It’s not quite as unique to play a multiplayer FPS with 100 or more players in a single match today, but before the battle royale craze hit, there was basically just one franchise pushing player counts above 16 or 24 players. The Battlefield series has always made strives to make players feel like they were really in the midst of an actual warzone. Their mix of high player counts, destructible environments, and vehicle-based warfare on giant maps was unlike anything else on the market. To this day, there are still few other games that attempt to copy this formula of two massive teams fighting it out on the same scale.
For as many people as there can be in a match, each player can still feel like they’re making a difference in the game. Well, assuming they are packing the right weapons. With 22 total weapons in Battlefield 2042 at launch, many of which need to be unlocked via leveling up, experimenting with them all to find the best one could take up a lot of your time. Instead, we’ve put all the guns through their paces and came up with a list of the best weapons in Battlefield 2042 for each category so you can score as many points as possible.
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We’re starting with the best SMG, and more specifically the PP-29, because this is arguably the best weapon in Battlefield 2042 bar none. The best SMG in the game for certain, this gun basically does everything but snipe and blow up vehicles. It comes with a giant magazine capacity of 53, way above any other SMG, has exceptional handling, and is effective in both close- and mid-range engagements. You only need to get to level 18 to unlock this arguably broken gun, at which point you can throw on a barrel to drop the recoil and increase the rate of fire, plus a 1.5x scope to turn this thing into an absolute monster.
The alternate SMG doesn’t unlock until you’ve worked your way up to level 53 and acts far more like a real SMG than the PP-29. The K30 does beat out the competition when used up close since it can rip through an enemy with ease. Even with an extended mag, though, you’re probably not going to be able to get more than one or two kills before needing to reload, and anyone outside your effective range is going to easily outgun you since the accuracy drop-off is a bit extreme.
The default assault rifle for Battlefield 2042 is the M5A3 and, for being available right off the bat, is actually really good. This medium-ranged weapon has not too bad recoil, a standard 30-bullet magazine, and balanced accuracy. It really is an all-around balanced starting weapon, and with a holo scope, extended barrel, and extra grip, is solid enough to keep you competitive in any open gunfight.
When you eventually hit level 40, though, it is well worth taking a look at the AC-42. On the surface, this assault rifle outperforms the M5A3 in a few key areas, primarily damage and rate of fire. You can swap between single fire and burst modes, giving some good versatility and keeping the recoil under control, but the attachments really turn this gun into a star. If you add on a 1.5x scope, compensator, and laser sight, you basically have an assault rifle that can pull double duty as an SMG in close encounters.
Who can resist picking off a super-long-range kill? Unfortunately, Battlefield 2042 makes you stick with the default DM7 until you hit level 14. Once you do, get yourself the SVK right away. This sniper can pick off targets at up to 1,500 meters, has a five-bullet default clip size, and is strong enough to down any player in two shots at most. That small magazine size is really the only drawback to this high-powered rifle. It is slightly less accurate by default than some other guns, but if you toss on a 10x scope, extended magazine, bipod, and muzzle break, you certainly won’t feel like it’s anything but a powerhouse.
Another very late unlock, the VCAR won’t be in your arsenal until level 47. This marksman rifle is unique in that it is very, very light and meant for medium- and close-range battles. It does have the lowest accuracy of this weapon type but still is well above average, has plenty of range potential, and is perfect for players who want to be highly mobile and sneak around the enemy. You can customize it for either medium or close range thanks to some great attachments, but either way, the drum ammo is a must-have, as well as the light grip and compensator.
In terms of snipers, the DCR-1 is unquestionably the king of the long-range kill. An upgrade over the default sniper in every way, this level 24 unlock blows every other gun in its class out of the water. Yes, we mean in terms of damage, but not just that. The accuracy is also unmatched, as is the range, and it doesn’t even suffer much in terms of handling. It is a bolt action, so the rate of fire is the main drawback. Because it’s as strong as it is, though, as long as you land that shot, you won’t have to worry about a slightly longer time between shots.
The default sniper takes second place in our eyes over the NTW-50, which unlocks at level 60. Aside from being readily available, the only real area the NTW has an edge over the SWS-10 is in slightly more firepower, but even then, its rate of fire is nearly double the NTW’s. Range, accuracy, and handling are all superior here. Just set it up with attachments like you would any sniper, a 10x scope, high-powered ammo, muzzle brake, and bipod, and get yourself to a nice sniping nest to lay down the pain from across the map.
LMGs are what you turn to when you want to pretend like you never have to reload. In that area, the LCMG will surely satisfy you with its insane 200-bullet magazine, plus the ability to swap between semi- and full-auto firing modes. Somehow, this beast also has very low recoil, making it effective for close- and medium-ranged firefights, but it’s also the only gun that uses AP rounds by default, which are perfect for spraying down vehicles in a pinch. Stick to either a holo or 2x scope, close-combat ammo, a shortened barrel, and a good grip to really dampen the recoil and improve handling.
The second-best choice for LMGs is by default the second-best since there are only two in the game at launch. The PKP-BP is by no means bad, but not really an improvement either. You will unlock it at level 32 and, aside from a marginally higher damage stat and rate of fire, find it pretty unimpressive compared to the LCMG. The 200-bullet magazine is still here, but you lose out on accuracy, range, and handling by comparison. You could build it out to be a longer-range LMG with the hybrid scope and factory barrel, but in almost all scenarios, you’re better off sticking with the LCMG.
Shotguns are all about getting up close and personal, yet the GVT 45-70 is slightly reminiscent of the pre-patch model 1887 shotgun that terrorized that game for a while. While not at that level of game-breaking power, this shotgun does serve both purposes of a shotgun and long-range rifle. The firepower is quite high, with great accuracy and range for a shotgun. Depending on what attachments you add on, you can make it a heavy damage dealer for close encounters or stabilize it for long-range. It has a ton to pick from, so you can really do just about anything with this versatile shotgun.
The 12M Auto is, well, a fully automatic close-range beast. It has only slightly less firepower than the GVT 45-70, but a way higher rate of fire. That makes it a better choice if you know you want something for tight spaces, but it isn’t going to hold up in any wide-open areas. Accuracy is on the low side, with even less range, so this isn’t a gun you can spec out to cover all your bases. You’ll want to instead buff its strengths by adding a holo scope, buckshot ammo, and laser sight to make firing from the hip as effective as possible.
Secondary weapons are often ignored, but the M44 is a magnum that demands your respect. In fact, in some ways, this baby is as good as the old Halo magnum from the first game. It is the strongest secondary in the game by a long shot, but can also use a 4x scope to make it have about as effective a range as a rifle. The rate of fire is, again, a drawback, as is the six-bullet magazine size, but with the power this thing packs, you can get a kill in just a few shots. As far as trusty sidearms go, there’s none more reliable to have by your side for close- or medium-range.
For something that’s a little more automatic, the MP28 is basically a pistol shoved into the case of a rifle. As such, it has better-than-normal stats for a pistol but lags behind any true automatic weapon. However, it is one of the most accurate sidearms you can pick and has a ton of attachment options to pick out. It won’t ever be much use beyond a mid-range battle, but that’s not really what secondaries are for anyway. Add on a holo scope, flashlight, and compensator to make it a lifesaver when caught with your back to the wall and no other options.
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