Fortnite Weapons and weapon ranges

Lets talk about ranges and what can be used at different ranges. Rather than quantifying what is best used we are going to look at what becomes ineffective.


  1. Everything.
  2. SMG ASMG Autopistol (maybe viable@low rof?). Somewhere between 2 and 3 the auto shotgun becomes useless
  3.  Pump shotgun
  4. Magnum, you could use at longer than this but it is starting to become very unreliable combined with low rof. So perhaps this could be considered an “opener”.
  5. ARs – also debateable and the better quality ones will perform better at longer range where as the grey M4 might stop working reliably between 3 and 4.

Beyond this range the scoped weapons are required as well as (potentially) your enemy being unaware you are aiming at them while sitting still.

Ranges are defined by a weapons placing in an effective range hierarchy. This means that if the “close range” weapon is effective to 50m (an exaggeration) and other weapons are balanced around this then the “close range” weapon is a weapon that is viable to 50m. This is a decision the devs can make in relation to the scale of the game. For example in fortnite, if we were to have a weapon whose effective range is 5m but the entire map is open fields the weapon is essentially useless. This is what we see in the SMG – besides its low damage its range is also very close for “high” DPS.

Fortnite Weapon Ranges

So close range is a mixture of weapon performance as well as the flavor of the rest of the game. The environments, player movement speed and other factors determin.

Comparatively speaking the pump shotgun range is close, compared to the scoped weapons or the better quality assault rifles. We are not interested in what the shotgun meme is here, but more the overall breakdown of ranges in the game and what niches different weapons can fill.

The above break down is rough, but it is to demonstrate weapon grouping. I am aware of the RNG aspects of the different levels of weapons as well as this changing their ranges, however we are looking at this from a “can I use this weapon at a given range” rather than “I am going to reliably kill my opponent at this range”.

At the first post every fortnite weapon is usable, except the snipers. Not every weapon is ideal but they can be used. This is essentially the problem with SMGs, they can be used at this range but are never (?) ideal. As range increases options decrease. While shotguns may be viable at longer than expected ranges if their effectiveness was to be nerfed via range we simply end up with more weapons clumped together at the closer ranges.

One interesting aspect of this and why the projectile sniper is good is that there is also a max range cap unless players are standing dead still. This is important otherwise the effective weapon mix is skewed further towards long range weapons.

I am not going to make an argument for the shotgun continuing to be effective at the range it is, more point out how if its effective range is lowered we simply end up with even more weapons clumped around the shorter ranges.

Most of this is quite cut and dried. Assault rifles out perform shot guns at longer ranges and snipers out perform assault rifles at still longer ranges. There are a few exceptions that add flavor. One example is the automatic pistol – this is a trade off with the auto shotgun at closer ranges. Missing one shot from the auto pistol is not super important, where as missing one from the auto shotgun can be. This would be similar to the auto vs pump shotguns if their effective ranges were the same with different damage amounts.

Coming from arenafps I feel that close range is lacking in flavor but this is mainly due to the lack of variety in the weapons. For example I would like to see a more traditional style rocket launcher, rather than the super low ROF, massive explosion weapon we have.

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