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How to level up weapons fast in Payday 3

Find out how you can level up weapons fast in Payday 3 to get the most out of each and every one in the heists you take on with friends.

Payday 3 Level Up Weapons: Two figures can be seen

How can you level up weapons in Payday 3 quickly? Leveling up your weapons doesn’t affect their raw stats in Starbreeze’s shooter. However, what it does give you is access to a variety of mods including grips, sights, magazines, stocks, vertical grips, barrels, and barrel extensions. Once these are purchased and attached, they subtly alter how the weapon functions.

As it stands, there are 17 non-preset weapons in Payday 3. This includes three SMGs, four assault rifles, four pistols, two shotguns, two revolvers, and two marksman rifles. Preset weapons can be levelled up but they can’t be modified. In Payday 3, you can buy duplicates of any standard primary weapon or secondary weapon. This way you can have variations of the best Payday 3 weapons and guns with different modifications and aesthetic customization options. Thankfully, you won’t have to sink XP into these copies as guns of the same model share level progression.

How to level up weapons fast in Payday 3

You can level up weapons fast in Payday 3 by:

  • Checking your active loadout
  • Taking on a higher difficulty
  • Prioritising escaping in heists
  • Varying your heist methods
  • Choosing heists with high XP output

Payday 3 Level Up Weapons: A loadout screen can be seen

Checking your active loadout

Regardless of whether you ever shoot or even draw your weapon, you’ll see an XP increase for every gun you have in your selected loadout. So, it’s worth giving a second thought to what you equip once you join the lobby.

You’re probably not too happy with the prospect of lugging around a level-one gun when you have higher-level alternatives available. But remember, the longer you let newer gear collect dust, the more under-leveled it’ll stay. If you’re entirely set on your niche and want to maximize your XP gain on one particular loadout, feel free to stick to that.

Taking on a higher difficulty

There are four difficulties to choose from in Payday 3: Normal, Hard, Very Hard, and Overkill. If you choose to escalate the challenge, you’ll be rewarded for it. While it’s difficult to achieve consistently, playing on Overkill difficulty has the capacity to produce almost double the XP that Normal difficulty offers.

Payday 3 Level Up Weapons: The heist selection screen can be seen

Prioritising escaping in heists

You’ll still receive XP if you fail a heist. As you’d expect though, you can maximize your rewards if you manage to escape safely. If you’re in a risky situation and you have the option to pursue loot, just focus on getting yourself and your crewmates to the getaway.

Varying your heist methods

If you’re eager to raise your weapon level, try to switch up your approach to missions. Stealthy play tends to fare better in this department. It seems counter-intuitive, as you’d expect that maximizing kills would be the right way to go about raising your weapon level. Surprisingly enough, a well-executed stealth heist is a far better strategy.

Payday 3 Level Up Weapons: A heist can be seen


Choosing heists with high XP output

Not all heists are made equal. Each one varies in how challenging they are, how much time they take to complete, and how much XP they can give you. To increase the efficiency of your weapon leveling, choose a heist that balances high XP output with a low level of complexity.

The order in which you want to take on heists are:

Heist Estimated XP at Normal difficulty Complexity
Dirty Ice ~900 XP Low
No Rest For The Wicked ~550 XP Low
Gold & Shark ~1200 XP Medium
Rock The Cradle ~650 XP Medium
Under the Surphaze ~1000 XP High
99 Boxes ~500 XP High
Touch The Sky ~500 XP High
Road Rage ~350 XP Low

Farming XP on Dirty Ice is one of the easiest ways to level up your weapons. If you know what you’re doing, you can speedrun it in around three minutes. Despite how simple it can be, it’s not uncommon to make out with around 900XP. This time-to-XP ratio makes for great value.

That’s it for how you can level up weapons fast in Payday 3. If you’re still figuring out your perfect loadout, check out our list of the best Payday 3 builds and the best Payday 3 skills. Fancy picking up some preset weapons or weapon charms? Take a look at our guide on how to get and earn C-Stacks in Payday 3 too.