Brace of Pistols are surprisingly effective, but really only usable on Bounty Hunter with Scrounger. I’ve seen quite a few Zealots taking them, but I’ve also seen quite a few Zealots perpetually out of ammo.
I see three downsides to taking the Pistols; inability to use weapon traits outside of Scrounger (Hunter, for example, is very good on Bounty Hunter), high falloff damage making sniping difficult, and their absolutely atrocious damage to Monsters. Damage vs. Chaos Warriors is also lacking, but his other weapons have been brought down in this regard, and BH makes up for this in other ways.
The first two I don’t see as being a big issue. If I want to use a Hunter build, I can always take a crossbow, and falloff damage is rarely an issue and a fine downside for a weapon which requires no reload. I agree with this post in that the weapon’s real weakness is boss damage.
Let’s take a look at Saltzpyre’s unmodified ranged options:
Brace of Pistols
- Infantry: 38.25
- Boss: 19.00
- Boss Crit: 26.75
- Infantry: 12.50 (15.50 shotgun)
- Boss: 12.50 (15.50 shotgun)
- Boss Crit: 25.50 (26.50 shotgun)
- Infantry: 29.75
- Boss: 34.00
- Boss Crit: 114.50
- Infantry: 21.25
- Boss: 31.75
- Boss Crit: 37.00
As we can see, the Brace of Pistols are the only of his weapons which do LESS damage to bosses than they do to infantry. To be fair, they also do the most damage to infantry, but they also have the lowest effective ammo pool. As it takes multiple shots to kill most elites and specials even with a crit, even with perfect ammo management on Bounty Hunter, you’re likely not going to be at full ammo when you encounter a boss. You’ll also want to save more than 1-2 shots, as this also means it takes longer to get a useful amount of ammo back using Scrounger.
Both the Volley and the Repeater have decent enough Monster damage and a large enough ammo supply to output significant boss damage. The regular crossbow, while not normally great against bosses, makes up for this with an extremely high crit modifier. Taking advantage of Blessed Shots and Prized Bounty to not consume ammo, combined with the guaranteed crit, gives a guaranteed burst against a boss every ~10 seconds of:
- Brace of Pistols: 26.75 (assuming no falloff damage)
- Repeater Pistol: 212.00 (8 * 26.50, assuming all pellets hit, and no falloff damage)
- Crossbow: 114.50
- Volley Crossbow: 111.00 (3 * 37.00, assuming all bolts hit)
So yes, the Pistols are significantly weaker against bosses than his other ranged weapons, and while strong and fun to use, don’t particularly make up for it in other areas. Considering they were one of the best anti-Ogre weapons in Vermintide 1 (at least until the Volley came along, and the Repeater Handgun was buffed), it would be nice to see them be at least moderately effective against them.
I think the best course of action would be to increase their boss damage to 3/4ths their infantry damage (~28.5 damage). This will allow killing Packmasters in 3 shots instead of 4, but still be a significant boost to their boss DPS. Second, I would significantly increase the crit modifier for them vs. Monsters (~2.15x, or 61.25 damage at minimum, to avoid 1 shotting Packmasters with a crit and 20% vs. Skaven). Together, this should give the weapon moderate boss damage, as well as continuing to be useful, if still not as good as his other weapons, when using Blessed Shots at low ammo.