Escape From Tarkov Best Guns List For Patch 12.12.30
If you're wanting to survive each raid, knowing the Escape From Tarkov best guns to bring in can be the difference between success and failure. Of course, a lot of the guns can be dramatically improved through Escape From Tarkov's extensive modding feature, but there are some which just stand above the rest in each ammo type. So, if you're wanting to see the full list of the Escape From Tarkov best guns in patch 12.12.30 then make sure to keep on reading.
Deciding the Escape From Tarkov best guns differs rather dramatically from traditional shooter games. In Tarkov, the guns themselves have no damage attributes assigned to them, as the damage logically only comes from the ammo itself. Therefore, what determines exactly how good a weapon is comes down to a mixture of factors.
Primarily, the ammo that the gun takes is really what can make or break each weapon, as a 'bad' gun that fires good ammo can still work, whereas the opposite is rarely ever true. Secondly, modability, plus ergonomics and recoil potential are also the determining factor in each gun's viability, as they strongly affect how easy each weapon is to actually use and fire.
So, for all the information on the best Escape From Tarkov weapons, check out our full list below.
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Escape From Tarkov Best Guns: Pistols
FN Five-seveN MK2 5.7x28
While you can deal with pretty much anyone without a face shield with any of the pistols, they all have their relative weaknesses, ranging from fire rate, reload time, to weapon damage and penetration. The FN Five-seveN stands above the rest of the pistols however as a clear favourite, boating a fast fire rate, quick reload, and a unique ammo type that can really surprise enemies. The best ammo for the weapon is effective even up to class six armour, but can easily stand on its own against class four and five too.
Glock 18C 9x19mm
Although the FN Five-seveN stands alone as a pure pistol, there is the option of the Glock 18C as a wildcard of sorts. The main reason you would opt for the Glock 18C over something like the Five-seveN is the fact it has a fully-automatic fire option, and an RPM of 1200, which remains the fastest in the game. Combine this with the available 50-round magazine and 9x19mm RIP ammo and you'll have a leg-meta machine that can tear through even the most-geared players at close range.
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Escape From Tarkov Best Guns: Shotguns
TOZ KS-23M 23x75mm
Although the KS-23M shotgun isn't as oppressive of a force as it was when it was unleashed into the game, it is still one of Escape From Tarkov's best guns. The key appeal of the pump action shotgun is its unique Star Flashbang Slug, which, as the name signifies, fires a flashbang into opposing players instead of a traditional shot. Combine this with the Shrapnel 10 buckshot, or Barricade Slug and your opposing PMCs won't be able to see what hit them - quite literally in this case.
Saiga 12ga 12/76/MP-153 12ga
These two semi-automatic shotguns largely fill the same role so we've grouped them together based on their playstyle and the fact they take the same ammo. If you are in the right situation, you can't really go wrong with a semi-auto shotgun and buckshot ammo. Perhaps the epitome of spray and pray, most foes will drop before they even realise if you catch them first and just spam your shots. This is perfect for close quarters maps like Factory, but can work in the interiors of a lot of other maps too. The Saiga takes the edge over the MP-153 purely for its superior modding capabilities and its larger magazines, allowing you to keep shooting for much, much longer.
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Escape From Tarkov Best Guns: SMGs
HK MP7A2 4.6x30
The HK MP7A2 is an extremely reliable choice for all situations where you would find yourself using an SMG. The 950 RPM combined with the FMJ rounds from Peacekeeper LL3 can tear through anyone not wearing class six armour, and the ability to take 40 round mags compensates well for the fast fire rate. You can also pick up the sister variant MP7A1, which is almost identical, but it cannot take a foregrip so you're lacking more in the recoil department with that choice.
HK UMP .45 ACP
Almost the counterpoint to the MP7A2 is the UMP .45, which offers a significantly lower fire rate of 600 RPM, but still stays just as powerful - if not more. The UMP benefitted massively from the patch 12.12 recoil changes, which nerfed the recoil of faster firing weapons, making the .45 calibre SMG stand out as a laser among the rest. The ammo also does a very high amount of damage, so legs or the face will be prime targets that are easy to hit. Furthermore, once you get your hands on the .45 ACP AP ammo at Peacekeeper LL3, you're able to penetrate up to class five armour, making this a budget killer. Lastly, it offers insane value at a very early point in the game, as it can be traded with Mechanic and Peacekeeper at LL1 for two easily obtainable barters.
FN P90 5.7x28
Falling into the same ammo type as the aforementioned Five-seveN, it is easy to see why the P90 is such a strong weapon when you add in its high 900 RPM fire rate. It requires very minimal mods, has a good base recoil, and comes baked in with huge 50 round mags, so you can spray for far longer than you realistically need to.
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Escape From Tarkov Best Guns: Assault Carbines/Marksman Rifles
VSS Vintorez 9x39 special sniper rifle
While it has had a bit of break from the meta due to the patch 12.12 recoil changes, it has had a slight buff in 12.12.30 that has made it worth using again. The weapon itself hasn't changed, but there have been some tweaks to the ammo that have made it better on the recoil side of things. Overall, it is an excellent hybrid weapon that allows you to take long range and close quarters fights adeptly, and has a very strong ammo all-around. Furthermore, it (alongside the AS VAL) is unique in their design as subsonic capable weapons. This makes your shots near impossible to distinguish from a location perspective, making stealthy playstyles thrive.
The biggest downside for this weapon (outside of the still sometimes troublesome recoil) is how difficult it can be to acquire mags and the good ammo. This can be circumvented through some crafts, but still is a lot more painful than just picking them up through the traders or on the Escape From Tarkov flea market.
Knight's Armament Company SR-25/Springfield Armory M1A 7.62x51mm
The SR-25 and M1A would have been joined by the RFB in this category before the 12.12.30 patch, as the availability, price, and strength of the 7.62x51 M80 ammo at Peacekeeper LL2 made them an incredible choice all wipe round. However, as this ammunition has moved to Peacekeeper LL3, the limited scope of the RFB becomes less valuable as the wipe goes on, meaning that the SR-25 and M1A stand out above it. M80 still does remain a great option later on in the wipe, but you could also pick up M62 at roughly the same point, or even M61 even later for dealing with class five and six armour.
SWORD International Mk-18 .338 LM
This is a bit of a tricky one, as the Mk-18 is technically the best weapon in the entire game, but as such it is insanely difficult to get your hands on. While it is now not the only weapon that takes the phenomenal .338 Lapua Magnum ammo, which - with the AP variant - is a one shot through any armour in the game, it stands tall with its semi-automatic fire rate. However, the tough part is that neither the weapon, nor the ammo can be bought on the flea market. The AP ammo can only be found in raid, and you are only able to buy the Mk-18 from Jager after completing the Hunter quest at LL4, requiring you to kill the Escape From Tarkov Woods boss a whopping 25 times. If you get your hands on it though, you're in for a treat.
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Escape From Tarkov Best Guns: Assault Rifles
Desert Tech MDR 7.62x51
Think about how powerful the 7.62x51mm ammo is in the semi-automatic weapons above, but then imagine how strong it would be fully automatic. There is a 5.56x45mm variant of the MDR that can be obtained much earlier in the progression cycle that is good as well, but you really cannot deny the power of its larger sibling. Both variants require very minimal modding too, but that does come with a relatively restricted recoil ceiling.
FN SCAR-L 5.56x45/FN SCAR-H 7.62x51
The SCAR twins find themselves roughly in the same situation as the MDR, with two variants across two different ammo types. While you should naturally gravitate towards the H variant if you can due to the significantly stronger bullets, the L is still very much viable due to its significantly lower base recoil and slightly higher ergonomics. Getting your hands on 5.56x45 M855A1 (tracer) ammo at Peacekeeper LL2 after completing The Cult - Part 1, or the non-tracer variant at Peacekeeper/Skier LL4 can really ignite the flame inside the lower calibre variant.
CMMG Mk47 Mutant 7.62x39
While the king of the fully-automatic rifles has historically always been the M4 and the HK, the 12.12 recoil changes have seen them fall down the rankings a bit. Emerged in their place at the top is the Mk47 Mutant, which was already strong, but has been made comparatively even stronger with its slower fire rate. Combine that with the ever strong 7.62x39 BP ammo, and you've got a weapon that really couldn't be more meta right now.
Rifle Dynamics RD-704 7.62x39 assault rifle
If you haven't quite got to Skier LL4 and completed the Bullshit quest yet however, the RD-704 will certainly do the trick. Being brought into the game as one of the Escape From Tarkov new guns the RD-704 is being dubbed the 'mini-Mutant' due to the frankly staggering similarities between the two weapons. They both take the incredibly strong 7.62x39 ammo - which the PS variant has just received a buff making it arguably the best early wipe ammo - but also exceptional recoil and ergonomics capabilities. You can pick it up from Mechanic LL3, but also regularly find it on the flea market for only slightly above the price of the trader, which is a stark difference from the flea market banned Mk47. If you want an automatic weapon for the early-mid (and even into the late) wipe, then you really can't get much better than the RD-704.
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Escape From Tarkov Best Guns: Bolt Action Rifles
Lobaev Arms DVL-10 7.62x51
As you have probably noticed as a trend throughout this list, whenever a gun is loaded with 7.62x51mm ammo, it is incredibly strong. If long range battles are your thing, then the DVL-10 is always going to be a reliable choice. Furthermore, if you can stretch to 7.62x51 M62 ammo, which is faster, has a longer effective distance, does more damage, and has better armour penetration than the more common M80, then you will have a much better chance against tougher PMCs and bosses.
Accuracy International AXMC .338 LM bolt-action sniper rifle
The AXMC joins the Mk-18 in the insanely powerful .338 LM ammo category as one of the new guns in patch 12.12.30. It is the best bolt action you can get your hands on in the game, purely because of the ammo that you load it with, but that doesn't mean that it is free from downsides. Again, like the Mk-18, the ammo is incredibly hard to get a hold of (but at least you won't be able to burn through it as quickly here), and despite being easier to buy than its semi-automatic counterpart, it still requires you to kill Shturman - just once this time though, instead of 25. Finally, seemingly as a means of balancing its overwhelming power, Battlestate have set the base ergonomics of the weapon as a whopping zero, meaning that your ADS time is incredibly slow and you aren't able to stay scoped for too long before depleting your arm stamina. Despite all of this though, it is still a frankly unmatched sniper rifle if you can get your hands on it.
Finally, rounding off the Escape From Tarkov best guns list is the SV-98 bolt action sniper, which is great for a more budget oriented sniper loadout. You can pick it up for about 50,000 Roubles on the flea market at the right time, and any ammo above the 7.62x54R PS ammo will serve you very well. Furthermore, it has very good natural accuracy, so you can count on the gun to let you hit your shots if you're skilled enough.
So, that completes our Escape From Tarkov best guns list, going over every top tier weapon in the game at the current patch 12.12. If a gun you like isn't on this list, it doesn't mean that it is not worth using, just that it doesn't quite hit the top of the mark in Tarkov. For more introductory Escape From Tarkov tips, check out our guide to get you started in time for the next Escape From Tarkov wipe.