Good question, always wondered about that myself. From my experience the numbers probably mean exactly what they imply, a SR does less damage per shot than an AR. Have you tried to see how many shots it takes to kill a geth trooper on Insanity with the lower tier SR? It takes ages. The thing is that the SR is meant to be fired with the Assassination ability and to be used with the proper mods attached say, 2 Rail Extensions VII and High Explosive or other appropriate extra damaging ammo. Now, if you give that kind of SR to someone with the Commando specialization, the damage per shot becomes astronomical. But my advice is don't even bother using the lower tier SR, like the one you begin with; SRs become good after you gain access to the decent ones, like the Naginata series or the Spectre Master gear SRs. TiberiusYakushev 10:39, November 6, 2011 (UTC)
Then explain why on my first infiltrator, my sniper rifle did one shot one kill without assassanation, but my pistol didn't!
I don't know for sure, but I think it's dealt damage per heating or something similar. Sniper rifles are way more powerful than assault rifles if you fire both just once. This is true at least when I use both weapons with high explosive rounds. Dogmatix314 21:46, November 6, 2011 (UTC)