Starfield Bug Forces Players to Change Gender to Fire Guns

Starfield players looking for how to fix a bug that breaks guns figured out changing their character's gender is a solution.
Starfield screenshot. 

Starfield players are reporting a bug that prevents them from firing their weapons in the game. The easiest solution? Changing your character’s gender. If you started with a male character, changing it to female in one of the game’s genetics facilities fixes the bug, and the opposite is true as well.

I learned about the unexpected fix because I encountered the bug myself. I had just robbed a space station casino where I had also picked up some mech components and black market antiquities. These items are contraband in Starfield, so if I jumped into a system that’s patrolled by the law and my ship was scanned while holding them, I’d face a fine or jail time. I’m role-playing the game as a criminal scumbag, so I had to take some galactic backroads to a space pirate station where I could unload the illicit goods.

Problem was, there was a bounty on my head at that space station, so as soon as I stepped foot in it the space pirates wanted me to pay an even heavier fine than the cops. Committed to the scumbag bit, I pulled out my revolver thinking I could shoot my way out of the situation, but the gun wouldn’t fire. I thought there was some in-universe reason for this—maybe the pirates had a security system to disable visitors’ weapons—so I reluctantly paid the fine and moved on. An hour or so later, I was planeside with those same pirates when we were jumped by Starship Troopers-like aliens. I reached for my revolver again, and again pulled the trigger impotently.

Now I knew something was wrong, so I Googled “Starfield weapon don’t fire bug” and found I wasn’t alone. There are YouTube videos, and multiple Reddit threads of players complaining about the exact same problem. Players say that resetting the game and loading previous saves did not fix the problem (it didn’t for me either), which is usually a bad sign.  

“If anyone stumbles on a fix please post it here, otherwise I'm just going to refund,” one player wrote on Reddit. “Not going to start a new game just to have this bug happen again and waste more hours of my time. Lame.”

Bethesda games are notoriously buggy. Starfield is a massive world with tons of characters, locations, and systems that allow players to mess with them in so many unpredictable ways, it’s impossible to test for every probability. Getting a ton of bugs in a dense simulation like that is not just an inevitable outcome of these complex systems, I would argue it’s a feature.

Or at least it is fun as long as the bug doesn’t break the game entirely, which can also happen in Bethesda games. Luckily, players have figured out one reliable solution for this gun bug. If a player can make it long enough without firing their gun to get to an “Enhance Clinic,” they can resolve the issue. These genetic labs allow players to change their appearance by revisiting the character creation menus at the start of the game. Here, players can change every single detail about their appearance: hair, facial features, body type, and also their gender, for 500 credits.  

For whatever reason, changing the gender resets something in the game that fixes the bug, allowing players to fire their guns again. They can also just easily change their gender back.

“So my friend had this bug. I did some digging and someone suggested a console command that swapped your sex,” another player wrote. “Why would this work? Who the hell knows. But after trying everything else he said screw it and tried. Lo and behold, he could fire weapons again.”

The bug is even easier to fix on PC, where players can type in console commands to tweak in-game rules directly, and cheat if they want. As one Reddit user pointed out, this isn’t the first time this exact bug, and fix, appeared in a Bethesda game. According to a Steam Discussion thread from 2017 about Fallout 4, which came in 2015 and uses the same game engine, players were also sometimes suddenly unable to fire their guns. As one player in that thread pointed out, pulling up the console command and typing in “player.sexchange” instantly changes your character’s gender, fixing the bug. The same fix works in Starfield and it’s how I fixed the bug myself. If a player wants to stick to the gender they chose when they first started Starfield, they could simply type the same command twice.

Players have also shared other commands that fix the bug, but some of these reset the character’s experience level or mess with their abilities. Surely, there are other ways to reset whatever issue is causing this bug, in-game or with a command, but so far the gender change is the prevailing solution.

Some players worry that the command will disable achievements if used, and Starfield does give players a warning about this when they first pull up the command prompt. Other players say they are still getting achievements after using it. I haven’t been able to confirm either way. Using the Enhance Clinic will impact achievements.
I think it’s important to note that, at least in the threads and video about this bug and fix that I’ve seen, people were cool. They were annoyed with the bug, and thought it was a funny fix, but people were just trying to have fun and play their game, and sharing tips on where to find Enhance Clinics. This is in stark contrast to a gaming YouTuber who went viral last week for performatively giving himself an aneurysm over Starfield allowing players to pick their pronouns in that same character creation menu, a normal and welcome thing that more video games are doing, even Call of Duty.