Escape From Tarkov has a lot of guns, and choosing the right gun is an extremely important step towards your success.
But a gun in tarkov is more than it is in most shooters. Your gun is a tool and you need to select the best tool for your situation. So in this list, I’ll have a number of options to hopefully cover the full spectrum of needs you might have.
Top Tier – Best Weapon
These guns boast the best ammunition options, the best base stats, and lend themselves to be easily modded into even higher performance.
M4A1 (and the HK416A5)
Easily some of the most prolific weapons among dedicated players, and for good reason.
The M4 and the HK are fully automatic military grade rifles built on the AR-15 platform and see service with militaries and special forces across the world.
Their performance and strengths come through in-game, with a high fire rate, and low recoil. Combined with 5.56×45 mm M995 both of these guns quickly chew through the best armor in a fraction of a second.
Paired with a catalog of available parts making them best described as modular, you really can make them fit whatever role you need them to.
The R11 RSASS (and the SR-25)
Another pair of guns that more or less fit the same spot, the RSASS and SR-25 are longer and a bit more cumbersome than the M4 or HK, but they hit harder and more reliably from much further away.
They can each fit a wide variety of sights and accessories, making for excellent marksman’s rifles, and packing both intense damage and armor penetration with either 7.62×51 mm M62 or 7.62×51 mm M61
The AK-74M (and other AK-74s)
The AK-74 line’s real selling point is its consistent ability to devastate in the early game with 5.45×39 mm BP, the mid game with 5.45×39 mm BT, and the late game with both 5.45×39 mm BS and 5.45×39 mm 7N39 “Igolnik”.
SVDS 7.62×54 Sniper rifle
The SVDS is a semi-automatic power house. Compared to every other gun I’ve mentioned so far it’s difficult to modify, has monstrous recoil, and a short magazine capacity.
That being said, the 7.62x54mmR rarely needs any bells and whistles to get the job done, and can often kill in a single shot to the chest through virtually any armor.
These guns are nearly as powerful as high-tier weapons, if not as powerful. But they aren’t quite as easy to modify, or offer some of the same capabilities and versatility as top tier options.
An integrally suppressed bullet hose. The AS VAL would absolutely be top-tier for me if it weren’t for the limited customization options and expensive ammo.
To be completely fair to the VAL, it fires so fast that even much lower tier ammo is perfectly capable of shredding through top level armor, and it recoils about as little as an assault rifle can. But given its limited customization options, and heavy price to run, getting accustomed to the VAL can be a real issue for new players.
The AK-74 family
Yes, this is the second time I’ve mentioned AK-74s, but I can’t overstate how flexible this platform is and how useful it is from the low to the high end.
Budget AK-74s run the mid game with much of their power just being in their solid base stats and ammunition options. With 5.45×39 mm BT being easily scavenged from Reserve.
The AKM family
Not as preferred as the 5.45 of the AK-74, 7.62×39 is still a solid cartridge. The AKM gives you solid mid game penetration and stopping power at only the cost of recoil.
The Vepr Hunter is infamous across Tarkov for its ability to pack a humbling punch in a package that is very humbled itself. The absolute definition of a “no frills” semi-auto, even without modifications the ability to throw any kind of 7.62x51mm NATO is something to value in the mid game of a wipe.
I won’t call this “Low-tier” because none of these weapons are bad, but they certainly aren’t what you’d consider “high end”. They’re what you should really start with when comparing worthwhile weapons and not including outliers that require special circumstances or extra training.
The ADAR 2-15 .223 Carbine
The ADAR is a semi-automatic model AR-15 pattern rifle designed for civilian sale. That said, it’s still reliably accurate with decent handling and manageable recoil. Using the ADAR gives you access to 5.56x45mm NATO, but requires a decent trigger finger and reliably aiming discipline to put your shots where they need to be.
The Vepr KM / VPO-136 7.62×39 carbine
A semi-automatic AK chambered in 7.62×39. There’s nothing different about this and an AKM save for the lack of full auto. Requires the same considerations as the ADAR when compared to an AKM.
The SKS (and OPSKS)
Both variants of this rifle offer semi-auto delivery of 7.62×39, limited only in how difficult they are to modify. Often cheaper than the Vepr, but without modification you’re stuck with a 10 round mag top-loaded one round at a time.
The Mosin bolt-action infantry rifle ( and the SV-98)
The Mosin is a tried and true veteran of over a hundred years of conflict. It’s long, unwieldy, difficult to customize, and holds only 5 rounds in an integral magazine. But it holds 5 rounds of 7.62x54mmR and throws them hard enough to crack top tier armor.
You’re investing literally pennies on the dollar for your returns, and the Mosin also gives a very satisfying experience for many players that really pushes their abilities.
All this being said, use the SV-98. Whenever you can, the SV-98 simply outperforms the Mosin and that’s perfectly okay, you’re paying a decent bit more for better iron sights, easier scope attachment, and a detachable 10 round magazine.
Once you’ve graduated from the Mosin, you’ll find the SV-98 opening up entirely new opportunities.
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