Guns are the bread and butter of every first-person shooter (FPS) game, and the weapons in Escape from Tarkov are no exception. The difference, however, is that unlike other titles with limited options, the number of EFT weapons available hover around 60. And we all know the devs are far from done with adding new stuff in the game – of course, guns included. The diverse options understandably make it a bit confusing for some players – beginners, especially – on what weapons to use, mod, or toss.
A Quick Note on Escape from Tarkov Weapons, Ammo, and Ballistics
Before we list down our picks, allow us to quickly explain how weapons work in Escape from Tarkov. The most important point is that your choice of ammunition is what decides how much damage you deal, not the gun you’re carrying. A gun is only really as good as the ammo you fire, but that’s a discussion for another time. Weapons in EFT, and the choices you make surrounding them, are all about your playstyle as well as the mods you can attach and the overall performance or ease of use of each gun.
Here are our top gun picks in no particular order:
One of our favorite Escape from Tarkov weapons is the AKM. It’s an improved version of the classic AK-47 and one of the most powerful guns in the game. You can trade 3 small cans of Tushonka to Prapor Lv.1 for one, or you can loot the gun from Scavs. The AKM has noticeably less recoil and weight than its predecessor, though it still has quite the kick.
If your playstyle revolves around roaming around the map and engaging in mid-range clashes, this thing is ideal for that. Its mobility and solid accuracy cater to that playstyle so well. Plus it can go full-auto and single-fire, so shoot it how you please.
The AKM’s best asset is its ammo type. It fires 7.62 x 39 mm bullets, which is known for its excellent cost-to-performance ratio. The PS ammo lets you take care of PMCs decently while being cheap. Once you have more money and if you need more stopping power, you can go for the BP ammo.
If damage per hit is your priority, the SA-58 makes a strong case for it. Its impressive fire rate further enhances its charm, though it comes with the caveat of high recoil. It may take some time to master using it, but once you do, you’ll be unstoppable.
For a stealthier gameplay, you can choose the AS Val. This classic comes with a suppressor built-in, so you can hit and run much more easily. It also has a high fire rate and low recoil, making it dangerous in the right hands. Use it for when you’re looking to run around a bit more than usual.
Then again, if you’d prefer a good old all-rounder, pick the timeless M4A1. It’s versatile and reliable, giving you all you want in a gun that can do it all. It’s easy to handle, plus its recoil and damage are decent at medium range. It can also work well in close combat and long-range battles. It’s not hard to land your shots with this one either, as it’s generally accurate.
Are snipers more in your wheelhouse? That’s great because EFT has great choices for you.
There’s the fan favorite RSASS that has little downside to it. Fire rate is high, recoil is easily manageable, and the damage is nothing to scoff at. It’s a monstrous gun, but it’s not the easiest to obtain.
Some players would rather go for the rifle M1A than run with the RSASS, as it’s a more practical option. But it all boils down to preference, really, as both guns can destroy.
Now, if the assault rifles have the AS Val, snipers have the VSS Vintorez. This sniper is solid and easy to lug around. And like the Val, it comes with a suppressor that allows you to be stealthy in your approach. Damage-wise, the VSS is no pushover. It’s impressive at all ranges. The real selling point of it is its overall lightweight build that lets you slither across the map while playing guerrilla warfare.
If we’re being honest, the other guns aren’t worth much of your time or rubles. Sub-machine guns, for one, aren’t that damaging and pretty costly to run. But if you want to experiment with these, you can go with the SIG MPX. Fair warning though that SMGs in general have abysmal armor penetration.
Shotguns are also in a poor spot in the game, and pistols may be a better choice. The MP-153 is an okay choice for a shotgun though, as it’s cheap and packs a punch on unarmored spots, especially the legs.
As for pistols, these are more for quick missions when you want to be light on your feet. If all you’re doing is an easy smash and grab, you can run with a pistol. The SR1MP Gyurza has decent fire rate and damage, though granted you’ll still have to come pretty close to use it effectively.
The guns we picked are, in our opinion, the best in certain aspects. ARs and snipers are really notable for their damage output compared to SMGs, shotguns, and pistols. Not everything is set in stone, though. Keep in mind that what we consider the cream of the crop may not always be your cup of tea. And that’s perfectly fine.
Ultimately, what matters is that you’re using gear that you feel comfortable to run with. After all, what’s the point of having a powerful gun if you can’t connect its shots, right? Feel free to explore, but don’t let these arbitrary rankings dictate how you play. Go find your style and run it. That’s the beauty of Tarkov anyway! Just like with any shooter game, the best gun is and will always be the gun you use best.