Getting to grips with Fortnite weapons is a must if you want to excel in Epic's battle royale shooter.
Though given the situation most weapons will be useful, some are undoubtedly better than others, whether it's for close-up play or at a distance.
After you've worked out the many Fortnite loot sources available, it's a case of choosing the best weapons - with our page helping you decide which to pick up, which to leave behind, and which to practice with to eventually win that well-earned Victory Royale.
Update: As of July 17, the Tactical Submachine Gun has been added to the Fortnite vault, to be replaced by the 'regular' Submachine Gun. We'll have our impressions of where it sits after some playtime in the coming days, but in the meantime, we can offer SMG stats to know what you're getting as a replacement.
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Fortnite SMG stats: What you need to know about the new Submachine Gun
The latest weapon to be added to Fortnite is the Submachine Gun, or SMG. The weapon is described by developer Epic Games as follows:
"Make enemies think twice before they push you. Run and gun with the new Submachine Gun, ideal for those intense close range battles."
Here are the raw SMG stats:
- Available as a Common, Uncommon and Rare weapon
- 19-21 base damage
- Uses light ammo, with a 30 round capacity
- Found in chests and on the floor
What the stats don't tell you is it sounds different (in our opinion, much better!) Here's a YouTube video from Fortnite Bruh showing it off in battle:
Our picks for the best weapons in Fortnite
You could argue about the ins and outs of weapon stats all day and which is the best based on hard, cold numbers but what's really important is how they perform in combat. For example, just because the M4 Assault Rifle has the highest DPS in the game, it doesn't mean it's going to outshine a Rocket Launcher in the final circle.
Weapon ranking changes based on strategy and the current situation, therefore your play style often determines what guns work best for you. We've rounded up our favourite guns from each category based on how they perform when playing a match.
The AR is every player's essential weapon for scoring fast kills during medium-range skirmishes due to its spacious 30-round magazine. They can be used during close-range combat, but they don't pack as much of a punch as other gun types. The SCAR - the Legendary variant of the AR - is our favourite of the bunch as it packs a massive 198 damage-per-second output, although it has a slightly slower reload speed compared to its Common, Uncommon and Rare brothers. If you're unable to find the elusive Legendary beast then the Burst Assault Rifle almost as good.
If you've just dropped and the Common or Uncommon M4 Assault Rifle is the only gun you can grab, you'll be at an advantage during medium to long range combat but maybe consider running away if your opponent has a shotgun because your chances of prevailing during an ambush is slim.
The Thermal Scoped AR is also a fantastic contender, although it unfortunately has a heavy recoil so make sure you tap-fire instead of holding down when shooting it. It comes in Epic and Legendary variants and gives you a gigantic advantage over other players even if you don't use it to shoot as its thermal scope shows unopened chests, Supply Drops and enemy heat signatures.
Lastly, the Scoped AR is our favourite weapon in the mobile version of Fortnite specifically since it works wonderfully with the game's aim assist. It also packs 100% accuracy so it's a great gun for those who struggle with staying accurate consistently. Just make sure you use it at medium to long range as it sadly has a slow fire rate.
The Tactical Submachine Gun is the best gun for early circles because it has a huge fire rate compared to others, meaning it can deal almost as much harm as more powerful, slower weapons despite having a low damage output. It comes in Uncommon, Rare and Epic versions and all three pack a punch - the latter is the one you want though as it deals a whopping 260 damage-per-second as opposed to the base variant's 234.
Update: As of July 17, the Tactical Submachine Gun has been added to the Fortnite vault, and is instead replaced by the 'regular' Submachine Gun. We'll have our impressions of where it sits after some playtime soon.
Packing a gigantic 50-round magazine, our favourite is the recently added Rifle-SMG hybrid, the Drum Gun. With its Rare variant firing at a rate of 27, it's fantastic for tearing down structures quickly - perfect for the final handful of circles.
Whilst the Minigun isn't the best gun to use during combat due to its delayed firing, it is perfect for ripping opponents' forts to shreds, even if they're reinforced due to its unlimited magazine and absolutely no reload time. Our favourite machine gun is the Light Machine Gun though as it is incredible in close-range combat due to its 100-bullet magazine.
It doesn't work too well when in long-range combat though so you're better off switching to a different gun type entirely if you want a chance at winning a brawl against a foe with a more suitable weapon.
If long-range distance combat is your thing, then the Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle is your best friend. It's the best sniper rifle in the game in our opinion as it can obliterate opponents with a single headshot, even if they have maximum health and shields.
It does have a really slow reload time, however, so make sure you're either high above your opponent (such as on a mountain) or that they're unaware of your location before you take a shot at them to avoid being taken out whilst you reload your single bullet.
The Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle is the better option of the two if you prefer a gun with a faster reload time, although it's the hardest weapon to find in the game and isn't as strong. It has a bigger bullet capacity than the Bolt-Action too, with a magazine of 10 instead of one.
The Suppressed Pistol is one of the best guns for the very early circles as it allows you to get the drop on opponents from medium-range and eliminate them silently without alerting others to your location, working in your favor if you're in a crowded area. It's especially effective when trying to be sneaky as firing it from a hidden spot such as a bush or behind a car will confuse your foe when it comes to figuring out where the shots are coming from.
If you're after a weapon that packs a punch at close-range then the Dual Pistol is a great choice as it takes only two headshots to kill off a fully healed and shielded enemy, with a shot to the chest taking a third of their health. The more common Pistol is also a fair contender if it's all you can find as it has a heavy DPS at 155 through to 169 depending on rarity.
It's difficult to say what shotgun is the best overall, since they're very similar in how they perform. The Tactical Shotgun is semi-automatic and has a fast fire rate, whilst the Pump Shotgun has a more powerful shot but a slower fire rate. Both have the capability to finish off a non-shielded foe with a single shot regardless of weapon rarity.
We've found that if you have both in your inventory, taking an initial shot with the Pump and then switching to the Tactical works incredibly well compared to just using one or the other.
If you don't have both, then make sure you're always equipped with a backup assault rifle or other fast-spraying weapon, in case you miss your shot and need something with a higher fire rate to stand a chance at winning the fight. As for the Heavy Shotgun, it has a higher range than the other two, making it more suitable for the mid to late game when you'll be moving away from close-quarter combat. It also has fires more rounds.
Our favourite, the Rocket Launcher, is absolutely fantastic for the final few circles, as not only does it have an incredible range, it completely rips opponents' bases to shreds.
It's common knowledge that if you see a rocket flying towards you and you don't have time or the space to run away, you're pretty much guaranteed to be wiped out instantly. You can also ride on rockets too, which is always a blast when playing in with teammates in a Duo or Squads.
The Grenade Launcher requires more precision when firing its grenades due to the need to get the aim and trajectory just right to get them to land at the desired point. Be careful not to wipe yourself out too, since one wrong move and the grenade will show no mercy in bouncing back into your face and end your game there and then.
It is a mighty little thing when used in the right situation though, such as firing into a camper's spot or into the bottom of enemy structures.
Fortnite weapon tier list
Is it possible to rank the various weapons in the game into a single list? We've given it a go with our Fortnite weapon tier list, giving you an idea of which weapons to definitely keep, and which to consider dropping as you approach the end game.
- Legendary Assault Rifle (SCAR)
- Epic Assault Rifle (SCAR)
- Legendary Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle
- Epic Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle
- Rare Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle
- Legendary Rocket Launcher
- Epic Rocket Launcher
- Rare Rocket Launcher
- Rare Pump Shotgun
- Uncommon Pump Shotgun
- Legendary Thermal Scoped Assault Rifle
- Epic Thermal Scoped Assault Rifle
- Legendary Grenade Launcher
- Epic Grenade Launcher
- Legendary Dual Pistols
- Rare Burst Assault Rifle
- Epic Scoped Assault Rifle
- Rare Tactical Shotgun
- Epic Dual Pistols
- Legendary Heavy Shotgun
- Epic Tactical Submachine Gun
- Legendary Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle
- Epic Light Machine Gun
- Rare Drum Gun
- Uncommon Drum Gun
- Legendary Hand Cannon
- Rare Assault Rifle (M4)
- Rare Scoped Assault Rifle
- Rare Hunting Rifle
- Uncommon Tactical Shotgun
- Epic Heavy Shotgun
- Rare Tactical Submachine Gun
- Epic Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle
- Uncommon Hunting Rifle
- Epic Hand Cannon
- Legendary Suppressed Pistol
- Rare Light Machine Gun
- Uncommon Assault Rifle (M4)
- Common Assault Rifle (M4)
- Common Tactical Shotgun
- Uncommon Burst Assault Rifle
- Common Burst Assault Rifle
- Uncommon Tactical Submachine Gun
- Epic Suppressed Pistol
- Rare Pistol
- Uncommon Pistol
- Rare Revolver
- Legendary Minigun
- Epic Minigun
- Uncommon Revolver
- Common Revolver
- Common Pistol
- Rare Suppressed Submachine Gun
- Uncommon Submachine Gun
- Common Submachine Gun
Topping our list is the SCAR Assault Rifle which is, in our opinion, the best all-round weapon in the game. It deals more damage than other assault rifles, but more importantly has faster reload times and very little recoil. While a Pump Shotgun would beat a SCAR in most close-quarter battles, the majority of the mid / late game is spent traversing the land as the circle shrinks and pushes you towards the centre.
Above any other weapon, the SCAR is the most versatile and will perform the best in most situations. In the late game, particularly the final circle, the Bolt Action Rifle is a great counter to the SCAR or Rocket Launcher. In a long-range fight where you have cover, the Bolt Action Sniper Rifle can easily overpower the SCAR, especially if you get the drop on an opponent who is popping their head up to return fire on another player.
The Rocket Launcher is the best of both worlds, as it's the perfect tool to destroy forts, and a weapon that can deal immense damage when it directly hits an opponent.
Rounding out our Best list is the Rare Pump Shotgun, which dominates in the early phase of matches, particularly the looting phase where a lot of players will be in closed quarter battles. Quickly switching to the Pump Shotgun can secure you a Victory Royale, as the benefits of other weapons will be diminished as the distance closes.
In the Strong category, we have the Thermal Scoped AR at the top. It's great for all phases in the game as it can be used as a scouting tool. The Legendary Grenade Launcher is great for fishing enemies out if they are hunkered down in a closed quarter section or in their fort in the late game. Unlike the Rocket Launcher, it has a delayed explosion, and that can make it somewhat unpredictable.
Other honorary mentions include the Legendary Hand Cannon. It's heavy damage output of 78 body and 156 head damage puts it up there with the Shotgun class. Another is the Rare Assault Rifle, while not the strongest assaults rifle in the game, is commonly found in the early game, has all-round solid stats and has the potential to take you far into the mid game.
Lastly, Hunting Rifle is the middle ground between the Bolt Action's high damage output and the Semi-Automatic's higher fire rate. While it's still a single shot, it's quick reload time of 1.7 seconds, makes it more forgiving for less skilled players, but just as deadly.
Best loot in Fortnite explained
Whilst our best weapons list is chock-a-block full of different stats, gun types and tiers, the loot system is a lot less complicated to choose the best items from. Combat and building skills aren't enough to nab you a win on their own - you'll also need to collect some loot.
Ranging from health and shield restoratives to grenades, there are plenty of items available throughout the game, all of which will assist you in securing a Victory Royale. There's also traps, which we've detailed in our dedicated Fortnite building and traps guide.
Remote Explosives are a great way to kill off opponents from afar, especially if you're being tailed or your health is low. There's no distance limit on detonation either, meaning you could be over the other side of the map before you set them off.
A favourite way to use them and secure yourself some loot without fear of being executed by another player is to stick them on unopened chests and freshly-landed Supply Drops and then lay in wait from a distance for an unsuspecting foe to come along. Be sneaky with your placement though as they're destroyed when shot. They can be found in Loot Chests, Supply Drops, Supply Llamas and on the floor.
If you're less-skilled at building, then the Port-a-Fort is your saving grace - simply throw it down and it'll construct a full-blown three-story metal fort right in front of your eyes. Equipped with bouncy tires at the bottom that send you straight to the top and an eagle's nest so you can pop your head in and out to snipe or send rocket projectiles, it is an item that's fantastic for the last few circles.
If it didn't sound amazing already, you can also stack forts into each other if you throw down more than one Port-a-Fort, giving you a ton of extra protection. You can find them in Vending Machines, Supply Drops, Supply Llamas and Loot Chests.
If you find yourself heavily wounded coming out of the loot phase or mid-game, a Chug Jug will give you a second chance by filling your health and shield completely. You can hold this item strategically as well to completely recover in a botched fight in the final few circles. Since the item refills both bars, it takes longer to use than other medical items with a 15-second cast time, so it's best used while behind cover or in a healing room. They spawn in Loot Chests, Supply Drops, Supply Llamas and Vending Machines.
It's an obvious one, but the Med Kit is by far one of the most useful items in the game as it restores all your health in one go. It does come with a ten second cast time, though, so make sure you either hide in a secure building before drinking it or build yourself a healing room if you're out in the open.
If you're only able to find one Kit, it's a better idea to save it until the endgame and to keep your health topped up with Bandages in the meantime (though note the 75% cap), so you've got the guarantee of going into the final battle with a full bar. They're found in all loot types.
Having a shield in the loot phase is key as it can mean the difference between life and death during close-combat encounters. Whilst everyone is scrambling to get their loot (especially in more populated areas), quickly drinking a Shield Potion can you give you the edge as it fills your shield bar halfway, and since most fights are a numbers game, having it can lead you to victory over a more skilled player.
You can find them on the floor, in Loot Chests, Supply Llamas, Supply Drops and in Vending Machines.
While not the most glamorous strategy, hiding in different bushes around the map is one way to earn yourself a place in the endgame if you're not the most skilled in combat. The Bush is essentially portable cover, meaning you can cover yourself even in areas where bushes and trees don't grow as much. Walking with the Bush around you allows you to crouch and blend in with the environment which is great for sniping and sneaking up on enemies.
Some opponents might even be tricked by this and try and use your Bush as their own cover without seeing you first, walking straight into a trap. When the final circle gets too hectic, using a Bush can give you the chance to quickly manoeuvre around the map to find a place to build your fort or to get the jump on other players by circling around them. You can find them in Supply Drops, Loot Crates, Supply Llamas and in Vending Machines.
Looking for more help? Our Fortnite tips and tricks can help get you up to speed as you play around as you unlock the Fortnite Season 5 Battle Pass and attempt the current roster of Fortnite Challenges, including Oasis, Rock Archway and Dinosaurs location and Basketball Hoop locations, and soon, the Fortnite Birthday event. Elsewhere, you can read about the Fortnite best weapons, how to build in Fortnite, the expected Fortnite Android release date and get the best Fortnite settings.
Fortnite weapon rarity and loot sources explained
Weapons and loot come in five different tiers: Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic and Legendary, and the rarer the item, the better it is. For example, a regular Common Assault Rifle does 165 damage-per-second - which doesn't sound so bad until you compare it to its Legendary brother, which inflicts 198 damage-per-second.
Consumables also come in rarity tiers, with items such as the full health, full shield-granting Chug Jug ranking in at Legendary tier over the Rare Shield Potion, which only gives you 50 shield points.
There are seven ways to find weapons, loot and ammo in Fortnite: in Loot Chests, Ammo Boxes, Supply Drops, Supply Llamas, in Vending Machines, on the floor and by looting eliminated opponents.
1) Loot Chests
Chests are scattered all over the world in the backs of trucks, stashed away in attics and hidden in secret underground bunkers. Though their locations are fixed, only a certain number will appear at any one time.
They're one of the most common ways to obtain items and weapons, with opponents often getting into skirmishes over them for the chance to obtain coveted Epic and Legendary loot.
You'll know you're near one when you hear a sparkling sound but before you tear your surroundings apart, stay vigilant and scout the surrounding area for anyone else who could also be on the hunt for it to avoid being slaughtered. Also be careful when hacking away at ceilings because if you demolish the floor that the chest is sat on, you'll accidentally destroy it too.
Whilst most Common, Uncommon and Rare weapons and items can be found in loot chests, there is also a chance for Epic and Legendary ones to spawn which is what most players will be on the lookout for. All ammunition has a 100% drop rate from loot chests and there's a 3.4% chance that no weapons will drop at all.
2) Ammo Chests
Ammo chests are self-explanatory - they contain gun ammunition. They are either small or large, with small boxes containing two types of ammo and large containing only one and they can be found almost anywhere. There are five different types of bullets in the game: Light Bullets (used in Pistols, Handguns, SMGs and Miniguns), Medium Bullets (used in Assault Rifles), Heavy Bullets (used in Sniper Rifles), Shells (used in Shotguns) and Rockets (used in Grenade and Rocket Launchers).
3) Supply Drops
Supply Drops are boxes dropped into safe zones by airplanes, at a rate of two per circle. The loot found in these crates is significantly better than from regular chests and will always reward the player with at least one Legendary weapon with ammo and 20 random materials, a consumable item such as a Potion or Med Kit and a Trap.
You'll know one is about to drop somewhere within the circle when you hear a beeping sound - this is your cue to scour the skies for a falling crate with a hot air balloon attached.
Failing that, a blue flair will appear in the spot where the Drop will land but the chances are that surrounding players will also be skulking around the flair like a swarm of piranhas, so brace yourself for a mass brawl if you decide to go for the loot.
A good tactic is to quickly run and throw some Remote Explosives onto the crate, detonating it when an unsuspecting opponent goes to pilfer the cache. It is possible to shoot down a Drop by popping the balloon, but with 1,250 health, it'll take a lot of firepower to burst it which could give away your position.
Finding a Supply Llama should be your main focus if you plan on building (during the endgame especially) since it rewards you with 200 random materials, as well as a number of bullets and consumable items. Spawning only three times per match in random locations, they're a rare find so like Supply Drops, you'll probably find yourself battling amongst others for the precious cache. All ammo types except Rockets have a 100% drop rate, along with the Wood, Stone and Brick materials.
5) Vending Machines
Vending Machines allow the player to exchange either Wood, Stone or Metal materials for up to three random items with random rarity - the higher the rarity, the more it costs. They're especially useful for players who don't like to build much since you can offload a ton of materials at once, getting a more useful item in return.
The machines spawn in 30 possible places (this map on reddit has specific locations) so unless you happen to stumble across one by accident, you'll probably be searching for a while if you decide to try and hunt one down. They do have a higher chance of appearing in more populated areas though, so be prepared to be met with a rain of bullets if you venture into a busy town or settlement.
Item rarity costs are as follows:
- Common: 100 materials
- Uncommon: 200 materials
- Rare: 300 materials
- Epic: 400 materials
- Legendary: 500 materials
6) Floor loot
Finding loot on the floor is probably the easiest way to collect a bunch of items and weapons as you will no doubt come across multiple stashes per match. Not all weapons and items can be found on the ground, but it's still worth looking around since you never know when you'll find something of value. Conveniently, guns you pick up will usually have the corresponding ammo lying next to it which saves you having to raid loot chests and ammo boxes in search of the correct bullets.
Some opponents may try and lure others into a deadly trap by deliberately dropping a plethora of desirable weapons and items in a room or at the bottom of a tower to make it appear like a floor loot stash - or leave loot dropped from a body after a recent kill - so make sure to always check out the items from a distance before you make a run to collect them.
Most weapons and consumables you encounter in the wild will be Common, Uncommon or Rare rarity, but there's still a chance to stumble across something more valuable.
7) Body looting
Body looting is by far the easiest way to gain loot as it's literally just taking dropped items, weapons and materials from an enemy you've killed. There's no better feeling than being rewarded with a cache of rare loot and guns after you've reigned victorious in a tense combat brawl, although there's obviously always a chance they won't drop anything worth it after all.
Players who are skilled in battle often prefer this way of looting since it requires minimal effort - why spend ages looting when you can just pick off less experienced players for their inventory instead? Easy peasy.
If you're playing in a Duo or Squad, you can help improve your teammates' chances of survival by always consuming health/shield potions when you find them so that if you die, opponents can't pick them up from your corpse and use them for themselves.