Call of Duty Wiki
Call of Duty Wiki
The subject of this article appeared in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. The subject of this article appeared in Zombies mode The subject of this article appears in Call of Duty: Strike Team
For a similarly named weapon, see Ballista EM3.

"Bolt-action sniper rifle. Deadly from the chest up, with faster handling speeds."
— Description.

The Ballista is a bolt-action sniper rifle featured in Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Call of Duty: Strike Team. It was first seen in the Multiplayer reveal trailer for Black Ops II. In Strike Team, it is automatically given a Suppressor.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II


The Ballista is unlocked at the start of "Fallen Angel". It can also be found in "Cordis Die".


The Ballista is the third Sniper Rifle unlocked, at level 43.

The Ballista's damage is moderate for a sniper rifle. The Ballista deals 95 damage per bullet. The Ballista deals twice as much damage on a Headshot or shot to the neck, and 50% extra damage to the upper torso, mid torso, and the arms. This gives the Ballista equal one shot kill area to the XPR-50, although the Ballista will deal more damage to the neck, thus increasing the possibility of getting a one shot kill to the neck when shooting through objects. The Ballista will not deal a one shot kill to the lower torso or the legs. This one shot kill area is fairly well sized, but smaller than the DSR-50. The Ballista has high penetration power, allowing it to retain most of its damage when shooting through walls and other surfaces. Thin surfaces will rarely stop the Ballista from getting a one shot kill, although thicker surfaces may stop one shot kills to the upper torso or arms. A shot to the head or neck can easily attain one shot kills even through thicker cover.

The Ballista's rate of fire is very slow. The Ballista has the second slowest rate of fire in-tier, firing at 47 RPM. The user will need to wait 1.26 seconds before they can fire again. This is still much faster than the DSR-50, which needs to wait 1.5 seconds before it can fire again.

The Ballista has some of the better accuracy characteristics for its tier. The Ballista does not have iron sights by default, but rather a scope with a high level of magnification. The Ballista's recoil is small and consistent. The Ballista will always kick upwards with a value of 40, never kicking downwards, and horizontal recoil values of 25 to the left and 40 to the right. This recoil per shot is very low and allows users to track their targets with ease. The Ballista's centerspeed is the worst in-tier, re-centering at 500 centerspeed, but the recoil per shot is low and the fire rate is so slow that 500 centerspeed is more than enough. The Ballista gains a 15% centerspeed increase when fired from a crouching position, or 25% centerspeed increase when fired from a prone position. More crucially to accuracy on a bolt action Sniper Rifle is its idle sway, and the Ballista has the second smallest amount of idle sway in-tier, only bested by the SVU-AS in this regard. Oddly, the Ballista's idle sway speed reduces at a rate that is less than the other Sniper Rifles when firing from a crouched or prone position. As such, the Ballista is less favorable for use in defensive situations where the user is crouching or in a prone position.

The Ballista's handling traits are among the best in the Sniper Rifle category, and its biggest strength as a weapon. The Ballista allows users to move slightly faster than other Sniper Rifles, allowing users to move at 96% of the base speed. The Ballista also allows users to strafe faster than other Sniper Rifles, strafing at 44% of the base movement speed. The Ballista also has the fastest aim down sight time in tier, aiming down the sight in 350 milliseconds, 50 milliseconds faster than the other Sniper Rifles. Like other Sniper Rifles, the Ballista's hip-fire spread is agonizingly wide, and hip-fire is next to useless. The Ballista's reload speeds are average for its tier, but poor overall. The Ballista's reload animation is 3.1 seconds long, or 3.75 seconds long if the magazine is completely empty. The user can perform a Reload Cancel after 2.3 seconds. These reload speeds are very slow. The Ballista is a sleek-handling Sniper Rifle, which lends itself very well to more aggressive usage.

One of the Ballista's weaknesses compared to other Sniper Rifles is its magazine capacity. The Ballista has the second smallest magazine in-class, holding just seven rounds. Despite holding more rounds in a magazine than the DSR-50, the Ballista has the smallest starting ammo loadout in its class, as players spawn in with just 28 rounds total.

The Ballista has an expanded selection of attachments compared to other Sniper Rifles, as the Ballista has access to the Iron Sight attachment.

The Suppressor is a very risky attachment on the Ballista. It makes the Ballista much quieter when firing, and prevents the Ballista from making the user appear on radar when firing the Ballista. However, this comes at the expense of losing the ability to get a one shot kill to the mid-torso and the forearms. This makes the Ballista much less likely to get one shot kills, but the one shot kill area remains large enough that some users could get used to it.

The Ballistics CPU reduces the Ballista's amount of idle sway by 30%, making the Ballista sway much less overall. The attachment is purely beneficial and can assist players who want as little idle sway as possible. However, those who are accustomed to the default amount of Idle Sway on the Ballista don't need to pick this attachment.

The Variable Zoom will provide two zoom levels for the Ballista, one higher than the default zoom level and one lower than the default zoom level. In addition to providing two new zoom levels, the Ballista will also sway 5% less when the attachment is equipped. In addition, since the Variable Zoom is not the default scope option, the Ballista will sway at half the speed. Variable Zoom not only provides improved flexibility on zoom options, but will also fight idle sway for the user.

Fast Mag will speed up the reloads of the Ballista, and it'll make reloads much less risky to perform. Extended Clip, on the other hand, will slow down reloads slightly, but will increase the magazine capacity to ten rounds and the starting ammo loadout to forty rounds.

FMJ increases the Ballista's penetration power and damage dealt to scorestreaks. This will make the Ballista far more efficient when shooting through walls, and make it more efficient at destroying scorestreaks that the user can shoot at.

The ACOG Scope provides a much lower zoom magnification than the default sniper scope, and through the virtue of not being the default sniper scope, the Ballista will sway at half the speed, making the idle sway more manageable. Despite there being no prompt on-screen to do so, the user can still hold their breath when aiming down the scope. The ACOG Scope improves situational awareness when aiming down the sight for extended periods of time, and will retain view of the radar when aiming.

The Laser Sight will improve the Ballista's hip-fire accuracy. However, hip-fire accuracy is still poor, with accuracy similar to that of the LMG default from the hip. The Laser Sight is much more useful as a visual aid when scoping in, as it can help users aim to the center of the screen more reliably.

The Dual Band Scope provides a thermal overlay on an alternative sniper scope, with enemies glowing yellow with their thermal signature. This can help users identify obscured enemies at longer ranges, and most enticingly, Smoke Grenades will not obscure enemies when looking through a Dual Band Scope.

The Iron Sight is the most unique attachment on the Ballista. The Iron Sight has an innate zoom level on par with the assault rifles, making the Iron Sight by far the most close-quarters oriented sight attachment on the Ballista. Like the ACOG Scope, the user retains peripheral vision and radar visibility when aiming. The Iron Sight will also reduce idle sway by 50%, giving it the lowest amount of idle sway possible on a Sniper Rifle in Black Ops 2 Multiplayer. The Iron Sight's biggest advantage, however, is that it will speed up the aim down sight time. The Iron Sight allows users to aim down the sight in only 298 milliseconds, easily the fastest aim down sight time on any Sniper Rifle in Black Ops 2 Multiplayer. The Iron Sight is designed for highly aggressive gameplay, and the Ballista is already highly favorable for such a role due to its slicker handling. Its very lacking zoom makes the Ballista far less capable for

The Ballista overall is the best Sniper Rifle for more aggressive sniper usage. The increased mobility, better aim down sight time, and good overall accuracy make the Ballista a favorite for Quickscoping, and using the Iron Sights only further exacerbates the Ballista's handling strengths. For snipers that play more defensively and stationary, however, many of the Ballista's advantages will be rendered moot, and Sniper Rifles like the DSR-50 and XPR-50 provide large advantages for the more defensive roles which the Ballista simply lacks. Using the Ballista to its fullest involves being a more mobile sniper.

After the patch 1.13, the rate of fire of Ballista was reduced from 51 RPM to 47 RPM.



A Ballista with the Iron Sight attachment appears in the Zombies map Origins available off the wall for 500 points or can be dug up with a Shovel. It performs similarly to the Kar98k in that it is relatively effective on early rounds, but on later rounds the player will need to score a headshot to kill a Zombie. It is a one-hit-kill by headshot up until and including Round 6. However, during Round 6, zombies will walk around headless for a short duration after being shot and will continue to chase the player. When Pack-a-Punched it becomes the Infused Arbalest. It comes equipped with a 10-round magazine, more reserve ammo, and an ACOG Sight attachment, although it can be Pack-a-Punched again to remove the ACOG Sight and replace it with Iron Sights. In this upgraded form the Ballista is much more effective, remaining a one-shot headshot kill until approximately round 30, even without Double Tap II.

Ballista vs Infused Arbalest

Ballista Infused Arbalest
Ballista Iron Sight BOII.png Ballista Upgraded BO2.png
Damage 150 400-200
Fire mode Bolt-action Bolt-action
Rate of fire 51 RPM 51 RPM
Magazine size 8 10
Max ammo 64+8 120+10
Extras Higher magazine capacity, more ammo, higher damage
Possible Attachments ACOG Sight, Iron Sight


For camouflage images, see Ballista/Camouflage.
For attachments images, see Ballista/Attachments.


Call of Duty: Black Ops II

  • The bubble in the scope's spirit level will respond to most character actions including running and reloading, but does not respond when the player character lowers their weapon in the campaign.
  • The Ballista uses .338 Lapua Magnum rounds, according to the Ballistics CPU, and the magazine.
  • The text "Made by Hobo Commando MP, in Bavaria, Germany" can be seen on the magazine and with minuscule writing on the upper-right facing side of the receiver.
  • "Royce & Wesley" can be seen written on the scope.
  • The Ballista's serial number is "00040212".
  • If the Iron Sight is selected as an attachment, "RS" can be seen written on the rear sight.
  • Just like other sniper rifles in multiplayer, the Ballista has an unusable, folded bipod.
  • It still shoot at 51 RPM on the Wii U Multiplayer version, since there is no update to decrease that fire rate.
  • The Ballista's stock is foldable, the character unfolds it when the weapon is first picked up or if equipped on a class at the start of a match, unless the Laser Sight is attached on the gun.
  • Prior to a patch, it was possible to equip a Ballistics CPU and Iron Sight attachment at the same time, using Call of Duty ELITE class customization functionality. This caused the scope itself to fail to render, resulting in a floating CPU and tuning knob, or the iron sight to appear inside the scope's view, or a high zoom on the iron sight.