Pistol rounds set the pace and tone for the rest of the match in VALORANT. Whichever side wins the pistol round can control how the rest of the match pans out. Since round one is important to win in a competitive match in VALORANT, knowing which pistol to buy can help increase your chances of winning.
There are currently five pistol types at the start of the round in VALORANT. Each pistol has its strengths and weaknesses. These pistols are:
The Classic is the default pistol given to players for free at the start of every round. The Classic is a close-medium-range pistol with 12 rounds per magazine and 36 rounds in reserve.
Before the recent nerf to the Classic’s signature right-click burst fire, the Classic was deemed “broken” or overpowered by some pro players. The Classic can kill any player with a single right-click to the head at close range.
There is not much to complain about with the Classic because of its insane cost-effectiveness, considering it is a free gun.
The Shorty is another close-range pistol in VALORANT. The Shorty is a mini-shotgun with two rounds per clip. The Shorty can shoot two rapid-fire shots in succession before requiring a reload.
The Shorty can kill any agent at close ranges as long as most, if not all, of Shorty’s pellets land on the target.
The Shorty is a great pistol pickup on maps with tight corners and alleys such as Split, Haven, or Icebox. The Shorty costs 150 credits.
The Frenzy is the only fully automatic pistol in VALORANT. This pistol has a fast fire rate and is accurate at close-medium ranges. An entire Frenzy clip can be emptied in less than two seconds, and the reload speed is one of the fastest in any pistol at 1.5 seconds.
The Frenzy is more of a rush-centric pistol that’s usually used for run-and-gun attacks. The automatic pistol should not be used for tapping since it defeats the entire purpose of buying an automatic pistol in the first place.
The Frenzy costs only 450 credits. This automatic pistol has 13 rounds per magazine and 39 in reserve.
The Ghost is one of only two viable long-range pistols in VALORANT, with the other being the Sheriff. The most notable feature of the Ghost is its built-in silencer that masks off any bullets tracers and reduces the overall firing noise of the gun. At distances of 40+ meters, the firing sounds are almost entirely gone.
The Ghost is ideal for long-range pistol duels since the bullet spread after the first shot is tiny. Against unarmored opponents, the Ghost only needs one headshot at less than 30 meters and two headshots to kill at ranges beyond 50 meters.
The silencer-equipped pistol costs just 500 credits. It has 15 bullets per magazine and 45 bullets as a reserve.
The Sheriff is the big daddy of all pistols. The Sheriff is the most expensive pistol in VALORANT. The Sheriff is also the hardest-hitting pistol of them all.
The Sheriff can kill anyone with one shot to the head, regardless of armor, at ranges less than 30 meters. Beyond 30 meters, the Sheriff can still one-shot headshot unarmored enemies. However, at 30+ meters against armored enemies, the Sheriff will only deal a maximum of 145 damage to the head.
The Sheriff stars in some of the nastiest multi-kill play in VALORANT. The precision required to play the Sheriff at a high level is a sight. This pistol rewards good crosshair placement and mechanical aim.
The Sheriff costs 800 credits. The Sheriff has a small magazine with six rounds and a reserve of 24 rounds.
The Best Pistol For Duelists
Pistol choices in VALORANT have always been dictated by personal preference. However, some pistols make more sense than others on some Agents.
The Agent always dictates a player’s playstyle they are currently playing. It makes more sense for a Sage to play passively and support her teammates. Running around the map and looking for the first contact is not a brilliant play for Sage players since dying early in the round wastes her ability to heal up allies. However, nothing is stopping players from going full-on Battle Sage.
On the other hand, Dualists are usually permitted to play more aggressively to open up spaces within the map. Duelists open bomb sites so their teammates can enter freely and with less resistance.
With that said, here are the ideal pistol pickups for each of the five duelists in VALORANT:
1. Reyna – Ghost
Reyna is an offensive juggernaut like no other. Her abilities enable her to take increasingly complex and risky plays with little repercussions. Most notably, Reyna’s heal ability, Devour, is the only ability in VALORANT to refill her basic HP, and her armor points to the max.
No player from either team will walk around with 150 HP on pistol rounds. The maximum health players can have during the pistol rounds is 125 (100 basic health + 25 armor.) Most often than not, pistols will still require at least two shots to the head, even without armor. Many pistols in VALORANT can only have a one-shot headshot from less than 30 meters.
Buying a Ghost + Devour will give Reyna the leverage she needs to score her first few kills. This pistol round loadout makes the most sense for Reyna as it is expected Reyna players will have the mechanical aiming ability to play the Agent in the first place.
By scoring her first few kills, Reyna can become super tanky thanks to Devour’s healing which can fill up Reyna’s entire health pool and give her up to 50 armor points. A full pool of health + max armor on pistol rounds is almost impossible to kill with basic pistols or even a Sheriff.
2. Phoenix – Frenzy
Next up is Phoenix. Phoenix mains are a crazy bunch who usually run around the map like headless chickens searching for kills. Phoenix’s most powerful ability is by far his Curveball Flash. It is one of the fastest flashes in VALORANT, and players usually have little time to turn away from the flash because of how quickly the Curveball activates.
We choose the Frenzy for Phoenix because Curveball is a close-range flash anyway. Since Frenzy is the most versatile close-range pistol in VALORANT, it only makes sense to equip Phoenix with a Frenzy on pistol rounds.
The ideal loadout for Phoenix on pistol rounds is two charges of flash + a Frenzy. Phoenix will not need armor because his signature ability allows him to heal after an engagement.
3. Jett – Sheriff/Frenzy
If you think Phoenix mains are crazy, wait until encounter a Jett main. Jett players often play with the mindset of Phoenix and Reyna.
Jett can take advantage of the high ground thanks to her Updraft ability. Jett can take high-risk engagements and get away with them thanks to her Dash ability. The more confident a Jett player becomes in a match, the more difficult they are to stop.
With this in mind, Jett’s most suitable pistols on pistol rounds are either a Sheriff or a Frenzy. Jett can rush into enemy territory with the Frenzy, score a quick run, and gun-kill. Jett can take quick early duels with the Sheriff and dash back to safety.
2. Raze – Frenzy
If you think Jett is fast, wait until you see Raze fly into a bomb site. Raze can take space faster than any other Agent in VALORANT, thanks to her double satchels.
Raze used to be able to buy her trusty Roomba during pistol rounds. But because of the recent price increase to Raze’s first ability, a Roomba + Ghost/Frenzy purchase on pistol rounds is now past.
To take advantage of Raze’s ability to take space in bomb sites, we can pair her with a Frenzy, as this pistol gives her the most flexibility with running and gunning. A Frenzy purchase also allows Raze players to purchase two satchels which Raze can use to clear out bomb sites before her teammates arrive.
1. Yoru – Ghost/Frenzy
Yoru has not seen much use lately because he is weaker than other Agents. However, in the right hands, Yoru can still deliver highlight-reel plays with his flashes, teleport ability, and ultimate.
Yoru’s flash needs a much-needed speed buff due to how slow his flash projectile bounces off walls. However, it is still a handy utility that can help your team safely take space on the map.
With this in mind, we will pair Yoru with a Ghost or a Frenzy to give him the most flexibility. If you play with his teleport ability, pick up a Frenzy + Flash to spray down blinded enemies at close range. However, if players decide to play from a distance, players can opt to equip Yoru with a Ghost + Flash instead.
Pistol rounds might be the most important rounds to win in a competitive match of VALORANT. Pistol rounds can dictate the pace of the match and often dictate the mentality players will carry throughout the rest of the game. The game’s overall economy is also dictated by whoever wins the pistol rounds.
Knowing which of the five pistols makes the most sense to equip on our favorite duelists can help players take advantage of each of the duelists’ strengths. This can make it easier for duelist mains to take duels and clear out space in bomb sites so their teammates can enter safely.