Valorant Weapons Guide

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Valorant is often described as Counter-Strike with characters and abilities. In countless hours of playing the game, I’ve found that it’s quite an accurate description. Many mechanics and the core gameplay are identical to the decades-old tactical shooter.

The most significant difference is that grenades have been replaced by Overwatch-Esque characters and abilities. While the characters and abilities play a vital role in the game, it’s essential to understand the basics first.

Guns of Valorant Up Front

There are only a few guns in Valorant, 17 to be exact, and it’s crucial to know how each one works. I’ll explain the basic functions of each gun, as well as the scenarios in which I would use them. You could easily encounter all 17 in a single match.

Types of Guns

Menu Showcase
The buy menu showcases all of the guns as well as some numerical information about each weapon. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

There are six types or classes of firearms with distinct mechanics and playstyles. Knowing what class each weapon falls under will make learning how to use them easier. The six types are:

  • Sidearms
  • SMGs
  • Shotguns
  • Rifles
  • Sniper Rifles
  • Machine Guns


These are the cheapest weapons in the game. They’re often seen in early rounds when that is all anyone can afford. They take up a secondary weapon slot, so you can bring one of these guns in addition to one of the other guns in the game.


  • Cost: Free
  • Fire Mode: Semi-automatic
  • Fire Rate: 6.75 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 12
The Classic Sidearm
The Classic sidearm. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

This is the semi-automatic handgun you start with, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. While the damage is low, it’s reasonably accurate and gets the job done. It also has an alternative fire option that shoots three bullets at once, though with significant bullet spread. The alternative fire option is wildly inaccurate at a distance but can get you an instant kill up close.

Don’t forget the best part about this gun; It’s free! While some people may opt for more expensive sidearms, I always stick with this gun in the first round.


  • Cost: 150
  • Fire Mode: Semi-automatic
  • Fire Rate: 3.33 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 2
The Shorty Sidearm
The Shorty sidearm. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

This is the cheapest gun in the game that you can buy, costing you only 150 Creds. It’s a small, semi-automatic shotgun, shooting 15 pellets at once with low accuracy. It’s extremely powerful up close. I mean, really close, though.

Unfortunately, it can only hold two shells at a time, and the constant reloading can put you in sticky situations. It also has no alternative firing mode. I only use this gun on defense when I know my team or I will use smokes or a wall to block sight lines.


  • Cost: 450
  • Fire Mode: Automatic
  • Fire Rate: 10 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 13
The Frenzy Sidearm
The Frenzy sidearm. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

This weapon is much like an SMG, being fully automatic at the cost of accuracy, but for only 450 Creds. It has a further effective range than the Shorty but less so than the semi-automatic sidearms. It has the same damage per bullet as the Classic but with a much higher fire rate. However, it has no alternative firing mode.

This can be a horrible gun in the hands of new players but incredibly strong with those that master it. I personally use it in early eco rounds where winning a round with the Frenzy will guarantee me a Phantom or Vandal for the next round. It’s at a slight disadvantage but can still compete with the SMGs up close.

Some people get it in the first round, but I think you’re better off saving your Creds the first round and sticking with the Classic.


  • Cost: 500
  • Fire Mode: Semi-automatic
  • Fire Rate: 6.75 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 15
The Ghost Sidearm
The Ghost sidearm. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

This semi-automatic handgun is like if the Classic gave up its alternative firing mode for better overall performance. It has greater damage, accuracy, magazine size, and wall penetration. It’s most notably the only sidearm with a silencer. The silencer removes the tracers from bullets and lowers the distance from which gunfire can be heard. This can be great in those clutch moments when you have to take out multiple enemies on your own.

This gun is popular in the first round as it is much like an all-around better version of The Classic. However, you have to sacrifice light armor to get it in the first round. You also have fewer Creds to spend on utility if you get it.

I use this gun similarly to the Frenzy; as an eco buy when I’m going to be pitted against Spectres. The silencer makes it pair really well with smokes, so I find that with a character with smokes, like Viper, it’s the better choice over the Frenzy.


  • Cost: 800
  • Fire Mode: Semi-automatic
  • Fire Rate: 4 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 6
The Sheriff Sidearm
The Sheriff sidearm. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

The last of the sidearms, and by far the most expensive at 800 Creds, is a revolver packing a nasty punch. A headshot from this gun is a one-shot kill in most scenarios. It has a slow fire rate and small magazine size at only 6 rounds, but the great damage and wall penetration make up for it.

This gun is useful in the second and fourteenth rounds when you have just a few Creds. If you have just lost the first round, this gun can turn the tides back in your favor, but you need good aim to make it worth it.


These guns make up for their low accuracy with a high fire rate and low price. They’re a good bridge between the sidearms and the more expensive rifles.


  • Cost: 950
  • Fire Mode: Automatic/Burst
  • Fire Rate: 16 rounds per second/8.471 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 20
The Stinger SMG
The Stinger SMG. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

This gun has the fastest fire rate in the game but is very inaccurate. Its alternative firing mode zooms in at a 1.15x magnification and converts the primary firing mode into a 4-round burst.

The burst fire makes it much easier to land hits at longer ranges, but it’s not something I recommend to newcomers. To use it effectively, you have to direct the burst so that the first shot is aimed at the body and then use the recoil to land the last few in the head. Otherwise, you’re going to be outmatched by most guns at a distance. This gun is best used up close.

At twenty rounds, its magazine size is a little small for how blistering fast its fire rate is. It’s not a very popular gun after recent nerfs. However, for only 950 Creds, I think it still offers a lot for its price and is a favorite of mine for eco rounds on maps without too many long sight lines. Just don’t forget that the Frenzy is almost half the price and can fill a similar role.


  • Cost: 1600
  • Fire Mode: Automatic
  • Fire Rate: 13.33 rounds per second/12 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 30
The Spectre SMG
The Spectre SMG. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

This silenced, fully-automatic SMG is a very popular pick at a middle-of-the-road cost of 1600 Creds. It’s much easier to control than the Stinger and has a larger magazine size. Rather than the burst fire of the Stinger, the Spectre’s alternate fire mode activates a 1.15x zoom that slightly lowers your fire rate to make the gun more accurate.

This gun is most often used when rifles are out of your price range. It has a low time-to-kill but is pretty easy to handle and versatile compared to other similarly priced guns. If you win round 1, it’s a good idea to push your advantage in round 2 by getting the Spectre. This gun is also my go-to pick if I lose later rounds and can’t afford a Phantom or Vandal.

You have to remember to play much closer to the enemies with this gun than you would with a rifle and be very mobile.


These guns can do a lot of damage but have a meager effective range. They shoot several pellets at once with low accuracy. Their short-range damage means they can dominate the tightly spaced areas of maps.


  • Cost: 850
  • Fire Mode: Semi-automatic
  • Fire Rate: 5
  • Magazine Size: 1.1 rounds per second
The Bucky Shotgun
The Bucky shotgun. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

This is your typical pump-action shotgun. It has a lot of power up close but a slow fire rate and incredibly short effective range. It’s the cheapest gun that takes up the primary weapon slot at only 850 creds. Each shot fires 15 pellets, and you will easily get one-shot kills if you manage to hit with most of them, but that’s easier said than done.

Its alternative fire mode shoots a single shot that breaks into five pellets at around 8 meters. This allows you to extend the effective range at the cost of damage. However, if you hit the target before it breaks into the five pellets, it only does the damage of a single pellet. Luckily, each pellet does significantly more damage than on the Shorty, but you’ll still need to hit with more than just one.

Unfortunately, this gun has been severely nerfed. You’re often better off saving your creds and going with the far cheaper Shorty. I virtually never use this gun anymore, but if I did use it, it would be an eco pick on defense.


  • Cost: 1850
  • Fire Mode: Automatic
  • Fire Rate: 3.5 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 7
The Judge Shotgun
The Judge shotgun. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

This fully automatic shotgun sacrifices the damage and range of the Bucky for a higher fire rate, making it more practical for facing down multiple enemies. It can still easily one-shot enemies, but each pellet does less damage than the Bucky, and there are only 12 pellets. It’s also more than double the price at 1850 Creds. Still, its extra versatility makes it well worth the cost if you plan on using a shotgun.

This gun is excellent for defense, as the attackers have to push into tight corners. Combined with utility abilities such as smokes or Sage’s wall, you can get up close enough to easily outgun players who don’t get lucky headshots.


These are the go-to guns you will see later in the match. Their accuracy and versatility make them great all-rounders. They’re efficient at all ranges but excel at medium ranged engagements.


  • Cost: 2050
  • Fire Mode: Automatic/Burst
  • Fire Rate: 10 rounds per second/6.316 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 24
The Buldog Rifle
The Bulldog rifle. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

Like the Stinger, this rifle is typically fully automatic but shoots in a burst when aimed with the alternate fire option. Unlike the Stinger, it’s actually useful at a distance. The far superior accuracy and 1.25x zoom make sure of that. This gun comes at a middle-of-the-road price of 2050 Creds.

It’s by far the least popular rifle for a few reasons. It’s the least accurate rifle and deals the least damage per shot, and the price puts it in a weird situation. If you can afford it but not a better weapon, you’ll typically want to save your Creds.

However, if you just won round 1 or 13, you could use it instead of the Spectre and put a little more distance between you and the enemy. The Bulldog’s damage per shot and accuracy is far better than the SMGs, and it’s more versatile than the sniper rifle Marshal.


  • Cost: 2250
  • Fire Mode: Semi-automatic
  • Fire Rate: 5.25 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 12
The Guardian Rifle
The Guardian rifle. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

This hard-hitting semi-automatic rifle is great for people with good aim. It’s in a similar place as the Bulldog, costing an inconvenient 2250 Creds. However, its accuracy and consistent one-shot headshot potential make it far more popular.

It’s very effective at playing long sightlines, outperforming anything but the Operator at a distance. Its alt-fire is a 1.5x zoom, more than other rifles. I get this gun if I’m on defense and know I’m playing long. It saves money compared to a Vandal and is more versatile than a Marshal.

It’s really just a strong gun all around, but missing shots is much more punishing with this gun than with a fully-automatic one. 


  • Cost: 2900
  • Fire Mode: Automatic
  • Fire Rate: 11 rounds per second/9.9 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 30
The Phantom Rifle
The Phantom rifle. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

This is where we get into the big debate. Phantom or Vandal? They’re both fully automatic rifles that cost 2900 Creds. They both have an alt-fire that is a 1.25x zoom that slightly lowers the fire rate to make the gun easier to handle.

So what’s the difference? Well, the Phantom has a faster fire rate and less recoil but also deals less damage. It also has a damage drop-off, meaning the further the bullet travels, the less damage it will deal.  Most notably, it has a silencer, meaning no tracers.

If you’re using a character with smokes, it’s a no-brainer to get the Phantom when possible. However, even when you’re not using smokes, the Phantom is slightly more consistent overall than the Vandal.


  • Cost: 2900
  • Fire Mode: Automatic
  • Fire Rate: 9.75 rounds per second/8.775 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 25
The Vandal Rifle
The Vandal rifle. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

So then, why would you get the Vandal? One-shot headshots. If a single bullet hits an enemy’s head, they’re done for. The fire rate is a little slower, and the recoil and accuracy are worse, but that doesn’t matter much if you can instantly win the fight.

If you’re confident in your ability to get headshots, then the Vandal is the way to go. Unless I have more specific plans, I’m getting either a Phantom or Vandal whenever I can afford it.

Sniper Rifles

These guns have good accuracy, power, and significant zoom options. However, they also have extremely low fire rates. They’re great for long sight lines.


  • Cost: 950
  • Fire Mode: Semi-automatic
  • Fire Rate: 1.5 rounds per second/1.2 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 5
The Marchal Sniper Rifle
The Marshal sniper rifle. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

This cheap lever-action rifle only costs 950 Creds and is a one-shot kill to the head. However, its low price is because of its incredibly low fire rate. Its alt-fire is 3.5x zoom, which makes it very powerful on long sightlines, but missing a shot is deadly for you, and heads are small targets. I get this gun as an eco buy if I know I’m going to play long.


  • Cost: 4700
  • Fire Mode: Semi-automatic
  • Fire Rate: 0.6 rounds per second/0.75 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 5
The Operator Sniper Rifle
The Operator sniper rifle. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

This extremely expensive gun costs a massive 4700 Creds. Why? Because it’s a one-shot kill to the body, not just the head. Its alternate fire mode also toggles from a 2.5x zoom to a 5x zoom, which can make it easier to hit distant targets.

However, it has an even slower fire rate than the Marshal and a long reload time. Few things are worse than losing such an expensive gun, so be sure to land those shots. The one-shot kill potential means it dominates long sightlines and can more or less guarantee a win if appropriately used.

Machine Guns

These are the LMG/GPMGs of Valorant. They have large magazine capacities and penetration. However, they have very hard-to-control recoil and low accuracy. They’re best used to hold down a position, making it difficult for the enemy to advance.


  • Cost: 1600
  • Fire Mode: Automatic
  • Fire Rate: 13 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 50
The Ares Machine Gun
The Ares machine gun. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

The cheaper of the two machine guns will cost you 1600 Creds. It has a speedy fire rate and large magazine but low damage and accuracy. Its alt-fire is a 1.15x zoom.

This gun is unique because its accuracy increases the longer you shoot. It has high penetration, so it can be a good idea to spray where you think people are rather than wait to see them. The bullets will shred right through any cover enemies might be hiding behind.

The low accuracy when you first shoot can be challenging to get used to, and you need to have a good idea of where the enemies are before seeing them for you to get much use out of this gun. I don’t recommend this gun to new players. I find that it’s best used on defense.


  • Cost: 3200
  • Fire Mode: Automatic
  • Fire Rate: 12-15.6 rounds per second/15.6 rounds per second
  • Magazine Size: 100
The Odin Machine Gun
The Odin machine gun. Photo by Aaron Stevens.

This is the second most expensive gun in the game, costing 3200 Creds. It has an extreme fire rate, a 100-round magazine, and much higher initial accuracy than the Ares.

It’s used in the same way as the Ares, with blind fire through walls being very effective when you have a good idea where enemies are. Its fire rate normally speeds up over time, but if you use the alt-fire, you get a 1.15x zoom and immediately get the max fire rate.

I only use this gun with a character that can spot enemies through walls like Sova. Otherwise, you will get outgunned by a Phantom or Vandal.

My Tips on Buying

  • Losing the First or Second Round- If you lose, I recommend using the Classic in the first and even the second rounds.
  • Winning the First Round– If you win the first round, you should get a pricier gun like the Spectre to push your advantage.

If you can’t get enough Creds for the Spectre, but can’t outgun the enemies with the Classic, then the Frenzy, Sheriff, or Marshal are good early eco picks.

I might opt for a Shorty or Ghost if I have smokes or movement abilities, or even both, like with Omen. You really have to consider your guns’ specific advantages when falling behind. Force or close gaps between you and your enemies, depending on your gun.

If you’re doing well, you should be able to get a Vandal or Phantom by round four, and you will really want to play at a medium distance when possible. Buy armor and abilities pretty much whenever possible.


Question: Is a gun better the more expensive it is?

Answer: Not necessarily, but it is a good clue to how good a gun is. For example, the two most expensive guns, the Odin and Operator, are very situational and not good in all scenarios. However, they are unbeatable in the right situations. That’s why their price is so high.

Question: When should I buy guns for my teammates?

Answer: If you ever full buy and still have several thousand Creds, it’s a good idea to buy guns for your teammates, even if they’re not performing as well as you. Their performance could jump up significantly if they have a Vandal in their hands. Otherwise, those Creds are likely going to be wasted, and that’s not helping you get a win.

Question: Is the Vandal better than the Phantom?

Answer: I wouldn’t say so, but it is the more popular of the two rifles. The Vandal’s one-shot kill potential makes it super popular, but the Phantom is statistically better in every other scenario. It ultimately boils down to preference. I like to switch between the two.

Valorant Weapons: Conclusion

Every gun has its place in the game, but there are a select few that I use every single match.

  • Classic
  • Spectre
  • Phantom/Vandal

While the abilities are far more flashy, the guns are the core of the gameplay in Valorant. You can only use a handful of abilities per round, but you have a lot of bullets. Now that you know how each gun works, you’ll be more equipped to take on the opposing team.

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