Just when we got to grips with the lack of Thermal and Suppressed Assault Rifles in Fortnite, patch 9.01 brings the new Tactical Assault Rifle to the table. This new weapon seems like a variant of the Scoped Assault Rifle, and time will tell how it fares compared to the other weapons. Our Fortnite Assault Rifles guide will walk you through each of the rifles still available in the game, with fully up-to-date, practical tips, stats, and strategies for each one.
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Fortnite Assault Rifles guide
Written by Ollie Toms and Dave Irwin
Assault Rifles come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and rarities, but they all share a few common traits. They are hitscan (no bullet travel time), they have first-shot accuracy, and they are unrivalled at medium range.
An Assault Rifle can also be used to great effect at long or short range, but they are of course not quite as suited to these ranges as other weapon classes such as the Shotgun or the Sniper Rifle. Regardless, they are the only weapons that can be used effectively at any range, and as a result they should always find a place onto your hotbar early on in a match. If you think you can win a Fortnite game using just SMGs and Sniper Rifles, you’re mistaken (or you’re by a vast degree the best player in the lobby).
For more information on ideal weapon loadouts and powerful weapon combinations, take a look at our Fortnite loadouts page.
Assault Rifles vs SMGs – when to use ARs
Assault Rifles are commonly compared to SMGs, and it’s easy to see why, as both classes of weapon sport large clip sizes and a high rate of fire. But SMGs sacrifice accuracy in their bid to be the fastest, most shreddiest guns in Fortnite, whereas Assault Rifles, with their measured approach and relative lack of bloom and recoil, are much more effective at medium and long range.
If you’re trying to burst down an opponent (or a structure) at very close range, the SMG will generally outperform the Assault Rifle. But if you’re 100 metres away, that SMG is going to be useless, while an AR can still happily peck away at your opponent’s health from afar.
Of course, this doesn’t need to be an either-or situation. Both types of weapon occupy completely different niches in the Fortnite arsenal, so it’s well worth taking both and learning to switch between them quickly depending on your situation.
Scoped Assault Rifle
The Scoped Assault Rifle is much more like semi-auto sniper rifle than standard AR, having a slower-firing than their peers, making it far less versatile, but better suited for long-range encounters.
We’ll go into more detail about this subset of Assault Rifle below, but it’s worth recognising that the Scoped ARs are a vastly different beast than regular ARs, and there’s not too much point in comparing them.
Tactical Assault Rifle
Despite slapping a scope on this bad boy, it’s more akin to an SMG than a standard AR. It has a nice high rate of fire and can dish out decent damage to players and structures, but has a huge drop-off at longer ranges.
Like the Scoped Assault Rifle, we’ll be going into more detail on this one below, but just so you are aware that this is very different to the regular ARs and you shouldn’t really use that as a benchmark when cross-referencing the two.
Fortnite best Assault Rifle
Now let’s take a look at all the different Assault Rifles currently available to you in Fortnite, and how they stack up against one another, as well as their ideal circumstances and shortcomings. While we reference the different weapons’ stats, we haven’t included them here, but just head over to our Fortnite weapons guide for detailed stats on every single weapon in Fortnite.
The Infantry Rifle is a curious cross between an Assault Rifle and a Sniper Rifle – but not in the same way as the Scoped ARs you’ll find below. The gun packs a punch over great distances, dealing more damage per shot even than a Heavy Assault Rifle. Combined with its extraordinary lack of bloom and quick to return first-shot-accuracy, this makes it a powerful semi-auto long-ranged weapon that beats the Scoped Assault Rifle at its own game many times over. Its only downside is a tiny mag size relative to its considerable rate of fire.
The V8.20 Patch Notes, which you can read all about in our Fortnite Patch Notes guide, provided some changes to the Infantry Rifle. Before, its main benefit was zero damage dropoff; this is now gone, with the gun featuring the same dropoff as other Assault Rifles. But instead, the gun is now hitscan, meaning you no longer need to adjust for bullet travel time. This is a huge benefit to the weapon – which Epic knows, as shown by their subsequent nerf of the gun’s damage per shot from 45/42 to 42/40 to prevent it from being overpowered.
This is a very powerful gun in the right hands, but you shouldn’t really use this as a replacement for your SCAR. You should use it as your long-range option if you desire a faster-firing alternative to the bolt-action snipers. With a good aim and some solid game-sense on when to use it, the Infantry Rifle is a top-notch weapon.
Assault Rifle & SCAR
The standard Assault Rifle is characterised by middling stats across the board. They also occupy every rarity level, which means there’s quite a bit of variance between the fairly lacklustre Grey AR and the wonderfully powerful Gold SCAR, particularly regarding the amount of bloom each gun suffers from while firing. But as a whole, these ARs are fast-firing, effective at any range, and excellent at taking down both players and structures at medium range.
While not as untouchably superior as it used to be, an Epic or Legendary SCAR is still a powerful item that’s well worth keeping through to the end of a match. It can deliver quick and painful damage, particularly if you headshot your target, which is more than possible given the first-shot accuracy and low bloom of the SCAR; and it can also be used to pressure enemies and disrupt builds at ranges beyond what an SMG can handle.
For its rarity, the Drum Gun can be a monster. Appearing only at uncommon and rare rarities, the Drum gun has decent accuracy, a fast fire rate, and packs a punch. What makes this weapon such a good one to use however is that it’s even good when hip-fired, outclassing shotguns in many cases.
This is bogged down at uncommon level by a rather long reload time, but should you manage to snag a rare one, you’ll be laughing as you spray a hail of bullets into your foes. Couple this with a long-range weapon solution, such as a Sniper Rifle of your choice and you’re pretty much set for the game.
Heavy Assault Rifle
Oof. This gun packs a hell of a punch. Available in Rare, Epic, and Legendary colours, this gun deals significantly higher damage per shot than any other Assault Rifle, with the consequence that all its other stats are slightly worse to balance it out. Lower fire rate, smaller clip size, longer reload time, and a greater recoil and bloom to contend with. But seriously, you get nearly a 50% increase in damage with every shot over the SCAR. That’s just disgustingly powerful.
The thing to remember, though, is that the Heavy AR’s low rate of fire makes it less effective for suppressing the enemy, which means – as with the FAMAS – you should consider taking an SMG with you if you’re using the Heavy AR. Or conversely, if you don’t have an SMG on your person, you should probably pick a SCAR over a Heavy Assault Rifle just for the suppression and sustain ability.
Scoped Assault Rifle
The Scoped Assault Rifle combines a bunch of useful traits – fast fire rate, hitscan, a scope – but it’s unfortunately not a weapon that sees a lot of play in most Fortnite matches. Its low damage is very underwhelming even compared with a Grey Assault Rifle, and you’re much better off using an actual sniper rifle, or even a Scoped Revolver.
Regardless, the Scoped AR can be used to good effect, and the key to doing this is to never let up the pressure. The only way to make up for the Scoped AR’s low damage is to headshot your enemy several times in quick succession before they even know what’s happening. This is actually fairly easy to do if they don’t build, because like I said, the Scoped AR is nice and accurate at long range. But if they do start building, the Scoped AR’s time to shine is over and you’d best switch to another weapon to continue the fight.
Tactical Assault Rifle
Given its tight spread, it’s more of a weapon that’s suited for closer ranges than the Scoped Assault Rifle. It’s a fully automatic weapon and includes a headshot multiplier of 1.75x. But for its rarity, it’s really not that good an option as an AR. When used to fulfil the role of an SMG at close range though, its usefulness becomes a little more apparent and given that the Suppressed SMG is the only other SMG in the game, that’s important. Use this in the same manner as the Drum Gun or Suppressed SMG. Also, that scope is purely for cosmetic effect. Such a waste.
Fortnite Assault Rifle tips and tricks
Finally, let’s finish up with some practical tips and tricks on how to perform well with any kind of Assault Rifle in Fortnite.
- Spam at close range, burst at medium range, tap at long range. This is all down to the Assault Rifle’s bloom. Most ARs can return quickly to first-shot accuracy, so at longer ranges you should only tap the fire button or burst for short amounts of time before allowing the bloom to reset to zero. With close-range encounters, however, the bloom is less important than dealing as much damage as possible in the shortest space of time, so close range is the only time you should auto-fire with your Assault Rifle.
- Switch to a Shotgun or SMG for close range. Don’t rely on your Assault Rifle at close range. An SMG will always out-DPS an Assault Rifle in close quarters combat. If you’ve no SMG, then use your AR to support your shotgun blasts, but don’t use your Assault Rifle for too long in these moments, because the fire rate just isn’t good enough for close range encounters – unless it’s the Tactical Assault Rifle that is.
- Don’t be tempted to stand still. Your Assault Rifle’s bloom is much less of a problem if you’re standing still, so many players are tempted to stay rooted to the spot as they fire at their enemy. This, of course, is a big mistake, because when you’re a static target it’s the easiest thing in the world for your enemy – or a third party – to snipe you and kill you in one shot.
- Follow up a snipe with an Assault Rifle. At mid- to long-range, you should always follow up your snipes with a few shots from your Assault Rifle, particularly when using a Heavy Sniper, because after you break an opponent’s wall with the snipe it’s very possible to get a few quick hits in with your AR before they wall themselves back up.
- Remember your AR’s shortcomings. Don’t treat every Assault Rifle in the same way. As we’ve mentioned, there are various differences in how you should use each of them. And you should also take this into account when choosing your other weapons. If you’ve a Heavy Assault Rifle, for instance, an SMG is more or less a must-have item. If you’ve a SCAR or Suppressed AR, then you can perhaps exchange your SMG for a sniper rifle.
- Scoped Assault Rifles belong in your Sniper slot, not your AR slot. Scoped Assault Rifles shouldn’t even be classed as Assault Rifles, because their function is completely different. The core trait of an Assault Rifle is versatility – they can strike at any range and pretty much any situation. Scoped Assault Rifles, like Sniper Rifles, only excel at long range, so don’t ever be tempted to use a Scoped AR instead of a standard AR.
That wraps up our Fortnite Assault Rifles guide, but be sure to check back here after Epic makes any adjustments to existing Assault Rifles, or switches around the roster. We’ll be working hard to make sure all our Fortnite pages are fully up to date, including this one. So until then!