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Multi Weapons - Why am I not doing the same damage as others?


Oi! Who stole my pretty green letters?
Senior Citizen
16 Jul 2014
Reaction score
Something I was wondering myself, and I thought I shared what I've found.
As usual, it may be known to you, but it was yet again new to me :)

Besides the obvious, like missing entirely, not shooting for the enemies weakspots (e.g. usually the head, but for Vex the white stomach part or the legs on the spider boss, etc.) or having the wrong damage type, there is some important thing I misjudged on weapon stats.

In most RPG like games, the big damage number is DPS, more is always better. Not necessarily here though!
While of course it is an important number, at least as important is the Impact stat (for same weapon class).
This stat determines the base damage dealt per shot.

So for example let's take 2 fictive guns that are the same except that one has 170 Damage with high impact stat and another has 200 damage with low impact stat.
Silly old RPG minded me would take the latter, based on the bigger number, but chances are the other one is significantly better due to the high impact.
I don't know the exact maths behind it, but from now on I will test before destroying if impact is high.

Also there are extra modifiers so you do less damage against higher levels. So it doesn't take longer to kill them only because they are more powerful, you really do less damage against them.
In this case, a high rate of fire is preferred over hard but slow hitting.
This was what triggered my search for this, since I tried a 24 strike while I was being 23 and grouped with 2 level 24's. They were seriously taking out the enemies a lot faster then me and I felt a little sorry for ruining their game.
From now on I will not try higher level strikes unless with friends who are okay with this.

A "little" extract from the strategy guide in the spoiler below on weapon stats. (note: ADS = Aim Down Sight)

Weapon Stats
Weapon stats define how a weapon behaves. All weapons of the same name have the same base stats.
Note that because two weapons of the same name can have different mods, they can still end up with different final stat values!

Also, there are a few weapon stats that are “hidden” (that is, not visible on the in-game stat display).
Optics, Handling, Recoil, and maximum Inventory ammo stats aren’t shown on your weapon.
Note that a higher maximum inventory ammo also boosts the amount of ammo you spawn with when you begin an activity

Visible Weapon Stats
Stat - Effect
  • Rate of Fire - How quickly the weapon fires
  • Impact Damage - dealt per shot
  • Range Distance - at which you can deal 100% of your Impact damage
  • Stability - Dampens recoil
  • Reload - How quickly you reload
  • Magazine - The size of your magazine
  • Charge Time - Time to charge a fusion rifle
  • Blast Radius - The size of the blast zone from a rocket
  • Velocity - How fast a rocket travels

Non-visible Weapon Stats
Stat - Effect
  • Optics - Zoom factor, multiplies Range stat
  • Handling - How quickly you ADS, raise, and lower your gun
  • Recoil - Affects direction of gun kick
  • Inventory - Boosts ammo reserve, affects initial spawn ammo and max possible capacity

Rate of Fire
How quickly your weapon fires repeated shots.
Rate of fire applies to full-auto firing mode for auto rifles; for semi-auto weapons, it applies to how quickly you can pull the trigger.
High rate of fire weapons can have issues with recoil control. Either seek out weapons with high Stability stats, or use them at shorter distances.

Base damage dealt per shot.
Remember that in PvE and PvP where Level Advantages are enabled, your Attack and your Level stats modify this amount.
Against higher-level targets, you deal lower damage, and vice versa against lower-level targets.
There are very few mods that directly affect the Impact stat. Most have conditional triggers you must fulfill before you can get the damage boost.

As a general rule while leveling, if you have two weapons (of the same class) with Attack values that are similar, the weapon with more Impact will still hit harder on enemies around your level.
Once you are looking at weapons a few levels higher that have considerably higher Attack values, even a hard-hitting, slow-firing weapon starts dealing less damage than a weaker but faster-firing weapon.

Also, don’t go trying to compare Impact values directly across weapon classes. They are very much apples and oranges (for example, sniper rifles hit harder than auto rifles).

The distance at which the weapon remains effective.
Range determines the distance that your shots hit for 100% damage before they begin falling off to 50% damage.
Range also affects the minimum and maximum size of your “bloom” circle when hipfiring (and a small fraction of that circle is used for ADS accuracy, as well).

Range is a very important stat for long-range combat, for obvious reasons. What is not obvious is that sights provide a range multiplier, and so the exact same weapon with or without a long-range sight can perform far, far
differently when shooting distant targets. Beyond the maximum range of your weapon, damage falls off steadily until you reach 50% of your normal damage amount.
For weapons with poor Range stats, this can make them very inefficient for fighting distant targets. Choose a weapon (and a sight) that suits the mission or PvP map you are entering!
Range also plays a role in accuracy when you are firing your weapon, so weapons with a good Range stat tend to be easier to handle when you’re firing at distant enemies.

Fusion rifles do not suffer damage falloff, so sights are not as vital for improving long-range damage. However, range affects fusion rifle projectile speed.
The blasts travel more quickly when you have a mod like Hammer Forged equipped, making it easier to hit a target at medium range with more of the shot. “Range” is also essentially the same stat for Rocket Launcher’s projectile speed.

Important! Sights Multiply Range while ADS
Don’t miss this tip: when you equip your weapon with a sight and go into ADS, the zoom factor provides a direct multiplier to the base range of the weapon.

Equipping a 2x zoom sight doubles the distance from which you can deal maximum damage. Unsurprisingly, sniper rifles tend to have the highest zoom factor sights.
Combined with a high base damage to begin with, this gives them the best-long range performance of any weapon.

For primary weapons, switching between iron sights or a scope can completely change the character of a weapon.
You can switch to irons for close-quarters combat, and use a more powerful scope for long-range outdoor combat.
Of course, more intense magnification also tends to harm your ability to fight effectively at close range, and you often pay a cost in Stability or Handling characteristics for more sophisticated sights, or sometimes even Range…

How hard your weapon kicks when you fire it.
Stability represents how much your weapon jerks in your hand when you are ADS. It also affects view kick when you hipfire a weapon (though Range has control over how large your bloom circle is).
High-stability weapons are generally much easier to handle, and other than Impact, this stat has the greatest effect on your outgoing damage.
Landing more precision hits and missing fewer shots both improve your damage output.
Prize primary weapons with high Stability stats and mods that grant bonus Stability, as these make for lethal mid- to long-range tools.
Special and heavy weapons don’t always need amazing Stability scores. Depending on the weapon in question, you may find that handling the recoil doesn’t trouble you.

How quickly your weapon can be reloaded.
Reload is a simple but important stat. Weapons in Destiny do not reload more slowly whether your magazine is empty or not.
In PvE, Reload can improve your sustained damage output, giving you more time firing and less reloading, and occasionally saving you from a rushing enemy.
In PvP, it can save your life if an opponent rounds the corner just as you finished a battle.
There are also quite a few player abilities and weapon mods that interact with Reload, either speeding it up or giving you bonuses for reloading.

Reload Cancelling
Here’s a useful trick for speeding reloads: you do not have to wait for the full reload animation to complete before the ammo is actually in the magazine.
The instant you see the ammo counter increase, your gun is considered reloaded, even if you cancel the remaining animation time.

For almost all weapons, the time that the ammo actually reloads coincides almost perfectly with the sound effect and the animation of the magazine being inserted into the weapon.
You can cancel the remaining animation by sprinting, switching weapons twice quickly, meleeing, or throwing a grenade.
The most practical application of this technique is sprinting. By reloading and then sprinting out of the full animation, you save time that you would otherwise spend walking.
This sounds really minor, and it is most of the time—except in PvP, where fractions of a second count.
If you reload-cancel all of your reloads, even by simply “sprinting” one step, you can functionally speed the reload time of all of your weapons.
With practice, this technique becomes completely second nature. You won’t even think about it consciously, as you’ll be performing it automatically after every reload.
Don’t try this if you’re still actively engaged in combat (whether in PvE or PvP). However, in any other situation, it shaves a bit of time off every reload.

The amount of ammunition your weapon can hold.
This is a simple but important stat. Not every weapon of the same archetype has the same amount of ammo, and mods can boost this number even higher.
Sniper rifles and rocket launchers have less variance in their magazine sizes; both weapons have much smaller magazines compared to other weapon types.

Charge Time
How quickly the weapon fully charges its lethal burst of energy.
This stat is exclusive to fusion rifles. A quick charge time makes for an easy to use close-range fusion rifle. But in PvP, don’t expect to beat a shotgun at point-blank range, even with a very short charge.
In PvE, the charge time can influence how you utilize cover, with longer charge times allowing you to stay behind hard cover while you prime the charge, stepping out for just a moment to unleash a powerful blast.
One critically important point: changing the Charge Time stat affects damage. If you have a slow charge time, you’re going to hit harder, but if you have a fast charge time, your shots are weaker.
You must decide if you want all your damage dealt in one big, slower burst, or distributed across several weaker but faster blasts.

Blast Radius
Both the size and the potential damage of a blast.
This stat is exclusive to rocket launchers. Blast damage falls off from the center of the explosion.
A large blast both increases the number of targets you can hit and improves the damage dealt to opponents not directly at the center of the blast.

The speed at which rockets travel once fired.
This stat is also exclusive to rocket launchers. High-velocity rockets are much more effective at hitting nimble targets at medium range, while slower ones can be unreliable when aimed at distant targets.
Keep in mind that fusion rifles do have a “hidden” Velocity value, as well: their Range stat affects the speed of the fusion blasts.
Fusion beams travel much faster than rockets, but they are slow enough that hitting distant targets can be difficult.

A combination of the time it takes to enter ADS fully, and to stow or draw a weapon.
These three traits are referred to as ADS, Away, and Ready.
Some mods can specifically modify one of the Handling “children” independently of the whole Handling parent stat.
A weapon with good handling characteristics feels light and snappy. You ADS quickly, bring your weapon up from sprinting faster, and can switch to and from it quickly.
In PvE, good handling simply makes a weapon feel good, and comfort matters when you’re fighting hundreds (or thousands…) of enemies.

Handling has a very slight and subtle but important role in PvP combat.
Fractions of a second can kill in a tight contest, so Handling stats can influence the outcome of a firefight, though this generally has less of a noticeable impact on your performance than the Stability or Range stats.

One note: combining weapons of different classes with high Handling characteristics can make for fast weapon swaps in PvP, and this can enable some nasty weapon-switching combos to secure kills.
Experiment with weapon pairs that have good handling or Ready/Away mods on them to test out quick swaps.

The weapon’s zoom factor while in ADS.
Each base weapon class has a different default zoom level while you are using iron sights, and attaching a scope can completely change the maximum zoom of a weapon.
Optics interacts with the Range stat to determine long-range damage and aid in long-range accuracy.

Optic Bonuses
Optic bonuses from sights simply add directly to the base zoom factor of a given weapon.
A 0.8x long-range sight on an auto rifle would give you 2.3x zoom, while a more mild red dot might only give you 0.2x, for a total of 1.7x zoom.
Unsurprisingly, sniper rifles have high base zoom, and their scopes give strong Optics scores, as high as 5x for a total zoom factor of 9x!
See the sights tables for the full list of effects that various sights have—sights can also impact Handling, Range, Reload, and Stability.

Default Weapon Zoom Levels
  • Auto Rifle: 1.5x
  • Hand Cannon: 1.7x
  • Pulse Rifle: 1.7x
  • Scout Rifle: 2x
  • Fusion Rifle: 1.5x
  • Shotgun: 1.2x
  • Sniper Rifler: 4x
  • Machinegun: 1.5x
  • Rocket Launcher: 2x

The direction and degree to which a weapon kicks when fired.
Very harsh recoil can bounce constantly left and right of center, while more precise weapons can almost stitch a straight line up center mass.
This isn’t a stat that you modify directly as much as one that you interact with.
The Stability value of your weapon, combined with its rate of fire and your own skill at managing recoil, determine how accurate you are with a given weapon.
What is important to know about the Recoil stat, however, is that direction and intensity are specific to each weapon in the game, and all fall within the Recoil values for each archetype.

Recoil is a very personal preference—how much or little recoil you can tolerate, and which direction you prefer your weapon to kick in.
As you accumulate your own personal arsenal of Legendary weaponry, use your knowledge of how a weapon of a specific name kicks to decide if you should spend valuable currency on vendor weapons of the same name, or if you need Stability mods to dampen the base recoil.

Inventory Max Ammo
The amount of ammo you can carry around in reserve.
Inventory is very useful for extended missions on high difficulty — remember, ammo restore consumables have a five-minute cooldown!


Oi! Who stole my pretty green letters?
Senior Citizen
16 Jul 2014
Reaction score
Yeah, I saw that video come by on my search, but can't view right now at work so didn't know if it was good enough to post.
I can however read sneakily :angel:, hence I decided to post what I read instead

I'll check out that vid later today though, knowledge is power and all. Thanks for sharing it.:1thumbup:

Edit: gah, monday morning blues... didn't even notice it was already in media here.....
Also the concept of seperate media from forums is boggling my mind still...
Forgive my old brains :oops:


Senior Citizen
26 Jun 2012
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To sum that video he says that the damage rating relates to how much damage each shot does and the impact rating relates to how much damage each shot does.

He absolutely does not give ay details on what the differences between the two are.


Regular Gamer
Senior Citizen
13 May 2014
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Just like this guy, spray and walk away :)
30 Seconds - Spray and Walk Away Full Commercial:


Oi! Who stole my pretty green letters?
Senior Citizen
16 Jul 2014
Reaction score
Just get a gun any gun will work and spray ya bullets then wave ya hands in the air like ya just don't care.
I did that, they still didn't seem glad I joined them though ^_^


Oi! Who stole my pretty green letters?
Senior Citizen
16 Jul 2014
Reaction score
Did the same 24 strike as yesterday, with the only real difference my level now being 24 as well.
And yes, it does seem to make quite a difference. I still was lowest in the killcount, but they did go down easier! The rest is just me and my weapons :D