Skip to main content

Long read: How TikTok's most intriguing geolocator makes a story out of a game

Where in the world is Josemonkey?

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Valorant best guns and damage stats: Our best Assault Rifle, Sniper Rifle, Pistol and SMG weapon recommendations explained

Our picks for the weapons you should be buying first.

Learning the Valorant best guns you can buy in your price range can help you better overpower the enemy team.

Part of this is understanding Valorant weapon damage stats, which constitute an important part of this competitive shooter's DNA.

Developed by Riot Games with input from a number of ex-Counter-Strike professionals, the game offers crunchy gunplay and a fleshed-out arsenal to pick from before the start of each round, and accuracy is key.

Yet the sheer number of guns and the quick time-to-kill makes it hard for new players to figure out what they should pick - which is where our Valorant best weapon recommendations come in handy.

On this page:

Looking for more advice? We have recommendations for the Valorant agents tier list plus a list of Valorant tips and tricks.

Valorant weapon recommendations and weapon damage explained

In Valorant, you must control your in-game economy to succeed. In the first round, you'll have limited cash to spend on weapons and are only able to purchase a pistol.

From this point, you must build a fiscal foothold, and try and disrupt the enemy team's economy by saving or spending depending on how well you've played in each round. If you survive a round you keep the weapons you purchase, but if you die they're lost - alongside the money you spent on them.

Weapons vary wildly in price, with the most effective or situational weapons costing more than the cheap but marginally less powerful ones. Generally, you want to be using an assault rifle or failing that a strong SMG or pistol - if you're really flush with cash, you'll get a sniper.

The weapons beyond that barely factor into the game, but they're there in case you want to experiment.

Crucially though, as much as the economy is an important factor, any round can be won with starting pistols alone. Spend wisely, and always take note of how much money you'll be left with in the next round when you're purchasing for the current one.

Weapon damage in Valorant may also be alien to those of you who haven't played Counter-Strike. It follows some basic rules - you deal more damage with headshots, less with body shots and barely any with leg shots and so on - but here's what you need to know:

  • Each player starts with 100 health and can add a further 25 or 50 hit points by purchasing light or heavy armour at the start of a round. This means if you've got heavy armour, you can take 150 damage before you perish.
  • Some agents like Sage and Reyna have healing abilities and can restore health, but for the most part, when you lose health, the damage is final, and if you accrue or at one time take 100, 125 or 150 damage, you're dead.
  • There is also bullet penetration in Valorant, so if you know an enemy is hiding on the other side of a wooden box or standing at a corner peeking, try shooting through the wall with a powerful weapon to take them out.
Watch on YouTube

With those explainers out of the way, here are our best gun recommendations, with damage stats to offer some side-by-side comparisons with others in its category:

Best Pistol in Valorant recommendation: Ghost

The humble pistol will be the weapon you start with in Valorant, but you mustn't overlook it, even as you progress deeper into a match and build out your economy.

As well as being our personal favourite gun in the game, the Ghost is a force to be reckoned with in almost every situation. One tap to the head is enough to dispatch an enemy at close to mid-range, and it fires fast and deals excellent damage in the hands of any relatively accurate player. Just be careful firing multiple shots in a row, as it will lose its accuracy quickly.

It's also cheap and extremely cheerful at 500 credits. I've found myself taking out entire Vandal-toting teams with my trusty Ghost due to its quick fire rate and versatility. It is the perfect tool for an economy round, where you and your team may be saving after a loss so you can come back stronger with more expensive weapons later. Give it a go, it will most definitely surprise you - if you can get the drop on someone with a Ghost in hand, they're usually toast.

The Shorty is a decent alternative if you fancy going gung-ho and rushing into a bomb site. The Sheriff can also be devastating in the hands of someone extremely accurate, but the Ghost has it beat for versatility, given the magnum's low ammo capacity, recoil and high cost, which doesn't make up for its superior damage.

Valorant Pistol damage stats:

PistolAlt FirePenetrationMag sizeBody DamageHeadshot DamageLeg damage
Classic3-round burstLow12Under 30m: 26, Over 30m: 22Under 30m: 78, Over 30m: 66Under 30m: 22 Over 50m: 18
ShortyN/ALow2Under 9m: 12, Under 15m: 8, Over 15m: 3Under 9m: 36, Under 15m: 24, Over 15m: 9Under 9m: 10, Under 15m: 6, Over 15m: 2
FrenzyN/ALow13Under 20m: 26, Over 20m: 21Under 20m: 78 Over 20m: 63Under 20m: 22 Over 20m: 17
GhostN/AMedium15Under 30m: 30, Over 30m: 25Under 30m: 105, Over 30m: 87Under 30m: 25 Over 30m: 21
SheriffN/AHigh6Under 30m: 55, Over 30m: 50Under 30m: 159, Over 30m: 145Under 30m: 46 Over 30m: 42

Best SMG in Valorant recommendation: Spectre

The Spectre should be your next step up from the Ghost as you build out your economy, and is a good stop-gap between your pistol and your mainstay, which will be your assault rifle.

As well as feeling great in your hand, the Spectre's silenced spray is lightning quick and can quickly bereave groups of clustered enemies in quick succession.

It's also great for burst headshots at close or mid-range. Just make sure you watch your ammo and importantly, don't reload after every kill - unlearn that muscle memory for Valorant and you will thrive!

Some people like the alternative, the Stinger, but I find it hard to justify. The Spectre itself is hard to justify, honestly - you're often better off just using your Ghost until you're capable of grabbing a more developed assault rifle.

Yet if you need the boost, the Spectre is a great way to gain early momentum and train your aim before you get your hands on the big guns.

Valorant SMG damage stats:

SMGAlt FirePenetrationMag sizeBody DamageHeadshot DamageLeg damage
StingerADS, spread reductionLow20Under 20m: 27, Over 20m: 25Under 20m: 67, Over 20m: 62Under 20m: 23, Over 20m: 21
SpectreADS, slight spread reductionMedium30Under 20m: 26, Over 20m: 22Under 20m: 78, Over 20m: 66Under 20m: 22, Over 20m: 18

Best Assault Rifle in Valorant recommendation: Vandal

Lethal headshots at any distance. That's all you need to know. The Vandal is Valorant's AK-47 for the Counter-Strike fans out there, and it should be the weapon you aim to use in every round if you can muster the cash, or you're not sniping.

The Vandal is my personal preference over the Phantom, but just like in Counter-Strike, both major assault rifle options are viable, and the Phantom is a fantastic weapon with much better recoil management.

The Vandal excels if you're a decent shot and aiming for those illustrious one-tap headshots, but is more difficult to manage in a brunt close-range firefight in comparison to the Phantom - I find the Phantom is miles better for taking out multiple enemies at speed due to its contained spray and fire rate.

It really depends on your style of play here, so give both a go and swap and change depending on your team's arsenal. The Vandal will punish you if you aren't pinpoint, but it's also a great way to learn how to shoot! It's nice to have a mix across your team.

Valorant Assault Rifle damage stats:

Assault RiflesAlt FirePenetrationMag sizeBody DamageHeadshot DamageLeg damage
PhantomADS, slight spread reductionMedium30Under 15m: 39, Under 30m: 35, Over 30m: 31Under 15m: 156, Under 30m: 140, Over 30m: 124Under 15m: 33, Under 30m: 30, Over 30m: 26
VandalADS, slight spread reductionMedium253915633

Best Sniper Rifle in Valorant recommendation: Operator

The Operator (a clever bit of wordplay on the AWP from Counter-Strike) is Valorant's go-to sniper, which deals lethal shots at any range to the head and body.

It is a monster in the right hands but can be tricky to handle for beginners given the speed of some of Valorant's more nimble agents. It's also incredibly expensive at 4,500 credits, but if you're winning and want to secure the victory, you can't get anything better.

It's best to have one accurate sniping player to complement the rest of the team, who may be defending bombsites with assault rifles, so the pressure isn't solely on them to take everyone out.

It performs poorly up close as you may imagine, so don't bother with no scopes unless you're almost certain you will kill the enemy and you're stood still.

Valorant Sniper Rifle damage stats:

Sniper RiflesAlt FirePenetrationMag sizeBody DamageHeadshot DamageLeg damage
MarshalADS, slight spread reductionMedium510120285
OperatorADS, significant spread reductionHigh5150255127

Valorant is here! Our handy Valorant tips and tricks page is a great place to start. Otherwise check out the first season's Battle Pass skins and our Valorant agents tier list and best Valorant guns list to help you climb the ranks. If you're looking for technical advice, make sure you fit the required, minimum, recommended and high end specs and know how to solve any Valorant error codes.

Other Valorant best weapon recommendations: When to use Shotguns, Machine Guns and Rifles

The rest of the weapons in Valorant are purely situational and will depend on the plans of your team per round. It might be worthwhile grabbing a shotgun or a heavy machine gun as part of a galaxy brain strategy, but for the most part, they do not get airtime in-game.

The weapons you want to focus on are contained in the categories above and should be deferred to if you wish to practice and improve your in-game shooting using the most viable and efficient weapons, regardless of your economic status, but here are some recommendations regardless.

WeaponAlt FirePenetrationMag sizeBody DamageHeadshot DamageLeg damage
BulldogADS, 3-round burstMedium243511630
GuardianADS, slight spread reductionMedium126519549
BuckyAir burst, extended rangeLow5Under 8m: 22, Under 12m: 17, Over 12m: 9Under 8m: 44, Under 12m: 34, Over 12m: 18Under 8m: 19, Under 12m: 14, Over 12m: 8
JudgeN/AMedium7Under 10m: 17, Under 15m: 13, Over 15m: 10Under 10m: 34, Under 15m: 26, Over 15m: 20Under 10m: 14, Under 15m: 11, Over 15m: 9
AresADS, slight spread reductionHigh50Under 30m: 30, Over 30m: 28Under 30m: 72, Over 30m: 67Under 30m: 25, Over 30m: 23
OdinADS, slight spread reductionHigh100Under 30m: 38, Over 30m: 31Under 30m: 95, Over 30m: 77Under 30m: 32, Over 30m: 26

The Bulldog turns into a burst-fire weapon when you're aiming down the sight, but it doesn't have the damage in comparison to an assault rifle. If you're really struggling to manage your economy, you could grab it, but it's probably best to just save.

The Guardian is another solid choice, offering a semi-automatic fire rate which will kill enemies with headshots, but you have to have deadly accuracy to wield it with confidence. I'd leave this one to the pros and stick to the Vandal or Phantom.

The Bucky is great if you're saving and want to rush a bomb site and kill players quickly, but it's low ammo capacity and slow reload speed will get you killed if you aren't careful.

The Judge is an automatic shotgun which deals massive damage, but for 1,500 credits, you may as well save your money, stick to a pistol and buy something better next round.

The machine guns are even more difficult to recommend given their situational status, but if you like to spray and pray or want to stop enemies from exploding onto the site you're defending, the Ares or Odin can clean up an entire corridor no questions asked.

But given they cost so much and are very sluggish, you shouldn't be buying them at all.

Read this next