Best Pistol Build

Best Pistol Build - Mass Effect: Andromeda (MEA)

By Zanuffas
Last updated:

This post covers the best Pistol build in Mass Effect Andromeda. Pistol weapons are one of the main categories that you can use on Ryder. Theoretically, you could also split them into SMGs and Pistols, where the former has a fast firing rate and low damage per shot.

Pistol Build

With this build, I would like to show some options on how to use these weapons to create a monstrosity, able to shred enemies as fast as other, heavier weapons. The idea is simple - use your weapon to deal most of the damage. This should be supported by skills that improve damage, weapon handling, and survivability.

best pistol build combat mass effect andromeda

Strangely enough, with correct augmentations pistols become so powerful that no other weapon is not needed in your arsenal. If this sounds strange to you, you will see it in the build as we go further. I will offer some variations and options for the build, as you can become very creative

The build has been tested on Insanity difficulty

Skills allocation

This section covers how skill points should be allocated for the end game on the Pistol build

Check this post on how to reset Ryder skill points and start using this build

Combat Skills

combat skills assault rifle build mass effect andromeda

Power name Upgrades Choices Description
turbocharge mass effect andromedaTurbocharge
  1. Duration
  2. Damage & Force
  3. Supercharge
One of the main abilities that allow almost any weapon to become overpowered. It boosts weapon clip capacity, fire rate, and damage.
combat fitness mass effect andromedaCombat Fitness
  1. Regeneration
  2. Heavy Lifting
  3. Hold the Line
Provides various stat boosts - max health, shields, weight capacity, weapon damage, etc. The level 6 upgrade, is especially good as it gives 200 damage resistance when HP is low.
combat tools mass effect andromedaCombat Tools
  1. Hover
  2. Any
  3. Aerial Combat
The skill is not exceptionally important early on. However, it improves aerial combat, allowing Ryder to hover for longer. This unlocks some better angles to take out enemies behind the cover.
pistols skill icon mass effect andromedaPistols
  1. Weight
  2. Clip Size
  3. Any
This skill improves pistols' damage, and handling and provides other bonuses. The last upgrade is your personal choice. I use Aim down sights, so I pick Augmented Targeting Assistance

There is another option that I would like to recommend.

Biotic Skills

combat skills assault rifle build mass effect andromeda

Power name Upgrades Choices Description
barrier mass effect 3Barrier
  1. Unyielding Barrier
  2. Biotic Alacrity
  3. Saving Barrier
Provides improvements to shields and gives instant shield restore when health is low

Tech Skills

tech skills assault rifle build mass effect andromeda

Power name Upgrades Choices Description
invasion mass effect andromedaInvasion
  1. Outbreak
  2. Weaker
  3. Virulence
The skill is very powerful, especially when fighting armored or stronger opponents. Moreover, thanks to Team Support, you will regain health every time it is used.
tactical cloak mass effect andromedaTactical Cloak
  1. Damage Bonus
  2. Duration
  3. Combat Cloak
The ability allows them to become invisible from enemies and avoid their fire. The first shot (and 2 seconds with Combat Cloak) give a huge boost to damage. You can also use this together with Hover to get a perfect angle for a shot
team suport mass effect andromedaTeam Support
  1. Support
  2. Team Recovery
  3. Life Support
Provides support-type bonuses. Our goal is the level 6 upgrade Life Support. It gives health regeneration that allows freely using Bio-Converter on weapons
offensive tech mass effect andromedaOffensive Tech
  1. Anti-Shield
  2. Detonators
  3. Technical Rounds
Improves various stats of tech skills. Moreover, after each tech skill use, we get bonus weapon damage.
auxiliary systems mass effect andromedaAuxiliary Systems
  1. Weapon Mass Reduction
  2. Enduring Tech
  3. Omni-Vents
Provides general bonuses for tech skills. Not as important for this build, so you can take it later in the game. The last upgrade gives a boost to skill recharge times.


You will need to spend 232 skill points in the combat skill tree to unlock the level 6 Soldier profile
Profile Description
soldier profile icon mass effect andromedaSoldier For this build our goal is to get the highest boost of weapon damage, accuracy, and clip size.

Build Variation - Barricade + Talon

One of the welcome options for this build is Barricade. It could be a perfect alternative to both Invasion and Tactical Cloak. However, I would skip Tactical Cloak if you choose this variation. Why? Without Invasion you would lose a way to restore health as Tactical Cloak + Combat Cloak disables regeneration.

Power name Upgrades Choices Description
barricade mass effect andromedaBarricade
  1. Duration
  2. Weapon Feedback
  3. Regeneration
Creates a defensive barrier, that you can take cover behind. With these upgrades, you also get bonus weapon damage and almost instant shield regeneration

What's so special about this skill? You can create places to have a cover anywhere on the battlefield, allowing you to play aggressively. Moreover, it boosts weapon damage and contributes towards the Soldier profile level increase.

Now there is another consideration. Take a Talon pistol that allows more of a shotgun-type gameplay. along with correct augmentations is a very powerful weapon (check equipment section).

pistol build talon explosions mass effect andromeda

However, the big downside, is that you would need to charge its attacks for it to be at max effectiveness. In this case, we need to have a cover that would allow charging - Barricade. So by taking Barricade and Talon, you create another deadly build that creates some crazy explosions. This is not as powerful as Hornet, but it provides some variations if you want to spice things up.

Skills Progression

This section covers detailed ability progression for the best Pistol Build. This is just a suggested progression, feel free to adjust it based on your needs.

Order Skill Description
1 invasion mass effect andromedaInvasion Lv 4 Tactical Cloak and Turbocharge require 9 skill points invested in respective trees. With these skills, we unlock the base of the builds' active skills.
2 tactical cloak mass effect andromedaTactical Cloak Lv 3
3 pistols skill icon mass effect andromedaPistols Lv 4
4 turbocharge mass effect andromedaTurbocharge Lv 4
5 pistols skill icon mass effect andromedaPistols Lv 6 Maximize these skills for damage increase, and unlock the next tier of the Soldier profile
6 turbocharge mass effect andromedaTurbocharge Lv 6
7 team suport mass effect andromedaTeam Support Lv 6 This skill will allow to restore HP whenever tech skill is used
8 tactical cloak mass effect andromedaTactical Cloak Lv 6 Upgrade to the maximum level for Combat Cloak upgrade
9 offensive tech mass effect andromedaOffensive Tech Lv 3 Get bonuses to tech skills
10 combat fitness mass effect andromedaCombat Fitness Lv 6 Unlock the Level 3 Solder profile and increase the defensive capabilities of the build
11 invasion mass effect andromedaInvasion Lv 6 Maximize Invasion for some additional damage and effectiveness
12 offensive tech mass effect andromedaOffensive Tech Lv 6 The last upgrade Technical Rounds will now give a huge boost of damage after using tech skill
13 combat tools mass effect andromedaCombat Tools Lv 6 Our main goal here is to unlock a higher Soldier profile level. Moreover, it will improve Hover combat.
14 auxiliary systems mass effect andromedaAuxiliary Systems Lv 6 Improves tech skill effectiveness. Also, the last upgrade Omni-Vents reduces power recharge times.
15 barrier mass effect 3Barrier Lv 6 Our goal here is the last upgrade which gives instant shield restore when hp is low

Now, we are done with the base of the build. However, you still need to pump the combat skills to get the Soldier profile to the maximum of level 6 for huge bonuses to weapon damage.


This section will cover playing the best Pistol build in Mass Effect Andromeda.

Tactical Cloak + Combat Cloak

This ability can make or break the build. It is an amazing ability that provides two main things - escape or hiding from enemies and boost to damage. However, while it is active, your shields or HP do not regenerate. This can be deadly if you are using Bio-Converter or participate in the combat again without getting into cover to recover.

However, if you wait 8 seconds, in Tactical Cloak and deactivate it, you get the bonus HP regeneration. This is not perfect, so that is why we take Invasion. To maximize Ryder's survivability, after using Invasion, be sure not to instantly use Tactical Cloak, unless you are ready to go all in for the kill and will have enough HP.

Main Combat rotation

The combat is fairly easy with the build - the better you can target enemies, the more you kill them. Generally, here is how I approach combat:

  1. I try to activate Invasion on the enemy group, otherwise, pick the strongest protected enemy (skip Fiends, Hydras, etc., you should fight them the last)
  2. Activate Turbocharge
  3. If you want to go all in activate Tactical Cloak and start shooting.
  4. If you want to be on the safe side, start without Tactical Cloak, and only activate it once enemies start lunging at your HP.
  5. Continue taking out enemies and reactivate Invasion/Turbocharge once they are active again

Pretty simple and the weapons are extremely effective on just removing enemies from the screen.


The build is powerful on its own especially once you get augmentations on your Pistols. Genreally, any companions work. Check the squad builds recommendations. However, one companion shines the most.

cora skills mass effect andromeda

Core has a Shield Boost skill that restores shields and HP. This is especially useful once you get Bio-Converter and don't want to die fast. Moreover, she also has freezing bullets once you maximize Asari Commando, they make the combat much easier.


This section will cover what equipment you should be using with Pistol Build.


Name Mods Augmentations
m-25 hornet mass effect andromedaHornet
  • Pistol Barrel
  • Pistol Light Magazine

There is another crazy option, that uses a pistol as a shotgun. Each shot releases multiple pellets that explode. Moreover, by holding the trigger button, more of them are released

Name Mods Augmentations
talon mass effect andromedaTalon
  • Pistol Barrel
  • Pistol Light Magazine

Melee Weapons

Name Augmentations Description
asari sword mass effect andromedaAsari Sword Even though you may not use melee weapons, their bonuses from augmentations always apply. Due to this, we want to maximize weapon damage with 5 slots.


Armor piece Stats Augmentation options
kett helmet mass effect andromedaKett Helmet +3%-12% Combat Power Damage
+1%-10% Weapon Damage
maverick armor mass effect andromedaMaverick Chest +3%-12% Weapon Headshot/Weak Point Bonus
+3%-15% Weapon Spare Ammo
+5%-20% Weapon Damage 
kett legs mass effect andromedaKett Legs +3%-12% Combat Power Damage
+1%-10% Weapon Damage 
kett arms mass effect andromedaKett Arms +3%-12% Combat Power Damage
+1%-10% Weapon Damage 

Fusion Mods

Name Description
fusion mod of adrenaline mass effect andromedaFusion Mod of Adrenaline You can try out this fusion mod, which provides instant skill recharge after killing an enemy. The thing is that the Pistol build mostly relies on the weapon and not skills. So if you fight a strong single enemy, a few seconds should not change much. However, you can always skip it if you do not prefer this mechanic.


Thank you for reading this post on the best Pistol build in Mass Effect Andromeda. I covered recommended abilities and their progression, best equipment, and tactics.

Feel free to leave a comment below!

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- Zanuffas
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Did not imagine that pistols can be this OP

Gamestegy Founder. I have been writing game guides and builds for 4 years. I like to push myself to create something wonderful for the readers!