 shots’ damage is buffed by 30%. The better the hand, the more shots are buffed. The backpack talent (Ace In The Sleeve) increases the number of buffed shots by 1, allowing for almost every shot you fire to receive the +30% damage buff if you are lucky enough to get good hands, and the chest talent (No Limit) increases the buff to +50%. The 2-piece bonus gives +15% Marksman Rifle damage and the 3-piece bonus gives +30% Headshot Damage, which is on par with potential High-End brandset bonuses but loses out on up to four minor stats.

Gear Mods

Your Gear Mods should primarily be Headshot Damage, to increase the number of situations where you can successfully one-tap an enemy in the head. If you already have enough Headshot Damage in your build to comfortably deal with most enemies you face, then consider picking up Armour On Kill instead to increase your survivability. 

Backpack Talents

  • Composure is a safe, reliable mid-strength buff with high uptime. You will almost always be fighting from cover as an MMR DPS, only straying out when having to make awkward shots from strange perches such as on top of a truck.

  • Unstoppable Force buffs your weapon damage by 5% for 15 seconds whenever you kill an enemy, stacking to a maximum of 25% at 5 kills and refreshing the duration each time. This is a decent buff that can be kept up almost constantly with a good firing position, but requires wind-up time and will expire if you are unable to score a killing blow for 15 seconds.

  • Vigilance rewards careful play without demanding flawless performance. It grants a hefty +25% weapon damage buff until you get hit, returning after not taking any damage for four seconds. The 4-second downtime encourages pulling back into cover, checking your surroundings, reloading your weapon, and then only popping back up once you’re ready and the buff has restarted. It becomes more than a damage buff, providing an indicator that you should take heed and be careful before you lose the rest of your armour.

Chest Talents

  • Overwatch is a support-oriented chest talent that buffs team damage by 12% after you have sat in cover for ten seconds. This is a more support-oriented option if you want to provide more than sniper cover to your team.

  • Spotter adds a flat +15% multiplier to all damage done to pulsed enemies. Enemies are only considered “pulsed” when their outline is highlighted through walls, which can be a very short time when using the Scanner Pulse or frequent bursts when using the Tactician Drone.

  • Braced increases your Weapon Handling by 45% while in cover, which is a fairly large amount. Your rifle will be more stable, more accurate, and reload faster, but this does not boost any damage-related statistics and may be unnecessary with careful selection of weapon mods.

  • Focus buffs your weapon damage by 5% every second you are aiming while using an 8x magnification sight or higher, maxing out at 50% after ten seconds, but requires you to expose yourself out of cover for a relatively long time before the buff reaches significant levels. It has some synergy with the exotic Nemesis marksman rifle, which already requires you to aim down sights for long periods before firing, but other chest talents offer better tradeoffs.

  • Glass Cannon is a famous staple of old DPS meta, boosting all your outgoing damage by 25% in exchange for a 50% increase to incoming damage. This is a huge tradeoff for an already-fragile build, and may decrease your survivability to the point of uselessness. Other chest talents may be smarter picks unless you are somehow able to avoid taking any damage at all.

  • Gunslinger has some synergy with the Dodge City Gunslinger’s Holster, providing an additional 20% boost to weapon damage when swapping weapons. However, it still has to compete with other (arguably better) chest talents, and will not buff your rifle if you have to quickly swap back to it after switching to your sidearm.

  • Headhunter is one of the best chest talents available for a Marksman Rifle build, capable of buffing your per-shot damage high enough to kill Elite enemies on Heroic with a single headshot. As long as you continue to hit headshots, the stacking damage will usually be enough to kill each target on the first shot and let you continue carrying the buff forward. Be wary of armoured enemies such as Heavies, Warhounds, Hyena Rushers, Riker Gunners, and UGVs, which will all interrupt your kill-chain by denying an instant headshot kill. However, if you can break a human enemy’s helmet with your buffed shot, you can usually kill them with an unbuffed follow-up shot and build your chain back up again. Robots provide no such consolation as they do not have heads.

  • Unbreakable is a survival-oriented chest talent, providing a second chance whenever your armour is broken and potentially letting you survive fights you wouldn’t otherwise have. This is of limited use for a DPS build that fights from long range, as you will be taking relatively little damage unless you are suddenly dogpiled by flanking or rushing enemies – at which point not even double armour will be able to save you.

Named Gear

  • Devil’s Due is more suited to crit builds with rifles and/or SMGs, as it only heals when a critical hit occurs, but could be used by a crit-focused MMR build in conjunction with talents like Finisher to increase survivability (though this is not a reliable way to recover your armour).

  • The Gift is a named backpack with Perfect Vigilance, decreasing the buff’s cooldown from four to three seconds. This can either be helpful, allowing you to get back in the fight faster after taking a hit, or a hindrance if you rely on the 4-second cooldown to moderate aggression and check yourself when poorly positioned. The Providence Defense brandset bonus synergises nicely with a Marksman Rifle build.

  • Pristine Example increases Focus’ bonus from +5% to +6%, for a total of +60% damage after the full ten seconds. This still suffers from the same issue as the normal talent, requiring you to expose yourself for a relatively long time in order to receive a decently large buff, and it falls behind other chest choices unless you are using Nemesis.

  • Zero F’s improves on Unbreakable by repairing ALL armour whenever it triggers and reducing the recharge time required by 5 seconds, but the talent itself and the Badger Tuff brandset bonuses are still not useful for a long-range DPS build.

  • Ferocious Calm decreases the time in cover required to start the Overwatch buff from ten to eight seconds. This is not a very useful improvement for a Marksman Rifle build, as you will be spending the majority of your time in cover anyway, and the Fenris Group AB brandset bonuses are not helpful.

  • The Vedmedytsya Vest is a Petrov chestpiece with Perfect Braced, granting +50% Weapon Handling when in cover. The Petrov brand set bonuses are more appropriate for LMGs and Perfect Braced is of limited use for the same reason as the normal Braced talent.

  • The Sacrifice turns Glass Cannon up to 11, increasing the buff and debuff to +30% and +60% respectively. You will become so over-specialised and fragile that this chest might not be worth using without a full team to draw fire and cover for you.

  • Chainkiller improves on Headhunter by increasing the buff rate from 125% to 150%. This will not decrease the number of shots required to kill in most situations. The Walker, Harris & Co. 1-piece brandset bonus (+5% Weapon Damage) is still decent enough to compete with most other chest choices and is not a large detriment if you want to use this chestpiece.

  • Fox’s Prayer grants +8% Damage To Out Of Cover, but has limited use within a Marksman Rifle build. Enemies out of cover are often moving and difficult to hit in the head, and the Overlord Armaments brandset bonuses are only relevant when using Rifles.

  • Punch Drunk is a named mask that automatically comes with +20% Headshot Damage, twice as much as the usual cap. Douglas and Harding’s 1-piece brandset adds +20% Pistol Damage as well, which provides additional synergy with the Dodge City Gunslinger’s Holster and lets you hit harder when jumpstarting Headhunter or trying to make an emergency defensive kill at close range.

  • Nightwatcher is a recon-oriented named mask that almost halves the recharge time of your Scanner Pulse. If you use it frequently to keep an eye on enemies, it may be a good fit, but it has very little synergy with anything else and the 1-piece Gila Guard brand bonus does not contribute much to a Marksman Rifle DPS build.

Exotic Gear

  • Dodge City Gunslinger’s Holster provides a single high-damage pistol shot after a short recharge period, suitable for emergency self-defence at close range (such as when a Rusher has climbed your perch without being noticed) or starting a Headhunter chain up close. This shot applies bonus damage equal to your full headshot damage no matter where you hit, which can stack with your normal headshot multiplier for enormous damage. The D50 is the most suitable High-End sidearm to use for this, having the highest per-shot damage of any pistol (even over the 686 Magnum revolver). If you’ve completed the Iron Horse raid and the Rats Gnaw Our Bones exotic project, the Regulus revolver is even better with higher per-shot damage and an explosive headshot effect that can be used to clear crowds..

  • Sawyer’s Kneepads are a deceptively defensive-looking choice for your exotic gear, granting a +30% bonus to Weapon Damage that slowly builds over 10 seconds as long as you do not move. This is double the +15% red core stat you have lost by taking this exotic, offering potentially higher damage over an equivalent High-End piece, but even shifting around in cover will remove the buff. The immunity to explosive stagger (and the Explosive Resistance minor stat) will help you cement yourself in a nest without needing to worry about grenadiers knocking you out of cover and into the line of fire. You will still take damage from explosions, but you will remain ducked down and will be able to quickly fire a return shot that staggers or kills the grenadier. If you have taken an exceptional position with lines of sight to every single enemy you could ever face, then this will serve you well, but in every other situation it will reduce your damage output.

Part 5: A Very Particular Set Of Skills

A DPS build’s skill selection should support and enhance their damage output, used only when necessary to avoid distracting from shooting. The best skills are ones that can be set up and left to work by themselves or activate automatically when needed.

Skills

  • Tactician Drone: Unique to the Sharpshooter specialisation, the Tactician Drone acts like a constant Scanner Pulse that marks any enemies within range and outlines them through walls once every 3-4 seconds. The range is comfortably large even at Skill Tier 0, especially with the best-in-slot mods provided by the Sharpshooter tree. The drone can be left hovering over your shoulder where it automatically marks enemies, or it can be deployed with a mortar-style reticle that makes it stop and hover in place. Deploying the Tactician Drone this way makes it also draw a red line to any enemies within range, making it easier to identify their location when floating marks may be difficult to make out against glare, fog, or busy textures. None of the Feed slot skill mods have any benefit for this variant.

  • Reviver Hive: This is a common staple for most DPS builds, reviving you automatically upon death after a short delay and preventing the need for teammates or friendly AI to rush over and pick you up. It can also be thrown to revive other agents if you are confident that you will not need it yourself any time soon. The cooldown is very long, especially at Skill Tier 0, so try to avoid wasting it.

  • Scanner Pulse: If you are not using the Sharpshooter tree and the Tactician Drone, this is the next best thing. It will mark and highlight all enemies through walls, providing useful knowledge on where enemies are and where they’re moving. It has awkwardly poor uptime, providing only a short snapshot once every 20 seconds or so at Skill Tier 0.

  • Riot Foam Chem Launcher: This is usually seen in the hands of CC skill builds, and with good reason – at Skill Tier 0 the Chem Launcher holds only two shots and takes almost 30 seconds to recharge each one after firing, and the ensnare applied only lasts for six seconds. However, if you are quick enough on the trigger to make use of the short few seconds where enemies stop struggling and stand in place, this can provide opportunities to score headshots on opponents that would otherwise be ducking and weaving. Other skills may provide more useful benefits.

  • Fixer Drone: Suitable for MMR builds who want to focus on survivability, this drone variant will spray a constant stream of healing on you whenever you are staying still (which should be most of the time, given you’ll be fighting from deep cover). The duration is comfortably long but the recharge timer is considerable as well, leaving you vulnerable the entire time. The Fixer Drone will repair 18k armour per second at Skill Tier 0 – a respectable rate, especially when compared to 7k per defensive brandset and 5k per defensive Gear Mod.

  • Remote Pulse: This Pulse variant is not very good at all. The duration is moderately long, but the 15m range is absolutely terrible and the overall performance is distinctly inferior to the Tactician Drone.

  • Shock Trap: In theory an useful defensive minefield to cover your flank, the Shock Trap does not work well in practice. Though the duration is moderately long, the deployment radius and number of traps (only 6) are too limited to make this skill a good pick. The Shock Trap is unlocked by completing the Pathway Park mission from WONY.

  • Decoy: This skill is a throwable hologram projector that will display an image of a Division agent, distracting and drawing fire from enemies within range. It’s useful for increasing the survivability of a fragile DPS build, especially in the Dark Zone where human opponents are more readily fooled for a few seconds, but it has limited ability to draw fire from AI enemies at low Skill Tiers. Decoy must be unlocked for use by completing the WONY mission The Tombs.

Specialisations

Sharpshooter is the most suitable specialisation for a marksman rifle build, providing a number of features that make your life much easier. Round After Round supplies you with a virtually infinite amount of ammo, providing 5 Rifle and Marksman Rifle rounds every 10 seconds you spend in cover (20 seconds for the first proc). Between this and powerful headshots with a D50 or Regulus, you can more or less negate the Pistolero directive’s effects in a way that Gunner’s Supply Line talent can only dream of.

One In The Head adds an additional +15% Headshot Damage, which isn’t much, but every little bit helps. Breath Control adds +15% Stability, which will not be very helpful unless you are using semi-automatic MMRs or Rifles. Depleted Rounds will add +15% weapon damage to your Marksman Rifles, which is essential for a build that focuses on that weapon type. You will also want to invest in This Is My Rifle, as it will unlock the valuable Digital Scope weapon sight at level 3. 

Emergency Cleanse adds limited utility to your armour kits, stopping burn, bleed or poison for 20 seconds upon use. This is mostly used to avoid being finished off by status effects, as the immunity duration is too short to be of much use.

The TAC-50 signature weapon is capable of one-shotting Elite enemies in the head, providing a useful way to start a Headhunter chain when you are unable to find any suitable Normal or Veteran enemies. The permanently-mounted scope has two zoom levels, one at x12 and another at what is likely to be x6, which is an unique mid-level zoom not found on any other sight. .50 Calibre Ammo Acquisition provides a reliable source of Signature Weapon ammunition for your TAC-50 by granting an additional pip on your signature bar for every headshot kill – something you should be doing almost every time you fire. Group Signature Ammo Supply turns these kills into bonus pips for your teammates as well. The Sharpshooter’s 93R does very little damage and is almost useless.

Gunner is a more defensive specialisation for marksman builds, offering Armour On Kill bonuses and speeding up every third reload. It is less suitable for aggressive, DPS-focused builds as it does not provide any Headshot Damage bonuses and Supply Line generates less ammo over time. This build is more suitable for high-level group play such as Raids or Legendary missions where defensive and support-oriented talents are more relevant.

Part 6: All You Have Is A Hammer

For a DPS player, weapons are your primary means of interacting with the world. Making sure they are fed with ammo and firing meaningful shots as often as possible will increase your effectiveness and the likelihood of team success.

High-End Weapons

  • The Classic M44 is one of the heaviest-hitting Marksman Rifles, clocking in at over a million damage per shot when godrolled. You cannot mount a muzzle mod or long underbarrel mod, the 5-round magazine is small, and the bolt-action mechanism prevents rapid follow-up shots, but with a decent build you will only need one good headshot to kill most enemies. A high-magnification Headshot Damage sight is recommended (such as the Digital or VX-1 Scopes) along with a Compensated Integrated Spring to ease reloads and your choice of short underbarrel attachment. If you need the extra damage bump, you can use a Stiff Integrated Spring instead.

  • The Hunting M44 is a little brother to the Classic M44, offering an additional mod slot in exchange for lower damage per shot. If you use a Stiff Integrated Spring magazine mod for +5% Weapon Damage it can compete with the Classic M44, but the Classic version can mount the same mod as long as you don’t mind a minor dip in Stability or Reload Speed. 

  • The Classic M1A is a famous staple of DPS meta, having some of the best damage output in the game and great synergy with a crit-heavy build. It’s less relevant in a Marksman Rifle build, but still performs very well when you are fighting at close range, alongside multiple other DPS players, or in any other situation where patient headshots are difficult to get. This rifle pairs excellently with Lucky Shot, which will allow you to rapidly spray shots downrange without wasting ammo as long as you do it from cover. The CQBSS scope will let you still fight at long range, but this is not great compared to fighting properly with your primary long-range weapon and you may be better off specialising for smooth short-range combat with the Reflex Sight.

  • The 1886 is the beefiest and clunkiest Rifle available, with only a single weapon mod available (that adds +20% Reload Speed) and holding just five rounds when fully loaded, but boasting nearly twice the damage of a Classic M1A and still maintaining an acceptable fire rate. Some investment into Weapon Handling on your gear may be necessary to tame the jerky recoil and cumbersome reloads, and the Lucky Shot talent will help you make the most of each full magazine.

  • The D50 is the most powerful High-End pistol available, delivering high-damage shots at the cost of a small magazine and jerky recoil. It’s best to put something like Headshot Damage or Swap Speed as your minor stat, and then a complimentary talent such as Finisher. There is only one mod slot available, a short optics rail, and the most suitable sight is probably the Reflex Sight for an overall bump to the D50’s woefully-lacking handling.

Named Weapons

  • The White Death is a Classic M44 that comes with a guaranteed +137% Headshot Damage (+26% more than the base MMR maximum of +111%), making it an excellent all-rounder weapon for MMR DPS that can be recalibrated to fit most build variations. The fixed major stat does make a godroll more likely, but getting one to drop in the first place still presents a challenge. 

  • Baker’s Dozen is a Classic M1A with Perfect Lucky Shot, upping the magazine size bonus to +30% for a total of 13 rounds in the magazine (versus +20% and 12 rounds). It otherwise performs identically to a normal Lucky Shot Classic M1A.

Weapon Talents

  • Ranger extends the effective range of your weapon, especially ones with a long base range, by increasing damage the further away your target is. At the long distances associated with Marksman Rifles it is possible to receive a +20% damage bonus or more before range drop-off starts to take effect.

  • Lucky Shot increases your magazine size by 20% and refunds all missed shots from cover. This is a powerful quality-of-life talent that drastically increases the time each magazine lasts, especially for weapons with small magazines where every shot counts, but it does not boost damage output directly.

  • First Blood allows you to apply your Headshot Damage bonus to a body shot, but only for the first round after starting combat or a full reload from empty. This has more synergy with low-capacity Marksman Rifles such as the Classic M44 where you are reloading from empty more often and will have more opportunities to activate this talent. First Blood kills will not actually count as a headshot for the purposes of talents such as Headhunter.

  • Preservation repairs 10% of your armour over 5 seconds whenever you score a kill, rising to 20% on a headshot kill. For an all-red DPS build this is nearly four times the repair from a single Armour On Kill gear mod (seven and a half times on a headshot), which may be of benefit to a MMR build that wants to emphasise survivability at the cost of damage output.

  • Unwavering is a handling-based SMG talent that can supercharge a close-range secondary weapon. It provides a +300% Weapon Handling buff when you switch to it, focusing the wild spray of the SMG into a tight laser-like line and reducing reload times to a split second. Kills refresh the handling buff’s duration, allowing you to quickly clear nearby enemies who have rushed or flanked you before swapping back to your primary long-range weapon.

Weapon Mods

Optics

  • Digital Scope: This is a high-power variable-zoom optic unlocked by putting 15 points into This Is My Rifle in the Sharpshooter specialisation. Some players may find the 12x and 16x zoom levels difficult to get used to, but long-range shooting becomes very comfortable with high magnification. Putting the crosshairs over an enemy will show the distance in meters at the top. There is also a faulty angle indicator on the left side of the scope that only seems to show 45° correctly, and an unlabelled compass at the bottom that shows no directions at all. The Digital Scope adds +45% Headshot Damage, 10% more than the VX-1 Scope, and -5% Critical Hit damage (which is not a significant loss for a Marksman Rifle build).

  • VX1 Scope: The VX1 offers the highest magnification of the default rifle scopes, clocking in at 12x and showing a clean duplex-style crosshair similar to the Digital Scope. It adds +35% Headshot Damage, but at a cost of -10% Reload Speed due to the added bulk and weight.

  • Reflex Sight: This jack-of-all-trades short-rail sight adds a +5% bump to Reload Speed, Accuracy, Stability, and Swap Speed all at once. It’s a good choice for weapons with no need for magnification, such as a close-range secondary weapon.

  • CQBSS Scope: This is a medium-range 8x scope that offers a more comfortable close-up shooting experience than the VX1 or Digital scopes, but suffers at long range due to lower magnification and a lack of central aiming point. The crosshair is an open circle that can be lined up well with heads at close to medium range, but putting the center on targets further away requires an uncomfortable amount of guesswork. The CQBSS provides +30% Headshot Damage with no downside.

Magazines

Integrated Spring mods are only compatible with older bolt-action MMRs that load rounds one by one into a fixed internal magazine, such as the Classic M44 or M700. Not all bolt-action MMRs behave this way.

  • Overbalanced Integrated Spring: +20% Stability is a noticeable decrease to muzzle rise when firing, but it’s not as important for slow, bolt-action Marksman Rifles.

  • Stiff Integrated Spring: A +5% bump to Weapon Damage may not seem like much on paper, but for second-banana weapons that offer an additional mod slot in exchange for slightly less damage (such as the Hunting M44) this can be enough to let them compete with their wooden counterparts.

  • Underbalanced Integrated Spring: Rate Of Fire is not a valuable stat for bolt-action Marksman Rifles (especially only +5%). This is a poor choice.

  • Compensated Integrated Spring: Bolt-action Marksman Rifles suffer from both low magazine capacities and slow reload speeds, so this magazine’s +20% Reload Speed bonus is a welcome relief. The faster you can load more rounds and get back into the fight, the better.

Marksman Mag mods are only compatible with more modern MMRs that use detachable magazines instead of integrated ones. All semi-automatic and some bolt-action MMRs use these.

  • Sturdy Marksman Mag: +20% Stability is important for keeping a semi-automatic MMR on target when firing fast follow-up shots. Slower, more deliberate rates of fire will not need it as much.

  • Lightweight Marksman Mag: Smaller magazines will need to be replaced often, and adding +20% Reload Speed will make the required downtimes shorter. Larger magazines will be able to function adequately without it.

  • Mended Marksman Mag: Most Marksman Rifles only start to suffer from range drop-off at long (>60m) distances where enemies stop rendering cleanly, but some are saddled with considerably smaller reach – such as the SVD, which only goes out to 34m (shorter than some Assault Rifles!) before starting to lose power. This magazine mod adds +20% Optimal Range which lets you use these short-range MMRs at longer distances if you need to.

  • Tightly Packed Marksman Mag: Like the Lightweight Marksman Mag, this helps compensate for the shortcomings of smaller magazines when firing quickly. +5 rounds will extend the time between reloads and reduce your overall downtime.

Underbarrel Attachments

  • Vertical Grip: Accuracy does not seem to have any noticeable effect on the settling time of your reticle when quickly aiming after firing, moving, or snapping into cover. This grip is of limited use for a bolt-action weapon, but may help control bloom when quickly firing semi-auto MMRs and Rifles.

  • Angled Grip: This reliable staple will slightly reduce recoil when firing, making it easier to re-align your crosshairs with the target and make fast follow-up shots. This is also not important for bolt-action Marksman Rifles, but can be helpful for controlling semi-auto MMRs and most Rifles.

  • Laser Pointer: Crit Chance is not a priority for MMR DPS builds, and a +5% bump at low percentages offers very little increase in DPS over the long run. If you do not need any of the other foregrip mods, you may wish to mount this on your rifle for style points.

  • Handstop: This adds +10% to your Reload Speed, but few Marksman Rifles have the Long Underbarrel slot required to mount it. It’s often seen on close-range secondary weapons such as Rifles or Assault Rifles.

  • Short Grip: A +5% bump to CHD is not useful unless you are trying to squeeze every little bit of damage out of your build, or are building your secondary weapon for crit DPS. Even for a secondary Rifle, there are better alternatives that provide more benefits.

Exotic Weapons

  • Mantis is a Marksman Rifle that focuses on the use of the Decoy skill, giving +50% bonus Headshot Damage against enemies not focused on you, and refreshing the cooldown of Decoy whenever you make a headshot kill. This is most useful in a team, where taking heat off your teammates is helpful, but when playing solo having a Reviver Hive and a recon skill is more important for keeping yourself alive and out of any ambushes.

  • Nemesis has the highest per-shot base damage of any Marksman Rifle in the game, topping out at a whopping 940,240. This comes at a severe handling cost, as the trigger must be held down for two seconds before firing to reach that maximum damage. This requires aiming out of cover and presenting yourself as a target for the entire duration, which is dangerous unless you have multiple teammates available to take the heat off you. If you are willing to take the risk, this has some synergy with the Focus chest talent. Tapping the trigger will do barely any damage at all, and is not worth the effort.

  • The Regulus pistol is an Iron Horse exclusive, only obtainable from a series of exotic projects started by completing the raid. It offers higher base damage over a D50 pistol and adds a central aiming dot to the otherwise-open pistol crosshair, making it an attractive choice if you are not using the Nemesis and are able to complete Iron Horse. The Dodge City Gunslinger’s Holster synergises very well, allowing you to instantly slay most enemies at close range. Headshot kills cause an explosion that applies bleed, allowing you to potentially clear crowds of weak enemies at close range.

Changelog

Publish Date

Version

Change(s) Made

23/11/2020

1.0

  • Completed guide.

  • Published to the internet.

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