Of course, weapons
in ME1 are a completley different matter altogether. All assault rifles, shotguns, pistols and SRs act exactly the same as each other, with the main difference being in overheat capacity and stopping power. There is no CHOICE except to upgrade to a better looted weapon, or buy a rifle that's essentially the same as the current one, except with more numbers. There's no real difference in performance and behaviour.
All you have to do to get a guaranteed win in combat is to sell the truckloads of crappy guns and armor you aren't going to use anyways to make enough money to buy Spectre gear, then equip with double Frictionless Materials.
ME1's weapon system provides only false choices.
ME2's weapons on the other hand, perform differently
from one another - every weapon has its own rate of fire, accuracy, and unique quirks - the Avenger, Vindicator, Geth Pulse Rifle, Mattock, and Revenant are not just another assault rifle
, for example. It's a narrower system with fewer numbers and items, but it provides a hell of a lot more choices for the player. What they're doing with weapons in ME3 is only going to strengthen that level of choice.
That being said, a lot of the armor types in ME1 had much more variable stats. The ME2 armor pieces didn't do a whole ton of good for me - the most noticable equipment effects were from the Kuwashii Visor, the Off-Hand Ammo Pack and the Ordinance Pack. Then again, my main build is a soldier, and I play cautiously enough that I barely get hurt badly enough to test the limits of the N7 armor system.