Best Escape from Tarkov early wipe weapon builds, from AUG to VPO

Best Escape from Tarkov early wipe weapon builds, from AUG to VPO
Images via Battlestate Games

Written by 

Harry Boulton

Last updated 

6th Feb 2024 16:52


Many of the best ammo and meta weapons aren't available at the start in Escape from Tarkov, so figuring out the best early wipe weapon builds is essential to help you climb through the levels.

Battlestate Games has pushed much of the typical options further into the Trader progression in recent patches, but there are still some excellent options to choose from in the game - especially if you don't mind searching for alternative ammo as you crawl through maps like Customs and Woods.

What are the best early wipe weapon builds in EFT?

The four weapons that we've picked for our early wipe builds in Escape from Tarkov are the AUG A1, AKS-74UUMP .45, and VPO-215, covering all of the bases with an SMG, Assault Rifle, and Sniper.

You can pick up all of the weapons and parts here without needing to complete any quests or level up any of your Traders, so these will be good to go from the beginning - albeit with a little bit of searching for some barter items.

AUG A1 build

The AUG A1 has emerged as the early-wipe king post patch 0.14, and the best part is that you don't need to buy any other attachments as the gun is excellent in its base version.

Image of the best early wipe AUG A1 build in Escape from Tarkov
Click to enlarge

While it is expensive - especially relative to other builds on this list - setting you back $577 (~81,394₽) from Peacekeeper LL1, the fact that you don't need to pay for anything other than additional mags does put the higher cost into perspective a little.

You're getting a weapon with fantastic recoil and a capable scope, letting you comfortably take fights across both close and medium ranges. One caveat is that you only have access to 10-round mags at LL1 Traders, but the weapon itself comes with a 30-rounder so you'll just have to juggle between that and 10s as a backup.

The biggest notch against the AUG though is the ammo available from the traders, as the best you can get directly is MK 255 Mod 0 (RRLP), which deals 72 damage and a measly 11 pen. This won't even get you through Class 2 armour, so we're very much relying on the copious amounts of M855 you get from the USEC starter kit.

Thankfully though, 5.56x45mm is one of the more commonly found rounds in-raid, so you'll be able to pick up anything from FMJ and M855 to even M856A1 and M855A1 if you're lucky.

AKS-74U build

If you want something that can be run more consistently, then this AKS-74U build is perfect for you:

Part Price (Trader)
AKS-74U Zenit B-11 handguard 5,974₽ (Skier LL1)
KAC vertical foregrip $27 (Peacekeeper LL1)
AKS-74U Legal Arsenal Piligrim railed dust cover 5,819₽ (Skier LL1)
Walther MRS reflex sight 13,800₽ (Skier LL1)

Best early wipe AKS-74U build in Escape from Tarkov
Click to enlarge

This is based on the AKS-74U that Prapor sells for 24,605₽ at LL1, so don't bother with the 'N' variant as the only difference there is a dovetail mount which we won't be using anyway for an extra 10,000₽.

One of the biggest benefits of the AKS-74U is that it offers a hybrid between an assault rifle and an SMG, giving you flexibility that should help you gain the edge in a gunfight. It's very controllable following the patch 0.14 recoil adjustments, and the KAC foregrip will help boost your ergonomics too.

Much like the AUG, the ammo on offer for 5.45x39mm at the start of each wipe isn't the best, with US being your best choice from Traders at 63 damage and 17 penetration.

The PS and BP rounds you get from the starter BEAR kit are great to get you started, but 5.45x39 is so common in your raids that you'll rarely ever be struggling for ammo if you pick up what's available.

I've found loads of PS and a fair amount of PP in the early stages, with the latter offering 50 damage and 34 pen which will rip through Class 3 and more than deal with Class 4 too.

We've also got a dedicated rundown of the best AKS-74U build separately once you reach LL2 Traders too, giving you a much stronger weapon that can be used for pretty much the entire wipe.

UMP .45 build

You can create this early wipe UMP .45 build by purchasing the following weapon parts and applying them to the weapon:

Part Price (Trader)
NcSTAR Tactical blue laser LAM-module 5,658₽ (Skier LL1)
KAC vertical foregrip $27 (Peacekeeper LL1)

Image of the best early wipe UMP .45 build in Escape from Tarkov
Click to enlarge

This is a super simple build to create, as the parts are just slapped straight onto the weapon with no complications. It is also completely optional to use either of these parts, as the UMP .45 is still super strong on its own - the laser just adds hip-fire accuracy and the foregrip dampens the already low recoil a little further.

Getting the UMP .45 itself is a little bit trickier, as you cannot buy it outright and instead need to opt for one of two barters:

Barter Items Trader
  • 4x Bars A-2607 Damascus knife
Peacekeeper LL1
  • 1x DVD drive
  • 1x Damaged hard drive
  • 2x Capacitors
Mechanic LL1

Both of these barters are unlocked from the beginning though, and the items aren't too hard to find if you're playing your Scav on maps like Interchange or Reserve.

Ammo has become a bit trickier to get a hold of since patch 0.14 though, with Match FMJ moving to Peacekeeper LL2, leaving us with just Lasermatch FMJ at Peacekeeper LL1. This does 76 damage which is great, but only 19 penetration, which leaves a lot to be desired.

This is only really effective against Class 2 armour and will struggle with Class 3 and beyond. The armour rework has made this less of an issue, as most early-wipe armour is either Class 2, or has a lot of Class 2 soft armour - but you will still run into scenarios where you're unable to get through.

What's more, leg meta has been significantly nerfed due to the reduction of damage spread to other limbs, so your best bet is to aim for the head (easier said than done) - or just hope that stray bullets hit weaker armour areas and get you the kill that way.

It's still the best LL1 SMG straight from the Traders though, as the MP5 is a bit of a pain to use unmodded, and has much less viable ammo once you run out of your initial M882 stash.

VPO-215 build

Finally, if sniping is more of your thing, check out all of the parts you'll need for the ideal VPO-215 build below:

Part Price (Trader)
Leapers UTG 25mm ring scope mount 1,733₽ (Jaeger LL1)
VOMZ Pilad 4x32 24.5mm riflescope 15,192₽ (Jaeger LL1)

Image of our VPO-215 build in Escape from Tarkov
Click to enlarge

While the Mosin is available from Prapor LL1 and is much stronger than the VPO-215, it is unfortunately only the Infantry variant and thus is unable to have a scope equipped. That's where the VPO steps in, giving you a great stealthy sniper build for a low cost.

Compared to the other builds we've listed, you will need to complete Introduction and unlock Jaeger to get this weapon and its parts. But that is so early on, it isn't really a huge deal.

Just slap the Leapers scope mount onto the gun and the VOMZ Pilad scope after that and you'll be good to jump into your next raid and test your aim.

As you'll be at Jaeger already, you can skip straight to the .366 TKM EKO rounds for this gun, which can be purchased for a measly 69₽ per round. Combine this with the  18,585₽ that you'll have to send over to Jaeger for the gun itself, and you'll have a complete sniping kit for 35,510₽ plus ammo.

Admittedly, this VPO-215 is probably my least favourite sniper to use in Escape from Tarkov, as it has a relatively poor MOA and the ammo isn't quite good enough to get one-hit kills on most targets. However, for the early game, it's great - so you'd better use it while you still can.

There are obviously plenty of other weapons that you can use in the early game of Escape from Tarkov, but these are the three that we think work best if you're looking to escape from your raids unscathed.

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If you want to see more tips for the early game and beyond though, make sure to check out our Escape from Tarkov homepage as we've got an abundance of guides that you can read.

For example, you'll be able to improve your in-game performance with the best settings, or all of the best crafts so you can rake in the profit.

Harry is a Guides Writer at GGRecon, having completed a Masters of Research degree in Film Studies. Previously a freelance writer for PCGamesN, The Loadout, and Red Bull Gaming, he loves playing a wide variety of games from the Souls series to JRPGs, Counter-Strike, and EA FC. When not playing or writing about games and hardware, you're likely to find him watching football or listening to Madonna and Kate Bush.

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