Last Updated on July 7, 2022 by Samuel Franklin
With the best Escape From Tarkov budget guns for the early game (or just budget runs) you’ll be well equipped to maximise your profit from Tarkov raids. These best budget guns are perfect choices at the start of a Tarkov reset or even a mid progression loot run as they are cheap but also effective at taking out Scavs and other PMC players with the correct ammo in your chamber to match.
In this Tarkov gun guide I’ll cover the best stock gun options (ignoring pistols) while offering limited discussion of the basic attachments available to improve them further. Given these sights, grips and silencers can add significant cost and are unlikely to be available during the early stages of your account the intention of this guide is to predominately focus on the gun in a stock state which is particularly important for Tarkov early weapons.
Other factors such as cost of ammo and weapon availability are also considered to provide a balanced opinion on the best Tarkov early wipe guns. Having played through several Tarkov resets to date and being poor at many points in the process I’ve relied on these weapons for hundreds of raids with my full first attempt stats at the bottom of the page, these Escape From Tarkov best early game weapons are also effective for the beginner player though and can be combined with offline mode to master these basic weapons.
10 – ADAR 2-15 Carbine
Starting off the list of early budget guns is the ADAR thanks to its strong availability and large standard 30 round mags that make it a reasonable early game weapon. It does lack the full auto power of other guns on this list though which combined with the weaker ammo puts it in a weird place overall in the meta as once you’ve got the powerful ammo you’ll likely move to it’s full auto cousin the meta M4.
Available From: Skier LL2
Barter: 1x Rechargeable Battery (Skier LL1)
- Easy early game barter trade and regularly dropped by Scavs (sometimes even with the Cobra EKP 8-18 red dot).
- 30 round magazines provide capability for large Scav waves.
- Weakened by lack of ammo availability early that means you’ll often be stuck with the weak M885 ammo that lacks both damage and penetration.
9 – MP-153
Shotguns are surprisingly effective during the early stages as players often run without armour along with the focus on Scav farming in the early game. This makes them viable as an option to take off your own Scav run and hunt for Scavs cheaply with the hope of multiplying your gear. Of these the MP-153 is the best budget shotgun in Tarkov although the Mossberg 590A1 is a close second.
While the MP-133 is often equally effective the need to collect these for early quests means and the fact that they are pump action means these are better used elsewhere. With the limited range compared to other options on this list though and the quick pace that they fall out of favour shotguns are really only an option for certain maps or Scav protection only. As slugs (such as AP-20) become available in late game though you can return to shotguns if you wish with some Escape From Tarkov quests even revolving around them.
Available From: Jaegar LL2
Barter: 2x Wrench and 2x Screwdriver (Jaegar LL1)
- Effective at dispatching Scavs and unarmoured PMCs early on with it’s range of buckshot and slug ammos.
- Limited long range use that makes it not feasible for Tarkov maps like Shoreline and Woods.
- Quickly falls out of favour in the first days to weeks as even low level armour becomes the standard for PMCs.
8 – Submachine gun 19-01 (PP-19)
Submachine guns like shotguns are often surprisingly effective and overlooked by players who haven’t experienced a low level PMC population setting in Tarkov before. The PP-19 is one such option in this weapon type and here primarily for magazine capacity and it’s easy to access barter trade.
Available From: Prapor LL2
Barter: 5x T-Shaped Plug (Prapor LL1)
- Fantastic early game barter due to how common the T-Shaped Plug is in early loot containers (filing cabinets, duffel bags and toolboxes) and it’s lack of other major uses.
- Isn’t quite as strong as other submachine gun variants in terms of raw stats and by the time you unlock the Prapor LL2 is significantly overshadowed.
7 – MP5
Another submachine gun that offers one of the easiest early game trades making it a regular and effective early weapon. The MP5 is also a favourite over the PP-19 noted above as the trade comes with a full magazine of ammo and a unique 3 burst mode that can be an effective middle ground.
Available From: Peacekeeper LL2
Barter: 8x Bars A-2607 (Peacekeeper LL1)
- Easy to access barter trade from both your PMC and Scav runs giving you access to the Bars A-2607 knives (brown handle).
- Barter comes with a full magazine of ammo saving some additional funds.
- Like other submachine guns quickly begins to suffer once players get to tier 3 armour and above as the 9×19 ammo lacks the penetration power of other weapons and ammo calibres.
6 – AKS-74U
Escape From Tarkov has a huge number of AK variants that have slightly different statistics and uses in your Tarkov raids. For the early game though the AKS-74U is one of the stand outs and can be bought directly after finishing your Debut quest for Prapor or acquired in abundance from Scavs. With some of the cheapest early game modifications and silencers the AKS-74U in your inventory can quickly become a deadly option and also allows you to begin leaving that all important assault rifle and recoil control skill for the late game meta.
Available From: Prapor LL1 (after Debut task)
Barter: 2x Horse Figurine (Prapor LL1)
- Cheap early game modifications give you the ability to use silencers, sights and reduce recoil without breaking the bank.
- Gets you an early start on assault rifle and recoil control skills that are vital for end game meta Tarkov.
- Difficult to secure decent 5.45×39 mm ammo (BT, BS, BP) in the early game can make decent armour difficult to combat.
5 – PPSH-41
One of the newest guns on this list of best budget guns the PPSH-41 adds another Russian favourite to the Tarkov gun pool just prior to the 12.6 patch. The sheer fire rate of this gun is terrifying to face and can slice through opponents with lower tier armours (or lack of armour) during the early game.
The biggest con though is bringing in enough magazines to use the PPSH effectively which means a large rig is a must and will push up the cost of your broader Tarkov kit. With some repacking of mags and stealing of guns from Scavs and PMCs though you can often ditch these to make room for loot and wait to get your PPSH and mags back through the Tarkov insurance system.
Available From: Prapor LL2
- Insanely high fire rate allows the PPSH to be the perfect suppressor weapon in squad play or can result in panicking PMCs and quick time to kill for solo players.
- Requires a large tactical rig to carry the necessary magazines to last you through a single Tarkov raid. Especially given you’ll be limited to 35 round magazines in the early stages of account progression.
4 – SKS (and OP-SKS)
A Tarkov fan favourite of the early game that is deadly effective with the 7.62x39mm PS round and reasonable ironsights to match. The SKS (and it’s cousin the OP-SKS) bring a solid early game rifle to the table that can deliver deadly long range shots and because it comes with an internal mag allows you to bring bullets into raid through your pockets alone.
This strength is also the greatest weakness of the SKS though with slow reloading times and the limited 10 round magazine making it difficult to use effectively against multiple enemies. The OP-SKS does increase the cost a little but gives you the option to attach most scopes to give you an effective early game long range gun. Peacekeeper Level 2 is the one who sells SKS magazines though to upgrade this capacity up to 20.
Available From: Prapor LL1
Barter: 1x GP Coin (Mechanic LL2)
- Deadly long range gun supported with the readily available and effective PS round that can even overcome armour (tier 3 and 4) consistently.
- Internal 10 round magazine is your only early game budget option which gives you limited rounds and comes with a significant reload speed.
3 – Mosin
Sharing a similar weakness to the SKS but more deadly to compensate for the 5 round internal mag the Mosin is a deadly weapon from start to finish and in the right hands can be difficult to beat with its consistent one tap potential.
Cheap available ammo and reasonable number of Scav spawns ensures a steady of supply of Mosins to yourself and the market in general in addition to its Level 1 Prapor availability (carbine and sniper version requires LL2).
Available From: Prapor LL1 (LL2 for carbine and sniper)
Barter: 2x D Size Battery and 4x AA Battery (Propr LL1 sniper version)
- Stays relevant from early to late game stages which allows your experience with the Mosin to be an asset throughout your time in Escape From Tarkov.
- Effective way to level your sniper skill which is required for a number of Tarkov tasks.
- Small internal magazine capacity means the weapon is unforgiving against squads and Scav waves for missed shots.
2 – Hunter
Another deadly weapon with both iron sights and attached optics is the Vepr Hunter or VPO-101 that gives you one of the few options to use the deadly 7.62×51 mm NATO round. While it can be occassionally found on Scavs you’ll need to reach Jaegar LL2 before you have a consistent source.
Available From: Jaegar LL2
- Powerful gun during the early, mid and late stages that keep it relevant thanks to the powerful round that is capable on armoured and unarmoured enemies.
- Low magazine capacity requires players to carefully pick their shots.
- Harder to use iron sights than similar options (SKS and Mosin) that make an optic nearly mandatory.
1 – Vepr AKM (VPO-136)
Not to be confused with the similarly named VPO-209 which is arguably one of the worst guns in Escape From Tarkov the VPO-136 is one of the great early game staples. Not only do you get the powerful PS round but the Vepr AKM comes with easy to obtain 30 round magazines that ensures you’ve got a deadly gun without limitations.
Available From: Skier LL2
Barter: 2x Horse Figurine (Skier LL1)
- Large 30 round magazines in conjunction with powerful PS rounds gives you a reliable weapon for Scav and PMCs even those with armour.
- Lacks the alternative fire modes of the more expensive options which cripples the guns effectiveness in close quarters combat.
While everyone has their own favourite budget weapon these top 10 will set you up for success in your early Tarkov Raids against Scavs and players alike. Which of these Escape From Tarkov early budget guns do you take into your raids after a the game restarts?
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms.
Sam (Seelyon) has over 1,000 hours, 1,000 raids, 2,000 kills and 50% survival rate in Escape From Tarkov (EFT) over multiple wipes and has achieved the elusive Kappa secure container in the process. He loves the Tarkov experience and seeks to share his insights and expertise with new players to the game.
1) Colt M4A1
Our top pick for the best weapon in Escape from Tarkov is the Colt M4A1. Apart from having a better recoil rate than the HK-416A5, it also has the lowest possible recoil throughout all calibers of rifles. It utilizes the best standard ammo as well as the best budget ammo the game has to offer.
- The Best Pistols in Escape From Tarkov.
- Beretta M9A3.
- SIG P226R.
- FN Five-seveN.
- Glock 18C.
- Silenced Stechkin Automatic Pistol (APB)
A longtime meta king, 7.62x51 rounds have the best combined damage and penetration in Escape From Tarkov.
In the community, the M4 is probably the most popular pick for an assault rifle. With mods, the weapon is very good. It has controllable recoil, decent damage, and a fast enough fire rate for close-quarters combat. The M4 is a common weapon in the game because it is a reliable weapon.