Please upgrade your browser for the best possible experience.

Chrome Firefox Internet Explorer

Dak's guide to the Sharp Shooter spec [updated for 2.9]

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes > Gunslinger / Sniper
Dak's guide to the Sharp Shooter spec [updated for 2.9]

Island_Jedi's Avatar

08.22.2014 , 01:52 AM | #1
The reason I use this build is because I only use this spec in add fights and use DF in single target fights.
36/10/0 is a very good way to play Sharp shooter, it gives you nice buffs to your thermal grenade at the cost of "mortal wound" and "open wound". Sharpshooter is best used in fights with adds anyway and add fights benefit from the buffs to your thermal grenade more then the buffs to your Vital Shot. In terms of single target DPS, use dirty fighting if its a single boss like Nefra or Tyrans.

The sharpshooter spec is an amazing tree for gunslingers it has great burst, great sustained and Moderate AOE Potential. When you play the sharpshooter tree you have to understand that the rotation is static and does not change. The rotation is built around a few key moves and then moves into a cycle that you simply repeat. The gunslinger, hence becomes one of the easier classes to attain great numbers with, at least in the sharpshooter spec.

One very nice thing to remember about Sharpshooter DPS is that the proc's are all going to work 100 percent of the time (no need to make split second decisions on what you need to do next, the rotation does not change). This greatly simplifies your rotation in a fight and it becomes more a factor of memorizing the rotation.

Important Proc's and Skills

Smoking Barrels - This proc makes your next two charged burst's cost 15 energy instead of 25. Important for energy management and one of the reasons you always start your fights with Speed Shot. Firing Speed Shot in your opener, will allow you to fire an early Trick Shot, which proc's "smoking barrels".

Recoil Control - This proc allows you to fire a Trick Shot after two Charged Bursts are used in a row, Aimed Shot is fired, or Speed Shot is fired (if you interrupt the channel time on Speed Shot, the proc sometimes wont activate). This skill is the foundation of your rotation and is what holds everything together, seeing how important Trick Shot is to your DPS.

Charged Aim - This Skill will lower the activation time of Aimed Shot (by .5 seconds) for every Charged Burst fired upto a maximum of one sec. This proc is what makes your Aimed Shot viable in your rotation and a bit better then general filler.

Burst Volley - Burst Volley increases energy regen by 2 and increases alacrity by 10% for 15 sec. It also finishes the cooldown on Speed Shot, allowing you to burst mobs down quickly and increasing your overall DPS.First things first, you need to have a good understanding of what your hardest hitting abilities are and how best to use them.

Highest Damaging abilities

These abilities should be used as often as possible, except Flyby (that one you need to know how to use)

Speed shot
Aimed Shot
Quick Draw
Trick Shot

How these abilities should be used

Speed Shot - This ability is the first high damaging ability in your opener, will proc your first Trick shot; which in turn will proc "smoking barrels". Its also a great ability to fire first to get some good burst damage on mobs you need to kill quickly.

Quickdraw - This ability is your third hardest hitting ability, and should be used on cooldown. Once the enemy drops below 30 percent, it becomes available. This ability will come in second only to a Trick Shot in terms of priority. Remember Quickdraw also proc's your TrickShot.

Trick Shot - This ability Hits hard and is proc'd by many of your other abilities, use it as often as it procs. Charged bursts, aimed shot, quickdraw, and speed shot all proc this ability. This ability does come in fourth in terms of raw damage, but its ability to proc very often is what makes up for it. (if this ability is up, use it no matter what. Trick Shot is your highest priority ability) Not using this ability for any reason, is a waste and will lower your overall DPS. The only exception to this, is when your Quickdraw ability is ready. Quickdraw will have a higher priority.


Opener - (the opener is a string of abilities that you will use first, to make your DPS as hard hitting and efficient as possible) This opener allows you to have a great burst; while setting up "smoking barrels" and your Flyby should you choose to use it.

The Opening Rotation - Vital Shot, Speed Shot, Trick Shot, Burst Volley, Speed Shot, Trick Shot, pop your offensive cool-downs which should include the relic, your adrenal, and illegal mods. This opener is very bursty and sets up the core rotation well.

Alternate Opener - XS Flyby, Aimed Shot, Trick Shot, Vital Shot, Pop Offensive Cool-downs, Speed Shot, Trick Shot, Burst Volley, Speed Shot, Trick Shot
[color=#ddd123](This opener will give you better numbers then the one mentioned above, but to achieve the better numbers you have to pre-cast. This opener requires more coordination from the tank and you[/color)]

The Core Rotation - Charged burst, 2nd Charged burst, Trick Shot, Vital Shot, Aimed Shot, Trick Shot, Speed Shot, Trick Shot. (Here you can see how Trick Shot holds everything together. Now lets put that together and see how the whole rotation lines up)

Complete Rotation - Vital Shot, Speed Shot, Trick Shot, Burst Volley, Speed Shot, Trick Shot, XS Flyby, pop offensive cooldowns, Charged Burst, 2nd Charged Burst, Trick Shot, Vital Shot, Aimed Shot, Trick Shot, Speed Shot, Trick Shot. From here just repeat the core rotation until Burst Volley comes off cool down and work it in.

Illegal Mods - Increases your tech and ranged accuracy by 30% and improves armor penetration by 15%. This basically means your offhand will hit more often, due its naturally lower accuracy. The armor penetration will only benefit abilities that use weapon damage or are kinetic in nature, most weapon damage is energy based. Use this ability in your rotation during the offensive cooldown phase, then keep it on cooldown.

Smugglers Luck - Not an uber important ability, but it should be mixed into your rotation. Makes your next Charged Burst an automatic crit. This ability should be used during your offensive cooldown phase and then kept on cool down.

Flourish Shot - Basically here this ability will reduce the targets armor by 20%. If you have a Commando or Guardian in your party don't even worry about this ability ever. Those classes use armor reducers in their basic rotations anyway. The only time this ability will really become a factor is if you don't have those classes with you or want to see the most optimum numbers on a dummy solo. If you want to use this ability, use it as your first ability in your opener and then simply reapply as its about to fall off. (this ability does not stack with "Grav round", "Sundering strike", "Saber throw", or "Force-sweep". The target will only apply the greatest debuff to itself and wont stack the other armor debuffs, even though they show up as icons)

Intermittent Combat

Throughout a boss fight there will be times when you are moving, doing a mechanic, or plain waiting to get healed or whatever. Whenever you get lost in your rotation and cant remember where your at. Simply start with the opener and use Speed Shot, don't worry about Burst Volley and XS flyby if their on cooldown. If Burst Volley or XS Flyby are up at this point simply work them in, If not don't worry about it.


Using this build will maximize your DPS potential in add fights, while helping to avoid PVP skills. Yes technically 36/3/7 is the best single target dps for Sharpshooter, but if you want single target dps; play Dirty fighting. The reduced cool down on your thermal grenade and damage buff makes dealing with adds a lot easier. Fights like Nefra or Tyrans do not have adds, so your better off using DF anyway, don't worry over the loss of vital shot buffs.The build will be 36/10/0

Using Cool Head at the right time is also important to make up for the increase in energy burn you will face. The rotations have no room for flurry of bolts, but you can very sparingly use it, to stabilize your energy. Flurry of bolts should not be used much, if at all possible; usually only if you mess up your rotation.

Sharpshooter build 36/10/0


Sharpshooter spec'd gunslingers have the best "hightail it" in the game and also some of the best AOE damage resistance. The sharpshooter spec is not very mobile, but experienced gunslingers will make them look like agile pumas. There is a rhythm to the way you need to move in this spec; and knowing when to move and when not to move is key to maximizing your DPS in this build.

Your ability to minimize the damage you take, by use of various skills will take your raiding with the gunslinger to the next level. Putting out good numbers is great, but if you take a ton of damage it will damper others perception of your ability. Gunslingers use medium armor and as such take a bit more damage then some of the tougher classes, but use of "defense screen" and "holed up" will go a long way in making your gunslinger, much more resilient.

Key Utility Skills

Hunker Down - Negates all negative controllable effects on you, making you immune to snares, roots, knockbacks, and stuns. This ability in the sharpshooter spec benefits from a reduced cooldown (45sec) further enhancing an already great ability.This ability has so many applications, experiment with it and see what situations work best for it.

Holed up - This ability makes most AOE damage phases in boss fights trivial. The applications of this ability are very far reaching and can be used in many boss fights. Holed up reduces all incoming AOE damage by 60%, when the player is using Hunker Down, that's incredible. When this ability is used in conjunction with Defense screen you become a nearly impervious wall to AOE damage.

Stay low - Interesting skill that will make your "hunkerdown" last three seconds longer and gives "hightail it" the benefits of "hunkerdown" for three seconds. This in it self does not really sound that good, but when you combo this with "Heads up". It becomes an amazing skill that will buff your "hightail it", in such a way that you can pretty much escape any sticky situation you find yourself in.

Fox hole - Increases energy regen by 1 per second. This is a very nice skill, that greatly helps with energy management. This ability is one reason, staying in cover is so good, only exit cover to execute your "Snap Shot" or make a tactical move (getting in range of enemy or avoiding damage).

Scrambling Field - Erects a force-field of sorts that reduces all incoming damage by 20% to you and your group. Once the field is up, you can move freely without ending the effect. Skilled gunslingers will use this ability at key times to help take the edge off certain boss fights and pulls.

Mr_Fuzzle's Avatar

08.22.2014 , 03:00 PM | #2
I see a lot of colors and very little that actually helps someone play this spec. Honestly, Shulk's guide is much better considering it is based on testing and shows how the spec can be used complete with details and an opener that is more than just 3 abilities strung together. While I have no doubt you have played this before, it's clear you don't play it to its potential nor in a progressive PVE environment.

TACeMossie's Avatar

08.22.2014 , 09:19 PM | #3
That and you completely dun goofed when you mentioned orbital as "Too expensive to use in your rotation" and "optimal filler for damage dealing"

Its like patch 2.6 never happened for you.


So yeah, Dak, while your guide was good in the past, after patch 2.6 it got outdated. I'd go through it, fix up some errors, and gear up some. Though don't put updated for 2.9 in the title if it isn't. That gets people annoyed.
Kwerty, Level 65 Vanguard/Powertech on The Harbinger

3.0 Guides: Vanguard DPS Guide | Powertech DPS Guide
4.0 Guides: Advanced Prototype | Pyrotech

Ryuku-sama's Avatar

08.23.2014 , 07:56 AM | #4
Worst than that.. He actually neglects Sabo Charge, use a tree that never existed, use a suboptimal spec and a suboptimal rotation.
"If it wasn't broken, we shall break it. If it is balanced, we shall beat it until slow and painful death follows. If it is overpowered, it is working as intended." - Bioware 2015

SamuelAU's Avatar

08.23.2014 , 10:36 AM | #5
There are some problems with the guide, but I'm going to avoid using CAPS LOCK and character attacks. We don't need it.
Quote: Originally Posted by Island_Jedi View Post
Using this build will maximize your DPS and utility, while helping to avoid PVP skills.
Quote: Originally Posted by Island_Jedi View Post
Yes technically 36/3/7 is the best single target dps for Sharpshooter, but if you want single target dps; play Dirty fighting.
You raise an interesting point in mentioning Dirty Fighting is a better single-target spec than Sharpshooter, but it's also a better AoE spec as well. If you want to sell the tree you can't openly admit that you're sacrificing DPS, and I've never played SS for its AoE potential anyway.

I appreciate the effort that's gone into the guide, but I get the impression that you've gone for the 36/10/0 approach just to be different, which is really misguided. The reason that there's no data on 36/10/0 is better 36/3/7 has time and time again proven to be the superior spec. Maybe you just didn't want to beat a dead horse, but there's no need to alter the spec in order to to be unique...
Gomerik // Lumbridge
<The Ex-Dalborran Elitists>

Island_Jedi's Avatar

08.23.2014 , 05:50 PM | #6
I don't play SS for its AOE potential either, but that does not mean I don't want to enhance its AOE potential where I can. Samuel AU I appreciate the gracious reply and have enjoyed your and powee's guides for a long time. My guide does need work and has muddied the waters in terms of the point I am trying to make. BTW the parse should not be there its pre 2.6 so sorry for that guys. Did not mean to confuse people, just forgot to update parse.

The reason iam using this spec is more to maintain the bursty'ness :P of SS and upgrade its aoe burst potential as well. I really like SS for the fact that its bursty not its AOE potential, I simply wanted more AOE options for when adds are tightly packed for example draxus or corruptor. The hightail mine in DF is great, but SS I feel is far superior for dealing with adds and target swaps. I also like the more front loaded damage of the thermal grenade. You can spam it for big damage over and over. That's all guys. I find the reduced cooldown on thermal grenade more viable in fights like draxus vs having a harder hitting dot on a single target and the thing is I only use this spec in add fights.

All I am saying flawed guide aside, is if I am going to bring SS into an add fight I want a faster and harder hitting thermal grenade over a harder hitting dot, to deal with adds. That and that alone is my point trading one for the other. This is not to question dirty fighting or saboteur which is clearly the go to AOE spec. If I was on nefra or tyrans and wanted to use SS I would use 36/3/7, but to be honest what is the point, when you could use DF for fights like Nefra or Tyrans. 36/8/0 is just an option to think about for add fights, not the definitive way to play SS. Sorry if you guys missed my point.

Appreciate the feed back guys

Island_Jedi's Avatar

08.23.2014 , 06:07 PM | #7
You yourself have commented on how great SS is in add fights. I just don't understand how my build would weaken SS in an add fight? If you can tell me how it weakens SS in add fights I will drop my argument.