Determining the best Vanguard guns in Warzone took a while following the integration in late 2021, due in part to the sheer number of weapons to choose from.
Thankfully, now that we've spent enough time with all the new assault rifles, SMGs, LMGs, shotguns, and snipers, the meta is much clearer.
The weapons meta in modern Call of Duty games remains ever-shifting, especially with Warzone serving as an integration of several experiences.
Vanguard has joined the roster of Black Ops Cold War and Modern Warfare with its own options as well. This has significantly shifted the meta, especially with the new Vanguard Royale mode added to Warzone.
Note: As of the start of Season 3, Vanguard Royale is no longer a dedicated playlist in Warzone. It'll likely return in future seasons, where we will update our recommendations. In the meantime, this page provides an overview of the best Vanguard weapons as well - albeit not up to date as of April 2022.
After spending time in Vanguard Royale following the Season 2 update, we've come up with the best Vanguard weapons in Warzone.
On this page:
- Vanguard Royale vs Battle Royale differences in Warzone
- How we decided the best weapons in Call of Duty Vanguard
- Best Vanguard assault rifle recommendation
- Best Vanguard sniper rifle recommendation
- Best Vanguard Marksman Rifle recommendation
- Best Vanguard Shotgun recommendation
- Best Vanguard SMG recommendation
- Best Vanguard LMG recommendation
- Best Vanguard Launcher recommendation
- Best Vanguard Melee recommendation
Vanguard Royale vs Battle Royale differences in Warzone
Vanguard Royale provides a spin on the usual Battle Royale experience in Warzone. As part of the integration of both games, this mode may sound appealing if you want to try something different as you explore Caldera.
Right off the bat the biggest differences comes down to the weapons pool: there are only Vanguard weapons available in this mode.
This also applies to operators, vehicles, killstreaks and more. There are restrictions across the board for tonnes of equipment options, which are important to know beforehand in case you need to update your loadout. You can find a list with details below:
Other standouts are the dogfighting planes and anti-air combat, environmental hazards such as bombing runs (which appear on the Tac Map and are also announced), and a larger initial circle.
If you're curious about which weapons you should go for, jump to our next sections.
How we decided the best weapons in Call of Duty Vanguard
The more weapons co-exist together in a Call of Duty game, the more difficult it is to categorise the best options from the bunch - in this regard, the Vanguard guns are no exception.
There are dozens of different weapons available, ranging across the categories we've grown used to since day one.
Some guns are more familiar than others - especially if you've unlocked them in Warzone already - but there are others that feel like quite the standout regardless of their simplicity.
When deciding upon the best weapons for Vanguard Royale, we looked at ease of use, versatility, and overall time to kill (TTK).
Certain weapons like the MG42 might have a fast TTK, but are harder to use, so they didn't make the cut. Other weapons have low recoil and large magazine capacity, but don't hit as hard, so you might want to avoid them, as well.
It's best to find a weapon that falls in the middle, with low recoil, high damage, and plenty of ammo. But with all this in mind, what follows is a list of the best Vanguard Royale weapons across each category.
As for Season 2, at the beginning not a lot has changed - but the community has discovered a hidden gem amongst the SMG category. Likewise, the PPSh-41 SMG was stealth buffed to the point of being overpowered, though it will almost certainly get fixed shortly, so we don't advise counting on that weapon to be as powerful in the longrun.
Aside from that, many weapons received slight adjustments, but the overall meta remains mostly intact.
Best Vanguard assault rifle recommendation
Best weapon recommendation: Cooper Carbine
How to unlock the Cooper Carbine: Reach Player Level 15 (free)
The Cooper Carbine reigns supreme due to its versatility, low recoil, and competitive TTKs, making it hard to pass up. You can equip a large 60 round drum for plenty of firepower, or a more lightweight 45 round magazine to improve mobility.
That's the thing about the Cooper Carbine: You can deck it out to feel like a long-range laser beam, with accuracy at the forefront, or a close-range SMG that prioritizes speed and a high rate of fire.
For more specifics, read our best Cooper Carbine loadout guide.
There will likely won't be many matches where the Automaton isn't present. The Automaton is reigning supreme thanks to its near non-existent recoil, daunting fire rate and easy-to-use nature.
It's probably the best weapon to just pick up and storm into multiplayer from the get-go, and until it gets nerfed significantly, it will likely remain as is.
If you want to get the most out of the Automaton, see our best Automaton loadout recommendation - or if you want to see what else the class has to offer, our best assault rifles in Warzone page can help.
Best Vanguard sniper rifle recommendation
Best weapon recommendation: Type 99
How to unlock the Type 99: Reach Player Level 1
Remember the Swiss K31? If you're looking for a similar weapon in terms of mobility and bolt-action fire, the Type 99 gets quite close to it.
Snipers are, of course, famously known for leading you to take it slow and possibly stay grounded in a specific spot waiting for the right moment to attack. But with this option you're free to move around the map and take quick shots thanks to a fast ADS speed. Plus, it packs quite the punch if you're aiming at least above the chest.
Best Vanguard Marksman Rifle recommendation
Best weapon recommendation: G-43
How to unlock the G-43: Reach Player Level 47
The Vanguard marksman rifles aren't amazing, but can be effective if you have a fast trigger finger and decent aim. In this case, the G-43 hits hard and can either be treated as a semi-auto, triple burst, or fully auto weapon.
Its biggest downside is that it uses sniper ammo, meaning you'll likely blow through your supplies quickly. With that in mind, it's best to be deliberate with your shots. Aside from that, this is a weapon that packs a punch due to its high damage.
Best Vanguard Shotgun recommendation
Best weapon recommendation: Combat Shotgun
How to unlock the Combat Shotgun: Reach Player Level 14
Yes, we're mentioning shotguns in our best weapons roundup - the Combat Shotgun is definitely worth using, especially if you like close-quarters battles. It's not as iconic as the Einhorn Revolving in terms of design, but it's already making strides in Vanguard Royale thanks to its sheer power.
The Combat Shotgun packs more than just a punch and is deadly in close quarters, guaranteeing the ability to down an opponent in just a couple shots in many scenarios. It's lightweight, fast, and overall daunting. If you come across one on the opposite side, you're likely to be in trouble.
If you want to get the most out of this weapon, see our best Combat Shotgun loadout recommendation.
Best Vanguard SMG recommendation
Best weapon recommendation: Type 100
How to unlock the Type 100: Reach Player Level 39
While SMGs like the MP-40, Welgun, and PPSh-41have dominated Warzone since the Vanguard integration, the Type 100 has quietly been the best all along. This is due to its incredibly fast TTK thanks to a few key attachments.
You'll want to use the Recoil Booster Muzzle for an improved fire rate, the Warubachi 134mm Rapid Barrel for an additional boost to fire rate, and the 8mm Kurz 48 Round Drums, which improves overall damage.
The weapon will have some kick to it, but within 10 meters or so, you shouldn't have any issues controlling it.
For more on the best Type 100 loadout, visit our dedicated guide.
Best Vanguard LMG recommendation
Best weapon recommendation: Bren
How to unlock the Bren: Reach Player Level 53
The Bren LMG is one of the top-used weapons in Warzone right now, especially in Vanguard Royale. This LMG feels more like an assault rifle, with lightweight mobility.
Even after numerous nerfs, the Bren still remains the best Vanguard LMG by a significant margin.
But the real reason to use the Bren has to do with its low recoil and tremendous firepower. This makes it extremely easy to use, even if you're a player who struggles with long-range engagements. Full-stop, the Bren is the best long-range automatic weapon right now for a reason, so make sure you give it a try on Caldera (or even Rebirth Island).
Best Vanguard Launcher recommendation
Best weapon recommendation: M1 Bazooka
How to unlock the M1 Bazooka: Reach Player Level 11
Launchers are useful, especially if you aren't using the Overkill perk. The best Vanguard launcher is by far the M1 Bazooka.
This launcher has fast ADS speeds and a tremendous amount of power, making it easy to clear out a room or finish off a downed opponent from afar. We also like the M1 Bazooka because of its sights - unlike the Panzerschreck, the Bazooka's sights don't obstruct your view, so it's much easier to stay on target.
If you're interested in multiplayer, we have lists of the Operators and multiplayer maps, as well as the best Vanguard weapons, including the best STG44 loadout, best MP40 loadout and best Automaton loadout, best BAR loadout, best Combat Shotgun loadout, best Type 100 loadout, and best Kar98k loadouts. In other modes, we can explain the best zombies builds and best covenants.
Best Vanguard Melee recommendation
Best weapon recommendation: FS Fighting Knife
How to unlock the FS Fighting Knife: Reach Player Level 22
Whether because you like the improved agility that melee weapons can provide over using just your melee attack, or maybe because you're reminiscent of Counter-Strike, there is a knife available in Vanguard.
The FS Fighting Knife is described as a 'CQC tactical knife' employed for 'fast, quiet and deadly wetwork' - based on our experience, it certainly matches the description.
The main reason to use a knife over a weapon is for the speed boost, so be sure to give it a try when getting from point A to B.