Warframe is no stranger to unique weapons, ranging from plasma shotguns to fully automatic explosive assault rifles. However, one category of weapons most forget to mention is secondary weapons.

Related: Warframe: Top Primary Weapons, Ranked

Most secondary weapons come with stronger Mods than their primary counterparts, potentially making them stronger than primaries when modded correctly. Just like melee weapons or primaries, secondaries can come with interesting mechanics to set them apart from the rest. Some even let players add custom effects, such as gaining strength on a kill or gaining infinite ammo. Here are some of the strongest secondary weapons players can use in Warframe.

Updated December 22nd, 2021, by Charles Burgar: Warframe's weapon meta is constantly changing. Galvanized Mods and Weapon Arcanes breathed new life into weapons in general, but some secondaries saw some serious buffs thanks to these additions. Some neglected secondaries have also seen some use in recent months. We've updated this list to include a few secondaries that we missed in our last ranking, some of which are incredibly powerful with the right build.

11 Catabolyst

Warframe Proboscis Cernos

The Catabolyst is an Infested secondary that shares a reload mechanic with Tediore weapons from the Borderlands franchise. This beam weapon fires Corrosive energy that easily strips armor. When you reload, you throw out an Infested grenade that deals immense AoE damage—even more if the magazine was fully depleted.

Being able to use a secondary with Corrosive, Viral, and Heat all at once is enough reason to grab this weapon, yet this weapon's reload mechanic makes it a true menace for just about all content. Debuff enemies with the beam, then finish them with a grenade toss. While it isn't a contender for the king of secondaries, the Catabolyst has more than enough pros to warrant building.

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10 Aksomati Prime

Warframe Aksomati and Baza Prime weapons from Ivara Prime access.

Bullet-hose secondaries can't get much better than the Aksomati Prime. Its base damage of 20 is deceptively low. When players factor in the weapon's 24% critical chance and 3x critical damage multiplier, it's easy to see why the Aksomati Prime is frequently used. A good critical build will shred nearly all targets. Status is also high enough of this weapon to reliably proc the likes of Viral and Heat, making this weapon's lethality all the deadlier.

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8 Tenet Detron

Warframe Tenet Detron

If you're a die-hard Detron user, don't let the Tenet Detron's stats fool you. The weapon seems to be a minor upgrade to the Mara Detron at first glance, but this doesn't consider a few things:

  1. The Tenet Detron has an additional elemental damage type.
  2. It fires 10 projectiles instead of 7.
  3. It can empty its entire magazine in a second through its alt-fire.
  4. The Tenet variant's critical stats are good enough to warrant making a hybrid build.

Related: Warframe: A Complete Guide To The New War Quest

These improvements make the Tenet Detron one of the best secondaries in Warframe, especially for priming Condition Overload weapons. A Galvanized Shot Mod, when paired with a status build, results in a massive boost to your damage output. Very few enemies will survive just a few shots of this weapon, let alone the gun's alt-fire.

7 Knell Prime

Warframe Knell and Scourge Prime

Harrow Prime's signature weapon is nothing short of a powerhouse. Featuring double the crit chance and higher base damage than its default counterpart, the Knell Prime shreds through hordes of enemies with an infinite supply of high-damage rounds.

The Knell Prime has a unique feature where landing a headshot will grant the weapon infinite ammo, 0.5x more critical multiplier, and +20% status chance for two seconds. This stacks up to three times, granting a monstrous amount of status and critical stats. Land a single headshot, then go on a killing spree with a fully-automatic pistol. It's a pocket Rubico Prime with infinite ammo and is fully automatic. Alas, its lack of AoE qualities makes it fall behind the meta secondaries of Warframe.

6 Kuva Brakk

Warframe Kuva Brakk arsenal menu.

Should players need a solid secondary shotgun that can inflict status effects and deal critical hits, the Kuva Brakk is the best option available. With a high base damage at 130 per shot and a 29% critical chance, this secondary is nothing to scoff at. An 11.1% status chance also allows this weapon to easily apply Viral, Corrosive, or virtually any status ailment when using a hybrid build. It also comes with an implicit elemental damage type, as the Kuva Brakk is a Kuva Lich weapon. Be warned: this weapon has horrendous damage falloff. Make sure you have a Weapon Exilus Adapter and the Lethal Momentum Mod before you consider farming for this gun.

5 Pyrana Prime

Warframe Pyrana Prime pistol stats.

The Pyrana Prime is arguably one of the strongest guns in the game. It might have a lackluster status chance of 3.6%, yet the gun's raw damage output is so high that it can brute-force through most forms of damage resistance. Excellent base damage and critical stats make the Pyrana Prime a great workhorse weapon, further amplified if you get a triple kill. After you land three quick kills, you get an ethereal Pyrana in your other hand for a few seconds, doubling your magazine while increasing your fire rate. Clearing hordes of enemies becomes trivial when the Pyrana Prime is in its dual-wield state.

With that said, this gun's lack of status effects does hurt its viability in Steel Path. It also needs to frequently reload while a fire rate Mod is installed, something you can counteract with Arcane Pistoleer or a reload Mod. So long as you bring an armor-stripping Warframe and have a means of reloading this weapon quickly (or not at all), this gun is nothing short of S-tier.

4 Sporelacer Kitguns

Warframe marketing board for Kitgun forge vendor.

Sporelacer Kitguns are created by combining a Sporelacer barrel with a secondary grip and magazine. These Kitguns unleash a volley of spore sacs that explode, dealing a massive amount of Toxin damage to anyone caught inside the blast radius.

Since these weapons can be fired rather quickly, the Sporelacer excels as an add-clearing weapon in tight corridors. A few shots from this gun are enough to kill enemies in high-level content and even Steel Path. Those tired of the Kuva Nukor or more precise secondaries should craft a Sporelacer secondary as soon as possible.

3 Tenet Cycron

Warframe Tenet Cycron

Many Kuva Nukor fans were looking forward to the Tenet Cycron, the Corpus' take on the renowned Kuva Nukor secondary. Both function similarly: they fire a beam that applies status effects and chains between targets. What makes the Cycron different is its higher status chance, battery-charged magazine, and innate Heat damage.

Related: Warframe: A Complete Guide On Riven Mods

Is that enough to make the Tenet Cycron better than the Kuva Nukor? No. The Kuva Nukor's absurd 5x critical multiplier and innate Radiation damage make it far better suited for slaying targets in Steel Path. The Tenet Cycron is a slightly worse version of the Nukor, sacrificing potential damage output for more frequent status procs.

Don't let the comparison dishearten you. The Tenet Cycron is still a beast of a sidearm, applying hundreds of status procs in the blink of an eye. Crowds will struggle to survive against hundreds of Heat procs and the gun's good base damage. It might not top the Nukor, yet the Tenet Cycron manages to carve its own place in Warframe's secondary meta.

2 Epitaph

Warframe Epitaph

Do you love weapons that deal millions of damage a shot? Do you love weapons that have large AoE explosions? If you said "yes" to either of those questions, you need to build the Epitaph immediately. It's the only secondary in Warframe that is arguably a sidegrade to the Kuva Nukor.

Sevagoth's signature arm-mounted crossbow releases massive AoE blasts that always inflict Cold when uncharged. You can use this mode to apply quite a few status procs to crowds, weakening them for your charged shot. The Epitaph's charged bolts deal cataclysmic damage, featuring amazing base damage and great critical stats. Direct shots always proc Impact, giving each shot a 70% chance at applying Slash if you're using the Hemmorhage Mod. Simply put, there aren't many enemies in Warframe that will survive a single charged shot from this weapon.

1 Kuva Nukor

Warframe Kuva Hind and Kuva Nukor weapons

After players started obtaining the Kuva Nukor from Kuva Liches, it became clear which weapon was going to dominate the meta until further notice.

The Kuva Nukor is a potent mix of the Atomos and the Synapse. This weapon chains its damage between targets whenever it makes contact with an enemy, a mechanic that automatically makes it one of the strongest guns in the game. What makes the gun truly powerful is its 50% base status chance. Modding for status chance allows this weapon to inflict hundreds of Heat or Gas procs on a target in a few seconds. It also has the highest critical damage multiplier in the game at 5x damage. Obtain sources of additive critical chance such as Harrow or Arcane Avenger to turn this already great weapon into the strongest secondary in Warframe history.

Next: Warframe: Every Kuva Lich Weapon, Ranked

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