PUBG best weapon guide: loadouts for stealth, sniping, assault and more

PUBG's best weapons explained.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds has 24 guns currently available, each with its own set of scopes and attachments to glue on, which means it’s fair to say that keeping track of them all can be a little difficult.

This Battlegrounds weapons guide will make that easier. Specifically, we’ve come up with several ‘builds’ that you can follow. However PUBG is a fickle game where a lot of your decisions fall to chance, and these builds aren’t set in stone. Instead, try to think of them more as tips to follow in case you ever have to decide between multiple options. It’s also worth noting that items found within the airdrops have been deliberately excluded from this guide, simply because of their extremely low frequency.

Before we get started, you should consider reading our general Battlegrounds tips first.

PUBG stealth tips.

Battlegrounds stealth tips and loadout

One of the greatest assets you have in your PUBG toolbox is the ability to remain undetected, even when all hell breaks loose. By keeping a cool head and staying low, you can often avoid bloodshed altogether, instead opting to let your fellow neighbours devour each other whilst you enjoy a refreshing stroll through the nearby bushes. Eventually though, you’re going to have to kill someone, and by carefully selecting your gear, there are several ways you can commit your crimes without anyone ever seeing you.

For this loadout we recommend:

  • Primary – M16A4 w/ suppressor, Ext. Quickdraw, 8x scope
  • Secondary – VSS
  • This loadout is specifically designed to help you stay out of sight, and is most effective when engaging enemies at medium to long range. Because the M16A4 is such a commonly found weapon, this should be fairly easy to locate towards the start of the game along with the respective 5.56mm ammunition. The reason we picked this rifle is that it boasts three attachment slots located on the barrel, the magazine, and the optics, which when fully slotted allows for some very specific modifications – in this case, converting it into a suppressed weapon that does respectable damage at range.

    The ideal modification checklist for this loadout should include the assault rifle compatible versions of the suppressor, the extended quickdraw magazine, and an 8x scope where possible. The suppressor is of course the most important part of this build, and it’s important to note that while this won’t make your shots 100% silent, it will do a great job as misdirecting your targets and keeping any would-be attackers from returning fire easily. The extended quickdraw is used here to keep you locked and loaded during extended skirmishes as it will bump your max ammo in the M16A4 up from 30 to 40 rounds, as well as letting you reload considerably faster. With the x8 scope equipped, you should be able to handle most engagements from between 200-600m comfortably.

    The reason we pick the M16A4 over the AKM or the M416 is because it comes with a burst fire mode instead of the full-auto firing modes that the latter two have. When you’re creeping around in close quarters, being able to switch to burst-fire can give you the edge over shorter distances, allowing you to reliably sink several shots into an enemy whilst maintaining a low profile with your suppressor attached.

    For your secondary weapon slot, the VSS acts as an excellent backup rifle that comes with a suppressed barrel and a scope already attached from the get go. It doesn’t hit as hard or travel as far as its bigger sniper rifle cousins, but in close to medium range engagements this weapon can be a deadly and near-undetectable weapon.

    The reason we picked the VSS as the secondary in this situation is because it doesn’t cannibalize any useful resources that you would otherwise want to spend on your primary assault rifle. Not only does the VSS class as a sniper rifle, meaning it takes sniper rifle weapon mods, it also operates using 9mm ammunition, which is quite commonly found across most loot spawns. The VSS can be further improved by attaching an extended quickdraw sniper rifle mod to increase the base ammo capacity from 10 to 20, as well as a cheek pad attachment which will reduce recoil and weapon sway.

    PUBG close quarters loadout.

    Battlegrounds close combat tips and loadout

    Not every fight in PUBG happens through the glare of a rifle scope. Sometimes you have to throw down your gigantic tank-busting sniper rifles and square off against your enemy in an honorable duel to the death. And if you want to survive those close encounters, or if you just feel like taking up residence inside the tight corners of a housing complex, this close quarters combat build is the way to go.

    For this loadout we recommend:

  • Primary – S1897 w/ Bullet loops, Choke
  • Secondary – Tommy Gun w/ Ext. Quickdraw, Vertical Foregrip
  • There are a total of three shotguns currently available in in the game, and whilst each of them boasts a wildly different playstyle, it’s the satisfying pump-action of the S1897 that comes out on top in most instances. With a base capacity of 5 rounds the S1897 and the automatic S12K both outperform the rigid and cumbersome S686, which can only fire two rounds before needing to be reloaded. Likewise, the damage output of the S1897 and the S686 slightly outperform that of the S12K. The S1897 sits comfortably within the middle ground of both worlds when it comes to performance, and can be equipped with its own weapon modifications to help solve some of its issues too.

    The S1897 can comfortably fit two weapon modifications onto its frame that work in tandem to help improve both the reload speed of its single-feed shells, as well as tightening up the accuracy of its shots. By slotting bullet loops onto the back attachment slot, you can effectively decrease reload time by up to 30%, which makes a huge difference on this weapon in particular as each slug is fed into the chamber individually. A shotgun choke can also be attached to reduce the spread of the bullets whilst slightly increasing the speed at which they travel, effectively making the shotgun more accurate over slightly longer distances.

    It’s worth pointing out that there has been a long standing discussion within the community about the reliability of the damage produced by shotguns. Some shots may appear to instantly down an enemy, whilst another shot in the exact same situation may only scratch the target. The reason behind this is that each shot fired from the shotgun actually produces several smaller projectiles, each with their own direction and spread. When you factor varying distances into the mix, as well as the potential to hit outer extremities like arms and legs (which causes 50% less damage), you can often end up seeing varying results with each shot. The only way you can reliably combat this randomised spread is by closing the distance between you and your target, so keep that in mind when squaring off against others armed with your trusty boomstick.

    As for your secondary weapon slot, the Tommy Gun SMG makes for an excellent short to mid range firearm that’s capable for keeping enemies at bay whilst you push towards them for the kill. Thanks to the latest PUBG update, these classic relics of yesteryear are spawning pretty much everywhere on the island now, and despite their vintage appearance they’re capable of packing quite the punch, currently boasting the highest damage of all the available SMG weapons. Starting with a base clip size of 30 rounds, the Tommy Gun can take advantage of the three different magazine mods for the SMG, as well as a suppressor muzzle and vertical foregrip attachment.

    PUBG sniper loadout.

    Battlegrounds sniper tips and loadout

    PUBG wouldn’t be much of a shooter if it didn’t cater to that special demographic of people. You know the one. The type that likes to find a quiet rocky outcrop somewhere and casually whistle a tune, calm and composed as they methodically drill hot metal into their unsuspecting targets from hundreds of meters away. Love them or hate them, snipers are a fundamental part of the PUBG ecosystem, and it just wouldn’t feel the same if you didn’t clench up every time you had to sprint across an open field.

    For this loadout we recommend:

  • Primary – Kar98k w/ Flash Hider, Bullet Loops, x8 Scope
  • Secondary – Mini14 w/ Compensator, Ext. Quickdraw, x4 Scope
  • Of the seven available sniper rifles currently in the game, the AWM, Mk14 EBR, and M24 are all exclusively found within airdrops, and the VSS doesn’t come close to comparing against the range of the remaining three rifles. That leaves us with the SKS as well as our two choices, the Kar98k and the recently added Mini14. So why did we drop the SKS over these two then? Well put simply, the Kar98k easily outperforms the SKS for damage by a wide margin, and the Mini14 can double up as a makeshift assault rifle with its alternate firing modes and larger base clip size of 20 against the 10 rounds in the SKS, making it a versatile backup option.

    Both of these weapons are considered sniper rifles, so you will have to scrounge up a few extra sniper modifications to make sure they’re both fully stocked. Since the Kar98k is your main source of damage over long distances, you will want to fit this with an 8x scope as soon as possible. For the front end muzzle attachment you should go for a flash hider or a suppressor, making sure to avoid the compensator for the Kar98k specifically as it will not provide you with any benefits since it’s a bolt action rifle and compensators work to reduce recoil during sustained fire. You should also aim to get bullet loops for the Kar98k too as this will increase your release speed by upto 30%, removing some of the sting of the rifle’s otherwise agonisingly long reload times. When it comes to the Mini14, since we’re using it as a backup for slightly closer engagements, you should try and fit it with a 4x scope, an extended quickdraw for snipers, and a compensator to help balance out the recoil from its automatic firing modes.

    PUBG assault loadout.

    Battlegrounds assault tips and loadout

    The master of the skirmish, assault rifles provide the ultimate swiss army gun. Boasting respectable efficiency at medium to long distances, these precise bullet throwers are the perfect tools whether you’re assaulting a fortress, a town, or just some guy trying to nervously hide behind a rock.

    For this loadout we recommend:

  • Primary – AKM w/ Compensator, Ext. Quickdraw, x8 Scope
  • Secondary – M416 w/ Compensator, Tactical Stock, Ext. Quickdraw, x8 Scope, Vertical Foregrip
  • For a primary weapon, the AKM isn’t anything fancy. It’s not likely to stop someone with a single bullet, and you can only attach three modifications onto its humble frame. The reason we chose it however is that it is reliable. There aren’t any tricks or quirks to the way this gun works, you simply point and what you want to kill and squeeze the trigger, and when it comes to sustained gun fights across a variety of conditions and terrains, that’s exactly what you need. The ideal modifications to attach to the AKM are all in aid of making sure you can maintain sustained and accurate suppression of your enemies regardless of how far away they are. In this instance it’s recommended that you skip over the covert muzzles and grab a compensator to keep your shots on target, as well as an x8 scope for fighting at range, and an extended quickdraw to make sure you don’t fall short when returning fire.

    Whilst there are a number of alternatives, the reason we’ve suggested the M416 as a secondary weapon here is because of the extra weapon modification slots this particular model provides. Along with the traditional muzzle, optics, and magazine slots, the M416 also allows you to attach a foregrip and a stock, each providing extra bonuses like recoil and sway reduction. In this instance we recommend grabbing the tactical stock, which slightly reduces your sway, recoil, and recoil recovery, which are all important when attempting to accurately aim during sustained fire over considerable distances. We’ve also suggested the vertical foregrip over the angled foregrip as the vertical variant is better at reducing vertical recoil, which will help you keep your target within your sights as you open fire.

    Join the improv troop.

    Battlegrounds improvised assault tips and loadout

    If there’s one thing you can count on when playing PUBG, it’s that you will almost never find the item you need when you need it the most. Luck always plays a part in how each game unfolds, and sometimes you won’t be able to get all of the fancy gear your friends and neighbours have. Fortunately, there are still ways that you can cobble together a meaningful arsenal without turning to military grade hardware.

    For this loadout we recommend:

  • Primary – UMP9 w/ Red Dot Sight, Extended Mag
  • Secondary – P18C w/ Extended Mag
  • SMGs are often overlooked, and rightfully so when compared against the stopping power of a fully kitted-out sniper rifle. But if it’s the only thing you’ve got to hand, and trust me there will be games where that is true, then making the most out of this Playmobil brand automatic weapon is the only way you’re ever going to live long enough to see that chicken dinner at the end of the rainbow. The reason we chose the UMP9 over the other SMGs in this instance is simply because it’s one of the most common guns in the game with an abundance of ammunition to be found, and aside from the Tommy Gun it has the biggest clip size too.

    Red dot and holographic sights are quite easy to come by, and if you have the luxury of choice then the deciding between them will fall to your own personal preference. The same can be said for the singular extended or quickdraw SMG magazine modifications too. Both are quite common, and whilst some do prefer to grab the quickdraw, having the larger base clip from an extended mag can be just as effective during a fight.

    When luck just isn’t on your side, there’s a good chance you won’t even have the option to arm yourself with a secondary weapon. If that’s the case, turning to the small selection of sidearms is the way to go. In this instance we’ve gone for the P18C, a standard 9mm pistol with a unique function. By toggling the fire mode, you can convert the P18C into a makeshift SMG, changing from single shot to full auto mode in an instant. It doesn’t pack much of a punch, but if you’re trying to fight your way out of a tough spot, the extra fire rate might just be enough to push your way through. Pistol modifications are also quite common, and where possible you should at least try and equip an extended mag onto the P18C to help with the increased rate of fire.

    A dead man walking.

    A note on Battlegrounds’ crossbow

    You always see the same events happen whenever a new player finds a crossbow. At first they’re excited, because crossbows seem cool. Maybe they’ve watched a lot of The Walking Dead, or maybe they think that by mastering the crossbow they can reach a state of murdering enlightenment, rising above the rest of us with their godlike archery skills. Whatever the motivation, it only takes one or two attempts before they quickly catch on to just how ineffective it actually is.

    Sure, it’s inherently stealthy by nature and any connecting headshots will deal an incredible amount of damage. But these advantages are easily overshadowed by its incredibly low fire rate, as well the painfully slow travel time for bolts. Whenever you’re out in the field weighing up the pros and cons of grabbing a crossbow, it is almost always better to grab an alternative instead.

    34 Comments

    Top comments

    1. Vandelay says:

      This Playerunknown's Battlegrounds game looks suspiciously like Plunkbat. Can't see it attracting any players with such blatant ripping off.
    1. Vandelay says:

      This Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds game looks suspiciously like Plunkbat. Can’t see it attracting any players with such blatant ripping off.

    2. Premium User Badge

      Godwhacker says:

      Eh, I find it’s better to have one long range gun and one short range gun and upgrade both as much as possible with whatever you can find. If you can find an assault rifle with an auto setting that can double as both, leaving you free to be more picky about your alternative- but choice is something of a luxury here, half the time you’ll be lucky to get any sort of scope.

      Also, as mentioned, Plunkbat.

      • laiwm says:

        Agree – I try to find a house gun (close range) and a garden gun (long range). Then I take silly risks for 15 minutes while looking for a 4x scope, before being killed by a man with a shotgun.

      • theirongiant says:

        A PUBG loadout guide without the AKM/M16 & UMP/Uzi/Vector combo is like a chicken dinner without the chicken.

        AKM vs MI6 – AKM puts out more damage but at the cost of more recoil than the M16, don’t really see the point it taking the M416 or SCAR for auto as it’s unusable at medium range and a subby is a better choice for the job at short range. M16 has a range advantage over the other assault rifles so is a better pick for the job over it’s 556 brethren. Not had enough time with the Mini14 to judge but it does seem like a viable alternative and although the attachments are a little harder to find you can’t beat it’s A-Team cool.

        UMP vs Uzi vs Vector – UMP is the best all rounder, can be used happily towards the lower end of medium range while the Uzi sacrifices range for fire rate, great for indoor encounters. The vector is like an even better Uzi but it’s ridonkulous firerate is offset somewhat but it smaller mag capacity – a ext quickdraw isn’t just a nice addition for a vector it’s an absolute necessity

      • Eater Of Cheese says:

        WTB Plunkbat.

        Also, when the fuck did RPS turn into some shitty site that posted ‘how to play game’ guides? Downhill we go RPS…

    3. Premium User Badge

      Drib says:

      Maybe part of why I lose this game so much is my getting fed up with looting after about five seconds, taking whatever garbage I’ve happened across, and hiding in a bathroom.

    4. Walsh says:

      If only I could pick out my weapons like this, ideal loadout is whatever the hell you can get your hands on that shoots bullets.

    5. Premium User Badge

      samsharp99 says:

      I would argue that suppressed UMP + suppressed M16, or M16 & suppressed kar98 is better for stealth. You can use the M16 for medium-long range and then either UMP for close range or kar98 for long range depending on the playstyle.

      The ‘assault’ loadout with both guns having an x8 scope seems weird. In situations like that I kit out one AR as short-range (auto, compensator, EQ-mag, red-dot or 2x) and one as long-range (flash hider / suppressor, 4x or 8x).

      I think they made the reload times on the crossbow much better in the most recent patch.

      Also – no love for the vector?

      • Andy Moore says:

        I feel the VSS has got a bit of a bad rap though, which is understandable since it’s branded with that “sniper” tag despite having a pretty poor effective range. I’ve found it to be quite handy in a number of top ten standoffs though, especially when it’s in a field where everyone has gone to ground and you’re playing like gophers.

        As for the crossbow… It’s still a niche weapon, and when you weigh it against almost all of the alternatives it just doesn’t compare. If you can get the jump on someone and your aim is impeccable then by all means, but it will never become anything other than a last resort for the majority of players in its current state.

        • Premium User Badge

          samsharp99 says:

          Sure, if you find a VSS it’s a good early game weapon but I think once you find an AR/SR suppressor it doesn’t really have a place in a late-game load-out.

          As for the crossbow, I agree – I just wanted to point out that it’s was updated with a faster fire rate in the patch last week, the reload before that was wayyy too slow. I think it’s a bit of a ‘troll-y’/’fun’ weapon for those less serious games :)

    6. LegendaryTeeth says:

      It seems to me that the advantage of having two primary weapon slots is that you can have different guns for different situations. Not sure why you would double up on a gun that’s good at one thing, and then another that’s a bit worse in that situation and no better elsewhere.

      Also you don’t actually get to pick builds like this much. More useful would be a discussion on each gun, with the trade-offs it has compared to other guns.

      Finally the P18C is a pistol not a primary weapon. So you could pick anything else. I don’t think you are more likely to find a P18C than basically anything else better (and the Ump is already a better gun, with an Uzi being more common).

      Are we just picking guns out of a list or is this genuinely how people play?

      • BooleanBob says:

        It’s certainly not how I play. I think even people new to the game will intuitively look to pick up a close and long range weapon. This isn’t a class-based shooter and there’s no reason to restrict yourself.

    7. vahnn says:

      This is just silly. Always try to have a close/mid-range weapon and a long/mid-range weapon. Have non-zoomed optics and a compensator for your close gun, and silencer and ranged scope for your long gun. If you find one, take a silencer for your close gun, too.

      These “kits” are silly.

    8. lordcooper says:

      Bit bigheaded to declare your own weapons guide ‘the best’.

    9. c-Row says:

      I feel the crossbow would be more interesting if the game provided more outside cover, like more and denser bushes.

    10. cosm01 says:

      Protip: This guide is a guide to death, do not follow suggestions

    11. VaporStrike says:

      Mini 14 doesn’t have alternate fire modes, only semi auto fire.

    12. fragmonkey says:

      This has got to be the worst loadout guide I have ever seen.

      Every one of your loadouts has two guns that essentially serve the same role. You want to mix them; one weapon for longer range and one weapon for shorter range. And why would you ever put two 8x scopes on two assault rifles at the same time?

    13. hungrycookpot says:

      I’m honestly not sure if the person who wrote this has ever actually played the game.

    14. TerminatorJones says:

      I think one of the cool things about Plunkbat (and one of the things that makes a guide like this a very difficult task) is that the game is a lot more asymmetrical than a lot of other games. Balance isn’t as much of an issue because it is understood that some guns and attachments are simply better than other guns and attachments. The only real balance question is “Is this gun spawning frequently or infrequently enough when considering its value?” Because the developers have a pretty good sense of this already, the game isn’t really about trying to set up a particular loadout as getting some essentials and then making them as good as you are able to.

      Suggesting that some loadouts use suppressors is insane – you should always use a suppressor if you are lucky enough to find one. Same with Extended Quickdraw mags – there is literally no downside to them. Optics are similar, if you’re lucky enough to find a 4x or an 8x, there isn’t really a downside to equipping it on a gun until at least the very last circles when the range is very close.

      Many people here are suggesting a far weapon and a close weapon, which makes sense. But if you’re spoiled for choice, I actually think the best loadout is a far weapon (an Assault Rifle or maybe semi-auto sniper, if you have an extended mag) and a very far weapon (a bolt action rifle). This may be due to my lack of talent, but in close engagements, I don’t actually find SMGs or Shotguns to be any better than an Assault Rifle. The pray-and-spray method comes out about the same because despite the better accuracy of the SMGs when fired from the hip, the lower rate of fire with the ARs mean that you’re not immediately empty if you go full auto the way you do with SMGs. My preferred method for up close engagements is semi-auto with an assault rifle with a low power scope – you can fire rather quickly by clicking fast and the much lower recoil of semi auto means that if they stay still I can drop them fast and if they start moving, I haven’t completely lost sight picture on them.

      The other thing is that the different modes play differently. I actually think the over-under shotgun is the best in solo mode because it has good damage and range and you don’t have to worry about engaging multiple targets the way you might have to do in duo or especially in squad. In duo or squad I actually think the auto shotgun is better because the fire rate the pump can be too slow if you find yourself fighting two or more people. Again due to my lack of talent I think the bolt-action rifles aren’t as good in solo because without a bro (or sis) to watch your back you’re kind of screwed if you miss your one shot or score a body hit only, and they whirl on you and mow you down.

    15. AyeBraine says:

      BULLET LOOPS

      this is immature but I’m sniggering like an idiot

    16. phache123 says:

      If you write nonsense articles just to get people to sign up on your website and comment, you have succeeded.

      Horrible, no one in their right mind uses two of the same weapon types, assault rifles sometimes and maybe smg’s if you really can’t find anything else.

      Preparing for close quarters vs long range? Not possible, the game takes you to a random location and must be ready for both.

      And the chances of getting a weapon with all attachments are already pretty low, getting 2 fully upgraded? lol…

      Please make sure your authors play the game before writing about it, what a joke.

    17. thischarmingman says:

      This was an odd article coming from RPS.

    18. that_guy_strife says:

      While it’s interesting to read RPS’ take on how to play games …

      I don’t get why they do these. They are very bad. The OW one wasn’t a complete mess, but still not great. The Division had it’s own mini-series for God’s sake, and THAT was entirely bad and wrong from top to bottom.

      Please stick to reporting, puns and sass.

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