Surviving in Fortnite and securing a Victory Royale takes skill. Getting better at Fortnite takes 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 deadly pulse rifle to the explosive rocket launcher, there’s something to fit every playstyle. 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 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 pickax 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 currently pick up in the game:
- Slone’s pulse rifle
- Heavy assault rifle
- Pulse rifle
- Assault rifle
- Burst assault rifle
Powerful Vaulted assault rifles include:
- Midas drum gun: This weapon only drops when Midas is defeated at the Agency.
- Skye’s assault rifle: This weapon only drops when Skye is defeated in the Shark.
- Meowscles Peow Peow rifle: This weapon only drops when Meowscles is defeated on his Yacht.
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
- Lever action shotgun
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, but it can entirely 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 currently available SMGs:
- Zyg and Choppy’s ray gun (dropped by Zyg at Hydro 16)
- Rapid-fire SMG
- Submachine gun
- Suppressed submachine gun
- Kymera ray 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.
- Storm Scout
- Rail gun
- Bolt-action sniper rifle
- Suppressed sniper rifle
- Plunger bow
Here are a few Vaulted snipers to look out for during special events:
- Boom Bow (this weapon will drop when TNTina is defeated in the Rig)
- Hunting rifle
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.
- Rocket launcher
- Orange paint launcher
- Purple paint launcher
- Recon scanner
Here are a few Vaulted heavy weapons to keep your eyes out for:
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.
- Night Hawk
- Marksman Six Shooter
- Shadow Tracker
- Hand cannon
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 Marksman Six Shooter. One of the more recent additions, this powerful pistol packs a nice punch.
There’s also Night Hawk, which was un-Vaulted for season 7 and can be purchased from Guggimon or picked up from a malfunctioning vending machine. It works much like the normal scoped revolver but boasts a thermal scope for easy enemy identification. As great as it is for a pistol, you’ll still want to be on the lookout for a weapon with a bit more punch.
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, arguably the best assault rifle in all of Fortnite is Slone’s pulse rifle. This Mythic item deals 38 damage and fires at a rate of 4.2 — making it a deadly weapon in the right hands. In order to add it to your arsenal, you’ll need to take down Dr. Slone. That can be done just southwest of the old Spire location at the center of the map, but you’ll need to bring some heavy firepower for the job.
Do so successfully, and you’ll be rewarded with one of the best weapons in Fortnite.
With the Storm Scout un-Vaulted for season 7, it’s quickly become one of the most popular snipers in the game. The same goes for the Bolt-action sniper, which is once again among the most powerful long-range weapons in Fortnite.
However, if you’re looking for something a bit more powerful — but still effective at a distance — look no further than the Rail gun. While you can’t zoom in as much as you can on a typical sniper, the Rail gun outputs incredible damage after charging for a few seconds. It can also shoot through player structures, making it a must-have weapon towards the end of a match.
When it comes to SMG’s, you’re probably good no matter which one you pick up. 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.
As for the new Kymera Ray Gun, it’s a bit hit-or-miss. While it does output a solid bit of damage, the glowing lights emitted while firing makes you easy to spot from a mile away. If you’re going to use the Kymera Ray Gun, we recommend limiting yourself to indoor locations to hide the flashing lights — or just avoid it entirely.
You’ll find different categories of shotguns to choose from in the form of pump shotguns, tactical shotguns, and lever-action shotguns. 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 the 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.
When it comes to grenades, you can select a few different types outside of the typical grenade. These include the vaulted Boogie Bomb, Stink Bomb, and Impulse Grenade. Most of these grenades are less than impressive, but we can’t help but love the Boogie Bomb. It’s a meme for a reason: It opens up your enemies to a heartbreaking loss.
As far as available explosives go, it’s hard to beat the standard rocket launcher. Capable of taking down huge sections of buildings in a single shot, it’s a great way to expose hidden enemies or disrupt someone’s building pattern.
The recon scanner is another useful heavy weapon, which will scan your surrounding for gear, enemies, and vehicles. Attacking foes with the Recon Scanner is futile — its DPS output of 15 is pretty terrible — but it’s a perfect way to get a grip of your surroundings and locate nearby points of interest.
While there are plenty of shortcuts and ploys you can learn to master Fortnite, it is equally important to know what kinds of weapons you’re dealing with and how to utilize them at each stage of your journey. There is a color-coding system that categorizes each weapon, which acts as a useful guide to form the most well-rounded and successful armory.
After you’ve mastered how and when to use every weapon in your arsenal, you’ll be prepared for a victorious experience in Victory Royale. You’re sure to make it to the top if you have purple or orange weapons known to represent the epic and legendary categories, respectively.