Why the Rapid Fire SMG Is the Best Weapon in Fortnite Season 3

In Blog by Kr4mLeave a Comment

Yesterday Fortnite released the v13.20 update.

In this update, the submachine gun was heavily nerfed.

But the rapid fire SMG didn’t change.

Now the rapid fire SMG was already strong. But with the regular submachine gun nerfed, the rapid fire SMG is the best close-range weapon in Fortnite.

In this post, we’re going to compare the stats of the rapid fire SMG with the regular submachine gun, shotguns, and Jules’ drum gun so you can see why the rapid fire SMG is overpowered in Fortnite Season 3.

The submachine gun nerf

Submachine guns have been strong since the start of Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 3.

But it’s not that submachine guns were directly buffed. Rather, shotguns were made weaker and this was an indirect buff to submachine guns.

Clearly Epic Games knew there was an imbalance between submachine guns and shotguns, particularly at the lower rarities. So that’s why in the v13.20 update there was a heavy nerf to submachine guns.

  • Each rarity of the submachine gun had its base damage reduced by 1
  • Common, uncommon, and rare submachine guns had their fire rate reduced from 12 to 10
  • Epic and Legendary submachine guns had their magazine size reduced from 40 to 35
  • Reload times reduced for the Epic and Legendary submachine guns to compensate for the damage and magazine size nerf and for the reload times to make more sense

Here’s a comparison of the submachine guns stats before and after v13.20:

Fortnite submachine gun comparison before and after v13.20 update

You can see that the damage per second (DPS) of the Common, Uncommon, and Rare submachine guns have been reduced by about 21%.

The DPS of the Epic and Legendary submachine guns have also been reduced by about 5%, which isn’t as drastic as the DPS nerf of the lower rarities.

But it was the magazine size nerf that really hurt the Epic and Legendary submachine gun.

And now the stats of the submachine gun are more logical and balanced.

But what about the rapid fire SMG?

Why the rapid fire SMG is now the best weapon

The rapid fire SMG was already a good choice for close-quarters combat in Fortnite, particularly at the higher rarities.

But it was difficult to get a high rarity rapid fire SMG because you can only get them from eliminating henchmen and from henchmen chests.

You can sidegrade the submachine gun to a rapid fire SMG, but there was a bug preventing you from sidegrading Epic and Legendary submachine guns to a rapid fire SMG. This bug was fixed in v13.20.

Also, in v13.20, the upgrade bench was added as an item you can get from chests. So you can deploy your own workbench to allow for easier upgrading and sidegrading.

In other words, it’s going to be much easier to get a rapid fire SMG now that the sidegrading bug is fixed and we have deployable workbenches.

Now here’s a comparison of the regular submachine gun (after v13.20) and the rapid fire SMG that clearly shows the power difference:

Fortnite submachine gun and rapid fire SMG comparison as of v13.20

You can see that at all rarities the rapid fire SMG is much stronger than the submachine gun.

On average, the rapid fire SMG does 25% more DPS than the standard submachine gun. And the relative amount of DPS difference increases at higher rarities.

It is clear from this comparison that the rapid fire SMG is superior to the submachine gun.

Of course, the rapid fire SMG has a smaller magazine size, but the high DPS and low reload time more than makes up for this.

Now let’s look at the rapid fire SMG in comparison to Jules’ drum gun:

Fortnite rapid fire SMG and Jules' drum gun comparison

Technically, Jules’ drum gun is an assault rifle. But because of its high fire rate, it feels like an SMG.

You can see that even an uncommon rapid fire SMG does more DPS than Jules’ drum gun, which is a Mythic weapon.

Obviously, Jules’ drum gun has a much higher magazine size. But this is a mythic weapon and I would still use a rapid fire SMG over it.

Rapid fire SMG vs shotguns

Shotguns were seriously nerfed from the start of Chapter 2 Season 3.

A lot of player’s favorite shotgun, the pump shotgun, was vaulted. And in its place, we got the charge shotgun.

Players are still figuring out how to get the best use from the charge shotgun, but it’s clearly not as powerful as the pump shotgun.

Of course, we still have the tactical shotgun. But the damage of the tactical shotgun was decreased at the start of Season 3 to make it more balanced with the charge shotgun.

The headshot multiplier of shotguns (both the charge and tactical) was reduced from 2.0x to 1.5x, as well. Submachine guns have a headshot multiplier of 1.75x.

Here’s how the rapid fire SMG compares with the tactical shotgun as of v13.20:

Fortnite rapid fire SMG and tactical shotgun comparison

You can see that the DPS of the tactical shotgun is really quite pitiful, and it’s almost half of the rapid fire SMG at all rarities.

And here’s how the rapid fire SMG compares with the charge shotgun (since the charge shotgun does damage based on how much you charge it, I’ve included both the base and charged damage for a fair comparison):

Fortnite rapid fire SMG and charge shotgun comparison

Again, the DPS of the rapid fire SMG absolutely dwarfs the charge shotgun at all rarities, regardless of how much it’s charged.

Of course, the charge shotgun is meant to be a burst weapon rather than a sustained damage weapon.

But because of how tricky it is to use the charge shotgun due to its unique mechanics, you’re less likely to land a full damage shot.


It’s clear that the rapid fire SMG is the king of close-ranged weapons in Fortnite season 3.

The damage combined with a super-fast fire rate means it has the highest DPS of any weapon right now.

In fact, the fire rate is so fast that you can even sneak in bullets through players that are turbo building, especially if that player has high ping.

But it’s unlikely that the rapid fire SMG will remain this strong.

Listen, Epic Games are definitely going to nerf the rapid fire SMG as more players discover that it’s overpowered. I expect they will nerf the damage so it’s more in line with the submachine gun.

The reason they haven’t nerfed it yet is that hardly anyone uses the rapid fire SMG, so it flew under Epic Games’ radar. The rapid fire SMG is truly a sleeper weapon, even though big names like SypherPK have been saying how good it is.

So make sure you use and abuse the rapid fire SMG in your games to get the best chance of winning.

There’s no reason you should use the standard submachine gun following the nerf in v13.20, and you should sidegrade it as soon as you can for the superior rapid fire SMG.

Have fun!

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