The complete guide to Battlefield 1's weapons

Battlefield 1 presents the biggest shift in weapons technology since the series jumped from 1942 to the modern day. Gone are thermal scopes, laser sights, and underslung launchers. On deck are the satisfying chak-chak of bolt actions, literal telescopes on long rifles, and cavalry sword charges. Tanks are deadly but few in number—BF1 focuses on its infantry combat above all. Building a loadout is less about picking attachments and more about swapping weapons to suit the map, mode, and preferred engagement range. This guide lists and describes the weapons for each class, their variants, and their best uses.

As of March 2017, we’ve updated this guide to cover the numerous weapon changes and adjustments in the Winter Update as well as the new French guns added in the They Shall Not Pass DLC. Be sure to study up on the changes to your preferred weapons in the sections below.

Some of the statistics noted in this guide were obtained from Symthic, a haven for data on Battlefield weapons across the entire series. 


Automatico M1918 

Unlock rank: 0

At a zippy 900 rounds per minute (RPM), the Italian-bred Automatico is a bullet hose; at a meager 25 rounds per magazine, it’s a greedy bullet hose. Still, at close range, it’ll quickly ice whoever falls beneath your crosshair. You’re likely to nab only one kill (or two with lucky headshots) on average per magazine, so always keep track of the nearest solid piece of rubble to stop and reload. It excels in cover-heavy maps with close engagement ranges such as Amiens or Argonne Forest. Pair it with a pistol packing a roomy magazine—the P08 or 1903 Hammerless is ideal—as you’ll frequently resort to your sidearm to finish an enemy after the Automatico inevitably runs dry.

Since the Winter Update, the Automatico has seen a slight improvement to its considerable vertical recoil, so it won’t kick upwards as much as before with a steady hand on the mouse. The feisty SMG also took a steep hit to its horizontal recoil—that’s the uncontrollable side-to-side variation of where bullets go as you fire—so it’ll quickly dump accuracy if you’re trying to land shots on someone beyond its speciality up-close range. It yet shines indoors and tight outside areas such as trenches, so be sure to get in close.

Variants: Like most Assault SMGs, the Automatico favors hipfire and mobility over carefully aimed shots. The starting Factory variant provides the best accuracy recovery after each spray, an important consideration given the gun’s blistering fire rate. The Trench version is best suited for fast hit-and-run playstyles with its boosted hipfire stat. (Don your gas mask for perpetual immunity to gas grenades with no downside to your hipfire accuracy.) The Storm variant’s foregrip offers a more balanced recoil and stability pattern at the expense of accuracy, good for small bursts. 

MP 18 

Unlock rank: 0

The MP 18’s modest 550 RPM rate of fire sits on the low end of the SMG spectrum, but the rest of its stats boast a German-engineered pedigree for the discerning trench-hopper: a relatively spacious 32-round magazine, faster bullet travel, and a forgivingly small recoil pattern that’s easily controllable during hipfire. Pick the MP 18 for a frontliner custodian; while the Automatico shocktroopers swarm to an objective, follow close behind for mop-up shots and more predictable pressure damage. It won’t shine in knife-fight ranges like its frenetic cousin, but its strong accuracy can see you out of tough spots with trust and practice. 

The MP 18’s workhorse nature has only improved post-Winter Update, as its already manageable vertical recoil has been nudged down in intensity by a few decimal figures; just shy of rivaling both the Hellriegel and the new Ribeyrolles for most manageable SMG. Translated into on-field performance, that means less time dragging the mouse down to compensate and more time comfortably landing hits on an enemy. If your playstyle favors mid-range engagements, consider equipping the Experimental variant—the multiplied recoil effect from the third bullet of its 3-round burst is cozily low now. With practice, you can rhythm your trigger pulls to mimic automatic fire while keeping a firm control on the bullet spread.

Variants: The default Trench variant with its hipfire bonus is a sturdy all-rounder for most close-quarters maps. The other two variants are more specialized: the Experimental affixes a lens sight and tightens the shot group to a 3-round burst, turning the MP 18 into a primordial M16 of sorts—you’ll want to dance on the border between close and medium range for optimum effectiveness—while the Optical just adds the lens sight without the burst fire. Again, keep your distance if you prefer either variants; your damage and control go up at the expense of hipfire accuracy which can quickly send you to the spawn menu if someone blitzes at you.

Hellriegel 1915 

Unlock rank: 10

The Hellriegel is the flashy, watercooled unlock once you reach level 10 on the Assault kit. Consider it as the P90 of BF1: it pumps bullets at a decently fast 650 RPM from a staggeringly deep 60-round drum magazine. Its clearing power feels quite unrivaled in the SMG category; where the Automatico and MP 8 would’ve long clicked empty, the Hellriegel can continue sweeping a trench or a room like a heartless mobster. It thusly performs quite exceptionally on most maps, even the vulnerably open Sinai Desert areas. The Hellriegel rewards aimed fire and controlled bursts with a wonderfully low first shot recoil multiplier; that means your first bullet will typically land right where you’re aiming and subsequent shots won’t suffer from as big a kick if you need to rock and roll on the trigger. Don’t get overzealous with your ammo because of that drum magazine—the reload animation is agonizingly long, and you only have two extra magazines in reserve before you’re bingo, so keep a friendly Support nearby for those tasty ammo pickups.

The Hellriegel’s sheer clearing power stands uncontested after the latest patch updates. Even though it’s received a hefty bump to its horizontal recoil, it’s still capable of racking secondary and even tertiary kills through carefully controlled sprays down the sights. Try tap-firing on targets lingering at further ranges to capitalize on its low first-shot recoil, but you should ultimately close the gap to negate the bouncy bullet deviation and play to the SMG’s strengths of long full-auto bursts.

Variants: The Factory variant is the only version available for the Hellriegel. As such, it provides balanced stats for both accuracy and control. 

Ribeyrolles 1918 (They Shall Not Pass DLC)

(Gif via Ascend Winter)

Unlock requirements: Obtain 50 kills with the Automatico Factory variant & 20 headshots with the MP 18 Optical variant

The Ribeyrolles is the French entry to the Assault’s SMG repertoire, but it looks and functions more closely to a full carbine than a compact automatic with its magazine-fed ammo. Its stats paint a peculiar picture: At a measly 25 rounds, it won’t boast the same chain-kill crunch as the Hellriegel. It putters bullets at the same 550 RPM rate as the MP 18, so its pace dims beside the sizzly Automatico. Beware its vertical recoil on full-auto fire, as its barrel will jolt upwards at a rate just behind the Automatico in severity. 

Like the rest of the new firearms introduced in BF1’s first DLC, the Ribeyrolles encourages an alternative playstyle for its given class. The proof lies in its positives: the best damage range of any SMG—23 damage per bullet up to 15 meters and dropping to just 15 damage per bullet at a whopping 50-meter distance—and the smallest horizontal and first-shot recoil value. It’s essentially a longer-range MP 18 emphasizing point-defense or offense with aimed fire over hip sprays. It’ll quickly falter in the close-quarter kingdom shared between shotguns and feudal Automaticos, so it isn’t recommended for direct pushes, a bold contradiction of the Assault’s primary role. Rather, use it for ambushes: pop out of blind corners and trench ditches to nail a few surprised victims, then retreat to cover to reload, moving forward when the way is clear.

Variants: You’re awarded the Ribeyrolles’ sole Factory variant after accomplishing its unlock requirements (see above). A bipod curiously dangles from the barrel’s business end, but it won’t see much use with a traditional run-and-gun playstyle or objective blitzes on infantry-focused maps such as Argonne or Fort Vaux. Still, it’ll amusingly quirk some eyebrows for returning some laser-beam-accurate fire during a panic prone or a sporadic pause against a low wall or window sill. The Factory’s ironsights offer a refreshingly clear sight picture, a plus for the Ribeyrolles’ prowess at aimed shots.

Model 10-A 

Unlock rank: 1

The Assault’s assortment of shotguns largely follows the basic boomstick principle: blast out a shot, pump in the next shell, and optionally utter a witty one-liner. Each shotgun deals the same damage per pellet with key differences in spread rate and pellet count, a balancing move to encourage preference in either precision or chaos. The Model 10-A is as straightforward as shotguns get, but its pump-action crawls the slowest out of the available trio and it’ll deliver a mighty upward kick on each trigger pull. It conversely boasts the highest pellet and shell count, so rigid aiming consequently isn’t a crucial requirement to dominate up close. Anyone roughly within 15 meters will likely turn into Swiss cheese if you point the 10-A in their general direction, but an obvious rule of proportion for shotguns skyrockets their killing power the closer you get to your target, as you’ll maximize the amount of pellets striking meat instead of concrete. It’s a wonderfully wicked weapon for blind-corner ambushes and indoor defense; take it bunker-clearing in the Argonne Forest or Monte Grappa maps for silly fun.

Variants:  The Factory is an adequate close-quarters starter variant with a decent mix of accuracy and control, but its Hunter brother is a straight upgrade with its added barrel choke that tightens the pellet spread and effective range by just a touch without hampering its raw stopping power closer in. 

The Slug variant predictably works better at range with its lens sight and slug shots, but you’ll need slightly better aim to compensate for the lowered damage. The Winter Update has strengthened the Slug with a faster flying projectile and increased one-hit lethal range. The latter in particular has turned the Slug into a considerably strong pick for eliminating single enemies lulled into a false sense of security at distances beyond normal shotgun kill ranges. 

M97 Trench Gun 

Unlock rank: 1

The M97’s strengths closely adheres to its namesake: a fast-pumping bludgeon to smash through a chokepoint filled with targets. Its fire rate is nearly double that of the 10-A, so it’s awesome at dispensing quick and constant punishment with particular impact against clustered groups of foes. Stay mindful of its lowered pellet count—14 compared to the 10-A’s beefy 20—and 5-shell load, as you can quickly flatline your damage if you lose control of its spread or bottom out at inopportune moments if you hammer too fast.

Variants: Opt for the Backbored variant for hipfire spam, as it’ll calm the jumpy recoil into a manageable rhythm. The Hunter’s choke is ideal for slower, patient shots, but it’s a bit antithetical to the M97’s inherent speed. If you’re indoors, grab the Sweeper; it’ll edge closer to the 10-A in pellet count and damage but exacts a toll on recoil.

12g Automatic 

Unlock rank: 1

The 12g is the model tool for spontaneous interior decorating of the hole-shaped variety. It’s a buzzsaw of a shotgun, slapping out its 5 shells at a relatively blistering 257 RPM thanks to its recoil-action thumbing its nose at the quaintness of pump-action. It further brings the lowest spread pattern and directional kick of any shotgun, but its pellet count sits at an unimpressive 11. That means your shots will need to be pretty square-on to quickly drop someone, but the 12g will often have the final say over cold numbers due to its propensity at spewing out pellets in seconds. Its tighter spread helps with softening up enemies a bit further out from the traditional close-up range, and it’s a good counter against 10-A users who need to scoot in to volley back with effective fire. Like the M97, it’ll decimate pairs and squads, and it’s a good roamer shotgun to carry into open areas alongside a strong companion pistol such as the Auto or Bulldog Revolver.

Variants: The Hunter offers the best ranged damage for the 12g, but it isn’t reliable for chaining kills quite like the Backbored or the Extended—the former is a little less squirrely but will shorten the effective range while the latter ups the shell count to 7 at a slight recoil cost. Overall, the Extended best fits with the 12g’s capability to blast out multiple victims before they can blink.

Sjogren Inertial (They Shall Not Pass DLC)

 (Gif via ZGamers) 

Unlock requirements: Obtain 50 kills with the Model 10-A Slug variant & accumulate 15 kills with the M97 Trench Gun Hunter variant in one round

Looking like a cutting-room cast-off from a Fallout design session, the Swedish Sjogren falls in line with its brethren boomsticks as a capable close-range punisher. It spits shells at the second-fastest rate behind the 12g Automatic, and its 13-pellet count—a new middle ground between the 12g and M97—provides enough flak for a one-hit kill at around 20 meters and below if you keep your circle reticle on center mass. Avoid mindless spam-fire with the Sjogren; unlike the Model-10, it needs most of its pellets to strike true to deliver a frag instead of a wounding. As oxymoronic as it sounds, this is a marksman’s shotgun. Take patient swipes with your mouse to ensure each click centers on an actual silhouette, and you can chain five kills with all five shells loaded in the Sjogren.

Variants: The Factory variant is all you get for completing the Sjogren’s unlock assignment, but that’s more than enough for a stellar hipfire rating and adequate recovery control. Remember to shoot carefully!

Omri Petitte

Omri Petitte is a former PC Gamer associate editor and long-time freelance writer covering news and reviews. If you spot his name, it probably means you're reading about some kind of first-person shooter. Why yes, he would like to talk to you about Battlefield. Do you have a few days?