Fortnite weapons guide - the best guns and strategies for victory

For Fortnite players, trying to determine what the best Fortnite gun is can be both an easy and difficult task. There is an obvious winner, which we'll get to shortly, but because you never know which weapons you'll find at floor spawns or in chests, you'll also need to make the call for which weapon is best based on what you can get your hands on at the time.

Additionally, the best Fortnite gun can change depending on context. You might enjoy using the powerful SMGs, but if you're fighting an enemy at long range then they'll be pretty useless compared to a sniper rifle. If your opponent is out in the open then you want a weapon that can pick them off, but if they've built themselves into a fortress then you're going to need something with explosive power to open up their defences.

Then there are things like DPS - damage per second - to consider. Short version: if your aim's a little... loose, then a high DPS weapons might be for you as you'll deal more hurt over time as long as you're vaguely hitting something, while crack shots might be better off with a lower DPS weapon that actually does more damage per individual shot on target.

We're going to break down the main weapons in the game, and identify what the best Fortnite gun is overall and for various situations. You can also check out our more general Fortnite tips, for a wider look at tips and strategies.

What is the best gun in Fortnight?

Fortnite best gun

As far as the most useful all round weapon, the gold legendary SCAR is the best gun in Fortnite. Its accuracy, damage, and fire rate mean that one-on-one you'll have a massive advantage in almost any situation. Which is great if you can get one - its legendary status however means they're rare, so basing a winning strategy on getting one of these isn't always an option.

That's why answering the question of what the best gun in Fortnite is, is both easy and not much help at the same time - to get the best gun in Fortnite you either have to be incredibly lucky, or survive long enough to pick it up. A good understanding of Fortnite weapons is the only way to do that, using the best of what you can get in any given situation to stay alive.

An assault rifle is always the best Fortnite gun to start with, but your back up depends on style and preference

Fortnite assault rifle

An assault rifle is always an essential grab when you first land. The mix of damage, range, fire rate and accuracy will nearly always work in most situations. However, what you pick as a secondary is currently up for debate. The original dominance of shotguns has now seen them nerfed to be far less effective, and as a rule they're much more of a 'if you have the skill with them' kind of pick as opposed to the insta-kill one shot cannon they used to be.

If you have a choice, pick a secondary according to how you usually play. SMGs are a much better option at close range now, so can replace shotguns as the logical choice for clearing buildings and fighting over short distances. A basic common grey SMG has a DPS of 247, over double that of the highest shotgun - a single shotgun blast might hurt more, but you have to land that hit.

Dual handguns are also a powerful option if you have a good aim, as a gold set will kick out 170 DPS, more than common or uncommon assault rifles. The slower firing rate, however, means a miss can cost you dearly.

What's the difference between a Fortnite assault rifle and burst assault rifle?

As the name suggests, burst assault rifles fire in three round bursts, while a basic assault rifle is full auto. The burst has some accuracy pros as a result over distance, but the class does have a lower damage and firing rate overall. Seeing as you can recreate the effects of a burst rifle with an assault just by tapping the trigger, it's worth swapping out for an assault rifle if you get a chance.

Rarer Fortnite guns are always best, but DPS beats damage if you’re a poor shot

Fortnite’s weapons have a rarity value, with the less common ones having better stats. The order goes like this: 

  • Grey - common
  • Green - uncommon
  • Blue - rare
  • Purple - epic
  • Gold - legendary

You won't find all the colours for every gun but as a rule the damage will always increase as you go up the scale, and the reload time will usually decrease. So a blue assault rifle will generally beat a grey one in a fight between two players of equal skill, or give a weaker opponent an advantage. This is why the gold legendary SCAR is the best Fortnite gun in general - its biggest difference is that it does 36 damage compared to a grey common version's 30, giving it a DPS of 198 over a grey's 165.

However, if you're more of a rush style player, or generally one that avoids fighting at anything greater than medium distance, maybe consider a submachine gun. Even a grey one kicks out 247 DPS, meaning it'll give even a SCAR a run for its money at close range. A blue SMG kicks out 273 DPS, the highest of any gun in the game.

Fortnite minigun - the best Fortnite gun against buildings

If you're more of a builder-fighter then consider a minigun, LMG or rocket launcher. The minigun is still the best Fortnite gun for absolutely destroying opposition towers thanks to its high fire rate. The same goes for the LMG, although that trades a slight decrease in fire rate for an improvement in accuracy, meaning it's also a viable weapon in a gun fight. The RPG is still the best for wrecking a tower with a single shot, and has good splash damage potential. A gold grenade launcher technically beats a gold RPG in terms of damage to structures, but it's very prone to just bouncing off the side of things.

Whatever you pick, always consider DPS, or damage per second, and damage per shot. If you're going to hold down the trigger and hope for the best, then high DPS is your friend as the damage over time will be higher (assuming you hit anything). If you're more the 'make every shot count' type of person, then high overall damage might work more in your favour.

The best Fortnite gun changes depending on range, where you are, and what you're doing 

While a good assault rifle will get you out of most situations, it's not always the best Fortnite gun for every circumstance. In a house or a more restricted area, a shotgun or SMG might be better, especially if you're fighting at extremely close quarters against a faster moving target. If you're going up against a tower then miniguns, LMGs, and even SMGs will shred structures better.

Basically, don't expect one gun to magically do everything.

Reorder guns in your inventory

This is a simple one: if you get a spare moment, hit up on the D-pad to open your pack and move your guns around by selecting them. Ideally you want your assault rifle/secondary combo next to each other at the front, so you only have to press a shoulder button once to switch. A quick swap between the two could make all the difference if the combat situation changes.

As a rule: guns up front, healing at the back. 

The minigun is the best Fortnite gun for destroying towers

If you have the ammo then the minigun is the best Fortnite gun all around for absolutely shredding enemy towers. Its wild accuracy and slow wind up make it next to useless against an actual person, but turn it on a building and it can bring the walls crashing down in seconds - especially if it's a large, spread out construction. 

The RPG and grenade launcher will deal more damage per shot, and can take down a 1x1 tower instantly if you hit the base right. However, the grenade launcher needs a good aim to avoid bounding off the sides and the RPG is slow enough that people can clear out, or build something else before it even gets near.

As with all the advice in this guide, it's all down to what works for your playstyle and the situation you're facing. 

If you're a big Fortnite fan, or know someone that is, then check out the best Fortnite merch.

Iain Wilson
Guides Editor

Iain originally joined Future in 2012 to write guides for CVG, PSM3, and Xbox World, before moving on to join GamesRadar in 2013 as Guides Editor. His words have also appeared in OPM, OXM, PC Gamer, GamesMaster, and SFX. He is better known to many as ‘Mr Trophy’, due to his slightly unhealthy obsession with amassing intangible PlayStation silverware, and he now has over 500 Platinum pots weighing down the shelves of his virtual award cabinet. He does not care for Xbox Achievements.