Surviving in Fortnite and securing a Victory Royale takes skill, a knowledge of the playing field and a drive to outlast your opponents. But none of that matters if you aren’t picking up the right weapons. Building a loadout that suits your playstyle and managing your inventory as the match progresses is key to snagging a win. You don’t want to be caught in a long-range battle with someone on a mountaintop without a solid sniper rifle on-hand, and you don’t want to find the storm closing in on a part of the map filled with smaller buildings without a shotgun.
Our guide to the best weapons in Fortnite breaks down rarity types and what they mean, the most effective arms in each weapon category and tips on how to use them.
Weapon colors and what they mean
Fortnite Battle Royale’s selection of weapons varies between categories, with plenty of different arms to choose from. From the suppressed assault rifle to the explosive rocket launcher, there’s something to fit every play style. Each weapon is assigned a tier on a rarity scale, too. Whether you’re selecting an SMG or an assault rifle, all weapons will be color-coded as such.
- Gray: Common
- Green: Uncommon
- Blue: Rare
- Purple: Epic
- Orange: Legendary
The rarer the gun, the higher the damage it will do. In a firefight, the better class of gun has the higher potential for damage, so if you take a gray assault rifle into battle against a blue one, and so on, the person with the blue gun will have an edge.
If at any time during the game you find a higher rarity tier of the weapon you’re currently using, make sure you swap out your current weapon and pick up the new color. This allows for you to make sure you are maximizing your damage. Gray and green weapons are fine at the start of the match but you should have at least blue ones by the time half of the players are dead.
Choosing between different weapons of different tiers is more difficult. It might not be a good idea to trade a common assault rifle for an epic pistol if you know you’re about to cover some open terrain. If you have to make such a choice, think about where you plan to head next and what weapon is best suited to the terrain. If you find yourself not very skilled with sniper rifles, don’t waste the inventory space by picking it up, even if it’s legendary.
Best guns in Fortnite Battle Royale
While simply stumbling upon any weapon is preferable to running around the Fortnite map wildly swinging your pickaxe and hoping to avoid the first 90 players before you’re shot out, there are some that are preferable to others. For instance, you should really hope you happen upon a shotgun over a pistol, because it’s going to keep you a whole lot safer.
Here’s a reliable hierarchy of the weapons you should strive to aim for, ranked in order of desirability. Some of the following weapons have been Vaulted — meaning they’ve been removed from Fortnite, but they will periodically make an appearance during special events. When available, they’re some of the best weapons in the game, so keep your eyes peeled!
While assault rifles aren’t the most powerful set of guns in the game, they’re the most versatile. You’ve got several different variants with different kinds of stopping power. They won’t take out enemies from across the map, but you’re easily covered whether you need to make a quick getaway to safety or you’re going on a run for your Victory Royale with five people left standing in your way. Just make sure to fire in short bursts and you’ll be golden.
These are the different types of assault rifles that you can pick up in the game currently:
- Midas Drum Gun (This weapon is only dropped when Midas is defeated at the Agency)
- Skye’s assault rifle (This weapon is only dropped when Skye is defeated in the Shark)
- Meowscles Peow Peow rifle (This weapon is only dropped when Meowscles is defeated on his Yacht)
- Normal M4 assault rifle
- Burst assault rifle
- SCAR assault rifle
- Heavy assault rifle
- Suppressed assault rifle
- Scoped assault rifle (Vaulted)
- Thermal scope assault rifle (Vaulted)
Shotguns aren’t great at range of course, but if someone is nearby, you can rock their world with a devastating shotgun blast. They are the perfect complement to your assault rifle. Some are notably better than others so play around to find the one that suits you best. You can find the different types below:
- Tactical shotgun
- Pump shotgun
- Double barrel shotgun (Vaulted)
- Heavy shotgun (Vaulted)
While not as powerful or as direct as assault rifles or shotguns, SMGs are still preferable in battle when you need something quick and light to eliminate the competition. They’re automatic, so you can hold the trigger down in a panic, and they’ll hold plenty of ammo.
They won’t do as much damage as assault rifles or shotguns, but they’re like little firecrackers that can still make for quite the party when people come to try and mess with you. Many players underrate the SMG as it is entirely to wreck a shotgun player in close range, especially if you take advantage of that weapon’s delay in shots and frequent reload time. Here are all SMG’s:
- Submachine gun
- Compact gun
Let’s face it: Not everyone can excel as a sniper. But if a sniper rifle is all you can find, use it wisely. It will require you to constantly remain on the move and on the lookout for areas in-game where you can sit and wait for passersby to pick off, but you’ll be a force to be reckoned with while hidden, and you can one-shot kill anyone who gets in your way with a well-placed headshot. Though not necessarily a rifle, we’ve also included the crossbow in this category because of its functionality.
- Boom Bow (This weapon is only dropped when TNTina is defeated in the Rig)
- Heavy sniper rifle
- Field hunter crossbow
- Hunting rifle (Vaulted)
- Bolt-action sniper rifle (Vaulted)
Explosives and heavy weapons
Explosives and heavy weapons can be hit or miss. If you find a grenade launcher or RPG, you’ll be good for a short while, but can quickly run out of ammo. They’re not ideal in most situations, but they can still get you out of a jam if you need a quick fix. Because of this, these are best saved for those final assaults when there are only a handful of players left.
Explosives and heavy weapons are extremely powerful but are just as extremely hard to find outside of supply drops. That’s why it’s best that you don’t rely on these weapons and simply use them as a strong asset.
- Boom Bow (This weapon is only dropped when TNTina is defeated in the Rig)
- Rocket launcher
- Quad launcher
- Grenade launcher (Vaulted)
Most pistols do meager damage, though they can be deadly when you find the right ones. They’re just a lot slower, rarely automatic, and do less damage per shot than most other weapons. Still, a pistol is better than nothing. Thankfully, Epic Games has added some pretty impressive pistols in the last couple of months that can surprise enemies.
- Suppressed pistol
- Six shooter (Vaulted)
- Hand cannon (Vaulted)
Best guns in each class
You’ll want to switch to another weapon from a pistol as soon as possible most of the time. However, there are some noteworthy pistols you might want to keep in your inventory. The first is the Six Shooter. One of the more recent additions, this powerful pistol packs a nice punch. It’s, unfortunately, a vaulted item, but be on the lookout when special events go live. The second — also vaulted weapon — the Hand Cannon, is similarly powerful but both require precise aiming. Honestly, you’re not going to win a Victory Royale with a pistol so ditch them as soon as you can for something more powerful.
Assault rifles come in several different flavors, including the burst-fire and M4 variations. The M4 is the middling, simplest choice that players tend to gravitate toward.
However, while it’s the most common assault rifle, it’s far from the best. Some of the best assault rifles in the game include Meowscles Peow Peow Rifle, the Midas Drum Gun, and Skye’s assault rifle. Unfortunately, these are all incredibly rare guns and require the player to defeat the NPC that carries them. For example, in order to get Skye’s assault rifle you’ll have to hunt down Skye in the Shark. Be careful chasing after these weapons, however, as you’re bound to come across others who are hoping to do the same.
Many snipers used to choose the now vaulted bolt-action sniper rifle option every single time. It’s easy to see why it’s a clear winner. For every potential headshot you land, you’ll send a devastating 200 damage tearing through each enemy. That ensures a one-shot kill, of course, which is exactly what you’ll want to aim for when taking on a sniping role. Lately, however, long-distance combatants have been using the heavy sniper instead.
While the heavy sniper rifle is one of the best weapons in the class, players looking for something a bit different can instead opt for the Boom Bow. This bazooka-bow combination offers the long-range capabilities of a sniper along with the explosive firepower of a rocket launcher. You’ll have to defeat TNTina in the Rig to get your hands on it, but it’s definitely worth the risk.
When it comes to SMG’s, you’re good no matter which one you get. As such, your best bet is to focus on making sure it’s the highest quality you can find. When you come across another SMG, don’t allow yourself to automatically ignore it but make sure it’s not better than the one you already have.
You’ll find different categories of shotguns to choose from in the form of pump shotguns, tactical shotguns, and heavy shotguns (vaulted). The tactical shotgun is currently the best choice for players looking for a high rate of fire.
While the pump shotgun is a much more powerful option, it sacrifices fire rate for its 95 damage points. It’s a devastating pick for close-range combat, especially with the potential for one-hit kills, but you’ll need to land every shot, every time.
The tactical shotgun is the better all-around choice for that reason, as it’s a more versatile weapon that allows you to pull off various defensive and offensive maneuvers, firing off shots one after another and landing what you can without having to worry yourself with pinpoint accuracy.
However, our personal favorite remains the heavy shotgun. Though it’s currently vaulted, the heavy shotgun is a powerhouse just in damage alone. The best part is its relatively fast rate of fire and not super long reload speed. If you find one of these, make sure to hold onto it tight for those close-range fights.
While explosive weaponry won’t really be something you’ll need to rely on early in the game, it comes in handy in the late game, when enemies can simply hide in their own structures or buildings dotting the map. Your best bet will be the rocket launcher. You don’t need to compensate for the arc the grenade launcher lobs its ammo with, as the rocket launcher fires in a reliable straight line.
In terms of grenades, you can select from a few different types outside of the typical Common Grenade. These include the vaulted Boogie Bomb, Stink Bomb, and Impulse Grenade. Most of these grenades can be easily ignored but we can’t help but love the Boogie Bomb. It’s a meme for a reason as it opens up your enemies to a heartbreaking loss.
Oh, and remember the Boom Bow from the sniper category? It returns here as one of the best explosives. Giving 100 damage to players and 40 to buildings, it’s one heck of a long-range rocket launcher. Like everything else in this class, be very careful when using it at close-range, less you fall victim to your own arrows.
However, in terms of heavy weapons and explosives, the minigun shouldn’t be ignored either. This heavy weapon will tear through just about anything and anyone quickly. While not necessarily the best choice for taking out enemies due to its unwieldy nature, it’s perfect for taking out buildings and setting up for a Victory Royale using a sniper rifle, assault rifle, or shotgun. If you can take down Brutus in the Grotto, however, you’ll earn Brutus’ minigun, a souped-up variety that offers 21 damage to both players and buildings. Its DPS clocks in at a ridiculous 252 — making it one of the best weapons of any class — and comes with little to no recoil. If you see one of these heading your way, it’s best to sprint in the opposite direction.
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