In Escape From Tarkov, the most important piece of equipment to bring in a raid is your weapon. But, with over 70 guns in the game, how is a beginner supposed to know what the best options are? I know I struggled with this question when I first began playing, so I put together this list of the 5 best guns for beginners in Tarkov. I chose these guns based on their price compared to their performance, as well as the cost of ammo for each. Also, each of these weapons are either available at level 1 traders, commonly found on scavs, or both.
Primer: Before I get into the list, I want to make a quick gloss-over of how weapons and ballistics work in Tarkov. The first main point to know is that bullets are what deal damage to players, not the guns themselves. Basically, a gun can only be as good as the ammo it’s firing. And there are multiple types of ammo within each caliber, and each type has its own damage and penetration value. Thanks to Reddit user u/NoFoodAfterMidnight, you can find a helpful chart of ammo statistics here. Knowing this information will drastically help soften the learning curve when it comes to weaponry in Tarkov. With that said, let’s get into the list of the 5 best guns for beginners in Escape From Tarkov.
The first gun on the list is one of my personal favorites for budget builds – the AKM. This gun can be obtained from Prapor Lv.1 as a trade for 3 small cans of Tushonka, and can also sometimes be found on scavs. For more valuable trades available to beginners in Tarkov, check out this helpful guide.
This weapon also has three variants in the AKMS, AKMN, and AKMSN. These variants offer a folding stock, a side mount for sights, and both, respectively. They’re essentially all the same weapon, just with slightly different modding capabilities.
The best part about this weapon is that the ammo it fires – 7.62x39mm – offers one of the best cost-to-performance ratios in the game. This is highlighted with 7.62x39mm PS ammo, which is more than capable at dealing with other PMCs, and is dirt-cheap. You can step up this gun’s stopping power even further with 7.62x39mm BP ammo, but the price jumps significantly here and in my opinion, isn’t worth the rubles as a beginner.
On top of that, this guns fires in both single-fire and full-auto modes. However, the AKM’s one drawback is that it kicks pretty hard, so I wouldn’t recommend going full-auto at range without modding the weapon for recoil reduction.
2. ADAR 2-15
Next up on our list of best guns for beginners in Tarkov is the ADAR. This gun can be acquired from Skier Lv.1 by trading him a rechargeable battery, as well as from scavs.
This is another personal favorite of mine, and for good reason. It fires one of the best calibers of ammunition in the game (5.56) with very minimal recoil. I’d recommend using at least M855A1 ammunition, as there is a steep drop in penetration values to the next lowest ammo type. With this weapon’s low recoil and powerful ammunition, it can even be modded out to be a formidable long-range threat.
The biggest drawback to this weapon is that it can only fire in single-fire mode, meaning that you will have to play very deliberately towards going into close-quarters environments. But definitely grab this weapon as a beginner, you won’t regret it.
3. PP-91 Kedr
The Kedr is the next gun up, and it is one of the most common guns you’ll find on scavs. This gun can also be purchased from Prapor Lv.1 for around 20K rubles.
This Kedr is a standout from the other members of this list, as it is more about full-auto spraying than precision. While the 9x18mm ammo this gun fires doesn’t provide much stopping power, it’s very cheap so you can stock up on plenty and spray away at enemies’ legs and head for great results. In fact, this weapon is the only member of the list where penetration is almost irrelevant. Because if you’re aiming for the chest, you’re not using the Kedr properly.
Also, this weapon is very compact, taking up only a 2×2 space when folded. This means that if you find two better weapons during raid, you can stash the Kedr without it taking up precious inventory space.
4. Vepr Hunter/VPO-101
Next up is a notoriously lethal long range weapon that can is surprisingly common for beginners to find on scavs, the Vepr Hunter. This weapon fires arguably the most powerful caliber of ammo in Tarkov in 7.62×51 NATO. You’ll even often find 7.62×51 M61 cartridges on scavs with this weapon, which is considered to be the best ammo type of one of the best calibers of ammo. Pretty good stuff.
Admittedly, this is a long range weapon and is significantly less effective when used in close quarters. However, there’s something to be said for a gun available to beginners in Tarkov that can drop even the most geared of players.
Speaking of beginner guns that can drop heavily geared players, the Mosin has quickly gained infamy in Tarkov since its addition to the game. This gun packs some of the deadliest ammo in Tarkov, and is available to beginners from Prapor Lv.1 for about 30K rubles, or fairly commonly from scavs.
Despite its reputation with many veteran players as being a detriment to the game due to its power + availability, it does have a severe downside. It sports one of the slowest fire rates in the game, meaning that missing just one shot can spell doom. This also causes it to be a liability in close range scenarios.
Still, this gun, along with the others on this list, is a force to be reckoned with.