System Shock Wiki
System Shock Wiki
Dual-Circuit EMP Rifle
Weapon Data
First Found MedSci Deck (Armory)
Hydroponics Deck
Requirements Energy Weapons: 6
Researchable No
Maintenance 6
Modification 3 (1st) / 5 (2nd)
Repairing 2
Ammunition Energy
Magazine Size 100-160 / 150-240
Attack Types Single Shot
Damage 10 (Single Shot)
15 (Overcharge)
Summon Code emp rifle
When the first atomic weapons were tested in the middle of the 20th century, it was noted that not only did the weapons themselves do catastrophic damage, the electro-magnetic pulse they released coincident with the blast effectively neutralized most electronic devices for miles.
~ Dr. Edward Chung, Chief Technological Officer, TriOptimum Corporation Research

The Dual-Circuit EMP Rifle is a weapon found in System Shock 2 and is the most advanced Energy Weapon in the game. It fires a fast projectile which is blue in color and deals high damage to all mechanical opponents within the blast radius.


The EMP rifle’s origins lie back in the 20th century, where it was discovered that a residual effect of nuclear explosions was the total disruption of radio and electrical signals. Scientists were able to isolate the magnetic pulse that caused this disruption and incorporate it into a weapon that was devastatingly effective against androids, cyborgs and robots. However, it has absolutely no effect against non-cybernetic organic targets.


The EMP Rifle requires Energy Weapons skill level 6 to use. No research is required.

Ammunition Type

Energy icon transparent.png Energy - This weapon features a built-in electrical capacitor which is rechargeable using Portable Batteries, Electron Cascade or Energy Recharging Stations and allows it to fire Energy Projectiles.

Damage Table

Mech Half-Mech Half-Annelid Annelid Final Boss
EMP x4 x2 x0 x0 x1.5

Firing Modes

  • Single Shot - It fires a single shot when the trigger is pulled and consumes 2 units of electric energy per shot.
  • Overcharge - It fires a single shot when the trigger is pulled and consumes 20 units of electric energy per shot. The shot has a 50% larger blast radius (for a 337.5% larger area of effect) and deals 50% more damage.


  • Level 1 - Increases energy storage capacity by 50% (counting in Maintenance bonus) and increases damage to 110% of normal.
  • Level 2 - Reduces energy consumption by 50%, increases projectile speed by 50% and increases damage to 125% of normal.


  • When using Armor-Piercing Bullets, the M-22 Assault Rifle does exactly the same amount of damage as the EMP Rifle, making the EMP Rifle's usefulness somewhat questionable. Generally speaking, you should fulfill the requirements of the EMP Rifle only if you want to maximize the effectiveness of other Energy Weapons like the Laser Rapier.
    • That said, the EMP Rifle does have advantages over the Assault Rifle - it is recoilless, does not need to reload and has a theoretically unlimited amount of ammunition via Recharger Stations, though it requires a maintenance skill of 6 to maintain.
  • It does no damage to non-mechanical enemies. If you chose to use it you will need another weapon to destroy the Nodes of the Brain of the Many.
  • This weapon essentially exaggerates all the strengths and weaknesses of the Laser Pistol, and as such it has similar utility.
  • Using the OVER mode is inefficient as it only does 50% more damage but consumes 900% more energy. Only use it when you really have to deal a lot of damage in one shot or against a large number of vulnerable enemies. Shooting twice at a lone target using the NORM mode deals more damage and consumes far less energy. 
  • A fully modified EMP Rifle can fire 240 primary shots before running out of energy. Considering that there are no Recharger Stations at all on the UNN Rickenbacker, it is advisable to modify and charge it before leaving the Von Braun.
  • It is also recommended to upgrade your Maintenance skill in order to raise its energy capacity.
  • All enemies in the final level are susceptible to EMP damage, making this weapon an excellent choice.


  • The EMP Rifle located in the Armory of the MedSci Deck is unbreakable. It will degrade, but never jam, regardless of its condition. All three EMP Rifles on the Recreation Deck are also unbreakable.[1]
    • Alas, this seems to be changed in a newer version of the game (2.46). Unfortunately those EMP Rifles do jam after degrading enough. An alternative (preferably after getting the EMP Rifle in MedSci's Armory, since there's also an unbreakable Assault Rifle nearby) is to create a file named user.cfg in the main game folder containing only "gun_degrade_rate 0" (without the quotation marks) and re-run the game. The gun will now be unbreakable and also stay at its current condition. However, all guns in the game will behave the same way. Use that with care.
      • There's an even better, however a bit more difficult option to revert the changes done by the patch. One needs to find the appriopriate .mis.dml files (in this case: medsci2.mis.dml, rec1.mis.dml, rec2.mis.dml and rec3.mis.dml) located in the main System Shock 2 folder and edit them. Lines that are responsible for reverting gun unbreakability are found after a relevant comment (look for word "break" to find it) and need to be either deleted/cut out or preceded by "// " without the quotes, making them only a comment instead of a working command. That way all the changes are reverted. Voila, enjoy! :)
  • Modification Level 1 of this weapon is said to increase the shot (projectile) speed, but in fact, Modification Level 2 does that.[1]