In this guide, I will showcase how to build around a hip-firing play style that rewards you greatly by never hitting that right mouse button.
If you’re new and still grinding points, I will hopefully help walk you through what skills and weapons to unlock/prioritize so that this build can be used at any skill level. If you’re looking to find a build to copy, all information is easily accessible. Or if you’re looking for a more in-depth explanation of the games mechanics feel free to read through the whole guide.
With this guide coming out within the first week of Payday 3’s Launch, many things are bound to change about this build. Even though most players do not have all skill points or weapon mods unlocked (Including myself), I don’t think that can stop us from discussing builds and their potential.
Criticism, Recommendations, and any other ideas you have would be much appreciated!
Now on with the build.
As stated above, our goal with this build is to reward hipfiring the weapon instead of ADSing all the time. Using gunslinger ACED, we’re able to set up the core mechanic for our build; An infinite EDGE refreshing engine.
Before we get into specifics, here is the general build at 15 skill points:
Gunslinger EDGE Engine Explaination
To get this build going, we will go ahead and Ace Gunslinger. This allows us to generate EDGE simply by swapping weapons really quick and refreshing it for every headshot. The tradeoff is that we lose all EDGE if we ADS.
While this skill was obviously intended for pistol skills, the benefits apply to primaries as well.
From there, the rest can be up to you. Any skill that uses/consumes EDGE is at your disposal. From here on out, I will be showing you my personal way to build.
Core Gameplay Skills
We’re starting here to talk about some skills I would consider essential for ANY build in Payday 3, and they’re all found in the Tank tree.
Armor is Payday 3’s most valuable resource. With no way to regenerate or recover outside of crew armor bags or armor bag assets, it’s important we get the most out of our armor bags.
Grabbing Tank BASIC, we can go right to Armor Up. As stated, we get another armor chunk for every 1 we interact with. If you’re running Heavy Ballistic Lining, (As you should with most loud builds as soon as unlocked) you only need 2 armor chunks to go from zero to full. This not only increases your own survivability, but it also takes a burden off your team. With more armor to go around, you’re more likely to succeed in your heists. Even if this build isn’t your cup of tea, I hope that all players will start to save those 2 points to make the game easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
Back to the build, this will run an armor bag, so it can be worth taking upgrades to the armor bag capacity.
We already have 2 additional chunks with Tank BASIC. So with the Extra Plates skill, our armor bag has 6 total charges! Given your team also has Armor Up Just one players armor bag can bring 3/4 players from none to max armor.
Even if this build isn’t your cup of tea, I hope that all players will start to save 2 points to make the game easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
With our EDGE regeneration and basics down, we can start using skills that take advantage of that edge, starting right back in the Gunslinger tree
From the Hip is simple, giving us better hipfire accuracy. This, along with certain weapon upgrades, will allow us to be just as accurate hipfiring as you can be ADSing.
We’re also going to grab Heavy Hipfire as stuns and staggers are very powerful, preventing the cops from shooting at you and making them easier to get shot. This will also allow us to access later skills that can take advantage of stuns and staggers.
Lastly, we grab Quick Draw. If you’re lacking in skill points, then this skill you can miss out on. Having a better switch speed makes getting that starting EDGE much easier. And if you end up losing it in the middle of a fight, you can get it back up quicker.
Next, we go to the Mower tree for an important pair of skills.
Here, we pick up Mower BASIC to start off the tree. However, our main goal is Ammo Funnel and Replenish.
With Ammo Funnel, the EDGE we get from Gunslinger allows us to take ammo pickups from dead cops and put it right back into our magazine.
This is already very strong, allowing you to mow down more cops before needing to reload (if at all). We can make this even stronger by grabbing Replenish, allowing the ammo cops would usually drop on the ground, to go straight to us instead. These 2 skills combine into one of the most powerful combos in the game right now and given we have infinite EDGE, they’re a perfect fit for this build.
Our next stop is the Sharpshooter tree. Now you might be thinking “Why would we need sharpshooting skills for a hipfire build,” however we’re here for 1 important skill.
While Sharpshooter BASIC gives us another way of generating EDGE, this is essentially pointless as Gunslinger does it far better in this build. Our goal is Cutting Shot. As you progress through the heist, the cops will start showing up in heavier armor. Normally this would require more damage via more bullets, however, as long as we have EDGE our armor penetration is increased. This helps with Heavy SWAT, Shields, and especially Dozers. With you only needing 2 points to get the armor penetration, this is a must-have.
Lastly we have the Tactician tree for an extra damage boost.
Similarly to Sharpshooter, we only grab Tactician BASIC to unlock the skill we want. Coup de Grâce gives us an extra 5% damage boost against already stunned or staggered enemies. Remember that with Heavy Hipfire, as long as we have EDGE our hipfire shots cause heavy stagger. Combine that with the 10% damage boost from EDGE itself, you’re able to stun lock and melt almost every cop thrown at you. This is a more recent addition to my build as you can tell by the locked skills, but I quickly learned the bonus damage is a lifesaver against enemies with higher armor and health pools.
Additional Skill Points
With the main build only taking 15 points, that leaves us with an extra 6 to put around. Quickly let’s talk about the potential ways to allocate these points. To start, there’s a couple more skills we can look at that give us benefits for EDGE.
By taking Ammo Specialist basic, we can grab Scrounger. Being able to passively regenerate throwables by occasionally picking one up with ammo is always helpful. While I personally prefer Smoke Grenades, Frags and Flashbangs are just as helpful with crowd-clearing/control.
Going back to Mower, we can pick up Recoil Handling for that extra bit of recoil reduction. As we’ll talk about in the weapons section, a lot of the attachments for hipfire weapons sacrifice some recoil. This skill is great at counterbalancing that and requires you to just play the build as intended.
To round the build out, we’re going to pick up some capstone skills. These are not required by any means, but make the build just that little bit more reliable.
Sprint Loaded gives us the ability to reload while sprinting, allowing us to retreat at full speed while also getting ready for the next fight. Always a useful skill to have.
Disengage is such a useful skill. Nothing sucks more than your team just barely making it through a heist, and the last person in custody getting Cloakered or Tased. You can easily argue this skill isn’t necessary with good judgment, but I like my Get Out of Jail free card.
Given our build is pretty good at being quick and mobile,Swift is an easy choice. Alternatively, you can run Escapist BASIC to gain RUSH after sprinting for 3 seconds. I find the garunteed 10% movement speed to be more reliable overall
Weapons and Attatchments
For this build, we’re going to mostly be using Assault Rifles as our primaries. We want to prioritize accuracy and there are 3 good options for that: the CAR-4, Northwest B-9, and VF-7S.
We’re going to use the CAR-4 as an example, however, if you wish to use the others I hope I can help show you what kind of attachments to go for and what to stay away from.
- Hybrid Muzzle Break
- Ranged Barrel (Not in Picture)
- Biofit Grip (Not in Picture)
- Quick Pull Mag
- Padded Tube
- Cylinder Grip
Starting with what to avoid is any part that is -Hipfire Spread. The weapons system is confusing, but any part with -Hipfire Spread means an increase in the weapon’s spread. This includes the Piped Silencer, Tac Grip, Light Frame, etc. The CAR-4 and Northwest B-9 essentially have the same attachments and as such you can use the same ones posted above for it. The B-9 is more accurate, with a higher rate of fire making it a stronger choice against the CAR-4.
Weapon parts are about making the weapon feel better in your hands, rather than just upgrading an arbitrary stat. As such, I encourage you to play around with different attachments where you can since all come with both negatives and positives. I personally like parts that sacrifice Vertical recoil for better Horizontal as I find vertical recoil far easier to control.
Secondaries are a bit more boring than primaries. Not because they’re bad, they’re actually very helpful (remember it’s quicker to swap to pistol than to reload most the time). The pistols all just fill the same role, a backup head clicker.
- Quick Pull Mag
- Skeletonized Compensator
- Grained Grip
The pistol you chose is personal preference mostly. Do you prefer low capacity and high damage? Go with the Castigo 44 or Sforza Bison. Prefer accuracy by volume of fire? The Stryk 7 and Signature 403 have got you covered. Out of all pistols, I would say the Signature 40 is the “weakest,” but not by a significant margin. Personally, I like the Signature 403. Good damage with a higher capacity and great accuracy.
Other Loadout Specifications
Deployable – Armor Bag
We briefly covered that our deployable of choice is the armor bag. Outside of it’s infinite usefulness, the other bags just don’t provide us what we need to keep going. If you’d prefer an ammo bag, reallocate a point from Extra Plates elsewhere as it would be a useless skill.
Overkill Weapon – HET-5
Although the Marcom Mamba MGL is a more fitting choice for this build, the HET-5 is just far too powerful. You can see through walls, 1-tap all non-dozer enemies, 4-5 shot dozers, and the bullets penetrate walls and enemies. the MGL has it’s moments, but my heart lies with the HET-5
Armor Lining – HBL
The heavier the armor, the better. I always run the Heavy Ballistic lining as I don’t really feel the “speed penalty” from it. Especially in higher difficulties, the extra armor plates will save your life way more than being able to run away from the fight. As soon as you unlock HBL, you should equip it for loud. Until then, run the Medium Ballistic lining.
Throwable – Smoke Grenade
Again as stated earlier, my choice is the Smoke grenade. Frag and Flashbang grenades are just as viable and it’s up to personal preference. Flashbangs do have the added bonus of stunning enemies.
Tool – Infrasonic Mines/Motion Sensor
Although mostly for stealth, tools can provide decent support in loud as well. The Infrasonic Mine allows you to stun enemies for a short duration and we’ve already gone over how powerful stunning and staggering is. Set one down, wait for enemies to go over it, and hit your E key. Especially good for controlling power boxes/fire alarms that the cops like to use to slow your efforts down. The Motion sensor is particularly useful as it marks enemies within a 3-meter radius, allowing you to track cop spawns, lock down areas, and keep an eye on cops you may not want to be face-to-face with. Both equally good choices and I switch between the 2 depending on the heist,
Although Payday 3’s launch has been… Not the best, when I’m able to play the game I absolutely love it. While I’m no “Payday Veteran,” I have my fair share of experience from both Payday 2 and Payday the Heist. I will try to update/change this as I get more experience with the game and this build (As long as it remains viable) so keep an eye out for any changes to this guide.
I hope I can not only share this build I’ve found fun in my experimentation but also encourage you to take this build and make it your own. Change the weapons, Skills, or whatever else you like to make this your own build. If you do, tell me about it in the comments, I’d love to read them.
I tried using Payday 2 Build guides as a reference for building, but given how differently the skill point and loadout system is, I had to improvise a lot on how to organize information. As such, any feedback would be great as I would love to make more build guides as Payday 3 develops.
I hope you enjoyed my first guide and first build, and I look forward to making more as I discover more.