Ah, GTA: Online. Is there any better argument for entropy in existence? Whenever I've jumped online and into free roam, it is utter chaos. People driving around like lunatics, firing off guns like they're Texan oil barons, and countless savage acts of criminality. What you don't get on there is a friendly group of people who are happy to help you out, no. You get a bunch of people flailing around with automatic weapons like you stepped into a Mad Max movie. It's brutal. As such, you need to be prepared for anything in the mean streets of Los Santos and the dusty desert trails of its surroundings.
GTA: Online has a ton of weapons. It can seem a little overwhelming when you first take a look at them. Which of the many shotguns do I take? Which pistol? Are any of the heavy weapons truly worth it? This article contains answers to all of the above. If you truly want to get a competitive edge, this guide will show you exactly what kind of heat you should be packing, and what stuff you should leave behind. If you want to be king of the hill, top of the heap, the absolute baddest person to have ever walked your GTA: Online server, then you need to get armed with our recommendations, which will see you taking out opposition like it ain't no thing. Think that we missed something out, or got something wrong? Let us know!
29 Overpowered: AP Pistol
One of only two full-auto weapons that can be fired from vehicles, this is the one that you want to be carrying. Take that Micro SMG out of your inventory and get an MG instead! The AP is super useful whether you’re caught in a firefight or are ambushing a foe. Put extended mags on it for 36 rounds of hurt! It's ridiculously accurate, and has a very low recoil, which can be lightened even further by equipping a suppressor. Grab one, and have fun!
28 Overpowered: Combat MG Mk II
Added as part of the Gunrunning update, the Combat MG Mk II is a brutally effective piece of kit. Yes, it costs an absolute fortune at nearly $120,000, but you will make that back in no time with this thing backing you up. It does a silly amount of damage, and with extended mags, can fire 200 times before you need to reload. For extra damage, try putting incendiary rounds in it, or AP rounds, and you will tear through people and vehicles like a machine gun through hot butter.
27 Shouldn't Exist: Flare Gun
Brought in with the Heists update, this is a weapon that I've never quite understood the purpose of. Yes, it's cheap, yes it can set people on fire, but only if you score a direct hit. It's single shot, meaning the rate of fire is pitiful, and if you miss, then you're boned. It's more something for fun than serious play. About the only thing it's useful for at all is that it can be used to throw off missile lock-ons, but that cannot redeem it.
26 Overpowered: Assault Shotgun
Nothing says “I want to knock you out of the game” better than 36 shells of buckshot being fired faster than sound in your direction. You barely even have to aim this thing. Truly monstrous up close, you can fire 240 rounds per minute without even thinking about it. Don't bother with a suppressor, as it lessens damage, but do put 32 round magazines on it. If you thought that the AA12 from Spec Ops: The Line was beefy, wait til you try this.
25 Overpowered: Compact Grenade Launcher
The grenade launcher is better than the RPG. You unlock it at a lower rank, and it is single shot, like the RPG, and also does less damage. So what are its advantages? The main one is that it can be used from a vehicle, the only heavy weapon that can be. If you're pursuing someone on a motorbike, and want to take them out of the game, then fire one of these at their vehicle and make sure that you're clear.
24 Shouldn't Exist: SNS Pistol
Okay, the SNS pistol is one of the best looking weapons in the game, that I will admit. If you want to be truly styling, then carry one of these, but if you want to win, don't. It's kind of powerful, but trying to actually hit something with it is an exercise in frustration. It's got the shortest range of any of the weapons in the game bar shotguns. It also only packs six rounds by default, and a player can survive six direct shots from this weapon. Pointless.
23 Overpowered: Minigun
Ah. If you want to recreate that scene from Terminator 2, you need this weapon. Easily the most powerful gun in the game, the minigun can tear through just about anything with consummate ease. You’ll know you’ve been hit with it when you immediately despawn and you’re not sure why. It takes a lot of hard work to be able to unlock one of these, requiring you to be rank 120 before you can get one, but it's worth the wait. It has almost 100 percent accuracy, does a ton of damage, and has almost no recoil.
22 Overpowered: Sawed-Off Shotgun
This weapon may fire slowly, but it has the best damage in the game of any shotgun, bar none. To get it, all you have to do is sign up for social club. Easy enough, eh? Not only does this weapon do the most damage of any shotgun in the game, but it can also be fired from vehicles. Range is lower, but it can very easily score a one-hit knockout if you hit your target with every pellet from one of the shells. A superb, cheap weapon.
21 Shouldn't Exist: SMG
In most games, the MP5 is a fearsome piece of kit, but not so in GTA: Online. It can't be fired from cars, for a start. It has poor accuracy at anything above close range. The only real advantage it has over the Micro SMG is its larger clip size, but that can't make up for its other flaws. It's not even good in any particular area you would care to mention, just average. I wouldn't waste your money on this gun if I were you.
20 Overpowered: Heavy Sniper Mk II
Though this weapon isn't available until you hit a high rank, it's a brutally effective weapon. The heavy sniper is easily the most powerful sniper rifle in the game, and fit it with explosive rounds, and you'll be able to take out just about anything in one hit. It's also incredibly strong against aircrafts, and will take out somebody whether they're wearing body armor or not. For increased accuracy, add a thermal scope – you'll see people a mile off, and can take them down with ease.
19 Overpowered: Special Carbine
The very best thing about this gun is that it's available from rank 1, with no further work necessary. The weapon does a ton of damage, and despite its slightly lower range than other assault rifles, it's still accurate enough for short to medium range. Sadly, you can't apply a box magazine to the Mk 2, but you can apply incendiary, tracers, AP, and full metal jacket rounds to it for added damage. These weapons are common for a reason, and you ought to get real familiar with them.
18 Shouldn't Exist: Sweeper Shotgun
If you're looking for a shotgun to use from a vehicle, you want the sawed-off, not this piece of junk. Sure, it can fire 10 rounds, but compared to the sawed-off, its damage is absolutely woeful. Even when compared to other shotguns, its range is pitiful too. About the only thing that it has going for it is that it has a pretty high rate of fire. Added as part of the Bikers update, it's not worth using, especially as you unlock the sawed-off at the same time.
17 Overpowered: Sticky Bombs
Thrown weapons are generally something of a bust in GTA: Online. The only weapon that's actually worth it in this class are sticky bombs. And they're worth it because well... they're incredibly destructive. Someone chasing you? Throw one of these at their vehicle, detonate it, and they're toast. You've only got to be rank 19 to unlock it, so it's hardly an arduous task. They can also be thrown from vehicles, making them a heck of a multipurpose tool for the discerning mobster.
16 Overpowered: The Advanced Rifle
Want this gun? Yeah, you do. Sure, you have to hit rank 70 to get it, but it's worth every step of the arduous journey. The gun has the highest damage of any assault rifle other than the Special Carbine, but makes up for not being top of its class by having a super fast fire rate. It's nearly as accurate as the Special Carbine, and its compact size makes it extremely handy for close range firefights in tight environments.
15 Shouldn't Exist: Compact Rifle
This is GTA: Online's equivalent of the Obrez. If you don't know what an Obrez is, it's a Mosin-Nagant rifle that's been cut down to the size of a pistol. It's ridiculously inaccurate and makes a fireball that's almost as big as the person firing it. This weapon is basically that. It has a massive amount of recoil, and its got a fire rate that is glacier slow compared to other rifles. You can fire it from the back of a motorbike, but hey, who cares.
14 Overpowered: Mk II Heavy Revolver
This gun is the only thing you’ll want if you want to reenact Dirty Harry. Put hollow points or incendiary rounds in it and prepare for laughs. The Mk II does 25 percent more damage than the original version, and it also fires 50 percent faster. The aforementioned hollow points doubles their damage to unarmored targets, and if you hit someone in the chest with one of those, they're out. Like the Heavy Sniper Mk II, the incendiary rounds also have a 100 percent chance to ignite their target on impact.
13 Overpowered: Pump Shotgun Mk 2
Unupgraded, it may not be as good as the shotguns we mentioned earlier, but it’s the only gun, other than the Heavy Sniper, that can use explosive rounds. Added in the Doomsday Heist update, this shotgun may be slightly weaker than the Assault Shotgun, but its access to special ammo is what makes it. You can fire flechettes, dragon's breath rounds, steel buckshot, and the aforementioned explosive slugs. All of these are crazy strong at the right time, and I recommend trying every one of them.
12 Shouldn't Exist: Firework Launcher
This weapon is truly pointless. Sure, it looks pretty cool, like a Panzerfaust, but it's so weak. If you fire it right at your feet, it will take just half your health off. The firework damage is absolutely terrible, with just a direct hit able to finish your target. The blast radius is tiny too, and each rocket costs $600. It's such a pointless weapon, and it appears to only exist for laughs, which, fair enough, but don't use it in serious gameplay.
11 Overpowered: Marksman Rifle Mk II
If you want a sniper rifle that isn't the Heavy Sniper, then get yourself the Marksman Rifle Mk II. It has a better rate of fire and does more damage per shot than the original Marksman Rifle. It's pinpoint accurate, able to shoot the wings off a gnat at 500 yards. If you're desperate to translate this power into a close range weapon, you can take the big scope off it and add a red dot to it instead, that turns it into a fantastic little rifle for close to medium range encounters.
10 Overpowered: Up-N-Atomizer
Released at the beginning of January, this weapon is from the Republican Space Rangers show, small blaster that fires a coil of energy that explodes in a burst. The damage isn't as crazy strong as something like the railgun, but it's a strong shot: it sends any opponent flying with a direct hit. The best thing about the Up-N-Atomizer? It sends vehicles flying too, and I mean flying. You can't use it while in a vehicle, but it's very useful to use against them.
9 Shouldn't Exist: Grenade
Ah, the humble grenade. Sure, I know saying that they shouldn't exist is probably insulting a great deal of you people who use them regularly, but you really shouldn't. Save your money and buy sticky bombs instead. Grenades don't do that much damage unless you're able to land one right next to somebody, and if that person has any sense whatsoever, they'll just run as soon as it lands next to them. They're just a bit pointless, and there are far better examples out there.
8 Overpowered: Orbital Cannon
Another weapon that was added in the Doomsday Heist update, this Orbital Cannon can only be used once an hour, but when you use it, it is effectively instantly over for whoever you're aiming at. It costs $900,000 to install it, but when you've got it, you'll be able to target anyone on the map, and for $500,000, rain hurt down upon them. You can also use it for free to survey the map, checking out where other players are. An incredible, expensive weapon, I definitely recommend getting it.
7 Overpowered: Widowmaker
Another Republican Space Rangers favorite, this gun is essentially the Minigun, but even better. How is it better? It has a higher rate of fire than that monstrous rate of fire the Minigun has. On top of that, it looks even cooler, featuring four barrels that each spit out bolts of plasma. It is a gun that fires scarily quick, but beyond that, it also does a splendid amount of damage, just like the Minigun. I'd recommend swapping the Minigun out for it when you can.
6 Shouldn't Exist: Rocket Launcher
"Wait a minute, you're saying a rocket launcher shouldn't exist?" Yes, I am. Compared to the grenade launcher, the rocket launcher has a lower rate of fire, doesn't do a whole lot more damage, and has a far slower projectile. If you want a heavy weapon that isn't a grenade launcher, then you want to get either a Minigun or the Widowmaker. In short: about any other heavy weapon will serve you better than this expensive bit of junk. It just isn't worth it.
5 Overpowered: Unholy Hellbringer
The Unholy Hellbringer, added at the same time as the Widowmaker, has the same performance, on paper, as an unupgraded Combat MG. While its performance may not inspire any special reverence not already granted to the Combat MG, its ammo capacity should. Why? Well, it has 9999 rounds in its "clip," you could say. That means that the only time you need to reload this thing is after you've fired out every single other shot the weapon can take. Beautiful and bonkers.
4 Shouldn't Exist: Tear Gas
The most pointless weapon in the entire game, tear gas is only useful in story mode. In online, it's about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Maybe even less so. You can use the gas to take people out, but it requires a lot of exposure, and any sensible player will simply run away. Its area of effect is pitiful, and about its only real use is as an area denial weapon, but even then, there are way better alternatives out there.
3 Overpowered: Pistol .50
The Pistol .50 is a Desert Eagle by any other name, and to anyone who grew up playing Counterstrike, that means a lot. It might not have the fastest rate of fire of any of the semi-auto pistols, but it packs a punch like no other. Unlike other pistols, its damage doesn't fall away with increased range, meaning it's also pretty darn effective at longer ranges. It's very useful for survival, with just one shot to the chest able to down just about anyone.
2 Shouldn't Exist: Double-Action Revolver
This weapon was added as a promotion for Red Dead Redemption II, and it should have stayed back in the cowboy era. It has a decent fire rate, nearly two shots per second, but you have to squeeze the trigger fully for each shot. Yes, it has nearly as good damage as the AP Pistol, but it has no damage multiplier on vehicles, unlike the Heavy Revolver. If you want a revolver, you want the Heavy Revolver, if you want something that does more raw damage, take the AP Pistol.
1 Overpowered: Proximity Mines
My favorite explosive weapon second only to the Sticky Bombs, the Proximity Mines are superb, tactical weapons. Throw one of these down, and it immediately arms, so as long as you don't get anywhere near the business end of it, you'll be fine. Anyone else who comes close will soon find out the true meaning of hurt. Able to destroy vehicles with ease, and take just about anyone out with even more ease, these things aren't that expensive, and are well worth having in your inventory.