Nanostructured NbC thin films with variable contents of Nb and C were prepared by direct current (DC) magnetron sputtering, and for the first time, via high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) searching for an improvement in the tribological properties. X-ray diffraction shows that increasing the carbon incorporation, the crystalline composition evolves from Nb2C to NbC phase. Further carbon enrichment leads to a nanocomposite structure formed by small NbC crystals (8–14 nm) dispersed in a-C matrix. The friction coefficient varied from high friction (0.8) to low friction (0.25) and the hardness values between 20 and 11 GPa depending on the film composition. A densification of the coatings by changing the methodology from DC to HiPIMS was not observed.