A Fundamental Guide to Weapon Ranges

Weapon ranges are often confusing to new and old players alike, as they are not very well explained (if at all) in the game client itself. This guide will attempt to give you a brief overview on weapon ranges, what their various attributes are, as well as what the ranges actually are.

Here is a table of the current weapon ranges:
DUST 514 Weapon Ranges
Last Updated Warlords 1.0 – Hotfix Echo 

Optimal, Effective, and Absolute Range

Nearly all weapons have 3 stats which dictate how much damage a weapon will do at various range.

  • Optimal Range – The range at which a weapon will do 100% of its listed damage. After this range, damage will start to decrease as distance increases.
  • Effective Range – The range at which a weapon will do 30% of its listed damage. After this range, damage will sharply drop off and quickly approach 0%
  • Absolute Range – The range at which a weapon will do 0% of its listed damage. After this range, the weapon’s shots will no longer connect or do any damage.

In most cases you will want to engage the enemy when they are within your optimal range to make sure you are doing as much damage as you possibly can. If you are forced to engage outside of your optimal range, try to keep the enemy within your Effective Range. You will obviously be doing less than optimal damage, but can still output a fair amount of DPS within your effective range. If the enemy is outside your Effective range, it’s typically not worth engaging unless the enemy is extremely close to death and your severely decreased damage output will still be sufficient to finish them off.

Also note that these values only effect the damage efficiency of the weapon. Weapons with very high recoil or dispersion may be so inaccurate that they can’t land enough shots to make a difference at extreme ranges. Always get a feel for your weapon and understand exactly how well it handles, as well as what ranges and situations it will perform well in.


Weapons with Bullet-Drop

The following weapons are unique in that they fire projectiles that have pseudo-infinite range and are  affected by gravity. They will still do full damage but at extreme ranges the projectile will detonate in mid-air, but due to how these weapons are fired, they are rarely useful at those ranges (~200+ meters) anyways.

  • Mass Drivers
  • Flaylock Pistols (This will detonate closer to ~60m)
  • Plasma Cannons
Weapons without Effective Range

The following weapons are unique in that they do not have an effective range. They will do 100% of their listed damage up to their absolute range. After the absolute range, the weapon’s damage will drop to 0% immediately.

  • Sniper Rifles
  • Forge Guns
  • Large & Small Railgun Turrets
  • Large & Small Missile Turrets
Swarm Launchers

Swarm Launchers are Lock-On weapons that fire a salvo of homing missiles that track to hard targets such as vehicles and installations. They have a maximum distance that they can lock from, however once the missiles are launched they can travel a considerably longer distance if the target happens to move outside of the lock range.

Laser Rifles

Laser Rifles are unique in the fact that they have somewhat of an inverted range progression. The weapon will do very low amounts of damage at close range and gradually increase as distance increases until it reaches its optimal range (~55m). The weapon will then do 100% of its damage within a doughnut around the player (~55-104m). It then quickly drops off to its absolute range at ~110m. The Laser Rifle, along with some other unique mechanics, is capable of extremely high damage output within that “sweet spot” between ~55-104 meters but will struggle if the target is closer or farther than the optimal range.


The above diagram illustrates the differences between typical range progression and the Laser Rifle. White is little to no damage and grey is optimal damage. 


The above diagram illustrates the Laser Rifle’s effectiveness at various ranges and tiers. Note: values may be outdated, but the general principle is the same. 

Efficiency Rating

When aiming down the sight of your weapon, various information will pop up on your HUD. One key bit of information is the Efficiency Rating. Efficiency Rating shows what percentage of your weapon’s damage will be applied to the target and takes several things into account such as Damage Profile, Suit Bonuses, Skill Bonuses, and current range. Pay close attention to this Efficiency Rating; if the percentage is very low, reconsider your position and attempt to move in closer.vlcsnap-2015-04-11-20h53m01s176


The most important thing to gain a good understanding of how your weapon performs at various ranges and situations. Pay attention to your HUD and Efficiency Rating so you can make clear tactical choices in battle and use your weapon to its highest effectiveness.

NOTE: If there are any discrepancies or mistakes in this article or in the spreadsheet, please contact me at [email protected]

About Pokey Dravon 98 Articles
Pokey Dravon has played DUST 514 since early closed beta and is a founding co-host of the Biomassed podcast and blog. Follow on twitter @PokeyDravon
  • Dust Merc


  • Xirian

    So if an AR has a optimal of 40m, does that mean it will do 100% dmg from 0-40m? other then the laser rifle are there other weapons that have a penalty for shooting too close?

    • That is correct, the AR will not suffer any damage penalty from range within 40m. Bear in mind however that if you’re shooting at someone’s armor, the weapon will be doing less than 100% damage since the AR is naturally weak against armor, but that is entirely separate from range. (If you need clarification on how Damage Profiles work: http://biomassed.net/2015/04/11/guide-damage-profiles/)

      Also you are correct in that the Laser Rifle is the only weapon which suffers a damage penalty the closer you get to the target.

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