The Best Fortnite: Battle Royale Weapons (and When to Use Them)

Fortnite: Battle Royale contains over 50 distinct weapons, each of which belongs to one of 19 classes and corresponds to one of five possible rarity tiers. With all of that in play, it can be a little daunting at first to know which weapons you should keep and which ones you should swap out when raiding houses and treasure chests.

The most important thing is to use the right tool for the right occasion. Weapon rarity, whether a common gray assault rifle or a legendary orange sniper rifle, doesn't matter as much as using the weapon for its intended purpose. And depending on your skill and play style, you may be better off sticking with certain guns over others.

To help you make that choice, we've made a list of the best Fortnite: Battle Royale weapons, ranked from newbie-friendly to veterans-only.

Tactical shotgun

This gun is going to be your best friend through much of your Fortnite career. Fights often take place at close range, and this gun literally blows away the competition in that arena. You'll run into the tactical shotgun often enough, since it starts at the green rarity level, and from there, all you need to do is find a little bit of trouble. It boasts a fast fire rate and generous magazine size.

The go-to tactic of players at close range is to start jumping for evasion or placing down walls for defense. With proper timing, making sure to fire when your opponent is either at the height of their jump or on the ground, you can deal with the jumping easily enough. Against someone throwing down walls, just let your gun do the talking to tear down those walls.

MORE: Best Laptops for Playing Fortnite

If you're at range, however, you can't expect a shotgun to work miracles. Swap to a different gun, find cover or place down your own walls.

Tactical submachine gun

The tactical submachine gun is almost as easy to use in close-quarters combat as the tactical shotgun, but it has a small magazine size and requires more consistent aim. You won't nail your opponent for over half their health in a single shot as you can with the tactical shotgun, but you'll stand a better chance at slightly longer distances.

This gun starts at a DPS (damage per second) stat of 208 at green rarity, which means that, in just under a second of accurate fire, you'll take down someone with a full shield, and in less than half a second, you'll finish off an unshielded player. So even if you're only half-accurate, you've likely reduced your opponent's health by half.

Rocket launcher

This baby might seem like a no-brainer, considering it hands out a meaty 110 damage in a wide radius, wiping out any unshielded players in a single shot. But starting at blue rarity, you won't exactly find the rocket launcher too often without a lot of searching. And there's the very real danger of blowing yourself up if the other player gets too close. Explosive weapons like this are very good at dismantling buildings and player structures. However, the rocket itself is very slow and very loud, giving players ample time to get out of its way at range. It also suffers from a long reload time, keeping it from offering sustained fire.

Where this weapon shines is in surprise engagements at medium range. Start by dumping a rocket at the feet of your opponent. If they're still standing, swap to something like the tactical shotgun to finish them off in a single shot.

Burst assault rifle

The burst assault rifle is the first gun on our list that will require some real trigger discipline. It fires in a three-round burst that will knock off 81 points of health with just the gray rarity version, but only if all three rounds hit. The burst mechanic means you won't be able to keep sustained fire, so if you miss one burst, you can just as easily miss the second.

MORE: Fortnite Cross-Platform Guide: Who You Can (And Can't) Play

But if you're good enough to make headshots, this weapon becomes truly lethal. Headshots land for 67 points apiece with the weakest version of the gun. Even with a full shield, no one will survive all three shots to the head. It's easy money if you're very accurate, but this gun still puts in the work for the rest of us mortals who aren't capable of landing three headshots in a row.

Bolt-action sniper rifle

The bolt-action sniper is the king of high-risk and high-reward. You get only one shot before needing to sit through a 3-second reload period. A single body shot from any rarity tier of this gun should take out an unshielded player, dealing 105 damage. And even the weakest version will deal a comical 267 damage with a headshot. The strong zoom on the scope gives players a whole lot of reach to land those headshots, too.

If you're less confident in your headshotting abilities, just landing a body blow and then switching to another weapon is a valid enough tactic. The downsides are the gun's relative rarity, starting at blue, and its reliance on good timing, good accuracy and familiarity with bullet drop at long distances.

Hunting rifle

On paper, the hunting rifle looks like a less-effective bolt-action sniper rifle, but the little benefits start to stack up, especially for players with more experience under their belts. Like the bolt-action rifle, this gun holds one round before needing to reload, but it deals less damage and doesn't have the nice long-range scope. It reloads in 2 seconds, compared with the bolt-action rifle's 3 seconds, and starts at gray rarity. That means you can rely on finding one of these a lot more than the bolt-action rifle, which starts at blue.

MORE: Fortnite Mobile: 5 Essential Tips

To top it off, the hunting rifle still hits for lethal damage with a headshot, at 202.5, even with the gray version of the gun. This means a good player will find a way to make the most of this gun as often as they can, but it may end up being more trouble than it's worth in the hands of less-skilled players.


The crossbow is a clever weapon, and that means you need a plan when using one. It can fire five arrows 0.6 seconds apart, so you can't lay down sustained fire. But the crossbow is one thing no other gun is: nearly silent. A player may never know you're firing at them until you land a hit. And you won't need to worry about other players hearing and closing in on your location, since the arrows make only a faint whistle sound.

One shot will chop off 75 hit points with a body shot and a nearly lethal 187.5 points for a headshot with the starting blue version of the gun. You might not down your opponent in a single shot, but without the noise of a conventional weapon, it may give you just enough time to fire off a second arrow or switch to a weapon with a faster fire rate and finish the job.

Credit: Epic Games

Andrew Melcon is a freelance writer who specializes in covering games and gaming hardware. He's tackled everything from PC game controllers to Pokémon and PUBG and his work has appeared on sites including Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, Laptop Mag, and more.