In honor of my favorite pistol (number 3 on this list) getting its first ever skin in the most recent Sydney safe, I thought I’d write a Payday 2 article designed for new players, showcasing a number of free weapons that you should definitely give a shot. This guide assumes you own none of the paid DLC, and are subscribed to the Payday Steam Group for the free community weapons.
1. Platypus Sniper rifle – Sniper rifles in Payday 2 come with infinite penetration, meaning that you can kill as many cops as you line up. Even more importantly, it can penetrate Shields, giving you a powerful and easy strategy to eliminating them without having to worry about flanking. If you only try one weapon on this list, make it this one.
2. Electrified Brass Knuckles. Everybody went bonkers when the Golden Grin Casino added the Buzzer melee weapon, and now with the release of the Hardcore Henry pack, free players can see why. While its stats are slightly below the Buzzer, the electric knuckles retain the vitally-important ability to send any cop into a shuddering fit for a few seconds, during which they won’t attack and are extremely vulnerable to being taken hostage. This is certainly not a weapon for anyone planning on getting melee kills, but with its utility and 30 concealment it can go well with any build.
3. STRYK machine pistol. Payday 2 has a lot of pistols, but this is the only one capable of fully-automatic fire. Due to entire branches of skills requiring pistols, such as Pistol Messiah, Trigger Happy, and Gunslinger, the STRYK provides a full-auto option for a lot of builds that otherwise wouldn’t get one. Make sure you use the select-fire option (default key V) to toggle firing modes, because you should really stick to single-fire for most situations, only switching to full-auto for needed situations like an ambush Bulldozer. With all the pistol skills, the STRYK eclipses even the SMGs and becomes an insanely versatile secondary that works with practically any primary.
4. Ksp 58 light machine gun – Just like Overkill’s given us a free sniper rifle, they’ve also released a free LMG, and its worth giving a go just to see if the playstyle suits you. Nothing like dropping bipods and single-handedly covering an entire direction for over fifteen seconds without reloading. Not to mention the Ksp unlocks at a very early level 23, meaning that it provides a very powerful option for a new (or newly Infamied) player. It helps that Overkill’s buffed the LMG playstyle a few times from the disappointment they were before.
5. M308 battle rifle – The M308 was the best weapon in the first game, and it regained that title in the sequel after the Crimefest 2015 weapon rebalances. Excellent damage, excellent accuracy, excellent reload speed…its primary weaknesses are low ammo reserves and low base stability. Overkill’s recent buff for ammo pickups and the “Walk-in Closet” perk that comes with every Perk Deck basically remove the first downside, and the stability issue can be fixed by firing in semi-automatic (or with a bunch of weapon mods). To that end, the M308 is the only select-fire rifle in the game that defaults to semi-auto, emphasizing how it strikes a balance between serving as an assault rifle and a sniper rifle. An extremely versatile heavy-hitter that unlocks at a low level, it’s worth keeping in the inventory just in case you find yourself needing a little of everything.
UPDATE #6. The 5/7 pistol. Since I wrote this article, another free weapon was added that players should definitely know about in case your build calls for it. The 5/7 is a powerful little gun that fires special armor-piercing rounds, meaning it can shoot right through shields (same as the Platypus!) This means it’s great for using with primaries that otherwise might not have an answer to shields. It suffers from an extremely low ammo reserve, however, meaning that you’ll want that primary to be a versatile general-purpose gun with good ammo pickup.